3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
As many of you know, puppy mills are the one topic Molly and I feel most strongly about. If someone does decide to breed a dog (even though they should adopt instead), we would much, much rather see them go to a responsible breeder instead of supporting a puppy mill. However, sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish the two if you’re not careful.
How to Distinguish a Puppy Mill From a Professional Breeder
If you are overly cautious with your research, you should have no problem finding a trustworthy breeder. But new dog parents often don’t know how to go about getting a dog, so they just go with the first option they find. So, here are some easy ways to spot a puppy mill.
Breeders Will Allow You to See the Breeding Location
If a breeder truly loves their dogs, they will have no problem letting you meet the parents, the litter, and the location the dogs were bred at. Puppy mills will often make excuses about why you can’t visit the location. However, don’t fall for any excuses. If you can’t see where your puppy was born, then it’s likely because the breeder has something to hide.
Breeders Are More Selective About Who Buys Their Puppies
Like rescues and shelters, a good breeder actually cares about their puppies. They want the puppies to go to a responsible family, not just the first person that’s interested. However, puppy mills are only in it for the money. They will often be more eager to quickly make a sale, and they’ll probably ask for little information from you.
Breeders Should Be Able to Answer Specific Questions About the Breed
Good breeders usually only breed one or two dog breeds at a time. So, they should be very knowledgeable about the specific breed of your puppy. Puppy mills often breed as many dogs as they can, so when asked about a specific breed, they probably won’t be able to give you detailed answers to your questions.
Breeders Can Give You Full Vet Records
Puppy mills will often just give you USDA health certificates, but that’s actually not as official as it sounds. A good breeder should be able to give you a full vet record, and they should know specific details about each puppy’s health.
Puppy Mills Often Sell Puppies Through Pet Stores or Online
Since puppy mills don’t allow visitors, they typically sell their puppies through other sources such as pet stores and online. Avoid online breeders and pet store puppies at all costs because there’s no way to tell for sure where they came from.
What Should You Do if You Spot a Puppy Mill?
Unfortunately, even if you suspect a puppy mill near you, it’s difficult for you to do anything about it. Every place has different rules about these horrible facilities, so your best bet is to contact animal control to see what they can do.
Just reporting one puppy mill isn’t going to fix the problem though. Many people keep buying puppies online and from pet stores without even knowing they’re doing something wrong. So, it’s important to spread the word about this problem to get humans to stop supporting the puppy mill business.
Also, encourage more humans to adopt. If more people adopt instead of breed, more dogs can be saved. The only reason puppy mills exist is because people keep supporting them. However, if more people adopted dogs instead of breeding them, then this could greatly help dogs all over the world.
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10 thoughts on “Reputable Breeders vs. Puppy Mills: How to Tell the Difference”
Can I see mum? No? – walk away
Can I see dad? No? – walk away
Where were the puppies bred? Over there. – Walk away
Have you got their vaccination certificates? No. – Walk away
How many litters has this dog had? You’re not sure? – Walk away
Do you sell to pet stores? Yes. – Walk away
How old are the puppies? Not sure? – Walk away
Dont fall for the cute eyes, the soft mouthing of the pups, the silky fur and little puppy paws. If you can’t see where, when and how the puppies were bred and born, and there arent enough documents to show it is a legitimate enterprise, walk away.
Don’t buy from pet stores (not possible in the UK anyway) as it only encourages bad street breeders to farm the dogs and then “dispose” of them when they are no longer of use. And YES they will literally dispose of them. Any puppies born with visible defects (usually through inbreeding and overbreeding) are also disposed of. Some of these lovely back street breeders even give the puppies away for dog fighting bait. Nice eh?
This cannot be repeated enough. Never buy a dog “blind” off the internet, never buy a dog unless all the documents are in order and are current. Please go to a reputable breeder or better still go to a shelter or rescue centre. There are normally far too many dogs in there, all looking for a home.
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Very well worded. Sadly, a lot of people support these horrible breeders without even knowing it 😦 That’s why it’s so important to spread the word.
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In theory it isn’t a difficult choice when the subject of a getting a dog comes up. Do some research, get over the stigma of “all dogs in rescue are damaged or tainted”, look at your choices between reputable breeder or rescue, and then decide. The sooner the oxygen of cash is suffocated to the backstreet breeders the better. The money they raise invariably goes on other nefarious activities anyway so, in a perverse fashion, if someone buys from an unlicensed breeder, they are likely to be funding larger criminal networks.
