See that doggie in the window? It may have come from a bad breeding place known as a puppy mill.
Imagine a plot of land with a lot of fencing, maybe a barn, and rows and rows of coops or cages. That it how some puppy mills are set up. Others may have rooms where crates are stacked on top of each other. Regardless of the setup or layout, all these facilities are breeding dogs for profit and not for great blood lines, great personalities, or to promote the beauty of the breed.
- Puppy mills often generate health problems for the dogs they are selling. The puppies may have obvious health problems such as respiratory infections and some even have genetic diseases that show up years later. This means your wallet could be heavy hit later on and some problems are never completely solved or healed.
- Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate care, food, water or human company. The dogs can often have socialization issues or be overly clingy and insecure.
- Breeding dogs are often imprisoned in small cramped cages, soiled with their own excrement, breeding litter after litter till they can no longer reproduce. Breeding dogs are sometimes also litter mates or related which increases the chance of genetic defects or physical deformities like underbites.
- Puppy mills use the internet and newspaper ads to sell directly to the public, as well as selling their puppies through pet stores. Any reputable breeder will want to meet you, have you meet the litter and parents, and the facility will be clean. The puppies should have health certificates and show no signs of infections and should be clean.
- Dogs at puppy mills are often not actually purebred, and the breeders sometimes lie about lineage records.
How To Find A Responsible Breeder
- A responsible breeder will never sell their puppies to a pet store or a dealer.
- Dogs that may have some diseases or genetic issues are often neutered or spayed and may be sold as pets but the breeder should disclose all information to the potential adopter.
- The dogs should be healthy, social, and clean.
- Does not breed extremely young or old dogs and does not force a mother dog to have litter after litter.
- Usually the dogs are considered part of the family and live in the house, are kept well fed, warm, and puppies are weaned before being separated from their parents.
- Offers guidance, support, and recommendations to the new family about how to raise the puppy.
- Breeders will thoroughly interview a potential family to make sure the puppy will be a good fit for the family.
- Will take back one of their dogs if something happens and the adopters are unable to continue caring for it.
What You Can Do
- Consider adopting and visiting your local shelters and contacting your local rescue groups. A great website is petfinder.com.
- Do your homework on the specific breeds you’re interested in to make sure their personality and physical size are what you want.
- Avoid “rescuing” a puppy mill puppy by buying it from the pet store. It supports the continuation of bad breeding.
- Look for responsible breeders. You can visit the AKC website or attend a pet convention and speak with the people who are there and represent the breed.