Puppy mills, also known as puppy farms, breed puppies simply for profit. Conditions are often horrific and the pups' health very poor owing to cruel neglect. Read on to learn how to know when you're buying from a puppy farm.
Please don't buy from puppy mills. You may not know it, but many puppies bought from these places have serious health issues as a result of sheer neglect. Many of these puppies don't even reach the age of six months!
During this time you are likely to have shelled out considerable amounts of cash on vet bills and had to endure much sadness and heartache watching the pain and suffering of your little puppy.
Please don't think that by buying a puppy from one of these farms you'll be helping to rescue an ill-treated and unhealthy puppy. You won't be. Instead, you'll be allowing farms like these to thrive and continue their cruel breeding practices.
If you follow my advice below it will help you to avoid accidentally buying a puppy that's been born and raised in one of these horribly cruel breeding kennels.
Luckily, this little fella above wasn't bought from a puppy mill. He comes from a good breeder, and it shows!
Puppy farmers are eager for your money and will go to extreme measures to try to pull the wool over your eyes. So, how can you be sure you're buying from a responsible breeder?
When you arrive at the breeders premises, take a look around you. There may be some obvious warning signs that you could be dealing with a puppy farmer, for example:
Although the pups may look healthy, you can't be certain where pet shop puppies have been bred, nor can you be certain of their pedigree.
They're very often being sold on behalf of one or more puppy mills or they've been bred by inexperienced individuals who don't have the welfare of the puppies at heart; they only want to make money.
If you're replying to an advert, read it very carefully.
If you decide to answer an advertisement, answer the advert that contains the most information, and one that gives a kind and loving description. It shows that the breeder cares a great deal about the puppies and probably won't let them go indiscriminately.
You might like to consider adopting a rescue dog (or if you're very luck, a puppy!) from your local Cocker Spaniel rescue centre.
Breeders are very often on the look-out for caring homes for their dams when they've reached their breeding limit. If this sounds of interest to you, you might want to register your interest with one or two local breeders.
Vigilance and careful questioning will help you to separate the puppy farmer from genuine, responsible Cocker Spaniel breeders.
Take your time, ask your questions, and make your assessment. Don't be rushed or 'backed into a corner'.
Never accept a puppy without having first seen where it was bred, the mother and its siblings, and if they offer to deliver your puppy, be firm and insist you call to collect it.
If any of this appears to be a problem for them, thank them and move on, you're very probably dealing with a puppy mill owner!
You can read more about puppy farms here, (including a video of a puppy mill raid in Tennessee).
Here's a link to the ASPCA (American society for the prevention of cruelty to animals) if you'd like more information on how to avoid buying from puppy mills.
And if you're in the UK, here's a link to the RSPCA (Royal society for the prevention of cruelty to animals) who explain what they are doing to help put a stop to puppy farms.
I received this letter from one of our visitors. It made quite a lot of sense so I thought I'd post it here.
I have been reading and telling the story of shunning puppy mills for 40 years, and they are still with us. Education and awareness will not make them go away because there are too many unwitting people in the world.
However, there are hints of ways to make possible changes that will help the situation a lot. Public push for regulation and enforcement has been an important impetus for change, but we need more.
A family member got me a pet shop puppy as a gift when I was going through a very rough time in my life. That is generally an unwise thing to do, but my dog is a gem and did make me feel better. The pet shop had him well socialized, kept him clean and exercised. They sold to anyone but required the buyers to fork over several thousand dollars up-front, which then gave them a year of free vet care at a local clinic including agreement to neuter.
I think something like this as a law would go a long way in stopping impulse buys and ensuring proper puppy care and population control. My puppy came with up to date vaccinations. Because the law required the seller to do inoculations, and prove it by affixing the inoculation sticker to the paperwork as solid proof.
My family member signed a contract that included a 'waiver' of existing animal welfare laws, such as laws in place that require ensured health, or remedy of taking animal back....such laws should be universal, unable to be waived and strictly enforced by all who sell puppies.
I think those selling purebreds with known testable health problems should be required to test the parents for these problems before they are used for breeding, and should be required to disclose certification that the parents are clear of such defects or fully disclose any defects.
My puppy came with paperwork that gave the name of the breeder. Sadly I tracked this down and realized it was on the list of 'the horrible hundred' puppy mill. In the past this puppy mill had a fire that killed 'unknown' number of animals breeding in a barn. They had been cited in the past for poor conditions and poor animal health. Some changes were made thanks to the Inspectors issuing citations with follow-up, but there needs to be more accountability.
I found online pictures of what I think were my pup's parents. The mother is sitting in a stain-soaked plywood whelping box/dog house leading out to a catwalk with metal chain-link-fence like flooring. Some of the cited dogs had blisters on their feet from walking on cage bars. I love my pup very much, but I am saddened to think of his mother living in such conditions, and the fate of all his many brothers and sisters.
In the past I have worked with responsible breeders who were on-top of their litters; they tested for health, were willing to take animals back, and let buyers know if an issue developed with the parents or litter mates that might reflect on the pups. Working with a conscientious breeder who will keep in touch with you and help you train and work with your pet is by far the preferred method.
Website Author and Owner
Hello, You don't give your name but I would like to thank you for your contribution to my page. I wholeheartedly endorse all you say.
Your ideas for eradicating these unsafe and wicked practices are sound and I would love to see them fulfilled, however, it's not something that you or I can do alone. We need to get more people on board.
Keep telling your story about shunning the puppy mills (and I'll continue to write about them) and who knows, eventually, we may be able to help close many down.
Value of organizations
Thank you. I have since learned that the positive laws and changes I did see were thanks to a hard fought legal battle by local and national organizations also seeking change.
Photo credits for How to spot puppy mills:
1. Lilun at http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-family-english-cocker-spaniel-dogs-image23621952