What is a Puppy Mill?

Tomorrow marks Puppy Mill Awareness Day, a day dedicated to improving the lives of dogs and ending puppy mills. But what exactly is a puppy mill?

For starters, a puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is placed above the well-being of animals. Breeding dogs can spend their entire lives in cages, living in dirty, unsanitary conditions and never getting the chance to feel the sun or breathe fresh air.

Here are 10 facts you should know about puppy mills:

1. 500,000 puppies are born in puppy mills and sold in pet stores every year in the United States.

2. Illness and disease are common in dogs from puppy mills. Common conditions include epilepsy, heart/kidney disease, blood disorders and eye problems.

3. In addition to medical conditions, puppy mill dogs often have other problems  like extreme shyness, aggression, fear and anxiety. This is because they are typically removed from their littermates and mothers at just six weeks of age, which is a critical period for puppies.

4. The number of dogs in a puppy mill can vary significantly, ranging from 10 to 1,000 breeding dogs.

5. Puppy millers can make more than $300,000 breeding puppies every year.

6. Female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters. When they can no longer can reproduce, breeding females are often killed.

7. Pet stores often use "licensed USDA breeders" to provide a false sense of security to customers, when it really means that they get their puppies from puppy mills.

8. The highest concentration of puppy mills is in the Midwest, specifically in Missouri, but there are also high concentrations in other areas, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and upstate New York.

9. There are between 2,000 and 3,000 USDA-licensed breeders (commonly referred to as puppy mills) operating in the United States, but because many breeders operate illegally without a license, the ASPCA estimates that this number is closer to 10,000.

10. 21 states have no laws regulating commercial dog breeders.

Although sad, it’s important to educate people on what puppy mills are. Education will, hopefully, lead to change.

If you are interested in becoming a doggy parent, look past the pet stores and breeders and check out Wags and Walks’ available dogs! We have dogs of all types and sizes, and we promise you that our pups are getting the royal treatment while they wait for their forever home.

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Team Wags