Puppy mills

Many people don't realize that when they buy a dog from a pet store or on the Internet, that dog most likely came from a puppy mill, a "factory farm" for dogs. In puppy mills, dogs live in small cages, often in the minimum legal size allowed (only six inches larger than the dog on all sides) and female dogs are bred as frequently as possible.

Life in a puppy mill is no life for our best friends. Even though more and more Americans are taking a stand against them, the U.S. still has about 10,000 puppy mills. Together, we can take a stand against puppy mills and make them a thing of the past.

For more about life in a puppy mill, check out this eye-opening video.

Why puppy mills still exist

Puppy mills have been inhumanely breeding and selling dogs for decades. Although the federal government regulates most breeders who sell puppies online and to pet stores, the minimal standards imposed on breeders don't promote responsible breeding or ensure healthy puppies. For example, it's legal for licensed breeders to own 1,000 or more dogs, keep them in very small cages for their entire lives and breed them as often as possible.

The standards set by the government aren't meant to ensure that the dogs have the good lives they deserve; they only require the bare minimum of care. Plus, there are only a few inspectors in each state for hundreds – sometimes thousands – of licensed breeding facilities.

Best Friends' puppy mill initiatives

Through Best Friends' puppy mill initiatives, we are working to convince pet stores to offer pets for adoption instead of selling mill-bred pets, educate consumers about puppy mills, and create and lobby for humane legislation. Together, we're making an impact and saving lives. Join us and help bring about a time when every dog can feel safe, happy and loved.

Please watch and share this video!

Where are puppy mill dogs sold?

Pet stores: Nearly all pet stores that sell puppies are supplied by mills. More and more communities are banning the sale of mill-bred pets in stores, but many Americans are still unaware of the connection between pet stores and puppy mills.

Which pet stores sell puppies supplied by puppy mills? Nearly 100 percent.

Estimated number of puppy mills in the U.S. that supply to pet stores or sell online: 10,000

Websites: Just like pet stores, most websites that sell dogs are selling mill-bred pets, and most of these sites market the puppies as well-bred and lovingly raised. No matter how convincing a website is, though, never buy a pet online.

Classified ads: For decades, classifieds have been the first place that puppy buyers go to look for a new pet. Irresponsible breeders tap into this market easily by placing classified ads on websites like Craigslist. Please beware of any ads that list several breeds for sale. And if the breeder won't let you see where the dogs and puppies live, please don't buy the puppy.

How to fight puppy mills

  • Don't buy dogs from pet stores or on the Internet. Please adopt instead.
  • Spread the word: Teach others about puppy mills.
  • Choose adoption.

Around 625,000 dogs and cats are killed in U.S. shelters annually, simply because they don't have homes. When you adopt, you're not only refusing to support puppy mills, you're saving a life and giving an animal in need the second chance he or she deserves.

If you’re looking for a healthy, loving pet, you’re in luck. Many can readily be found in shelters and rescue groups around the country.

It is estimated that up to 25 percent of dogs looking for homes through shelters and rescue groups are purebred.

Types of pets found in shelters and rescue groups:

Young, purebred, old, house-trained, mixed-breed, adorable, well-mannered, puppies, healthy, kittens

No matter what type of pet you’re looking for, a shelter or rescue organization is the place to go.

By choosing adoption, you’re taking a stand against the puppy mill industry.

Contact information: puppymillinitiatives@bestfriends.org

Fight puppy mills, and save lives today. Join Best Friends Animal Society in putting an end to large-scale dog breeding operations.