What are puppy mills and how do you detect them?
The Canadian Kennel Club Policy Statement – Definition of a Puppy Mill
(Effective March 2002)
"The term “Puppy Mill” generally refers to a high-volume, sub-standard dog-breeding operation, which sells purebred or mixed breed dogs, directly or indirectly to unsuspecting buyers. Some of the characteristics common to puppy mills are:
(a) Sub-standard health and/or environmental issues;
(b) Sub-standard animal care, treatment and/or socialization;
(c) Sub-standard breeding practices which lead to genetic defects or hereditary disorders;
(d) Erroneous or falsified certificates of registration, pedigrees and/or genetic background.
Note: These conditions may also exist in small volume or single breed establishments."
They sell primarily to retail pet shops (usually via a broker), but occasionally sell directly to individual consumers. Dogs are bred solely for profit, with no concern for their physical health or psychological well-being - most are disease-ridden; all are force-bred continuously. They often use "Kennels" or "Farms" in its business name. Dogs' and puppies' are usually in squalid living conditions and are off-limits to the public.
If you think you have been to a mill or have seen substandard conditions at a breeders establishment please call your local SPCA/Humane Society IMMEDIATELY to report what you saw. Only witnessed accounts can be reported.
Puppy mills typically are recognizable by several characteristics, that when compiled, provide a very suspicious picture. Here are a few things to look for:
- Those who breed for the sole purpose of producing a profit
- Those who breed multiple breeds
- Those who cannot provide references of happy families and their dogs
- Those who cannot provide detailed information on their dogs' temperaments, health, bloodlines etc.
- Those who do not provide a health guarantee with the purchase of your pup
- Those who have no interest in staying in contact with you regarding your dogs' development
- Those uninterested in answering any and all questions honestly and in a timely manner
- Those who do not make the parents available for viewing along with the litter mates to your puppy
- Those who do not provide up to date vaccine and health records for your pup
- Those who are only interested in making the sale and not the quality of the home
- Those who do not register their dogs with either the CKC, AKC, or international Kennel Club
- Those who do not microchip or tattoo their puppies, which is required for registration purposes
- Those who only care about the appearance of the dog and don't put any stock into producing sound temperaments
- Those who sell to pet stores, brokers, or third parties
- Those selling ill or uncared for puppies
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Beware of breeders who may call another kennel or breeder a puppy mill, and give you "facts" about those kennels. Not always is this information true, or accurate. A respectable breeder would not slander, or otherwise defame another breeder as it goes against the CKC By-laws and Code of Ethics. Some breeders will tell you anything and try to put down another kennel who they consider competition, or don't like for personal reasons - always do your research and visit the kennel in person to meet the breeder. When in doubt, go with your gut! If you get a bad feeling, walk away.
The Humane Society of the United States - Video about Puppy Mills:
YouTube - Here you will find a list of videos regarding puppy mills. Some videos are VERY graphic:
Types of Breeders - Courtesy of the GSDCA:http://www.gsdca.org/german-shepherd-dogs/choosing-a-puppy/types-of-breeders