Puppy mill dogs need our help - but not by purchasing them to “save” them.
What Are Puppy Mills?
Here at MESSY, we LOVE good breeders. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people breeding dogs who aren’t taking care of them like they should, and aren’t setting their puppies up to have a successful and healthy life. (PS. If you have a specific breed you want instead of adopting a shelter or rescue, please reach out! I’d love to help you find a breeder doing proper health testing and raising excellent puppies).
A puppy mill is an environment where dogs are mixed and bred for cuteness and sales, rather than caring about the health of the dogs. It can be deceiving at first when you are looking for a breeder, because most puppy millers know how to talk about their dogs and convince you that they are healthy and happy and well cared for, when reality is actually a little different.
In a puppy mill environment, dogs are lacking proper health, nutrition, and early socialization. Puppy mills can be large with hundreds of dogs, or even just a few dogs - the true characteristic of a puppy mill is the lack of attention paid to the dog’s well-being.
While all breeds can be subject to puppy mill breedings, “designer dogs” are especially prone to this environment, including many of the doodles, teddy bears, and other cute mixes that are created. These dogs are often sold to make a profit due to their high demand, rather than breeding for the health and betterment of the dogs.
Where Are Puppy Mills Found?
The short answer, everywhere.
Dogs are most often sold from puppy mills when they are sold in pet stores (no reputable breeder sells their dogs through a pet store) and online. Good breeders do exist online - we’ll talk about how to find a good breeder in a future post - but it’s also a prime way for puppy mills to sell their dogs.
Puppy mills are especially prevalent in the midwest, including here in Iowa. According to the Des Moines Register, Iowa ranks second worst in the country in terms of the number of puppy mills.
Some newly passed legislation will hopefully help allow Iowa to more properly regulate puppy mills, by requiring larger and more sanitary enclosures and having more specific health regulations. Dogs will also be required to be exercised at least twice daily, instead of living their life entirely in a cage. These new laws were passed early in 2020 and will go in effect in June of 2020. We’d like to thank all those who worked on passing the legislation needed - it’s done a great job of tackling the problems with puppy mills by making it harder for them to operate while still allowing responsible breeders to continue breeding responsibly so we have well-bred dogs that we can add to our households!
This week (May 3-9, 2020) is Puppy Mill Action Week. As dog lovers, we all want to help end the problem of puppy mills. Steps you can take include:
The biggest thing you can do to help shut down puppy mills is to stop supporting them. Don’t buy pet store puppies (unless they’re there from a rescue). Don’t buy dogs from people who aren’t ethical breeders (contact us for help finding a responsible breeder). Tell your friends and family to do the same!
Puppy mills breed for profit. If we take away their profit, we can stop puppy mills.