The Truth About Puppy Mills

Dogs around the United States are bred in some of the most inumane conditions possible.

**Warning: This article contains graphic details.

We all know it happens: you go to the pet store with your kids and see the puppies in the cages. "Look at the cute puppies! Can we have one?" they beg. Your best bet would be to say no. A large portion of puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills.

A puppy mill is an indescribable place. The horrors of the eye are unimaginable. Let's start with the basics. What is a puppy mill? It is a term that is used to describe a location that mass-produces puppies, with little or no care given to their health or well-being. The owners of puppy mills are producing puppies solely for financial gain. The female dogs are bred each time they are in heat until their little bodies can't handle it and either die while giving birth, are euthanized, are sold to laboratories for experimentation, or are cruelly murdered. When the puppies are born, they generally are taken from their mothers far earlier than is healthy for them, before they can even eat solid foods, so that they can be shipped to the pet stores. These puppies have received no socialization and are not handled, so they are quite skittish and make poor pets.

These dogs are forced to live in inhumane conditions. They live in tiny wire cages for the duration of their lives and are not let out to run and play. Generally, their cages are cleaned out next to never, so they live in their own waste. The food given to these animals, if they are even fed on a regular basis, is almost inedible. The water they drink is dirty and full of who only knows what. They are always in their cages, even during the bitter winter months and the scorching summer heat.

The dogs in puppy mills are unhealthy and most have never seen the face of a veterinarian. The people who run the puppy mills, of course, don't want to waste their precious money on getting the dogs vaccinated, necessary medications etc. If a dog needs assistance in giving birth to the puppies, she will more than likely not receive any type of assistance and will die while giving birth.

While researching the topic, I heard many horror stories about what dogs went through while in puppy mills. Most dogs' teeth rot out by the time they are a year old. A common practice done on dogs that bark a lot is called de-barking, where the vocal cords are damaged by cramming a metal pipe down their throats to rupture them. Many times, the dogs' jaws are broken in the process. They suffer from all sorts of untreated illnesses and diseases, such as hernias, hip dysplasia, and toenails that are so long from being neglected that they curl back into the dogs' paws.

Imagine if the offspring of one of these malnourished, mistreated animals crossed the pet store window. A poor, unknowing family falls in love with the puppy and takes it home, not knowing the conditions it was born into. The dog is reluctant to be held and does not understand the concept of paper training, because the puppy was forced, both in the puppy mill and in the pet shop, to relieve itself in the kennel. It does not understand about eliminating in the "proper" area. When the puppy is taken to the vet, he is susceptible to many illnesses and diseases to due to the conditions it was born into, and because in reality, no one knows which breeds the parents really were.

Why do pet shops buy from puppy mills? More than likely because the pet shops can buy from the puppy mills at a relatively fair price then make a profit after they mark up the price of the puppy in the pet store window. That, and reputable breeders do not sell their puppies to pet shops.

By purchasing from pet shops, we are supporting these puppy mills. Not buying puppies from pet shops can put a stop to these puppy mills and the atrocious conditions they are forced to live in.