Amish Puppy Mills?

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Barked: Wed Dec 19, '12 3:20pm PST 
I am new here and think I may have bought a puppy mill puppy without realizing what I was doing. Cece was advertised in the local newspaper and the family I got her from was located in Penn Yann, NY. I really didn't know much about puppy mills...I guess I figured puppy mill puppies were all sold to pet stores, so as long as I wasn't buying from a pet store, then I was okay (I realize now, that thinking is wrong and I would most likely get a rescue next time). The family in Penn Yann happened to be Amish. I didn't think too much of it, but the next day, at work, two of my co-workers mentioned that their dogs had also been purchased in Penn Yann from Amish families. We all just thought it was a weird coincidence, but after Googling "Amish" and "puppy", I am starting to wonder.

How can you tell if what looks like just people breeding a couple of family dogs is really a puppy mill? The family seemed so nice that it is almost impossible to imagine they could treat any living thing in a cruel way, but the more I read the more I wonder. I feel awful if I have indeed contributed to this horrible practice. Thank you for listening to my "confession" and I appreciate any advice on what I can do to help stop puppy mills in my state, now that I am more aware of the issue.
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Wed Dec 19, '12 4:21pm PST 
The best way to determine what type of breeder you are dealing with is to ASK QUESTIONS. Responsible, reputable breeders will show you proof of pre-breeding health tests and results, they will offer information about what veterinary care the pup has received such as vaccinations, worming, etc. and, most importantly, I think, THEY will ask YOU a million questions, many times before they even invite you to visit with them and their dogs.
You will be grilled about how you are going to care for the puppy, what your expectations for the puppy are, what type of previous pet owning experience you have had, what type of confinement you are going to provide, if you own or rent, how long the puppy will be alone each day, and on and on and on. In most cases, you will NOT take the puppy home the first time you visit, there will be a waiting period while the breeder is checking YOU out.
Generally, with a responsible breeder, there will be a contract/guarantee which you will be required to sign, and usually neutering is required.
Millers generally will not ask many, if any questions, they will only be telling YOU how wonderful and healthy the pup is and how good it is and that sort of thing. They may suggest you can get your "investment" back by breeding your new puppy, and otherwise try to make it sound like you cannot afford to NOT buy the pup.

Woo-woo- whineybutt
Barked: Wed Dec 19, '12 11:16pm PST 
Cece.. Generally Puppy Mills have 4+ breeding females that are bred every heat (aka they have a litter or 5 on the ground every moment). Their dogs live in runs or kennels and are not considered family or included in any activities.

If you met the parents and they seemed like happy family dogs, then they were probably back yard breeders.. Where, their intentions were either to make money.. it was an accident.. or they're just ignorant and didn't know the proper steps to breed and ensure the future of the breed and their puppies.

Back yard breeders usually aren't cruel to their dogs, they're just house pets. BUT that is a problem its self. House pets breeding create more house pets. In this day and age there is a demand for working dogs (whether it be service dog prospects, herding dogs, police dogs, sled pulling, etc..). Working dogs throw pet home puppies, show puppies, and working dogs, so they benefit more and are responsibly bred.. Plus if your dog is bought from a working kennel, then you know your dogs limits, the parents and their accomplishments and temperaments, etc.
Someone breeding their house pets might overlook separation anxiety, health problems, timidness towards strangers, and all of those other things.. afterall, we all want to believe our dog is the best in the world, right? lol


Pocket Wolf
Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 5:03pm PST 
Just look at the facilities. The major difference between a puppy mill, a hoarder, and a legit high volume dealer or a backyard breeder or a breed specific kennel is to get a good look at their facilities. take a tour of them. Are they clean and maintained? Do the dogs have a run that is not caked in questionable brown gunk? Does the place stink like unkempt animals?

With the Amish, you have to remember that dogs are livestock, and as such, they're not usually going to be kept indoors. If they're breeding small dogs, chances are that's a red flag. if they've got rugged dogs that could very well be good farm dogs in addition to being a certain breed, then that is probably ok.

Here are the absolute basics:
1. look at the bitch your puppy came from. She should not look ragged, old or worn out in body. she should not have mats. She should have nice teeth.

2. chicken wire or rabbit wire cages are not good for dogs. If you see them, it is probably a puppy mill.

3. beware of designer crosses. Mutts should not be marketed as designer anything.

4. ask about buyback programs, health issue returns and rehoming programs. Good kennels will usually have some kind of arrangement.

5. take a tour of the facilities. If they won't let you, don't buy from them.

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 5:46am PST 
Check out the ongoing thread in "Choosing the Right Dog" it is a discussion about "Keystone Puppies" and some of the deceptive practices that puppy brokers and the Amish puppy mills use to sell their puppies to unsuspecting buyers.

Do you even- lift?
Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 10:09am PST 
Link to the thread Mika & Kai referenced, in case someone comes across this thread in the future and wants to read the one she mentioned: Keystone Puppies
Tohbi - Deceased- 10/04/2013

Blue-Eyed Devil
Barked: Tue Feb 26, '13 6:56am PST 
Not all Amish run puppy mills. But, they do treat their animals as livestock and if they're selling small dogs - its a business. If they offered papers, I'd be even more wary. Chances of seeing legit health tests are pretty slim.

But it could be just a small breeding operation and the dogs treated well. With an Amish family near me, the children are in charge of the dogs and they only have 1-2 litters per year.