Stop Puppy Mills: 15 Things You Can Do

  1. Adopt your next pet. You may have your heart set on a puppy or a particular breed, but please don't support puppy mills by buying pets online or in stores. We guarantee that the perfect pet is waiting for you at one of the thousands of shelters or rescue groups across the country - and they're not hard to find. First, visit your local shelter. If you don't find the right pet there, visit www.petfinder.com. You can also find a dog of a particular breed by contacting a breed-rescue organization. To find breed rescue groups, do a search online: Go to www.google.com (or another search engine), enter a city or state, the name of the breed you are looking for, and the word "rescue."

  2. Don't buy a puppy online or from a pet store. If you buy a puppy online or from a pet store, you are most likely supporting the puppy mill industry because these are the two ways that puppy millers sell millions of dogs each year. If you intend to buy a puppy, do your homework and read "Puppy Mill Dogs: How to Be Sure Your Next Dog Is Not From a Mill."

  3. Take action against pet stores that sell dogs supplied by puppy mills. Ask pet stores to consider switching to a humane business model, one that promotes adopting instead of selling puppies from breeders. (Click here for a list of stores that have paved the way.) If the store chooses not to change, you can hold peaceful rallies to help educate the public and change store policy. To learn how, download the action kit called "Peaceful Pet Store Protest: Demonstrate Against the Sale of Pets."

  4. Support legislation that regulates and reduces breeding of animals. To help change your city, county and state laws, sign up to receive alerts from Best Friends. We make it quick and easy for you to support laws in your area that fight puppy mills. Go to Best Friends' Legislative Action Center to sign up.

  5. Become an expert on the subject. Get familiar with how the puppy mill industry works by looking through Best Friends' resource library. You can watch breeder video footage, read USDA documents, and learn how to research pet stores in your community. Click here to start learning.

  6. Know the existing laws. Many states have laws that regulate breeders and/or retail pet sellers. To find out how your state stacks up, click here.

  7. Ask government officials to pass stricter laws for pet stores and dog breeders. Write or call your city, county, state and federal officials and ask them to take these issues seriously. Read "End Puppy Mills: Write a Letter to Legislators and Newspapers" to help compose a message and contact the right people. Keep your call, letter or email brief, respectful and to the point. You may not receive a response, but know that these communications are counted and can really influence legislators.

  8. Speak out in your community. Write letters to the editors of newspapers about puppy mills and breeders who keep their animals in unacceptable conditions. Note how many ads for dogs, puppies, kittens and other animals there are in the paper's classified section, while shelters overflow with unwanted pets.

  9. Donate to Best Friends' puppy mill initiatives. Your donation will be used to fight puppy mills and to give former puppy mill dogs a chance to have what all dogs deserve: safety, good care, happiness and love from a family of their own.

  10. Elect animal-friendly candidates. Before any election (local, state or federal), ask candidates if they would support laws regulating commercial breeders and what they would do about puppy mills in the community.

  11. Report bad puppy stores. If you have bought a puppy from a store and the puppy is sick, read "Bought a Sick Pet Store Puppy: What Can You Do?."

  12. Infiltrate the ads. In your newspaper's classifieds section, you've seen the numerous ads that sell puppies. To plant the idea of adopting instead, place classified ads promoting your local shelter or breed rescue group via Petfinder.com.

  13. Raise awareness and/or donations. Host an awareness-raising or fundraising event in your community. To educate the public about puppy mills and/or raise awareness and funding for local rescue groups, organize a walk, conduct a bake sale or set up a table at local events and hand out information.

  14. Spread the word. Educate your friends, family and coworkers - especially those looking to obtain a pet - about the cruelty of puppy mills and the joys of pet adoption. Share adoption websites, such as Petfinder.com, and breed rescue websites with people who are looking for purebred dogs.

  15. Don't give up. The fight against puppy mills and bad breeders has been going on for decades. Things won't change overnight, but we are making progress and each little change helps. If you educate just one person about the horrors of puppy mills or convince just one person to adopt rather than buy a pet, you've made a difference.