7 Good Reasons To Avoid Puppy Farms

Puppy farms (also known as puppy mills) breed thousands of puppies every year. These pups never receive the love and care that would be offered by responsible breeders and they're often kept in such diabolical conditions that many don't survive to reach a loving home.

What Exactly Is A Puppy Farm?

It's a 'production unit' where puppies and bitches are kept in highly unsatisfactory conditions; cramped and dirty kennels, with inadequate runs, and where poop and pee are not cleared away.

The bitches (often many different breeds) are bred en-mass, and when they can no longer breed, they are needlessly destroyed! Puppy mill owners are 'in business' purely for the money!

Puppy Farms: Avoid At All Costs

Please don't buy your Cocker Spaniel puppy from one of these awful puppy 'factories'...no matter how tempted you might be.

Cute black cocker spaniel puppy in a silver gift bag. The photo was taken against a white background.Healthy puppy from a good breeder, definitely not a puppy mill!

You may feel you're saving a little puppy from a life of misery, but you couldn't be further away from the truth.

You will in fact be helping puppy mills to stay in business!

If you need any further convincing, here are 7 good reasons why you shouldn't buy your puppy from one of these terrible places:

Don't Buy From A Puppy Farmer

Pups are bred 'conveyor-belt style' purely for profit. Puppies are neglected and often in poor health. Here's 7 good reasons not to buy from puppy farms.

1. Poor Health

A lack of careful breeding, inadequate care, cramped and unhygienic conditions often lead to the puppies having health problems.  

The bitches and her puppies are often fed a poor diet, resulting in limited nutrition reaching the pups at a time when their little bodies need it the most to help them grown big, strong and healthy. 

2. Neurological Problems

Inadequate breeding and a lack of training comes at a price.

'Farmed' puppies often have neurological problems, which will almost certainly cause behavioural problems, which will only escalate later in life. 

By the time the puppy reaches you it will already have begun to develop behavioural problems, which may be difficult for you to rectify.

3. Lack of Socialization

Add to that a lack of socialization and you're heading for trouble.

The puppies are often taken from their mothers far too early. In addition, they won't have had much contact with people and in particular, children, and will have missed vital socialization development stages which may now be impossible to address.

It's almost certain that the pups won't have had any training of any kind, including potty training or crate training. 

4. Overworked Mother

The bitches will often be overworked. They'll have many litters and won't be allowed adequate time to rest and recover from giving birth between litters.

As mentioned earlier, when they're no longer of any use to the puppy farmer, they will be needlessly destroyed. No forever homes for these poor exhausted mums.

A good enough reason for not patronising these kind of premises. 

5. Inadequate Exercise

The bitch and her puppies won't be given adequate exercise, if any, and puppy mill owners certainly won't take time out to play with their pups.

In their eyes, time is money!

6. Puppy Farmers Will Sell To Anyone

Puppy mill 'breeders' aren't interested in finding out what kind of homes the puppies are going to, nor will they want to answer all of your questions. They're more likely to be interested in the sale, and will sell to anyone who can pay the price.

7. Are You Really Buying A Pedigree Puppy?

Pedigree English Cocker Spaniel puppies are not cheap, but puppies from one of these 'breeding factories' will usually be much cheaper. 

Serious Health And/Or Behavioural Problems

Many puppies reared in these appalling conditions die within days of arriving at their new home.

Those who are lucky enough to survive may be so poorly socialized through lack of human contact that they may soon show signs of stress and behavioural problems.

Let's face it, they can afford to sell their pups for less because they don't spend a lot on giving them the best start in life. 

It's highly unlikely that the puppies will have had much contact with vets (so that they can save even more money!) nor are they likely to have been wormed or vaccinated. Their pedigree may also be questionable

Any money spent on their puppies, necessities such as food, vaccination, health care, is kept to a very basic minimum to allow them to make a bigger profit.

If the price of the puppy is very cheap, this may be a tell tale sign that you're dealing with a puppy farmer. 

Insist On Visiting Their Premises

Many puppy mill owners don't want you to visit their premises, and will often offer to deliver your puppy.

In no circumstances agree to having a puppy delivered.

Apart from wanting to choose your own pup, you need to see the environment in which they've been raised, as well as the puppy's mother.

Puppy farms (puppy mills) are very definitely NOT the places to buy your Cocker puppy; please find a selection of reputable Cocker Spaniel breeders to choose from.

Alternatively, why not consider adopting a cocker spaniel from a cocker spaniel rescue centre?

Tennessee Puppy Mill Raid

If you need any further convincing to stay away from these places, please watch this heart-breaking video of a puppy mill raid in Tennessee!

The raid is carried out by Stephanie Shain who is the Director of the Stop Puppy Mills Campaign for the Humane Society of the United States.

Am I Dealing With A Puppy Farmer?

It's not always easy to spot the puppy 'factories' but this article will help you to work out whether or not you're dealing with a puppy mill owner.

Our Visitors' Stories

Visitors to my website often write in with their stories, and pictures of their beloved cocker spaniels , some of which I've shared with you below. 

