Tuesday, April 12, 2011

7 Things You Didn't Know about Puppy Mills

7 Things You Didn't Know About Puppy Mills

1) The phrase "puppy mill" has been promoted in the media by the animal rights movement, people who want to end all animal ownership. It is applied indiscriminately by these fanatics to anyone who breeds dogs.

2) There are just two types of breeders: those who are humane and those who aren't. Current laws prohibit inhumane, abusive and neglectful treatment of dogs. So-called "puppy mill bills" target according to number of dogs owned; however, what is important is the standard of care, not the numbers.

3) Most commercial breeders have state of the art kennels. They need to meet stringent USDA standards and the standards of their state laws. 

4)"Sick" puppies do not sell. It is counterproductive for any industry to produce a defective product and expect to stay in business.

5) Passing laws to outlaw "puppy mills" will not solve anything. Inhumane breeders are already in violation of existing laws. New, stricter laws will only affect those breeders who are dedicated and caring. We need to enforce cruelty laws that are already on the books.

6) All the breeders in this country cannot produce enough puppies to meet the demands of the American market. Currently, hundreds of thousands of dogs and puppies are imported from other countries to meet the demand.

7) Breeders are not responsible for the presence of dogs in shelters. We have a problem with responsible ownership. Education is the key to improvement in this area.

For more information:


  1. Re: #6 - if there are not enough puppies being made available from American breeders, why are there so many dogs in shelters, and being euthanized?

  2. Hi Studio, I'm glad you asked! Some areas of the country actually do have a shortage of adoptable pets and have to import them from other regions and even from other countries. See these recent posts about that:



    Naturally there will always be SOME dogs in shelters. Some are strays, some are lost, some are owner turn-ins due to mismatch between pet and family, or perhaps a family problem occurred like death, divorce, or loss of a job. Here lately there are even dogs remanded to shelters due to people losing their home and not able to take a pet into rental units.

    The term "euthanize" means to kill painlessly to relieve suffering from an incurable illness. When healthy, adoptable dogs are killed it is NOT euthanization, it is just plain KILLING.

    The good news is that the numbers of dogs in shelters is WAY down from past decades.

    Not all dogs are adoptable, due to health or temperament issues, so some will need to be euthanized. But most all those who are adoptable could be saved with humane relocation and proactive shelter management. No Kill sheltering philosophies are working in countless communities and it is happily spreading across the nation!

    There'll be a post later about shelters in New England having shortages of cats! So stay tuned.......

  3. I'd like to add that the thousands of dogs being imported are often times from third world countries, whose health standards are not the same as the US. Many, many of these dogs have health problems, no vaccinations, etc. Several shelters who import these dogs have encountered parvo, distemper, etc. and have had to euthanize many of these imported dogs. Public - be aware.

  4. Is this something I can repost or have someone add to a web page? Thanks!

  5. another couple of reasons there are so many dogs in shelters is that shelters dont do a good job of reuniting lost dogs with owners, nor do they make adoptable dogs available - for example the shelter is not open when adopters can come to the shelter, it does not have adoption events out in the community, it does not actively 'market' the adoptable dogs - often it is just easier for the shelter to simply kill the dogs and then blame the public for their fate

  6. I'm a breeder. I have a contract that tells the new owner the pup can return at any time in its lifetime. As a breeder I have helped re-home unwanted shelter dogs & owner releases not of my breeding. I have supported the efforts of others to re-home unwanted dogs. I have supported genetic research and organized club activities so owners can learn from one another. I've written articles to educate new owners and other breeders. When I read and hear the villification of breeders as the source of the abandoned stray problem I become very angry. This attitude is pitting "rescue groups" against breeders. Breeders have always been generous toward rescue so it is a case of biting the hand that feeds. Unwanted animals are not the product of irresponsible breeders, they are the product of irresponsible owners. I don't see purebred dogs in shelters in this area. What rescue groups don't understand is that they are also a target of animal rights groups. "Hoarding" is the manner they will be attacked. "Puppymill" is the manner breeders are being attacked.

