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Alexandra Gjerde
Professor Jason Salcedo
English 101 F4
December 3, 2013

The Hard Truth About Puppy Mills
Whats the first thing you think of when you hear the word puppy? Cute, cuddly,
innocent and loving. Makes you feel all warm and good on the inside. Whats the first thing you
think of when you hear the word mill? A processing plant, an assembly line or a work shop. Now
put the two together. Puppy mill. The assembly line for puppies. These places are dark,
inhumane and unforgiving. Theyve been around since the 1960s and are still going strong. The
debate I have is about ignorance. If people knew about what puppy mills were they would be
more informed and make better decisions about buying these puppies. Theres nothing I would
rather see more than the end of puppy mills. I propose we stop this madness! In order to end
puppy mills, the people need to be educated about puppy mills, pure-breds and reputable
A puppy mill is a place where people breed and raise dogs in unspeakable conditions.
These puppies, who are often sick, and have congenital defects are then sold to pet stores, who
then in turn sell them to uninformed and ignorant customers. The individuals who run the mill
dont care for the wellbeing of the puppies and often times wont give them the proper
veterinarian care they need to grow up strong and healthy. The females are bred twice a year,
until they can no longer produce a profitable litter size and are then abandoned or killed. The
puppies are torn away from their mothers at a young age and thrown in tiny overcrowded cages.
(Puppy Mills: Dog Abuse) the cages are constructed of wire mostly so that the feces can fall to
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the floor. This wire mesh causes discomfort to the puppys feet and can cause them great
distress. According to someone who has personal experience with these puppy mill dogs,
Michelle Blender and Kim Townsend, these dogs are fed through an automatic feeder system, so
the handlers rarely come in contact with them. The only times they do is when being vaccinated,
dewormed, or moved to a new cage to breed or whelp the puppies. Thus making these dogs miss
many critical socialization periods with humans. They will be indifferent to any kind of human
Not only are puppy mills inhumane, but they add to the over population of dogs.
Annually there are about 5 million unwanted dogs in shelters throughout the country. About 3.5
million of them will be euthanized by the end of the year. More than twenty-five percent of these
dogs in shelters are pure-bred. (Animal Shelter Statistics) No one wants them because they saw
that cute little purebred pup in the pet store window. The reason those puppies are there is
because of puppy mills. These places pump out thousands upon thousands of puppies only to get
shipped to pet stores all across the country. This not only adds to the over population of dogs, but
the way they are shipped to these outlets are horrendous. In the article Puppy Mills: Dogs
Abused for the Pet Trade the author states puppies who are shipped from mill to broker to pet
store can travel hundreds of miles in pickup trucks, tractor-trailers, and airplanes, often without
adequate food, water, ventilation, or shelter. Many of the puppies dont make it through the
long journey. The corpses of the dead puppies are still lying with the live ones, which will bring
the onset of diseases. This will then either make them sick or, end more innocent puppy lives.
And regardless if the puppies are healthy or not, these brokers will still sell them to pet stores.
Puppy mills produce large volumes of pure-bred puppies. To get them to be pure bred
these dogs were most likely inbred many times. Because remember puppy mills are in it for the
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money, so theyre not going to go out spending time to find another dog thats the same breed
and not related to the mother, when they have an abundance of the same breed right there. Once
a dog is inbred they have increased health problems, and congenital defects. Due to the excessive
inbreeding, certain dog breeds are more likely to have health problems. In particular, Dalmatians
are predisposed to deafness and boxers are prone to heart disease. (Laura Gallagher) Any place
that wants to sell pure-bred dogs or cats need papers to prove that both the mother and father are
of the same breed. They will give you papers to prove the puppy is pure bred, but you cannot
be certain whether the puppy was inbred, or of its lineage. Often times new dog owners find
themselves with puppies that have multiple physical disabilities as well as personality disorders
(Puppy Mills). They may find they are ill prepared to financially and emotionally care for the
dog, and either abandon it, and take it to a shelter. This then further exacerbates the over
population of unwanted dogs in shelters. I truly believe if people knew these conditions
beforehand they would not buy their dog from a puppy Mill.
Whenever someone buys a dog from a puppy mill, they usually dont know they are
doing so. How will you know if you are purchasing a puppy from a mill? It can be hard to
discern between reputable dealer and mills. There are some tips you can use to help avoid them.
For example if you were online and found a website that sold puppies, dont trust it. They are
most likely selling puppy mill puppies. If you were to ask the suppliers to see the dog in person
and they say no, thats probably a sign they are doing things that the public wouldnt see as
humane or just. People with nothing but money on the mind run these puppy mills. They dont
care for the animals welfare and see these dogs as cash-crop. They breed millions of dogs a year
and sell them to pet stores all across the country. Every time someone buys a puppy from a local
pet shop is keeping these dog breeders in business. For every pure bred puppy sold to a pet store
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for around $100 it can then be resold to a paying customer anywhere from $1000-$5000 (Puppy
Mills Basic Facts). Its crazy to think that people will pay so much for a dog they dont even
know where it came from. When looking for a new addition for the family, you do want a
healthy one. If you buy from pet stores that are associated with puppy mills you are buying a
puppy with more or less bad blood. That puppy will more likely than not have multiple health
problems that will pull money from your pocket and still might not even help the puppy.
A reputable breeder is someone who you can trust and is trying their best to give the
mother, father and puppies the best they can. To ensure that you are getting the best you can
from pure bred dogs, try to find breeders that select dogs from a larger gene pool. With a larger
array of genes to select from, the puppies will come out with less genetic problems. Not to say
that inbreeding doesnt happen in the wild. Animals like wolves inbreed because they are
separated from other pacts and still need to reproduce.
If youre willing to take the time to look for a pure-bred puppy then you should have the
time to look find the right breeder to do so. Are you really willing to risk the lives of hundreds
of future generations of dogs all because you wanted that puppy. Perhaps if future dog owners
were aware of the cold-hearted, and uncaring nature of puppy mills, and their disregard for the
health and welfare of the dog, we could put an end to this vicious cycle.

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Works Cited
Animal Shelter Statistics, Statistic brain, n.p, 8/22/2012, 12/10/2013
Rehabilitation of Puppy Mill Dog, Puppy Mills, Michelle Bender, 4/1/2007, 12/2/2013
Extent of inbreeding in pedigree dogs revealed in new study, imperial, Laura Gallagher,
8/15/2008, 12/10/2013
Puppy Mills: Dogs Abused for the Pet Trade, Peta, n.p. n.d. 12/2/2013
Puppy Mills, Pet Shops, and the AKC Basic Facts, Friends of Animals, n.p. n.d. 12/2/2013