Gracie's Story

Golden cocker spaniel lying on a blanketGracie, our rescued cocker spaniel

This is my Gracie. She's golden cocker spaniel and a previous victim of a puppy farm breeder.

Here's how we came to be together.

While standing in line at the County Animal Control, a volunteer noticed an elderly man turning in a dog that he said he "no longer had any use for."

Luckily, the volunteer overheard the conversation and took the adorable cocker spaniel into her home. Her name was Gracie. She was very jittery and nervous of everyone and everything around her. Although she was heavily matted, it was obvious that she was a pure-bred cocker spaniel.

The volunteer contacted several other rescues to see if any foster homes were available as she thought the dog only needed grooming to relieve her of the thick mats that were causing her severe discomfort.

A caring foster family was found, and arrangements were made for collection of their new cocker spaniel. 

A Professional Cocker Spaniel Groomer was Called In

When the foster family picked her up to help her into their car, they commented on how heavy she was for such a small dog. Once they got her home and took a closer look they decided that they should get her to a professional groomer as soon as possible and called for one to visit their home that very weekend.

The Groomer was Horrified!

The groomer began working on her. The more she worked, the more she discovered. She was astounded and said that in over 9 years of grooming, she had only seen this state of neglect once before.

She was convinced that this dog had been the victim of a puppy mill breeder.

Her toenails were so long they had curled into the pads of her feet. Faeces impacted Gracie's toes causing infection and her backside was so caked with faeces that it had become matted within her fur.

Stunned, the groomer explained the reason she looked "okay" from the outside was because these so called breeders (read puppy farmers) shave the tops of the bodies of their dogs so that if they are ever inspected or potential clients ask to see the mothers, they essentially "look okay."

Upon closer inspection, we could see that her ears were severely matted and infected. As the fur was trimmed away, sores could be seen under each mat.

After shaving her down, two large tumours (one the size of a small baseball) were found on her side.

When offered food, she acted ravenous, but didn't eat. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered that her gums were bleeding, swollen and red. Her mouth was so infected that she couldn't eat. 

After four hours of grooming, the groomer discovered that Gracie had had her nipples nearly chewed off from having so many litters of puppies.

She had clearly made someone a great deal of money and had probably lived in a crate her whole life.

Poor mite had only known a life of neglect - until now.

Thankfully, Gracie's Story is now a Success Story

Gracie has recovered and has a very sweet disposition. 

She's not so nervous now, and she has a strong will to live. She has a passion for life and she eagerly awaits her walks in the park and she absolutely loves to go riding in the car.

Unfortunately, she has a little separation anxiety and is frightened of being left behind, with good reason.

She simply wants to be loved at this stage of her life, that's all, and it's not a lot to ask for, is it?

Comments for Gracie's Puppy Farm Story

Gracie's Story is so Moving
by: Pauline

It gives me such a rosy glow to hear that Gracie was eventually rescued and is now doing fine, but the outcome could have been so very different.

Puppy farms and puppy mills such as these need to be closed down - for good!

If you're looking for a puppy why not try a local rescue centre or visit a reputable Cocker Spaniel breeder?

The more we spread the word about the cruel practices that go on in most puppy farms, the less people will buy from them and, who knows, eventually they might get the message and either give up or begin to treat their animals with the love and attention that they deserve.

Where to Buy
by: Anonymous, USA

Puppy mill or puppy farms, hobby or backyard breeders. These are all just names. There is only one way to know for sure if you are buying a dog from a well educated and responsible breeder as it is impossible for most people to travel the United States and visit especially now since under the Obama regulators we have lost over 91.0% of all Kennels in the United States. We have seen some breeds go extinct already.

We all want dogs that are well cared for, get regular grooming and health care, live in spacious and comfortable conditions and where the puppies are raised in a clean environment where both mother and babies can thrive.

The only place will you know these conditions exist will be at a legal licensed USDA inspected facility. A USDA facility can be as small has five dogs on the property or many, however each dog must be cared for as specified by the Animal Welfare Act, without exception.

The document for standards and conditions is to be found in a book that is roughly 240 pages of regulations to be in violation of one can result in fines starting at 10,000 dollars per infraction.

A USDA facility is the only kennel that is licensed to transport puppies to the buyers, period. There is no exception. So at the end of the day if you want a great dog raised in one of the best kennels in the world look for the USDA Licensed facility.

I'm Happy with Puppy Farms!

Golden cocker spaniel puppy bought from a puppy farm.Zzzzzzzz...

By: Adriana

I don't think all puppy mills are bad, but I do think you've got to check them out.

I bought a puppy from a puppy farm. I actually went there to choose the one I wanted. They were kept in pens, but the dogs were fine.

I took her home and she is a lovely dog and she's very affectionate.

The lady gave me a card with details of the vaccinations and she told me when I have to buy the worming and flea treatment, as well as the next vaccination date.

I think breeders always want to get the business and they use the excuse that they are 'professional' and give you the pedigree papers to prove your puppy's pedigree. They charge you much more for the privilege. My puppy is fine, and I don't regret buying her from the puppy farm.

I guess not all farms are the same, but if you go there and have a look before you buy and you can see the puppies are well looked after, you should be okay.

