Silva Battista

9 things you can do to help stop puppy mills

Unlike "hobby breeders," who have a fondness and respect for a particular breed that they want to maintain and share, puppy millers' sole goal is to make a profit by selling puppies in pet stores and on the Internet. In a puppy mill (also known as a "commercial dog breeding facility"), hundreds to over a thousand dogs are kept in one place--in cages in barns and sheds--more like livestock than pets. To boost profit, dogs are kept in cages all the time with just the minimum legal space allowed: six inches larger than the dog on all sides. Females are bred as often as possible, and when they are no longer able to "produce," they are discarded. It is no life for man's best friend.

Here are nine things you can do to help stop puppy mills.

  1. Join the "Puppies Aren't Products" coalition.
    It's free, fast, and you will become part of Best Friend Animal Society's campaign to stop puppy mills and increase pet adoptions. To join, go to Best Friends Network's website.
  2. Speak up to the public.
    Write letters to the editor about puppy mills, breeders who keep their animals in unacceptable conditions. Note how many ads for dogs, puppies, kittens, and other animals there are in the paper's classified seciton, while shelters overflow with unwanted pets. The Doris Day Animal League has a good guide for what to write and how to submit letters here.
  3. Decrease demand for puppies.
    You may have your heart set on a puppy or a particular breed, but don't encourage puppy mills by buying pets from stores! We guarantee that your next perfect pet is waiting for you at one of the thousands of shelters or rescue groups across the country--and they're not hard to find if you take the time to look responsibly. First, visit your local shelter. If you don't find the right pet there, rescue from online at

    One can also find a dog by contacting a local breed rescue organization by searching Google. Enter a city or state, the breed you are looking for, and the word "rescue."

  4. Tired of pet stores in your community? Let them (and potential customers) know.
    For information on how to hold a peaceful rally in front of a pet store, go here.
  5. Wear your opinion on your shirt.
    Do you agree that puppies aren't products to be manufactured in America's puppy mills and sold in stores like inventory? Say so. To order a "Puppies Aren't Products" shirt, click here. All proceed go to Best Friends' puppy mill campaign.
  6. Know the laws.
    Commercial dog breeders who sell wholesale (usually direct to pet stores) must be licensed and inspected by the USDA. Commercial breeders who sell direct to the public (via the Internet and classified ads) do not need to be licensed or inspected unless their state, county, or city requires it. Additionally, many states have "Lemon Saws" for the sale of pets; they aim to protect consumers from purchasing sick animals. For a comprehensive list of your state's dog laws, including breeder license and lemon law information, go to Michigan State University's Animal Legal & Historical Center website.
  7. Support legislation that regulates and reduces breeding of animals.
    Here are several websites are available to help people stay updated on legislation for all animal issues, including breeding:
  8. Don't give up.
    Individuals and organizations have been fighting against puppy mills and bad pet breeders for decades. Things won't change overnight, but each little change makes a big difference. Even just educating one person about puppy mills, encouraging them to adopt rather than buy pets, is a great accomplishment.
  9. Donate to the "Puppies Aren't Product" Campaign.
    100% of your donation will be used to fight puppy mills, and to give former puppy mill dogs a chance to have what all dogs deserve: safety, good care, happiness, and love from a family of her won.


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