The Humane Society is the source of this article. Facts and figures are frightful and staggering. Puppy mills are not always found on the farm in the country.

On January 2004, more than 230 animals were removed from a puppy mill (residential home) in Franklin, Tenn. The animals were mostly Maltese dogs, living in the terrible conditions.  Like most such operations, the puppy mill owner advertised in dog fanciers’ publications and on the Internet, posing as a small, responsible breeder. She had been operating for many years, and at one time she enjoyed a good reputation. But when authorities entered her home after receiving a tip about animal neglect, they found that behind the pretty photos on the owner’s website lurked a completely different reality.  Inside the house, dirty and matted dogs cowered in small wire cages—three or four dogs to a cage. Their cages were lined up row after row and stacked on top of one another. Many of the dogs were ill, and some of them died shortly after the rescue. The dogs had lived in these cramped dirty cages all their lives.

Like most puppy mills, the breeder hid the cruel reality of her business behind closed doors. Her puppies were cleaned up and made presentable before being sold via classified ads and the Internet. But their mothers and fathers never had the chance to escape the brutal conditions into which they’d been born.

Even after her conviction for animal cruelty in 2005, the puppy mill owner violated the terms of her probation by continuing to breed and sell dogs. Healthcare workers who had been in her home to care for a relative testified that she was still selling puppies over the Internet.

Commercial Dog Breeders – also known as Puppy Mill Breeders, or USDA Breeders

They breed for PROFIT only!

They have no concern for the numbers they produce, who they sell to, or the quality they produce. Puppy mills continue to thrive because they prey on unwitting consumers who are smitten by too-cute-for-words puppies in pet stores and on fancy websites.  Behind the friendly façade of the local pet shop, the pastoral scenes on a website, or the neighborhood newspaper ad, there often lies a puppy mill.

Document problems cited by HSUS include over breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor quality of food and shelter, lack of human socialization, over crowed cages and the killing of unwanted animals.  For the unwitting consumer, this situation frequently means buying a puppy facing an array of immediate veterinary problems or harboring genetic diseases that surface years later.

They do not do genetic (heredity) health testing appropriate for the breeds they breed and they do not offer long-term guarantees (a lot of hereditary defects don’t show up until the dog reaches maturity). They silence people who ask about health guarantee by assuring them that buyers can return any sick puppies and they will replace it with another pup as long as it got sick within a certain amount of time of sale and as long as the buyer did not do something to make the puppy sick.

Commercial Breeders (Pet Store Puppies) – Buyer Beware

Commercial breeders buy for one purpose only: to breed puppies that will eventually end up in pet stores.  Many bypass pet stores altogether and sell directly to the unsuspecting  public though classified ads and the Internet, where breeders are not required to have a license and can operate without any oversight whatsoever. Consumers find the market flooded with sickly puppies. Many buy a puppy who seems healthy, only to find out weeks or months later that their new pet has serious health problems.  Pet stores love to tout that they buy only from “local breeders” – wooing potential spenders into thinking the pups came from a good situation. But “local breeders” can and often are local puppy mills.  After their fertility wanes, breeding animals are commonly killed, abandoned or sold to another mill. The annual result of all this breeding is hundreds of thousands of puppies, many with behavior and/or health problems.

Over the past five years, states including Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma and Michigan have seen the number of licensed breeders increase by a combined 303% in the region. 

The Hunte Corporation is one of the nation’s largest puppy distributors.  It buys puppies from licensed breeders and transports them from Missouri to Ohio & Indiana.  Local pet shops such as Pass Pets and Petland get some of their puppies from Hunte. Hunte’s pipeline from Missouri to Ohio & Indiana is a 18-wheel semi-truck lined with cages. Puppies are loaded onto the truck and placed inside the cages for delivery to Pet Stores & Dog Auctions.

Commercial Dog Brokers

A commercial dog broker buys directly from the commercial dog breeder.

In other words, they are a middle man. A commercial dog broker can sell directly to the public or to pet stores.

They are now also starting something fairly new: Brokering puppies that are rejected by the Pet Stores (or the commercial breeders themselves know they can’t sell). They are setting up *shops* as RESCUE when they are not truly a rescue group.

Dog Auctions

Dogs sold at Public Auction include dogs that are deaf or blind. They are bought because they are cheap and can be bred without regards of passing genetic defects along to their puppies.Some dogs at those auctions sell for as little as $5. Their puppies can fetch thousands at a Pet Store. Unsuspecting buyers buy unknowing of the health of the puppy they buy that often dies a few days later.

Dogs at Public Auction often have matted fur, open sores,  appear to be in good health, but their looks can be deceiving because some auction dogs have hereditary problems that are hidden from the naked eye.

There are now 2,400 breeders in the Midwest (up from approximately 800 licensed breeders in 2002) and all of their puppies are just a truck ride away to Ohio & Indiana.

