By Alison Primich
“This happened to me”
Over the summer, I got a puppy. My family and I were looking for a specific breed or at least a dog that is definitely mixed with that breed, so we looked for breeders. I found a farm that breeds the type of dog I was looking for. This place seemed like it would be a good place to get a puppy. The breeder knew a lot about the breed, and there was a lengthy application process with guidelines that my family would have to abide by. When I finally got the puppy, however, he was sick and underweight. The breeder had to hold on to him for us for a little while, so I got him when he was three months old. He should have weighed around 40 pounds, but he only weighed just over 20 pounds. Luckily, my mother was able to take him to the vet the next day to get him the medicine that he needed to get better, and he has been eating a lot and is now at a healthy weight. Even though my puppy seems to be completely healthy now, it was upsetting to see how much he suffered for the first few days. These events made me start to think that we might have accidentally done business with a puppy mill, an establishment that intensively breeds dogs in poor conditions.
“My story is not unique, here’s the problem”
After my puppy got better, I decided to look more into his breeder to see if anyone else ever had a problem with their puppies. While I did not find many bad reviews, I found out that his breeder breeds over six different breeds of dogs, which is something common in puppy mills. While this accusation may be incorrect, I now know the breeder shares similarities to puppy mills. Puppy mills are unfortunately fairly common as they sell an estimated 2.6 million puppies each year to unsuspecting people. This is because most puppies that are sold on online sites and from pet stores come from puppy mills (Stopping Puppy Mills). Buying from a puppy store or an online site are usually the easiest ways to get puppies because the buyers usually do not have to wait for a litter to be born, fill out an application, or compete with other people who want the same dog. Unfortunately, the people purchasing puppies in these ways know nothing about their background or the parent dogs.
While people usually do not face physical harm from puppy mills, the puppies bred in puppy mills, along with the dogs used for breeding, usually suffer poor conditions and health issues. The lives of dogs that are used for breeding in puppy mills are miserable. These dogs spend their whole lives cramped in cages, and they receive little to no affection (Stopping Puppy Mills). Most puppy mills have poor sanitary conditions and lack veterinary care (Stopping Puppy Mills). This, along with health issues that come from overbreeding, results in people who mistakenly buy a puppy from a puppy mill having to pay for the extra veterinary care and medicines in hope of the puppy becoming healthy.
“Here is a nonprofit looking to solve the problem”
The Humane Society of the United States is an animal protection organization. They are focused on putting a stop to cruel practices, helping animals in danger, and creating a strong animal protection movement (Our Impact). While The Humane Society of the United States does not deal specifically with puppy mills, they want to put an end to unnecessary animal suffering, which puppy mills would definitely be included among. The ways they suggest we fix the problem are donating to them in order to help them end the unethical treatment of animals, and with the specific issue of puppy mills in mind, try adopting a pet from a shelter.
“Here’s what you (the reader) can do to help right now!”
While it would be close to impossible to completely wipe out puppy mills by ourselves, you can take small actions to prevent puppy mills from selling as many puppies. People can donate to The Humane Society of the United States or similar organizations that help protect animals. The easiest way to end puppy mills would be to prevent them from making a profit. You can do this by being careful when buying a puppy and asking if you can see the dam and sire if you are getting the dog from a breeder. You can also go to websites like petfinder.com or adopt-a-pet.com to find shelter dogs near you. If anyone you know is looking to buy a puppy, warn them of the dangers of puppy mills and promote adopting a dog from the shelter or saving up more money and buying from a well-known breeder.
Stopping Puppy Mills. The Humane Society of the United States. (n.d.).
Our Impact. The Humane Society of the United States. (n.d.).