Puppy mills are nothing more than puppy breeding factories. Their operators consider the breeding dogs and offspring to be simply a salable commodity, just a “cash crop”. That means that the animals are housed in cramped crates or cages with wire floors, and stacked one on top of the other where bodily waste is left to fall through to the floor. They are usually confined in an environment with little or no climate control, often cold and damp in the winter and sweltering in the summer. Food and water is dispensed automatically. Human contact and canine interaction may only occur for breeding purposes which happens twice a year for breeding females. Exercise is not available for these breeders or their puppies as their existence is spent in a cage.
To maximize profits, both breeding dogs and their puppies are routinely denied even the most basic veterinary care. Puppies may not be healthy when they are taken and shipped to retailers, and they may also harbor genetically transmitted disease from the parents which could surface later on in the dog’s life. Remember, a puppy mill dog can NEVER be returned to its breeder while a reputable breeder guarantees the current health and soundness of its puppy.
Once a female can no longer breed, a puppy mill will typically put the dog down. Many rescues like Brookline are working hard to develop a rapport with specific mills so that these dogs can be saved and live out their days in the loving care of an approved adopter. This only happens with the dedicated effort of many people including those who deal directly with the mills, foster families who slowly introduce these breeder dogs to life inside a home and the compassionate care of veterinarians who often give rescues a reduced rate to help the rescue restore the dog to optimal health and adoptable status. Building confidence and trust within these once isolated dogs to interact appropriately in social settings with both humans and canines is the ultimate goal of the Brookline Lab Rescue program.
Is it possible to purchase a puppy and not help finance a puppy mill? It may take a little research, but the effort will pay off with a healthy family companion for many years to come. Do talk with your area veterinarians, local dog clubs and close friends or family members that have purchased a dog. Local area trainers often know a great deal about specific breeds and local reliable breeders. Visit local breeders to see how they operate and meet the parents of the puppies. A reputable breeder will welcome your visit-a puppy mill breeder will not! Avoid pet store impulse buying as most of these dogs come from some degree of puppy mill conditions.
Click here to read some of the struggles and trials along the way for some of the Labs we were able to transition from puppy mills into a loving home.