Why You Should Avoid Puppy Mills

American puppy mills produce millions of puppies every year while millions of dogs are put to death in shelters every year. These facilities are known for their filthy, overcrowded conditions and the unhealthy animals that are bred.

Puppy mills can be a danger for families that want to adopt a new dog.

Basically, a puppy mill is a breeding facility with the sole purpose of churning out the most dogs for the least money - and to make the most profit.

Substandard breeding conditions and inbreeding can lead to health and behavioral problems in the puppies bred there.

Health Problems


Because many puppy mills do not take the proper precautions when breeding dogs, genetic diseases that could be identified during professional medical screenings are often missed and passed down to future generations. Many issues caused by these conditions don't show up until later in life, and can result in costly veterinary bills.

Behavioral Issues


Temperament selection is not taken into account at a puppy mill. Puppies are often separated from their the mother too soon, resulting in development and socialization difficulties and serious behavioral problems later in life.

When a parent at a puppy mill is no longer able to produce, the dog may be given to the nearest shelter, abandoned, or even destroyed. Also, because the puppies produced in puppy mills do not have safe and healthy homes selected for them ahead of time, if they are not purchased by the time they hit a certain age, they may suffer the same fate.

Puppy Mill Facts


  • Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction, and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life. Breeding dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles.
  • Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog's health, genetic history or future welfare. Consumers should never buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site; instead visit an animal shelter, breed rescue group, or visit a breeder's home and meet the puppy's parents.
  • Quality breeders don't sell puppies through pet stores or over the Internet. 


How To Avoid Puppy Mills

Since the 1980s, the Humane Society of the United States has been fighting to shut down these facilities. You can do your part by making sure to research before you adopt and by keeping yourself informed! Here are some tips to avoid adopting from a puppy mill.

Avoid pet stores, newspaper ads, and great deals online!

Many puppy mills supply local pet stores with false information.  Many times the puppy mills website will say that the dog was from a licensed breeder, but in actuality the dog is the product of a puppy mill operation, costing his new family thousands of dollars in vet bills and heartache over his life-threatening health and behavioral problems.

Visit the breeder and ask questions!

Ask to see the entire facility where the dogs are bred and kept. Is it clean? Spacious enough?

Ask to see the parent dogs as well. Does the breeder show hesitation to let you see the facility or to let you meet the other dogs who are being kept there? Or is the breeder willing to just sell one of his puppies to anyone who walks in off the street, sight unseen?

Reputable breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes.

Adopt From A Shelter or Rescue Instead!


This is the safest solution. Rescues and shelters most often have the best interest of the animal at heart, and many of them are last chance adoptions. But remember: don't adopt out of pity! Adopt based on your energy level and compatibility!

When thinking of adding a new four legged family member please remember all the homeless dogs who will meet a sad fate if they cannot find someone to love them. 

 Most shelters are filled to maximum capacity with dogs who have done nothing wrong except for the fact that they have lost their homes. Give one of them a chance.
Find the perfect dog for you by doing your research. Some dogs are very active and some are happy to just curl up on a couch. When you adopt from a shelter you take one more dog out of the equation bound for euthanasia.

If you've ever suspected a breeder of running a puppy mill, there's now a toll-free hotline you can call to report it: 1-877-MILL-TIP. The Humane Society of the United States, who launched the hotline on December 4, hopes it will help free more dogs from the abusive conditions at these illegal breeding facilities.
"Puppy mills are a national scourge," said Justin Scally, manager of The HSUS' Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force. "Hundreds of thousands of dogs across the country are trapped in constant confinement their entire lives, producing puppies to profit the puppy mill owner. This tip line will be a vital tool to help free these dogs from a life of abuse."

The Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force investigates puppy mills and works with law enforcement, animal shelters, and other agencies to stop abuse and to ensure enforcement of existing laws.

The task force also provides expert guidance to local, state, and federal agencies in the prosecution of animal abusers as it relates to the operation of puppy mills. Since its launch in June, the Task Force has assisted in the rescue of more than 1,200 dogs and puppies from abusive situations at puppy mills.

If you have any information to share about possible puppy mills in your area, make a difference by speaking out.

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