― Elizabeth Parker, Paw Prints in the Sand
The month of September has been officially designated "Puppy Mill Awareness Month". A puppy mill is a commercial dog breeding facility that is operated with an emphasis on profit above animal welfare. The term can be applied to operations involving other animals commercially bred for profit, for example "kitty mills". There are an estimated 4,000 puppy mills in the United States that produce more than half a million puppies a year. Commercial kennels may be licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture which may inspect the kennels.
Puppy mills house dogs in deplorable overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. The animals go without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization. Puppy mill dogs do not receive adequate attention, exercise or even basic grooming. To minimize waste cleanup, dogs and puppies are often kept in cages with wire flooring which injure their paws and damage legs. Cages are cruelly stacked up in columns. Breeder dogs at mills spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or kept inside indoor cages all of their lives. Commonly, after a breeder dog has reached four years of age, it is no longer needed and killed.
Ensure that your local pet stores are not selling puppies from puppy mills. You can contact a community pet store directly or go online to check your own state at the link below.
Contact your federal legislators and let them know that you're concerned about the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills and want the puppy mill issue to be a priority for Congress. Ask them to expand the reach of the Animal Welfare Act to include kennels that sell large numbers of puppies directly to the public.
Additional information regarding puppy mills and animal advocacy can be found here:
“Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
-Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
Thank you for being their voice.