Puppy Farms: 7 Good Reasons To Avoid Puppy Mills!

Puppy farms (also known as puppy mills) produce thousands of puppies every year.

The farmers keep the puppies in diabolical conditions, and the pups don't get the love and care that responsible, loving breeders would give. Many puppies don't survive to reach a loving home, but those who do often have underlying health problems that surface later.

What Exactly Is A Puppy Farm?

Thousands of puppies are bred in puppy farms each year; these places are puppy production units! The farmers produce puppies from many different breeds, en-mass.

The pups and their mothers are kept in highly unsatisfactory conditions. The kennels are cramped and have inadequate runs; they are dirty and littered with excrement.

When the females can no longer breed, they are needlessly destroyed! 

Puppy mill owners are in business purely for the money!

Avoid Puppy Farms At All Costs!

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

Cute black cocker spaniel puppy in a silver gift bag. The photo was taken on 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 be helping puppy mills to stay in business!

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

Why You Shouldn't Buy A Puppy From A Puppy Farm

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. The Puppy May Have Underlying Health Issues!

A lack of careful breeding, inadequate attention, and cramped, unhygienic conditions often result in the puppies having health problems.

The farmers don't feed their dogs a good diet; they prefer to 'save costs'.

This results in limited nutrition reaching the puppies (and the mother) when their little bodies need it the most to help them develop and grow strong and healthy.

Golden Cocker Spaniel puppy standing in garden. It's obvious this puppy wasn't bought from a puppy farm; he looks too healthy!Hey, what about me? I want a cuddle!

2. The Puppies May Have Neurological Problems

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

Farmed puppies often have neurological problems. They 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. It's Highly Unlikely That Your Puppy Has been Socialized

Professional breeders will begin socialising their puppies from the day they are born because they recognise the importance of socialisation.

Unfortunately, puppies from a farm will have had little contact with people, particularly children, and will have missed vital socialisation development stages that may now be impossible to address.

It's also doubtful that the pups have had training of any kind, including potty training or crate training.

The puppies are often taken from their mothers far too early.

Add all the above to a lack of socialisation, and you're heading for trouble!

4. An Overworked Mother

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

As mentioned earlier, the mothers will be needlessly destroyed when they're no longer useful to the puppy farmer. There will be no retirement in forever homes for these poor, exhausted mums!

In my book, this is a good enough reason for not patronising these kinds of premises!

Golden Cocker puppy enjoying his freedom in the gardenI didn't come from a puppy farm, thankfully!

5. Inadequate Exercise

The dogs and puppies do not have sufficient exercise; they spend their days locked inside a pen or cramped enclosure.

The puppy mill owners don't take the time to exercise or play with the puppies; that takes time, and, in their eyes, time is money!

6. Puppy Farmers Are Not Fussy About Who Buys Their Puppies

Puppy mill breeders are not interested in finding out what kind of homes the puppies are going to, nor will they want to answer all or any of your questions.

They're more likely to be interested in the sale and will sell to anyone who can pay the price.

7. Your Puppy Is Unlikely To Have A Pedigree

The puppy's pedigree may be questionable, which is why asking for the puppy paperwork proving the pedigree is strongly advisable.

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

Let's face it; they can afford to sell their pups for less because they don't spend much on giving their puppies the best start in life.

It's doubtful that the puppies from a farm will have had much contact with vets (so they can save even more money!), nor are they likely to have been wormed or vaccinated.

Any money spent on their puppies, necessities such as food, vaccination, and health care, is kept to an essential minimum to allow them to make a more significant profit.

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.

In reality, a lot of time and money goes into producing a puppy with a pedigree.

The breeding pair are carefully selected for temperament, and health tests are carried out to ensure the resulting pups are healthy.

They are fed high-quality food, have regular vet checks, and are given worming and flea treatments. Socialisation will begin, and the pups will be walked daily and have plenty of playtime, but most of all, they're given lots of love and affection.

This is unlikely to happen in a puppy farm.

So, if the puppy's price is much lower than you expected, it may be a telltale sign that not only are you dealing with a puppy farmer, your puppy is unlikely to have an impressive pedigree.

Chocolate brown Cocker Spaniel puppy sitting in a field.I love romping in this field - I'm free!

