Puppy Mills & Pet stores The Sad Truth

What are puppy mills?

Puppy mills are large scale dog breeding operations that prioritize profits over the well being of the dogs. This means that the dogs are treated as inventory rather than actual living organisms. All of the dogs are crammed into small cages, they hardly get any food or clean water, and they get no exercise. The mothers are used solely to produce litters upon litters of puppies, and the operators of the mill have no regard for the toll that this takes on the her body. Once the mother can't produce puppies anymore, she is disregarded. She can be set free into the woods, she can be drowned, or she can be shot. A gruesome and sad truth of one certain puppy mill in Canada was uncovered. A mill was found scattered with multiple piles of dead, partially eaten dogs in the corners of the facility and behind it. The starving adult dogs had reverted to eating the newborn puppies in attempt to stay alive. This is no way for an animal to live.

What do mill operators do with these puppies?

The puppies born in puppy mills are bought by pet stores to be sold. The majority of puppy mills are concentrated in the midwest, however, pet stores all over the country are selling puppy mill dogs. This means that the dogs must be shipped. They can be crammed into trucks for over 12 hours at a time. They will not be able to leave their cages for that entire time. In these conditions, with feces and urine not being cleaned, diseases spread very easily. Many of the puppies will not survive the trip; however if they do, they will end up in a pet store near you.

If this is true, why do the puppies always look so clean and happy?

Now, pet store owners are not dumb. They know that you don't want to buy a dog that looks bad, smells bad, and is restless from being stuck in a cage its whole life. Before the dogs are put on the shelf, the pet store owners will put forth the least amount of effort possible to make sure that the dog looks clean and healthy for purchase. This process usually includes giving the dog some sort of sedative to make it seem calm, as well as spraying harsh perfumes on the animal to give it a more pleasant smell.

Why does this matter to me?

Most people love dogs. Even if you aren't one of those people, you still may care about the ethical treatment of living organisms. Puppy mills are extremely inhumane places, along with the pet stores that they sell their "products" to. When people support pet stores, whether they know it or not, they also support the inhumane treatment of dogs. When you buy from a pet store, you are providing the need for the pet store to fill an empty space on its shelves. To fill this space, they will buy another dog from a puppy mill. When they buy from puppy mills, it gives puppy mill owners reason to keep producing dogs to sell. However, if we stop buying dogs from pet stores, they will have no need to fill a space and buy more dogs from puppy mills, which in turn gives the puppy mill operators no reason to keep the shop up and running. Even if you go to the pet store just to look at the cute puppies and know that you aren't going to buy one, it still gives the pet store the publicity it needs to stay open. Pet stores and puppy mills are unethical and we must stop supporting them with our business.

What's in it for me?

If you are looking to welcome a new dog into your home, you can benefit by not buying from a pet store.


Lets talk money. The average cost of a pet store dog is about $900, while the average cost of an animal shelter dog is only around $100. You can save big bucks initially by adopting rather than purchasing from a pet store. The lower cost of animal shelters also includes all veterinary care necessary to ensure that your new dog will be happy and healthy at home, while the cost of the pet store dog includes little to no vet care. This means that within a few days after purchase from a pet store, you will need to take your pet to the vet to make sure no ailments have gone untreated, as well as getting routine vaccines. Dogs from puppy mills often have a multitude of genetic issues due to inbreeding. This will lead to hefty hospital bills from issues that will often affect the rest of its life.

Saving lives

Shelters often become overcrowded and run out of room to accept new dogs. When this happens, they must euthanize dogs so they can take in new ones. This is a very unfortunate necessity, but we can help put an end to it. When you adopt from a shelter rather than buying from a pet store, you are making room for another dog to enter the shelter. This prevents the need to make room by means of euthanasia. By adopting, you are saving the life of the dog you adopted and saving the life of a stray by providing room for it in the shelter.

What about the puppies in the pet store?

We can't just leave them because of where they were born. They still need care. This is a very difficult question to battle. No dogs should be treated poorly or receive less care because of where they were born or the way they have been previously treated. However, the only way to prevent more of these dogs from being born in puppy mills is to stop supporting the stores that sell their dogs. This is a very difficult truth to come to terms with because it means that we must educate people to not buy these dogs, even though they do need extra care. An alternative solution would be to shut down the pet stores. However, this is a much more logistically difficult route and may even take more time. Puppy mills technically are legal. The legislation behind puppy mills and the stores they provide to is something I have not looked very far into, but I have friends that have gotten lawyers and tried to shut down stores but their efforts were in vain. The puppy mill/ pet store industry is a huge one that is very difficult to fight. But if we were able to shut down the mills and stores, we could solve the problem of leaving the dogs to suffer. Once they were shut down, rescues and animal control services could go in and take the dogs out of the facilities. Many volunteers would be needed to help foster the animals and get them back to full health so they could all be adopted out. Unfortunately, many of the dog’s health would be too bad and they would not be able to recover. But, whatever dogs we could save would certainly live the rest of their lives being healthy and happy.

about the author

I have always loved animals. As a child, my family always had pets which I believed sparked my interest in learning more about animals. I am currently majoring in animal science so I am learning a lot about animal welfare through classes and through my own interest research. I have learned about the processes of breeding dogs for mass production, and it is not a pretty picture. I have also worked at a pet hospital where I often encountered very sick dogs that had come from puppy mills and the owners would spend large sums of money in attempt to make them healthy. I believe people need to be more educated about where their pets may come from and be aware of alternative ways to welcome a dog into their homes. You can find me on Facebook if you would like to chat more about my experiences or have any questions. https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.a.burriss

external links

If you are still curious about puppy mills, I have provided these links to websites that contain more information. Copy and paste them into your browser to learn more.





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