It’s about educating people not to go to these guys. Get to the younger generations and show them the filth and squalor that the farmed dogs are bred and kept in, the congenital conditions that the dogs are often born with and will often die younger because of.
If someone isn’t certain if they want or can handle a dog, foster one for a period of time. See then if you have the ability to feed, walk, groom, pet and keep the dog in your house, and in your life. Look on the internet and see what other people make of a particular breed and then consider it. Never make a rash decision.
Apologies for my extensive rant.
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No need to apologize, I completely understand and agree with you. I personally can’t understand why so many people don’t even consider adoption. Even as a kid, I chose to adopt a dog, and the dog I adopted had been rescued from a puppy mill. I was 12 years old, and that’s when I first learned what a puppy mill was.
I think it’s extremely important that more kids learn about puppy mills since they are often the ones that beg their parents for a dog, and then their parents go on to buy a puppy without doing enough research. Over the past year I’ve been working on a young adult book about the topic of puppy mills to hopefully encourage more kids to adopt (I still have a lot of editing to do though so I probably won’t be trying to get it published anytime soon). I just feel like if more people know the truth about adopting vs buying dogs, then more people would choose to adopt instead.
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Phew, I thought I was going to get told off for banging on about one of my pet topics.
People dont adopt, I think, as there remains this stigma attached to dogs in shelters or rescues centres (I know there is a difference in the US) that the dogs are damaged goods. The dogs were given up or abandoned as they bit someone, didnt get on with children, grew too large, did their business in the house. People seem to think that if they get a dog from a breeder, all these things will magically disappear. In the UK, the larger rescue organisations will put up descriptions of the dog to be adopted. Often times the description will include lovely with children, good off lead, friendly, can live with cats, loves the park and would suit older/younger/no children/energetic people. If there is a reason why the dog can’t be rehomed with cats or children for example they will be honest about it. If the dog was given up to the rescue centre for a reason such as their human passed away, had a huge change in circumstances or couldn’t care for the dog any longer, again it will say it. The problem is that a large number of potential adopters dont get to the stage of seeing the descriptions as they are blinded by the media coverage of cute puppies, the overarching view of all dogs should be Crufts show standard and the rescue organisations sometimes struggle to get their message out. I also don’t necessarily think that some of the rescue centres help themselves. For instances the RSPCA take part in a programme on the tv here and show some of the rescues they perform where dogs and cats are removed from peoples houses or wasteland and are in an awful condition. They publicise the big, extreme rescues and don’t have slots for the soft surrenders where the owner is crying uncontrollably as they have to give up their dog of ten years because they have a huge change in their circumstances. People only see one side of the rescue system, still.
The younger generations should be shown the true nature of irresponsible breeders in all its glory. I know some people will say “ugh dont show the dogs that are blind, covered in mange, got gunky eyes and deformed bones”. But my reply is “why not?” If it shocks sufficient numbers of people into changing their view on where they are going to ge their dog, then so be it. Give the rescue organisations the leeway to show the softer surrenders, how the dogs are rehabilitated and can be rehomed, on many occasions, with a secure life and without any psychological problems.
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I completely agree, a lot of that is exactly the same in the US. Sadly, a lot of people do have this false information that rescue dogs aren’t as good as specially bred puppies, but honestly, any dog is going to be a lot of work. With a bred puppy, you might know exactly what the breed is, but you don’t know what their personality is like until they grow which often makes them less predictable than a rescue. Also, many people don’t realize that there are actually puppies at rescues. Most people just assume it’s only older dogs, which oftentimes, there are more adults, but there are also a lot pf pregnant dogs and puppies that get surrendered too. So, it’s sad to see someone breed more puppies even when there’s a litter of puppies already up for adoption.
And you are correct about people getting upset about seeing the “no-so-perfect” dogs. I work for iHeartDogs.com, and whenever I post a sad story about a dog, there are always some comments complaining about how they don’t want to see sad stories. But the reality is that many dogs have sad stories, and ignoring the dark side of the pet industry isn’t going to make the problems disappear. If the media focused more on the success stories of rescue dogs and less on cute designer puppies, I think it could make a huge difference.
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