Insist On Visiting The Puppy Seller's Home

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 have a puppy delivered.

Apart from wanting to choose your pup, you will need to see the environment in which they've been raised. You should also be able to see the puppy's mother.

Puppy farms (puppy mills) are definitely NOT the places to buy your Cocker puppy; please find a reputable Cocker Spaniel breeder.

Alternatively, 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 was carried out by Stephanie Shain, 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 these puppy factories; however, this article will help you determine whether 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 below.

Gracie's Story

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

This is my Gracie. She's a 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 about everyone and everything around her. Although her coat was heavily matted, it was evident 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 to collect 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 got her to a professional groomer as soon as possible and called for one to visit their home that 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.

The groomer was stunned. She explained that Gracie looked okay from the outside because these so-called breeders (read puppy farmers) shave the tops of their dogs' bodies so that if they are inspected, or potential clients ask to see the mothers, they look okay.

Upon closer inspection, we saw 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, it was discovered that Gracie had had her nipples nearly chewed off from having so many litters of puppies.

It was evident that she had 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 now recovered; she has a delightfully sweet disposition.

She's not so nervous now and has a strong will to live. She has a passion for life and eagerly awaits her walks in the park. 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 just 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 must be closed 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 happening in most puppy farms, the fewer 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 they deserve.

The Only Place To Buy A Puppy Is A USDA-Licensed Facility

Puppy mills 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 across 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 you will know these conditions exist will be at a legally licensed USDA-inspected facility.

A USDA facility can have as little as five dogs on the property or could have many more; however, each dog must be cared for as specified by the Animal Welfare Act, without exception.

The document for standards and conditions is in a book containing roughly 240 pages of regulations. Violating one of these regulations can result in fines starting at 10,000 dollars per infraction.

A USDA facility is the only kennel licensed to transport puppies to buyers - there is no exception.

So at the end of the day, if you want a great dog raised in one of the world's best kennels, look for the USDA Licensed facility.

Where to Buy
by: Anonymous, USA

I'm Happy with Puppy Farms!

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

By: Adriana

Not all puppy mills are bad, but 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; she is a lovely dog and 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. Then they charge you much more for the privilege.

My puppy is fine, and I don't regret buying her from the puppy farm.

Not all farms are the same, but if you go there and look before you buy and 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 correct, but you may also be mistaking a caring hobby breeder for a puppy farmer.

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

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

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

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

Horror Story
by: Anonymous

Hello Adriana, I'm happy you have had a good experience with the puppy mill 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 leave without 'rescuing' a puppy.

That has proven misguided as my friend's puppy died within three weeks of 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.

Walking away from one of these places is difficult, but that is my recommendation.

Back Yard Breeders - They're Not All Bad!

By Abbigail
Kendrick ID

I don't have a story to tell about a dog, but I have one about a backyard breeder.

My family loves dogs and all animals, but we also used to breed dogs. My family would not sell puppies; we would do regular vet visits and give the dogs away.

They weren't Cocker Spaniels, but that doesn't matter.

So, like other pages I have visited, are you telling me that all breeders, even if they aren't professional, will 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 many 'backyard' and 'hobby' breeders (such as your family) breed and raise their puppies very professionally, 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.

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

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

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

Thank you for posting.

Jake's Story...

Black and white adult cocker spanielJake enjoying the fresh air

We suddenly lost our precious baby boy Chickie at only 8 years of age.

We lost him to kidney failure, but he had many health issues throughout his short life.

We were utterly 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 with very high reviews and some beautiful puppies, so my husband and I set out one Friday around noon to see these puppies.

After driving for around 4 hours, we found the place. You guessed it, no more than a puppy mill! We talked this through and decided that this place was not for us, but as we'd driven so far, we decided to look anyway.

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 so 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 me in our king-sized bed and has slept there now for 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 our dogs that they're soon just like a family member, 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 beautiful 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 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 we can find another beautiful cocker to love and adore in time.

Thank you, xxx
RIP Buster Patrick

By: Pauline 
(Web Owner)

Hi Michelle,

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

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 cliche, but time is a great healer, and one day, when you're ready for another Cocker Spaniel, you'll know the time is right.

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