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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's Puppy Mill Action Week: What Is a Puppy Mill?

I'd like to spend the rest of the week addressing the cruelty of puppy mills and our state's efforts (or lack thereof) to put an end to or regulate the enormous puppy mill industry in Minnesota.  

Today, I'll focus on what a puppy mill is, why they exist, and the reasons why this industry is cruel.  Tomorrow I'll discuss Minnesota's puppy mill situation, laws that are on table, and what we as citizens can do to stop puppy mills.  Thursday will be dedicated to how to avoid buying a puppy mill puppy and the other options available to us as "pet consumers."  On Friday, I'll provide a list of links to organizations--both local and national--that are dedicated to stopping puppy mills.

A puppy mill is a large dog breeding operation whose sole concern is making money.  Animal Folks MN says it best: 

"Inhumane breeders view dogs and cats as ‘products’ to be mass produced for profit. Breeding is defined solely as a business. The more puppies and kittens produced, the greater the sales. Therefore, for these breeders, quantity of dogs and cats is the goal — not quality or health of each animal’s life."

Now, there are plenty of reputable breeders out there--breeders that have a love for their dogs and the standard to which they judge them.  Reputable breeders typically breed their dogs once or twice a year, and the puppies and mother are kept and raised in the breeders' homes and receive proper veterinary care.  

This is not the case at puppy mills.  Often, there are several hundred (and sometimes over one thousand) dogs on the premises, often representing several different breeds (see the list of breeds Minnesota puppy mill owner Kathy Bauck bred. Scroll down the page and click on "Breeds" in the list of contents).  The dogs are bred without regard to the dogs' health or potential hereditary illnesses (think hip dysplasia in labs and other large dogs, patellar luxation in small dogs), not to mention the breed standard.  The saddest cases at puppy mills are not the puppies that are sold through pet stores, newspapers, or online, but the breeding parents that are kept in wire-bottom cages their entire lives and are bred continuously throughout the year.  Take a look at the living conditions below.

A video from the CAPS investigation of Minnesota Breeder Kathy Bauck:

Most would agree after watching the video that keeping social animals bred to be household pets in such terrible conditions is incredibly cruel to the animals. I think that it could also be considered consumer fraud, but more on that on Thursday.  

This is only a brief look at the cruelty of puppy mills. Please visit Animal Folks MN and the HSUS website for more in-depth information on the puppy mill situation in the U.S.  

Here is the video that's kicking off HSUS's Puppy Mill Action Week. It's an interview with a man named Timothy Bullion who used to work for a puppy mill in Virginia. He became disgusted with the conditions and treatment of the dogs he worked with and began his own undercover investigation, taking notes and photos of abuse.

Tomorrow, I'll discuss the puppy mill situation in Minnesota.

*Photo from

1 comment:

  1. Having recently bought a dog ourselves, I can't agree more how important it is to get good recommendations from veterinarians and people you trust, and then get references from the breeder before choosing where to get your dog. It takes effort and time, but it's well worth it. Sometimes you have to wait longer than you might have wanted to get your pup, but it's important to patronize reputable breeders rather than pet stores and puppy mills. Pet stores are great for supplies and food and such, but not usually for the dogs themselves.