The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) uses the puppy mill model as the tool to weaken and try and destroy the other forms of responsible breeding.
Notice the difference the estimated puppy mills in the Wikipedia write-up (4.000 operations and 1/2 million pups) and the HSUS write-up (10,000 operations and 2 million pups). So who does HSUS count that Wikipedia does not?
Responsible breeders including both ethical large kennel breeders and small hobby breeders.
True "puppy mills" are the lowest form of dog creation in my opinion. Wikipedia does a nice job of defining some of the characteristics of the practice.
A puppy mill, sometimes known as a puppy farm, is a commercial dog breeding facility that is operated with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare and is often in substandard conditions regarding the well-being of dogs in their care.
There are an estimated 4,000 puppy mills in the U.S. that produce more than half a million puppies a year. Commercial kennels may be licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture which may inspect the kennels routinely.
For-profit breeding on a smaller scale may be referred to as backyard breeding,[ although this term has negative connotations and may also refer to unplanned or non-commercial breeding.
Although no standardized legal definition for "puppy mill" exists, a definition was established in Avenson v. Zegart in 1984 as "a dog breeding operation in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits." The ASPCA uses a similar definition: "a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs."
The Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club state that responsible breeders raise their animals with the intent to produce healthy dogs, and to ensure that all animals are provided responsible homes and socialization.
In puppy mills, females are sometimes bred every time they are in heat to increase profits, resulting in gradually decreasing sizes of litters. As puppies, mill dogs are also often weaned from their mothers well before the eight to ten weeks recommended. Bark Rescue in Belleview, IL also explains, “Puppies are taken from their mother when they are 5 to 6 weeks old and sold to brokers who pack them in crates for resale to pet stores all over the country.” Only half of the puppies survive during this exhausting travel only to make it to the pet shop until they are sold.
Dogs in puppy mills are often bred indiscriminately. While the puppies produced may come with pedigrees, the pedigree itself is neither an indication of quality nor authenticity.
Treatment at puppy millsPuppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization. Puppy mill dogs do not receive adequate attention, exercise or basic grooming. To minimize waste cleanup, dogs are often kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs. It is not unusual for cages to be stacked up in columns. Breeder dogs at mills might spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or kept inside indoor cages all their lives. Oftentimes, after the breeder dog has reached the age of 4 years, it is no longer needed and killed. Sometimes the puppy mill owners will have a contact person who collaborates with rescues. The rescue will receive a phone call with the number of breeder dogs and types. The rescue then can save the breeder dogs from death. Once adopted, it can take a year or more for the dog to relax and allow human touch.
In a 2005 investigation conducted on pet shops and puppy mills in California, 44% of the locations visited had sick and neglected animals, 32% of the animals were confined in unhealthy, cramped, or crowded conditions and 25% of the animals did not have adequate food or water.
Today in Vermont, HSUS claimed victory over "puppy mills"
Vermont Legislature Cracks Down on Irresponsible Dog Breeding
H. 50 will require commercial breeders of three or more litters per year to comply with the state’s animal welfare regulations to ensure basic animal care standards are being met. Breeders will also now come under the “pet lemon law” so consumers who purchase sick puppies will have additional remedies for reimbursement for reasonable veterinary expenses.
“This long overdue legislation provides both breeders and enforcement officials with very clear animal welfare standards to help prevent animal suffering,” said The Humane Society of the United States’ northeastern regional director Joanne Bourbeau. “Our goal was to protect the welfare of animals here in Vermont as well as protect Vermont consumers who purchase puppies from substandard facilities.”
The passage of H. 50 falls during The HSUS’ seventh annual Puppy Mill Action Week and comes nearly two years after The HSUS assisted Vermont state police with the seizure of more than 60 Labradors from deplorable conditions at a breeder’s home in Bakersfield, Vt. Karen Maples later accepted a plea agreement and was given a year’s suspended sentence and two years’ probation.
Bourbeau was part of a special committee commissioned by the Vermont House Committee on Agriculture and Forest Products to work on the proposal after efforts on a similar bill failed last year. The Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs and the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association were also represented. The legislation was also supported by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, the Vermont League of Cities & Towns, the Vermont Town Clerks Association, the Vermont Humane Federation and the Vermont Sportsmen’s Federation.
Puppy Mill Facts:
- Puppy mills are inhumane, large-scale dog-breeding facilities in which the health of the dogs is disregarded to maintain low overhead costs and maximize profits.
- The HSUS estimates there are at least 10,000 puppy mills operating in the United States, churning out more than 2 million puppies per year for the pet trade.
- Puppies from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and through classified ads.