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Beware: Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders

Updated: Jun 10

Bringing a new furry friend into your life is a big decision! Puppy mills and backyard breeders are unfortunately common sources of puppies and they often prioritize profit over the well-being of the animals.


To steer clear of these sources, look for breeders who prioritize the health and welfare of their animals. Additionally, adopting from shelters or rescue groups is a great way to provide a loving home to a pet in need while avoiding the support of unethical breeding practices. As you begin your research, here are some things to consider:

 

Puppy mills


Puppy mills are essentially factories where dogs are bred in large numbers for profit, often in inhumane conditions. These facilities prioritize quantity over quality of care for the animals, resulting in numerous health and behavioral issues. It's unfortunate that many puppies sold in pet stores, the Amish community and from brokers online, such as puppyspot.com, come from these establishments, perpetuating the cycle of cruelty. It's important for consumers to be aware of this and seek out responsible, experienced breeders or consider adopting from shelters or rescue groups instead.


Adults in puppy mills are always treated as mere breeding machines.

  • These dogs are often viewed as mere breeding machines, forced to continuously produce litters until they are no longer able to do so. Once they are deemed no longer profitable, they may be discarded, abandoned, or euthanized.

  • Being confined in cramped, unsanitary spaces with no relief from extreme weather is not only physically uncomfortable but also emotionally distressing for them.

  • Lack of proper nutrition, veterinary care and access to clean food and water in puppy mills is another grave concern. Malnutrition and starvation are unfortunately common in these facilities, leading to a host of health issues and suffering.

  • Separating puppies from their mothers too soon, before 8 weeks of age, is detrimental to their physical and emotional development. When they are taken away too soon, many suffer from behavioral problems such as anxiety, fearfulness, and aggression.

 

Backyard breeders

They are frequently in the pursuit of profit without having the necessary knowledge or resources to breed responsibly. While some backyard breeders may have good intentions, the lack of proper breeding practices, such as screening for genetic defects and providing appropriate care for the animals, can lead to serious health issues in the offspring.


Responsible Breeders

These breeders are aware that breeding involves much more than just mating two dogs; it requires a deep understanding of complimentary matches in temperament, genetics, health, and proper care for both the parent animals and their offspring.


In addition responsible breeders understand the developmental stages of their puppies, providing age appropriate stimulation and environmental exposure each week of their growth and development. It's absolutely essential for prospective puppy owners to be educated and aware of these differences, diligently seeking out reputable breeders or consider adopting from shelters or rescue groups.


Red flags:

  • They are selling puppies at younger than eight weeks old.

  • They breed many different types of purebreds or “designer” hybrids.

  • Lack of transparency is crucial when it comes to choosing a breeder. If a breeder is hesitant or unwilling to show potential customers the entire premises (either in person or through video calls) where the animals are being bred and kept, it could be a cause for concern. They should also encourage picking up your puppy directly from their home. Avoid breeders that insist you meet at an offsite location.

  • If a breeder doesn't ask any questions of potential buyers or seems indifferent about where their puppies will end up, it could indicate that they are more focused on making a sale rather than the welfare of their animals.

  • Lack of guarantees or commitments from a breeder may suggest a lack of accountability and care for the animals' welfare. If guarantees and commitments are not outlined in a comprehensive written adoption agreement, it could indicate a lack of professionalism and raise concerns about the legitimacy of the transaction. These contracts should always includes taking back the puppy/dog at any time in it’s lifetime, for any reason, if the new owner is unable or unwilling to continue to care for them.


Because puppy mills and backyard breeders frequently choose profit over animal welfare, their animals typically do not receive genetic testing or proper veterinary care. Animals may seem healthy at first but later discover genetic defects such as Degenerative Myelopathy, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Exercise Induced Collapse, and Von Willebrand Disease.

 

Overpopulation of Unhealthy Pets

Puppy mills and backyard breeders, not only contribute to animal suffering, but also exacerbate the problem of pet overpopulation. The millions of animals entering shelters each year creates an oversupply of poorly raised pets.


Increasing awareness about the importance of researching a responsible breeder and/or looking for a shelter to adopt from, helps avoid the consequences of supporting unethical breeding practices. Awareness can help address this issue and save more lives.


Help stop the suffering by taking these steps:

  1. Be a responsible, informed consumer-if you do buy from a breeder, go to a reputable breeder who:

  • Shares with you information on the puppy’s parents.

  • May have a waiting list for interested adopters.

  • Will ask extensive questions on your family’s lifestyle, why you want a dog, and your care and training plans for the puppy.

  • Run from breeders that use pressure sales tactics, like creating urgency for you to place a deposit immediately, telling you that someone else is also looking at putting down a deposit on that puppy.

  • Look into adopting from a shelter or breed-specific rescue group near you, typically 25% of the animals in shelters are purebred.

  • Support laws that protect animals from puppy mill cruelty and help spread an awareness on the importance of finding your new puppy from a reputable breeder.

  • Encourage pet stores to promote shelter animals for adoption instead of replenishing their supply through questionable sources.

  • Donate pet supplies to local shelters to help the rescued animals.

  • Learn more about these issues on the following websites: CAPS-web.org (Companion Animal Protection Society) No Pet Store Puppies (ASPCA) PrisonersOfGreed.org StopPuppyMills.com (The Humane Society of the United States)

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