Puppy Mills-Where Your Best Friend Really Comes From

Puppy mill dog in isolation after being rescued in 2011.

Puppy mills are horrible places where low budget facilities breed dogs strictly for profit. The dogs often suffer permanent damage from the unhealthy conditions and lack of socialization. Dogs have always been considered man’s best friend, starting as early as 15,000 years ago. In earlier times, dogs were chosen very selectively, based upon the health of the dog and whether the dog would be suitable for the lifestyles and environment the dog would be introduced to. However, many people are beginning to shy away from the idea of a quality, healthy dog and are beginning to buy their new best friend simply based upon appearance from the puppy mills. Since people are going to buy the cutest dog possible without knowing much about it, many pet store chains are taking advantage of this and display their dogs for everyone to see, knowing that someone will be suckered into buying a dog without even knowing anything about it. When someone sees one of those adorable puppies, it rarely ever crosses their minds where that puppy actually came from, and if they knew, they would be devastated.

Beginning in the post-World War I era, Midwestern farmers realized that they could easily make a profit by selling live dogs almost like a crop, by mass producing them with minimum cost in mind in order to make an enormous profit, which became the beginning of what is known as a puppy mill. A puppy mill doesn’t necessarily have a definition, however as defined by the ASPCA, a puppy mill is “a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.”

According to the American Pet Association, U.S. pet-ownership estimates that the average annual amount spend $213 by dog owners on routine veterinary visits. This clearly shows how much people spend a great amount of money for their dogs. Not only are the puppy mills making profit, but also our economy. Buyers do not really know where and how these puppies were raised. For instance, in the United States, there are an estimated ten thousand licensed and unlicensed puppy mills selling over two million puppies annually. Many people may think that the puppies they are buying from the local pet store was being given quality care, however in most cases it was living under the worst of conditions possible. In the United States, there are barely any requirements for puppy mills to uphold and there are also many loopholes, and their needs to be more provisions made in order to stop puppy mills from being able to abuse any more animals.

My question to the class:  What do you think about the Puppy Mills? It is creating profit to many places, but is it morally good?




12 thoughts on “Puppy Mills-Where Your Best Friend Really Comes From

  1. As a recent purchaser of an adorable 1 month puppy, I can agree that physical appearance becomes one of the most important criteria on one’s checklist. It is the first thing that connects a consumer to its product–similar to a first impression. I find this post super relatable as I, too, was naive in purchasing my first puppy. In regards to your questions, it saddens me that living creatures, such as those held in Puppy Mills, have to go fight to survive in such sickly conditions. In places like these, the well being of the animal is not a priority. The profit becomes a clear main focus. However, everyone has their own morals that may or may not play a role in such situations like these. Personally, I do not agree with the idea of Puppy Mills. The care and effort in needed for a real live being is something that shouldn’t be ignored. It becomes a type of abuse to not take responsibility in protecting these forms of life. Money makes people get involved in many situations that may not be necessarily seen as ethical. It is the idea of profit and a type of selfishness that easily makes its way to the highest level of importance in one’s mind.

  2. I have two dogs and one of my dogs I got directly from a breeder and the other one I got from a puppy store. When we went to the puppy store to get the puppy we were completely shocked by how nice the store was and how the puppies were in baby cradles instead of cages. We have had the dog for six years now and although the store had a guarentee that the dogs were not from puppy mills, there is no way we will ever be sure. The dog from the store has had a lot of skin problems, which is common of little dogs so it could be that or possibly because she could be from a puppy mill. I think puppy mills are completely disgusting and it saddens me seeing my puppy suffer with her skin problems and that is very minimal compared to other problems puppy mill dogs have.

  3. When I decided to get a puppy, I decided to adopt him from a shelter. Although it was much more challenging and time consuming than to simply walk into a pet shop, it was more rewarding. I find puppy mills to be absolutely disgusting, and the lack of regulation across many states is appalling. There’s no doubt that the pet sector is incredibly profitable; however, in the case of puppy mills, I think people are becoming more educated than ever of their cruelties and no-kill shelters such as PAWS do an incredible job at raising awareness.