    1. Very well said, especially the part about rescue groups being targeted as hoarders vs breeders targeted as puppy mills. So true. I'm not a breeder but I own and show my purebred dogs and every one of them has a contract with the "take it back" agreement, along with several other positive and responsible requirements. The other bonus is the invaluable advice and help I get from these breeders, all of whom have become lifelong friends. We need a lot MORE show/hobby breeders, not fewer.

  7. Rescues need to work with responsible breeders.....NOT be their enemy! They should be on the same side........

    It seems very strange that we have to import dogs from other countries.........according to peta and h$u$...waaay too many dogs..spay/neuter them all! Someone really has their wires crossed.

    And I find it very hard to believe a "shortage of kittens.......what are these people smoking?? It's Spring.....kittens being born and not enough homes..........sooo shelters should work together to place adoptable animals. Keep in mind..there are some "animal nazis" who make it very hard for people to adopt, and rescues who will pull anything young...whether adoptable or not.......this is where the "hoarding" label comes from. A "real" rescue takes only enough dogs they have room in their house for....to live with, socialize, give basic obedience training.....and get to know the dog's temperment. Check out DRU, for one good example...."Doberman Rescue Unlimited"

  8. Find a new line of business if overpopulating animals is what you do. Go work for a shelter. Help build a shelter. Help find homes for adoptable pets on death row. And to refer to animals as "products" is just really a messed up philosophy. Because products are easily discarded when something goes wrong with it. These are lives, not tinker toys. Step into the 21st century.

  9. F breeders and F the ignorant idiots that continue to purchase the animals.

  10. Folks, there you have it. The animal rights kooks are finding this blog and they are showing their true colors. They HATE. They hate people, they don't believe that anyone should have pets and they certainly do not believe in breeding animals. They push their false perceptions and their erroneous word definitions upon the rest of us.

    Perhaps you need to go back to elementary school?

    product [ˈprɒdʌkt]
    1. something produced by effort, or some mechanical or industrial process
    2. the result of some natural process
    3. a result or consequence

    My puppies are PRODUCTS of my breeding program.
    They are the PRODUCTS of lots of love and careful planning. Yes, these PRODUCTS are the result of a combination of a lots of blood, sweat and tears.

    In other words, they are produced by effort.

    I think you can easily find the "ignorant idiot"; just look in the mirror.

    Oh, mighty anonymous commentor with so many commands directed toward others. "Find a new line of business" you say? I have a full-time career in health care, thank you. I've already GOT a job, and yeah, I sort of have to live in the 21st century in order to take care of patients.

    "Help find homes for adoptable pets on death row?" Shelters have well paid directors who need to get proactive to find homes for the adoptable animals they take in. That is their job. Instead, they CHOOSE to make their shelters into death row.

    I did work at a shelter many years ago, so I am very familiar with the defeatist attitude and the hatred of the public that so many of the shelter employees have. Yes, they treat their animals like tinker toys, great description. Tossing them aside without making the least effort to place them. But, it doesn't have to be that way. Homes for these animals can be found; it is being done in shelters across the land who embrace the no-kill philosophy.

  11. I'm really interested in your views, you seem like a person who genuinely cares for dogs. I hope you will consider answering a few questions, I would value your perspective as a coscientious breeder.

    I also believe that some of the philosophies behind animal rights are extreme and that there should be a middle ground between puppy mills and no pet ownership allowed. I believe that the only way to achieve that goal is constructive debate between opposite parties.

    Surely 15 millions of pets killed in shelters every year can't all be mismatched family/dog equations? Doesn't it indicate in any way that maybe there are not enough homes to go around for all the animals already being born?

    You mention Kill Shelters and No-Kill shelters. No-Kill facilities and their operatives struggle enormously to find homes for pets who are relinquished to Kill facilities. Isn't it cause of some wonder why owners don't give their pets to No-Kill shelters directly? Could this mean that No-Kill shelters are at full capacity and unable to find homes for the pets already there or that the public should be educated on humane disposal of their unwanted pet? Isn't it exptremely cruel to simply dump an animal, often when they are getting on in years, to a kill shelter to die alone and confused after a lifetime of loyalty and devotion, and shouldn't those owners who do that be educated, if not punished?

    Do you think that pets should be sold in shops? Doesn't that promote impulse buying and therefore irresponsible ownership?

