- Puppy mills are commercial kennels where dogs are treated like livestock and puppies are produced in squalid conditions. Puppy mills vary in size – they can contain as few as a dozen dogs or more than 1,000. Any breeder who subjects his or her dogs to filthy cages or runs, extreme temperatures, inadequate food and water and little to no socialization or veterinary care is operating a puppy mill.
- Dogs kept in puppy mills are sometimes treated barbarically. Breeders often debark their dogs with steel pipes to keep them quiet, and perform C-sections and other forms of surgery on the dogs without any anesthesia. Breeders have even been known to cut off a dog’s leg if it becomes trapped in the crosshairs of a wire cage. Dogs sometimes languish for years with untreated skin, ear and eye infections and badly mended broken legs because breeders don’t want to spend money on veterinary bills. Dogs are sometimes forced to fight one another for food. Once a breeding dog is unable to produce any more puppies, she is typically taken out and shot to death.
- The Humane Society of the United States estimated in 2008 that there were 10,000 puppy mills in America. The head of the Humane Society, Wayne Pacelle, now thinks the number is closer to 15,000.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has just 100 inspectors responsible for keeping check on 10,000 kennels, zoos and research labs. That’s not nearly enough inspectors to do the job.
- Bad breeders go to great lengths to conceal the horrific conditions of their kennels. They sell puppies on the Internet, with web sites that sound as though the breeders are responsible, caring individuals who dote on their dogs. They get away with it because most buyers never see the kennel where their new pet was produced.