Comments for 'I'm Happy With Puppy Farms'

By Pauline
Website Author and Owner

Hi Adriana, You may be right, but you may also be mistaking a caring hobby breeder for a puppy farm.

You obviously used your initiative and visited the breeder to check them out.

The fact that the puppies looked healthy and you were given a vaccination card for your puppy gladdens my heart - the breeder sounds like she really cares for her puppies.

Your puppy is lucky, but unfortunately, there are many puppies from puppy farms that aren't so lucky.

Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us.

Horror Story
by: Anonymous

Hello Adriana, I'm happy that you have had a good experience with the puppy mill that you visited. Unfortunately, I know of many others who aren't so lucky. (I think Pauline may have hit the nail on the head, when she suggested that you may have been at a hobby breeder's premises).

I also know of several cases where they have visited a farm, not knowing it was a puppy farm, and haven't been able to bring themselves to come away without 'rescuing' a puppy. 

That has proven to be misguided as my friend's puppy died within three weeks of him coming home and the so-called breeder didn't want to know. The poor puppy never stood a chance.

On top of that, my friend suspected the puppy was not a pure pedigree Cocker Spaniel, as was promised.

I know it's not easy to walk away from one of these places, but that would be my recommendation.

Back Yard Breeders - They're Not All Bad!

By Abbigail
Kendrick ID

I don't really have a story to tell about a dog, but I have a story to tell about a back yard breeder. My family loves dogs and all animals, but we also used to breed dogs. My family would not sell puppies, and we would do regular vet visits and we would give the dogs away. They weren't Cocker Spaniels but I don't think that matters.

So, like other pages I have visited, are you going to tell me that all breeders even if they aren't professional are going to hurt the puppies?

Comments for Back Yard Breeders - They're Not All Bad!

Website Author and Owner

Hi Abbigail,

Whilst not all breeders are classed as 'professional', I know that there are many 'back yard' and 'hobby' breeders (such as your family) that breed and raise their puppies very professionally indeed, and I make that distinction here.

The type of breeders I'm referring to when I speak about puppy mills produce hundreds of puppies, often many different breeds, and are kept in dirty, over-cramped conditions, with inadequate nutrition and no health care to speak of.

These are a far cry from the back yard/hobby breeders who really care about their puppies and dogs.

Their puppies receive very little or no interaction with humans (no cuddles or affection) and when the poor bitches are so weak they can hardly stand, they are disposed of because they're no longer of any use to the breeder.

Abbigail, I admire your family's approach to breeding and in no way would ever class this as puppy farming.

Thank you for posting.

Jake's Story...

Black and white adult cocker spanielJake enjoying the fresh air

We lost our precious baby boy Chickie suddenly at only 8 years of age. We lost him to kidney failure but he had many health issues throughout his short life.

We were completely devastated and determined never to get "attached" again.

I didn't think I would ever quit crying or missing my baby boy!

Determined NOT to look at puppy mills, I began my search online. I found a place that had very high reviews and some beautiful puppies so my husband and I set out one Friday around noon to see these puppies.

After driving around 4 hours, we found the place. You guessed it, no more than a puppy mill! We talked this through and decide that this place was definitely not for us, but as we'd driven so far, we decided to take a look. The lady left about a dozen cocker puppies out of the pen and they just ran wild all over.

Head-shot of black and white cocker spanielMy lovely boy Jake

They were all soooooo cute!

Needless to say, Jake found a new forever home that day!

I didn't think after losing my first boy things would ever be "okay" again, but slowly they are.

We tried to crate train Jake at night but after 3 nights of whining he ended up between my husband and I in our king-sized bed and has slept there now the two years we have had him.

I could go on and on about how Jake fills our hearts with love...it must be the cocker personality. They're like no other breed!

Comments for Jake's Story...

Lovely Jake
by: Pauline (Web Owner)

Hi, I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your baby boy Chickie. It's so sad when we lose a pet. We become so attached to them that they're soon just like a member of the family and it takes forever to get over the loss (if one ever does).

It sounds like Jake is helping to heal your hearts, Cocker Spaniels can do that, can't they?

Thank you for sharing Jake's story and for those wonderful photographs above.

Busty Boy
by: Michelle

Lovely to hear you found a new companion that you adore. We lost our golden boy (buster Patrick, RIP) 4 weeks ago and I'm totally devastated beyond words.

I'm afraid to get another in case I don't love him like my busty boy. He was 9 and a half and died in his sleep of lupus.

Your story has given me hope that maybe we can find another beautiful cocker to love and adore.

Thank you, xxx

RIP Buster Patrick

By: Pauline 
(Web Owner)

Hi Michelle,

Your post touched my heart, and I'm sure it will touch our visitors' hearts too.

I'm really sorry you lost your Busty Boy - hang on to his memories, they'll be a great comfort to you. This may sound cliched, but time is a great healer and one day, when you're ready for another Cocker Spaniel, you'll know the time is right.

In the meanwhile, treasure the special moments you had with your loving Busty Boy.

Photo Credits for Puppy Farms:
1. Liliya Kulianionak at http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-puppy-image22226282