argcntchris  asked:

please educate me about puppy mills and pet stores!

Originally posted by staliagarbage


Puppy mill: A name that activists, shelters, and good breeders use to describe dog breeders that are abusive. A puppy mill is a breeder who doesn’t care about the dogs at all and only cares about the profit the puppies will make them. They keep the dogs in overcrowded, dirty cages and only provide them the bare minimum to survive. These dogs are not given any human affection and most of them never go outside. Here is a video of a mill dog walking on solid ground for the first time in her entire life (lots of puppy mills keep the dogs in wire cages so many of them don’t even know how to walk properly). Females are bred over and over again (far more often than the recommended breeding cycle) until they can’t have puppies anymore, at which point they are typically shot (some of the slightly more decent puppy mills will call rescue groups and give them 24 hours to come get an unwanted dog before they kill it).

The worst part of it all is that this is all legal. The conditions of breeding facilities is supervised by the USDA, so it should come as no surprise that the animals are kept in the same conditions that the USDA allows cows and pigs to be kept in. Which is of course terrible, but there’s something especially horrible about us allowing animals we claim to love and treat as part of our family to live this way. For such a dog-loving nation, we don’t always do the best job of showing it.

Pet stores: As a basic rule of thumb, all pet stores who sell dogs get them from puppy mills. Within 10,000 pet stores that sell dogs, there may possibly be one rare unicorn of a pet store that actually gets them from a decent breeder. Maybe. It’s doubtful, because one of the signs of a decent breeder is that they won’t sell to a pet store. Good breeders put time and care into their puppies, and they want to make sure they’re going to a good home. They will insist on meeting you in person and will ask you a bunch of questions (if you ever want to get a dog from a breeder, ask to see the kennel. If they’re a decent breeder, they’ll let you, particularly if you tell them you’re trying to make sure your puppy comes from a good place. If they refuse, congrats. You’ve just found a puppy mill). 

Never, ever, shop at Petland for anything. Not even to get dog food. Not only are they 100% confirmed to get their puppies from known puppy mills, they are also numerous counts of animal abuse against the store itself. By shopping there for anything, you are supporting them. Petland is currently the last big-box pet store chain to still sell dogs, and it is the Goliath that most anti puppy mill advocates are focused on right now.

What’s really hilarious is that Petland actually has a page on their website saying they only get their dogs from good, USDA breeders. They will tell you they don’t get their dogs from puppy mills. This is a lie, but it’s all still legal since “puppy mill” isn’t an official legal term. A good rule of thumb is actually the phrase “USDA licensed breeder.” People who sell dogs to brokers or pet stores are required by law to have a USDA licensed. So actually most of the good breeders are not USDA licensed, because they sell their dogs directly to the new owners.

What you can do: Don’t buy a dog from a pet store or online ever. If you must buy a dog, find a respectable breeder through people you know, or through the American Kennel Club (they have a search page). Contact them, arrange to meet at their kennel. If they’re good breeders, they’ll want to know as much about where their puppy is going as you want to know about where it came from. And you can generally tell: typically they’re people who are very passionate about a particular breed, and they’ll normally never have more than one litter of dogs at a time.

But even better yet…Adopt! Adopt, adopt, adopt. The underlying issue to the whole puppy mill problem is that too many people want puppies. Especially purebred ones. And although it is better to get a purebred puppy from a rescue or a shelter (be wary of certain rescues though. If you find a rescue group that only rescues puppies, they may actually be a front or working with a puppy mill, and they’re selling you their unwanted and sick puppies at a discounted price. Look for rescues that mainly have adult dogs and occasionally puppies), consider this: if you go on a waitlist for a golden retriever puppy through a shelter or rescue, and you end up getting one, the person behind you on the waitlist might get impatient and go buy one. 

The absolute best thing you can do is adopt an adult mutt (or Pitt bull!!!)  from a shelter. 1.2 million dogs are euthanized every year because shelters don’t have enough resources or space. Typically the dogs that end up in the shelter are strays or casualties of a rehoming situation - they’re perfectly good dogs! And most people who rescue dogs find that they’re actually sweeter and more low-key, because they don’t have a lot of the behavioral problems that purebreds do. They also form really deep bonds with their new owners, because their lives were so lonely and empty before you came along. You become their savior and they love you more for it 

But whatever you do…whether it’s adopt a full grown mutt, adopt a full grown purebred, adopt a mutt puppy, adopt a purebred mutt, or buy a purebred puppy from a breeder…DO NOT SHOP AT PET STORES. There’s a reason why you probably see fewer dogs in pet stores than you did as a kid. It’s because of the tireless efforts of people to protect the dogs. And it doesn’t take much to do your part: Adopt. Don’t Shop.


(this is a special Oprah did on puppy mills a few years back. The quality is bad, but it’s a very good comprehensive overview of most of the issue).

More info on puppy mills:

Humane Society 


(I am a private citizen who became interested in this issue a few years back. I am currently working on an independent documentary about the issue of the dog industry as a whole and what needs to be done to make it more humane. I’ve spoken with leaders in the activist movement and that’s how I know some things that you won’t necessarily see in this videos - like the “fake” rescue groups that peddle puppies. That’s information not everyone knows yet, though I hope to shine some light on it in my documentary.)

Again, thank you so much for asking about this! You made my day. The biggest issue, at the end of the day, is that people just don’t want to hear about things like this because they don’t want to be upset or made to feel bad. It’s not your fault if you were ignorant of this and got your dog from a pet store. It doesn’t make your dog any less wonderful! But for the sake of future dogs, please do not support this horrible industry any longer.