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What is a Puppy Mill?

The "Puppy Mill" often evokes horrific mental images of waste filled cages, dogs in crates stacked like boxes at a warehouse, disease, and even death. Not all Puppy Mills are what we see in the media: some appear quite clean and even lovely. However, puppy mills all have the same thing in common: the desire for PROFIT.   No matter the conditions the puppies are raised under, there is a goal to make profit. This means corners may be cut and things such as health testing that serious breeders do may be ignored.

There IS NO LEGAL DEFINITION OF A PUPPY MILL AND ONE PERSON'S GOOD BREEDER IS ANOTHER'S MILLER. You have to look at why the person is breeding and their ethics.  So therefore, the top show breeder who is spending tens of thousands of dollars a year just on testing and proving his dogs are healthy and sound may be considered a miller just as much as that commercial breeding business supplying stores. The definition of puppy mill is all based on individual interpretation. Therefore, I define what many call a mill as a person breeding for commercial retail through stores.  Note, there are also no legal definitions of types of breeders either. What exactly is a show breeder?  What exactly is a hobby breeder?  What exactly is a backyard breeder? When we try to legally define these, we end up hurting the serious breeders in the end. Therefore, your definition will be personal and you need to educate yourself about where you wish to obtain your dog.

You cannot always go by numbers of litters bred either or number of intact dogs owned.  Service dog breeders may have a large number of intact dogs in their breeding pools.  Does this mean they are millers?  Every now and then a "show" breeder may find themselves breeding five or six litters in a year but may wait several years before breeding again.  A professional handler may have many intact dogs on the premises that belong to clients and will never be bred, at least by that person. 

Back to commercial breeding facilities.  Some of these commercial breeding facilities are junky and decrepid while others are bright, airly and clean.  However, there is incentive for all to keep costs lower. These costs are often in the realm of health testing.  The puppies will get vaccines required for shipment but will they come from stock that have been screened for issues such as hip dysplasia, eye issues, von Willebrand's (genetic bleeding disorder), etc., as a serious breeder will do?  Will the puppies produced come from dogs bred for correct temperament within the breed?   Chances are, not likely.  However, these are also concerns when you obtain a puppy from someone breeding because they can. These are also concern, sadly, with rescue dogs. These issues are covers on other pages.

So, if you want to stop commercial breeding of dogs for retail sales, what is the best thing you can do? DO NOT BUY FROM A PET SHOP.  When laws are passed targeting breeding practices of what are often called puppy mills, they have the reverse affect. Many of the laws proposed will actually hurt serious breeders who raise puppies underfoot.  Many of the laws outline housing conditions that only commercial breeders can meet. Therfore, will puppy mill laws target puppy mills or those who are breeding seriously? If the only ones who can meet the standards are commercial breeders, you tell me.

The best way to stop commercial pet sales is through supply and demand.  If the demand is taken away, the supply will drop. There will be no money in pet sales for stores. This is done through education of buyers.

  NO ethical breeder  will EVER sell puppies through a pet store, auction, or place puppies they cannot find homes for in a shelter or rescue.

And Please Read

Information Sessions and Committee Meeting
Sunday, 6-9-02, HIGH VOLUME BREEDERS

 

 

 

 

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Hereditary issues in cross bred dogs, ("poo-dogs" & designer mutts)

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Pets as Presents, rethink it!

Various VA Animal Laws

Neelix's Story