Our Stance: We'd rather no one breed companion animals for sale; but, if they're going to, then eveyone who breeds animals for profit must be licensed, inspected, and comply with minimum standards of care and conscience.

That said, we don't advocate over-reacting to these inhumane horrors by passing "blanket"or "one size fits all" legislation because, in our haste, the law may not achieve the desired result: it may penalize some and let others escape a loophole. However, we do advocate a major overhaul of ALL breeders--large or small.  (Part of the problem is identifying what is "small:" 5 female dogs, 8, 10, 15? Small "non-commercial" breeders (i.e., backyard breeders) are often exempted because of their size.) We know all too well that breeders with 5 dogs can still breed inhumanely for profit--and keep adding animals up the excemption limit--so how do you address that issue?)

We think that, if you breed animals for sale, at the very least, you should be registered and held accountable to humane standards. We're not advocating "Big Brother" should control everything, but standards and some checks and balances are needed not only to protect the public from being scammed, but most importantly, for the sake of the animals. Those who find homes for the occasional "oops" pregancy we don't consider breeders--unless they make a habit of it!

In view of recent legislation being presented to crack down on illegal and inhumane breeding of dogs for sale as pets, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) developed a "model bill" for states to use as a guide. The AVMA believes this guide will not only address the horrendous conditions that exist in some commercial breeding "facilities," but will help protect legitimate breeders from any undue burdens associated with "blanket" or "one size fits all" breeder legislation. It is unclear if the bill would cover backyard or "low volume" breeders.

For more information, read the AVMA's comments and download the model "dog breeders" bill.

Puppy Mill are profit-making businesses that exist solely to breed their "product" and sell it at a handsome profit without regard to animal care or concern. The businesses can range from small (backyard or hobby) breeders to large commercial operations. (Note: legitimate breeders who actually care about their animals will practice humane breeding, ensure their animals have proper nutrition, vet care, and are sold to reputable people.)

Small and "popular" dogs are the most commonly bred animal, but in-demand "breed-specific" cats are often subject to being overbred for profit. The "product" is generally sold to pet stores across the country for resale to the public. The public is always kept unaware of their new "pet's" true origins and sometimes even the retailer isn't aware.

Puppy Mills are non-stop breeding machines. They breed their animals every heat cycle with no rest for the mother. The breeders often provide substandard food which is the cheapest to buy--sometimes little food at all--because food costs cuts into their profits. Inbreeding is common which promotes all kinds of health problems in the offspring. Facilities are often unsanitary and animals live in squalor promoting disease and suffering. Vet care is virtually non-existent. Animals that are sick or injured suffer horribly and are still bred even while sick or injured until they simply cannot breed any longer or die. When the mother's have been "spent, they are most often inhumanely discarded. Sometimes the mothers are simply left to starve and die on their own.  All of this for the almighty dollar.

Millions of loving pets die every day because they were not wanted. Puppy Mills (and "kitten" mills) are in business for profit, not for the love of animals. Puppy Mills are NOT legitimate, responsible breeders who provide quality care for their animals and self-limit the numbers of animals they breed. If it were not for profit, puppy mills would not exist.

Please NEVER BUY dogs or cats from pet stores or other businesses that sell animals regardless of what they tell you about where they get their animals (unless a legitimate local rescue group is being represented)! Oftentimes the staff are told what to tell the public while the real story is very different. Sometimes even the retailer has been duped by the puppy mill breeders!

Remember: there is a loving pet at a nearby shelter waiting to be rescued by YOU from an early death or a life in a "gilded cage." Don't be a pet-snob: just because it isn't "purebred" doesn't mean it's damaged goods! Take time to chose wisely and you will be rewarded with a lifetime of sloppy kisses and/or soothing purrs.

Please look at these real pictures from typical puppy mills and educate yourself.  If these pictures don't convince you that  PUPPY MILLS need to be SHUT DOWN, we're not sure what will.

This picture is unfortunately TYPICAL of how dogs are kept in puppy mills!

Photos: Mary Hunt Davis - ASPCA Raid Feb. 2008 - Quarryville, PA

What are Puppy Mills?

No Profit?
 No Puppy Mills!

One Size Does Not Fill All

Filthy conditions are unfortunately typical.

Trash & broken down, tiny cages hold adults while puppies are isolated in travel carriers.