    Do you promote the view that only authorised breeders should be allowed to sell animals, while everyone else should neuter their pets?

    Are you pro-neutering?

    Do you see pet animals as a commodity? Because above you speak of selling a "defective product" and of how that wouldn't do any good to a business. I do understand you were making a point, but doesn't that concept lack the consideration of how each animal is an individual rather than a moneymaking product?

    I have been to dog and cat shows and I have noticed animals kept in kennels for ages, while their owners collected ribbons. What is the upside of that activity for the animal? Isn't forcing that activity on an animal a selfish act of vanity on the part of the owner?

    Do you think animals have no rights? If an owner has had enough of their pet and wants to get rid of their healthy, friendly animal companion, should it be legal for them to take them to their vet and have them euthanised, should they choose to do so?

    Have any of the animals you have sold ended up in kill shelters, maybe without your knowledge?

    Thank you very much for reading, and God bless you and all your beautiful animals.

    Barbara Perrin

    PS: the comment option doesn't allow me to post as my wordpress address

  12. Hi Barbara,
    Thanks for your comments and questions. It is great to have new readers. I can tell you are a new reader because most all your questions and concerns have been addressed previously, so I'll try to refer you to the pertinent posts to answer those questions.
    You note was so long that I am not able to answer it in one post (there is a character limit to comments). So here is the first group of comments in response to your very long post.
    Firstly, I do not believe that there is anything to be gained by animal interest parties debating with those who wish to deprive them of their constitutional rights. One party has nothing to lose, while the other party has everything to lose. I don't beleive for a minute that there is any common ground between animal wrongists and the rest of the world. We already have plenty of laws regulating animal ownership and breeding. We certainly do not need any more. Especially not laws written by those who believe that animal ownership is a form of "slavery" and that domestic animals should return to the wild.
    Regarding your use of the term "puppy mill"; the article that you are commenting on explains that the term is not valid; since it is vague and undefined and has been used to apply to all breeders, not just the few bad apples.
    Your comment that 15 million pets are killed in shelters every year is simply wrong. There are PLENTY of homes to go around. Check the extensive links on the myth of pet overpopulation, including "Debunking Pet Overpopulation" (the links are posted on the right-hand side of the blog page). We have covered this topic in MANY blog posts here. Check out our entries: "Rethinking Spay and Neuter", "It's Raining Dogs...From Other Countries", and "The Six Million Dollar Pet Store". The assumption that there are not enough homes to go around for all the animals already being born has been thoroughly "mythbusted". Not just on this blog, but many other places as well.
    As to your perception that No-Kill facilities struggle to find homes for pets; that is FANTASTIC! Isn't that what ALL shelters and rescues should be doing? No Kill proponents make the effort while traditional shelters often do not even make a cursory effort to place their animals. Traditional shelters rely heavily on KILLING. And no, this effort does not mean that shelters are at capacity. It means they are doing their job. Our local breed rescue finds homes for hundreds of dogs each and every year. That is the nature of the sheltering industry. They will receive intakes on an ongoing basis, and then need to make that effort to re-home the adoptable animals. The sky is not falling simply because some animals end up in shelters. That is the nature and reality of life, that sometimes animals eed to be re-homed.
    In regard to pet stores, we have had several entries on that subject. Check out "Do Pet Store Dogs Fill Shelters?" and "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?" Did you know that dogs from pet stores rarely end up in shelter or rescue situations? So the argument that pet stores promote irresposible ownership just does not hold water. Of course, the ideal situation is for buyers to do their homework and obtain their pet from a private party, but with all the anti-ownership and anti-breeding legislation being enacted, good luck with that one. Few private breeders will be around in the future.
    (See next post for the rest of my response)

