I have a confession. I didn’t know what a puppy mill was until about two years ago. I knew that dogs and other animals were sometimes mistreated, but I didn’t know to what extent they are sometimes abused for a human to make a few bucks. I learned the sad truth about puppy mills shortly after adopting Luna and starting Beagles & Bargains.
I think part of the reason that I didn’t know what a puppy mill was is because a large portion of the general public doesn’t. Puppies are pure, good, and super cute, so nothing could possibly be horrible about a bunch of puppies, right? WRONG.
When I was 21, I adopted Luna from a rescue. At that time, I viewed the pet world as having two different aspects: rescue and breeding. I considered breeding to be more or less getting a custom designer dog. You do the research and figure out what breed you want, then you pay a lot of money to get the puppy of your dreams. I thought rescue gave unwanted dogs a second chance and saved lives, but it was kind of a shot in the dark since a rescued dog came with no guarantees. I also thought rescue was a cheaper upfront option. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with dog breeding, but I wanted to feel good about rescuing a dog, so I did.
Was I wrong? Yes and no. Going to a responsible dog breeder does give you the opportunity to find a dog with a certain temperament, look, etc. that might best fit your lifestyle. A responsible breeder will also have specific experience and interest in their breed. Rescuing does save lives and can give dogs a second chance. I don’t regret my decision to rescue Luna one bit.
But there is a third option. An option that too many of us confuse with a responsible breeder. An option that doesn’t care about the welfare of the dogs they create or what happens to them after you send in the payment. This third option is known as a puppy mill.
So how can you tell the difference?
5 Red Flags of a Puppy Mill
1. You aren’t allowed to see where the puppies are kept. If you can’t get a view of where the puppies came from, then how can you know if something is wrong?
2. You aren’t allowed to meet the puppy’s parents. Far too often, “Mama” dogs in puppy mills are in horrible shape and are forced to produce puppies constantly. See your soon to be puppies parents can give you some indication of health later in life.
3. You do the entire transaction online. A responsible breeder will want to meet you and ensure that you will provide one of their puppies a quality home. They will want to ask you questions and make sure YOU are good enough.
4. The “breeder” isn’t knowledgeable about the breed. Someone who doesn’t know about the breed of puppies they are selling will have no insight into properly breeding a healthy dog.
5. You don’t have a plan to follow up or stay in contact after purchase. A responsible breeder will want to know how things are going and how one of their puppies is adjusting in their new home.
These five aren’t by any means the only red flags. If something spooks you and makes you feel uncomfortable, then I would walk away.
How can you stop Puppy Mills?
It’s pretty simple. Don’t buy a puppy from a puppy mill. Don’t purchase a puppy directly from a pet store because many purchase their puppies from puppy mills. Consider pet adoption and do your research about the breeder before taking home a new dog.
Spread the word. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Remind anyone and everyone who tells you they are thinking of getting a new puppy of the red flags of puppy mills.
For more information on puppy mills and how you can help stop them, visit The Puppy Mill Project.
Will you help spread the message about Puppy Mills?
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