Not all puppy mills are large-scale and "commercial." Many puppy mills are what is referred to as "backyard or hobby breeders." You may know of some backyard breeders (with or without knowing it) or read about them in the news. You know, those nice "animal loving" neighbors who seem to have lots of dogs and puppies all the time. And they do their best to find "nice homes" for them...at a price. If asked why they don't spay and neuter, the find a plausible excuse so you don't pry further.

These backyard breeders often argue that they "love" their animals and want to share them with everyone or this is the only way they can "pay their bills." In the words of Colonel Potter of the hit series "MASH 4077," we say, "horse hockey!" They don't care about the animals--they care about the money and are clearly profiting from the misery of animals who are trusting in them for their well-being. Not only that, backyard breeders give legitimate breeders a bad rap and, for every puppy mill puppy that is purchased, one in the shelter won't get a chance at life. 

Opinions about the need to regulate puppy mills are divided: humane concerns vs. the right to conduct business without interference. The Puppy Mill Bill (SB460) introduced in 2009 by Senator Don Davis (D) aimed to regulate commercial dog breeders.   However, when presented, the PORK industry objected to specific language in the bill. The language was changed to accommodate them and, in return, they promised not to vote it down. They did anyway! There were also a few other organizations that opposed the bill.

Here are some links that will explain the bill, the story of it's defeat, who was instrumental in orchestrating that defeat (and why), and renewed interest in regulating this "industry"as a result of a particularly large and horrendously inhumane Brunswick County puppy mill bust just this month (August 2012).

** Read the original puppy mill bill (aka Regulation of Commercial Dog Breeders Bill) drafted in May 2009.
         (Good first attempt--thank you!)
** Read about the legislative sponsors and the revisions the proposed bill went through before it's defeat.
** Read about why it was defeated:  News Observer (Dogs and Hogs) and the Herald Sun
         (Can you say politics as usual?)
** Read about the Two-County (Brunswick and New Hanover) bust. (Right under our noses, but they DID
         get caught!)
** Read about the two NC legislators that are resurrecting the bill in the next 2012 session. (Yea!)
          But, the NC legislator also said NC is a "high volume" puppy mill state. (Great legacy for our kids, huh?)

We and other animal welfare organizations, including HSUS, will continue fighting to get this bill passed and YOU can help by contacting your state legislators and urging them to support it too!

Regulation Needed


Puppy Mills make profit from animal misery and suffering, and contribute tremendously to the number of preventable animal deaths each year.

Cats can have up to 3 litters a year with 4-6 kittens average, so they're really a money maker (especially the "purebred" varieties).

These pictures say it all about why Puppy Mills should be STOPPED!

PUPPY MILL dogs (and cats) suffer in silence as they churn out litter after litter until they're exhausted. Unadoptable offspring and "spent" females often end up in County facilities to be gassed to death!

Starting a puppy mill is easy beyond belief--and some people wonder why there are so many! Here's how it usually goes:   (To clarify: we are DEFINATELY NOT advocating anyone do this. This is presented strictly to show you why we need regulation and inspection!)

1.  No licensing required. If you start small, you can operate "under the radar." Note: you still run the risk of being caught by a nosy neighbor or disgruntled pet owner so you decide.
2.  Get a male and at least one or two female dogs to start (local pounds are great sources--the dogs are cheap and no one will miss them. The "free home" dogs are even better! Sometimes you can even find purebred cats at the pound or in the newspapers for free);
3.  Get some cages--or anything that will suffice and set them up anywhere inside or out (shelter and ventilation, heating optional); a secluded place out of prying eyes is best to avoid detection;
4.  Buy some cheap food or just use table scraps including any rotting food--hey a dog'll eat anything if he's hungry enough!;
5.  Breed the females every chance you get regardless of her physical condition or any pregnancy complications;
6.  Skip the vet care for everybody--getting another animal is probably cheaper;
7.  Sell the healthiest puppies for lots of money--quickly before anyone knows they're sick or have congenital defects and personality disorders;
8.  For the "unsalable" puppies, turn them in to Animal Control, or just let them die on their own because they're so sick, or be merciful and kill them. Throw their bodies in the nearby woods or bag 'em up for the landfill so you don't have to pay to have them cremated or buried legally.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Are you getting the picture? Too easy to set up and operate, isn't it? Feel nauseous, angry, disgusted?  We hope so. We also hope you help end this misery for animals. 

Dogs and cats are meant to be our companions...not currency.

Start a Puppy Mill in Eight Easy Steps