  13. (Response to Barbara continued)
    I had to chuckle at your question about neutering. We have had umpteen posts on neutering. Please do read them. "Rethinking Spay and Neuter", "Reproduction, It's A Good Thing", "The Great Spay-Neuter Fallacy", "An Ugly and Painful Problem", "The Word is Getting Out", "The Truth About Neutering". We also have links to spay-neuter information on the right side of the page.
    I personally do not sell animals, and never have, However, I sure would if I could manage to make a profit doing so! Hooray for those who can manage to do better than lose money or break even. There is nothing illegal or immoral about selling animals.
    As to the concept of "animal rights": yes, we humans have a responsibility to provide humane care as a part of ownership. Animals do have a right not to be treated inhumanely. However, animals do not have the same type of rights as those afforded the human race. For an animal to have rights, they must also demonstrate reciprocal responsibilities. This of course is impossible. Animals cannot display traits of moral responsibilty toward others, nor do we expect them to do so. Animals kill, rape, rob and they commit these "crimes" regularly. That is part of their nature and we obviously can't pass laws against these activiteis by animals. Only humans possess the ability to moralize about our responsibilities toward others in society. Animals do not and cannot have the same type of moral rights as humans do.
    Some of your questions are posed in the "when did you stop beating your wife?" manner. It is not any business of mine or yours if people want to show their pets and collect ribbons. Ditto about forcing people to keep animals they don't want. Why would you want to force someone to keep an animal if they are unable or unwilling to continue to care for it? How is that better for the animal? What good would punishing the owner do? If an owner and their vet decide a companion animal should be euthanized, their reasons are really nobody else's business. Animal shelters and animal rights groups like PETA kill adoptable companion animals every day by the thousands, for NO GOOD REASON. Let's raise a similar moral indignation for THOSE situations.
    Please read our latest post "The Blame Game" as it addresses the issue of being judgemental regarding our perceptions of how others treat their animals. In particular, please read the book "Redemption" by Nathan Winograd. A basic tenet of No-Kill philosophy is that bitter and punitive attitudes toward people do nothing to help the animals. Nothing at all! So let's focus our efforts and attention on effective animal welfare policies that actually WORK, not policies that punish people and only result in harming animals in the process.

  14. No, the animal activists don't all just "hate", But if you are like me, caRING for 19 dogs rescued from local shelters hours before death, when 4 million dogs and cats are destroyed in shelters each year, when the general population simply does not appreciate their pets anymore, because they are so easy to replace, when every day you look at the pictures of the dogs getting a needle, or worse yet, gas...while you know there is yet another breeder out there, that just produced enough dogs today, to replace the once that were just killed while you had to watch helpless.....so that breeder can take a vacation in hawaii next Christmas.....yeah..it CAN make you really angry. Especially when you then have to read these ignorant statements, such as "there will always be SOME dogs in shelters" it's not some...it's a million a year that are killed because there are no homes available!

  15. Hi Kt,
    Oh my, the DRAMA!
    Yes, about a million adoptable dogs a year that shelters kill, but they are NOT killing them due to "no homes available." Do a bit of research! There are over 20 million homes opening up each year in the US for pets. With a bit better marketing by shelters, all adoptable dogs could certainly be placed. Check Maddie's Fund's website, or Nathan Winograd's No Kill blog for more information.
    Yes there will always be dogs in shelters. Have you ever lost a pet? If so, I'm sure you were grateful that there was a shelter to help reunite you with that pet. Hopefully there will always be animal shelters to provide us with that service.
    And for most breeders that I know, vacations are out....who watches the dogs while you are gone? Particularly if you have new puppies or puppies are due. Not to mention that with the high cost of veterinary care it is darn near impossible to make a profit breeding dogs. It's a shame your hatred for breeders clouds your vision.
    The general population owns more pets than ever before in history, so I don't know where you get the idea that the general public does not value their pets. A very tiny percentage of the owned pets in this country enter shelters, you need to try to get past your skewed perspective and look at the situation rationally.

  16. I'm just coming back to re-read these comments. Isn't it funny that all these shelter "experts" spout off different numbers of animals killed in shelters? One claims that15 million are killed every year Preposterous! There aren't even that many taken in each year by all shelters in the US, much less killed. The other claims that 4 million a year are killed. The actual figure from 2012 is 2.2 million animals killed....not all are adoptable, about half are feral cats and their unweaned kittens. The numbers are available from Maddie's Fund's Asilomar Accord records. They are compiled each year and while not 100% accurate they at least give a ballpark figure of what is going on in the world of animal shelters.