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If you’ve ever considered getting a puppy, you may have been discouraged from purchasing one through a pet store or website, and for good reason: many pet stores and online vendors source dogs from puppy mills.
If you’re unfamiliar, a puppy mill is an inhumane high-volume dog breeding facility that churns out puppies for profit, ignoring the needs of the pups and their mothers. Dogs from puppy mills are often sick and unsocialized. Puppy mills commonly sell through internet sales, online classified ads, flea markets and pet stores. In fact, the majority of puppies sold in pet stores and online are from puppy mills.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that the harmful nature of puppy mills is well-documented, the practice of breeding dogs in high-volume facilities is still alive and well . The Humane Society estimates that there are a staggering 10,000 active puppy mills in the United States, both licensed and unlicensed by the USDA. In licensed facilities alone, over 200,000 dogs are estimated to be kept solely for the purpose of breeding, and over 1.2 million puppies are produced each year.
The puppies as well as mother and father dogs are often kept in harrowing conditions, suffering from severe malnutrition and illness. Mother dogs spend their whole lives in cramped cages with little to no attention or affection, forced to breed beyond what is natural for them. Once they are no longer able to produce puppies, they are often abandoned or killed. Due to unsanitary living quarters and lack of veterinary care, both dogs and their puppies suffer from various illnesses, which may not be apparent at the time they are sold off to an unsuspecting, well-intentioned customer.
A 2020 report released by the Humane Society details the many horrific, inhumane practices still occuring at puppy mills all across the country. Countless cases of animal cruelty were discovered, including the presence of sick and emaciated dogs, and puppies exposed to extreme heat or cold without adequate shelter. Some dogs were found to be covered in their own excrement.
Sadly, 90% of all dogs in the United States come from puppy mills that mass produce animals, while an estimated 1.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized by shelters every year.
Before bringing a puppy home, it’s the responsibility of the potential owner to consider where the pup came from. In order to put an end to puppy mills, we must end the demand. . So, before purchasing a puppy from a pet store or website, consider adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organization – like The Animal Pad – first.