  4. The fact that these puppy mills exist breaks my heart in a million pieces. I am a huge dog person but I am a bigger fan of the animal kingdom itself. Everything about it interest me. From different species, to habitats and any relationships that they offer. I must say that it is not the first time I here about these so called puppy mills and I wish I could stop them. However, you did a great job of pointing out the fact that they use the “cute-ness” appeal to sell them fast and make those profits they desperately seek. Ok, I get it, those toy breed dogs are adorable or cute or call it whatever you want but if there is no record of this dog living a good life at the place it is at, there should be no reason why that place should even be open. There are so many other places to go to and one can’t say that they aren’t aware since they are always announced on tv, radio, and even while listening to music on your mobile phone. Every time I see a commercial for the ASPCA and paws and all of these organizations that are against this exact puppy mills issue, I just want to shake their hand and offer them my help, seriously. This issue really bothers me and I am pretty sure that I made that completely obvious.

  5. I would never get a puppy from one of these places. Nevertheless, many people do because they are affordable. A governing body or an independent rating agency should step in to put an end to this. Raising awareness is the first step, and I am fully supportive of any initiative that aims to stop the puppy mills. Also it’s funny that you mention how the puppy mills breed “cute” little dogs. I don’t understand why people want little yorkies so much. They’re so clingy, and they can barely survive without their owners. It’s just my opinion of course. Regardless of how cute the dogs are, I feel like the people who buy dogs from puppy mills do so only because it is the most affordable option right now.

  6. I knew that most puppies that are available at puppy stores have come from these terrible locations. It’s completely unfair that these adorable little puppies are stuck in an overcrowded, unloving, unsocial, disease-infested mills. It’s not morally right at all, it’s completely unfair that these puppies are placed and raised here because it’s not like they can voice their opinion. I still don’t understand why these places exist. They might be bringing in an abundance of revenue but they’re such an awful idea. Now a days people want to rescue puppies and dogs from shelters, but most people want a new born puppy but don’t want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for one from a breeder so they go to a pet store and get the cute adorable puppy for much less. Puppy mills are an awful business and they should be ashamed to operate them.

  7. This is one debate that I don’t feel there is a right answer to. Some say never buy from a big store chain, since the puppies come from mills, so if we stop buying then they will stop making these puppies in the mills. But being realistic, that probably won’t happen. So it is these puppies, who have been through much trauma, that need a good owner the most. So while it seems wrong to buy from these companies, the dogs themselves need good owners. Even if it gives these big companies nice profits, I don’t see how anyone can support these types of circumstances.

  8. No animal is intended to live their life in a cramped cage, as we can see from natures work. There are major problems I see with puppy mills. One is that it wouldn’t bite into too much profits if they gave these dogs better living conditions; I believe a balance can be found between breeding dogs and giving them a decent place to live and to be handled with some humanity. I found from some research that it is more ethical to get a dog from a shelter and cut down dog breeding for their specific genetics rather than “mass producing” them for the most profit. Five to seven million dogs enter shelters every year while the average pet store sells about five-hundred thousand dogs a year. The outcome is that more of our lovable friends will have to suffer. I don’t know to much about these operations, but I see that some people are very passionate about these issues and may want to consider coming up with plans that can benefit the dogs we love.

  9. I see that you are talking about puppy mills and how they violate the basic “rights” of a puppy/dog. I do not think that puppy mills should be able to operate in some of the conditions that I have heard of in the past. This is cruelty to animals and should not be tolerated by any means. I believe they still exist and are getting larger because just as you said, buying a dog now is primarily based on the price tag attached to them. With so much competition in the market (those who do things right and those that do things wrong) it is tough to be able to stand out with competitive prices while trying to do the right thing.

  10. I agree with mostly everyone here that adopting from a shelter is the best way to form an relationship with a dog. However, with that being said, I don’t see Puppy Mills as negatively as others. I like to believe that the people that do get a puppy from these places are seeing how precious the dog can be and because of this their opinions on dogs are changed forever. I like to think that from the moment the dog does something special these people will see that dogs of all kind are cute in their own ways and from then on will consider adopting from a shelter because they understand that a dog is more than looks.

  11. I love my dog to death, and can’t imagine him going through being raised in a puppy mill. I can’t imagine the type of person that it takes to mass breed dogs without any care or concern for their well being. I fully support shelters, and don’t feel as angry towards people that breed dogs, as long as they know how to properly take care of them. I don’t really think that the economic income that the puppy mills bring is all that much and should be disregarded. If we consider this okay, then where is the line drawn between morally good acts money.

  12. I agree that obviously they are bad if the conditions are terrible. Regardless of how tight one’s margins are, the mills should not sacrifice their conditions for profits. It seems like this would be very hard to regulate though and set standards on mills since a lot of farmers could simply say they are taking care of strays who happened to have mated or use other similar loopholes to get out of punishment. If your dog has puppies is it illegal to give them away? Farmers could use tactics like this to dodge questions or penalties about their mills.

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