Puppy Stores: Where Not to Buy Puppies From

Many people cannot resist the urge to buy a dog or cat from a puppy (mill) store or online where the unscrupulous, unethical purveyors display dogs and cats like shiny inanimate objects. The real problem occurs once the dog comes home with a family and the costly lifelong project of providing health care (psychological and physiological) dog training and behavior modification (that is far more costly and lengthy with puppy mill dogs than with non-puppy mill dogs) is overwhelming. Although flawed, the typical well-meaning thought goes something like this: if I leave the dog in the window display, he/she will suffer so I should save them. The problem with this line of thinking and logic is that by “saving” a dog in the window or by buying a pet online, it simply creates demand and another void to be filled for this slave trade business. Buying (demand) keeps the puppy mills in business and creates another empty cage to be filled and the never-ending cycle continues in perpetuity.


What Is A Puppy Mill?

When someone thinks of a puppy mill they don’t think about the pretty website showing puppies, craigslist or any online or backyard “breeder”. They typically think of some dark, dungeon far away that they would never visit. But any and every “breeder” selling dogs online is likely a puppy mill. Certainly, any “breeder” that would agree to sell you a dog and ship them is a puppy mill. Any person or entity that does not put the rights, health, and welfare of the dog first is a puppy mill.

Puppies for Sale

Behind the scene is equally if not more disturbing. Puppies aren’t created out of thin air, there is a slave bitch somewhere, that you will never see or be shown, living in squalor and in deplorable conditions, with congenital and genetic abnormalities, rampant health problems, living with enormous pain and suffering, being used as a slave, baby-making machine, artificially inseminated or otherwise repeatedly raped every pregnancy cycle. These “living” conditions and abusive practices are not fit for any life form. When this bitch is considered no longer useful/profitable (aka: she can’t have babies any longer) she is killed discarded and recklessly and heartlessly thrown away like callously discarding an old newspaper. Make no mistake about it, puppy mills (most dog breeders) are salespeople, purely in the business to make money. They could care less about other lives (other than their own), pain, suffering, you, a dog’s physical, morphological, emotional, behavioral, medical health or problems after they leave their jail cell store/internet site, and are the antithesis of humane and compassionate. Online shoppers that patronize these stores (internet or physical) not only keep these nefarious people in business but validate their existence.

Fueling the demand cycle perpetuates puppy mills who have now migrated from brick and mortar stores to a vast online presence. These stores spend a lot of money on professional photoshoots, dressing dogs up like little dolls and trying their best to appeal to people’s psyches (warmth and compassionate nature) just to move “product out the door”. I have a plethora of research articles about puppy mills on my resources page, under “Education.”  One particular link that everyone should check is the ASPCA’s do not shop list, which is an animal advocate created puppy mill database that lists many puppy mills and online stores of where NOT to shop or visit. Any person can add a puppy mill to this list and it is the most comprehensive, diverse list I am aware of.

The Pain & Suffering of Internet & Puppy Store Dogs

Recently, veterinarian Frank McMillan from the Best Friends Animal Society and a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia conducted research that appeared in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association that looked at the “differences in health and behavioral characteristics between dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores/online/puppy mills and those obtained from noncommercial breeders.” The results were not surprising. Dogs sold in pet stores or on the internet were more fearful of people, dogs, novel environments and situations and just about everything. The dogs were also more aggressive, less social with other dogs and humans, more difficult to train, more prone to escaping from the house, had humping/mounting issues, were more difficult to house train and overall much less psychologically sound.

The debilitating physiological and psychological health effects of puppy mill dogs have led to banning the sale of dogs in pet stores in many places around the world including Miami Beach and in Los Angeles California! Dogs sold in pet stores or online come from what the industry euphemistically calls “puppy farms” but the rest of the world knows as “puppy mills.”

These puppy mills rear dogs in the same way that factory farmers rear sentient pigs, cows, and chickens to be used for food, unethically and without choice or rights of any kind. Dogs are kept in wire cages, do not see the light of day, and live in their own feces and excrement. These dogs receive no socialization, training, mental or physical stimulation or personal attention or love from human beings.

Considering how rare it is for a group of scientists to offer their opinions on a subject, the research above offers some very strong statements. “we cannot recommend that puppies be obtained from pet stores.” I would add, and most breeders. Until the shelters are empty, please adopt don’t shop.