“If you’re buying a puppy at a pet shop and you think you’re rescuing the dog … all you’re doing is keeping those parents in that vicious cycle”. “You’re not ending (the cycle) by buying that puppy in the window. You’re just perpetuating it.”

  • Auctions are not attended by families looking for a new pet—they are all business from beginning to end. The purpose of these events is to have a venue for professional, commercial breeders (also known as puppy millers) to sell off their unwanted breeding dogs. The dogs bought and sold are not treated as pets; they are valued strictly for their capacity to make money. And make money they certainly do. Dog auctions are a multi-million dollar industry in the U.S. The number of dog auctions in the U.S. has jumped from twenty-eight to sixty-eight in the past seven years, while the number of dogs exchanged increased from just over 5,000 to just over 18,000. The dogs bought and sold at auction are kept in cages for their entire breeding lives. They live in outbuildings and fields instead of homes; they never run in the grass, sleep in a bed or play with a toy. DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR THE PUPPIES YOU SEE IN A PET STORE! If you purchase from a pet store, you are CONDEMNING that puppy’s mother to a life of hell for reproducing. The best way to STOP commercial dog breeders is to stop supporting/purchasing puppies from pet stores. If the market isn’t there, they will stop mass producing puppies!  A Pet Store will tell you anything to make a sale! Remember this!  They are in the business for selling puppies and to make a profit. They sometimes will tell you that they only buy from “local breeders”.  Most of the people they have working in the Pet Stores are not knowledgeable of the breed standards, what problems can arise with particular breeds, etc.
  • They do not do genetic (heredity) health testing appropriate for the breeds they breed and they do not offer long-term guarantees (a lot of hereditary defects don’t show up until the dog reaches maturity). They silence people who ask about health guarantee by assuring them that buyers can return any sick puppies and they will replace it with another pup as long as it got sick within a certain amount of time of sale and as long as the buyer did not do something to make the puppy sick.

It is common practice for auctions to “dual-register” puppies… all this means is they register with 2 registries: generally AKC and some *other* registry, just in case they are suspended from AKC for their breeding records, or if they get *caught* registering puppies to parents they don’t belong to. This is why these types of breeders are so much AGAINST DNA registering.  The puppy mill industry has set up several registries to confuse and combat the challenges made by the AKC: these are unreliable registries:

  • FIC (federation of international canines)
  • CKC (continental kennel club)
  • APRI (American pet registry) the most frequently used puppy mill registryNKC (National Kennel Club)
  • ACR (American Canine Registry)
  • DRA (Dog Registry of America, Inc)
  • NAPR (North America Purebred Registry, Inc)

The first two are acronyms, which are often confused with legitimate registries, i.e. FCI (Federation Cynologique International) and CKC (Canadian Kennel Club).
(Do Not Be Fooled) Make sure you’re getting a purebred dog by requiring proof that the parents of the dog are registered with FCI or AKC.   

Commercial dog breeders can sell directly to a Pet Store, Broker, or the general public. If they sell to the general public, a lot of them are getting smarter on how to answer questions people are asking.   To legally sell to a Pet Store, a commercial dog breeder MUST be USDA licensed. There are ways around this though…

Back Yard Breeders

What Are They?

They are the average pet owner that breeds their dog(s).  Most of the general public thinks that just because they have *papers* on their dog, that means their dog is breed material. All the papers mean is that the dog parents were registered and nothing more. It does NOT mean QUALITY! It does NOT mean the dog is CORRECT for the Standards for that breed. Most of the dogs that are registered are NOT breed material, but make fine pets.

What They Do & What They Don’t Do

  • They breed dogs that are not correct for the standards, health, temperament, and conformation.
  • They breed dogs that have the same faults, which in turn, compounds faults into the puppies.
  • They do not know the breed standards for the breed they are breeding.
  • They do not know what genetic (health) issues are for the breed they are breeding, they say that there are NO problems associated with the breed, or ask, “what problems?”
  • They are not there for you IF you have problems or questions through-out the lifetime of your dog.
  • They do not require spay/neuter contracts, nor do they supply you with a written contract/guarantee.
Why They Create Damage
  1. With them not requiring spay/neuters, when those dogs are eventually bred (as most will do), then it compounds the problems. Just go to your local shelter and look at all those dogs.  Most of them would come from someone just wanting to breed their pets just once or twice.
  2. By continued irresponsible breeding(s), more and more dogs end up in rescue, shelters, dumped, research labs, used as bait dogs for dog fighting (YES IT STILL HAPPENS!!!!!) or at the hands of commercial dog breeders (Puppy Mill Breeders) or commercial brokers (Puppy Mill Brokers).
    Note: Brokers buy from the commercial dog breeders and sell directly to the Pet Stores or directly to the Public.