Some States Cracking Down on Puppy Mills, Puppy Mills Still Rampant
Let's look at this term "commercial breeder." No reputable, responsible breeder I've ever met or heard from would ever want to be known as or associated with "commercial breeders." So let the "commercial breeders" claim legitimacy all they want; as long as they are making significant money off the breedings they are NOT reputable. If the dogs are not part of a loving family environment its still a puppy mill.
Here's my test for a puppy mill:
Do the dogs live with the breeder in their home? No, probably a puppy mill.
What are the breeder's rationales for breeding each dog bred? If it's not for the betterment of the breed, it's probably a puppy mill.
How many litters does this particular breeder have per year? More than two to four, depending on how many females kept, probably a puppy mill.
How early was the female first bred? Under two years old, probably a puppy mill.
How often is each female bred? Every heat or once a year? Probably a puppy mill.
Who buys the puppies? Mainly pet stores? Definitely a puppy mill. NO reputable breeder would EVER let one of her puppies go to a pet store.
What kind of guarantee goes with every puppy? If the breeder will guarantee that you can bring the puppy back if any physical defects are found then this is probably not a puppy mill. But check it out. Ask for many references from previous buyers/adopters. Call the references and ask about their experiences with the breeder. Call the local breed club and check them out. If your breeder is reputable and responsible, her name will check out positively time and time again. Dog people know each other and are glad to share good stories about responsible breeders.
What does the breeder ask you to do if you decide to dump your dog? If the breeder has no answer or basically says it's not her problem, then it's a puppy mill. Responsible breeders want their dogs back if you decide you no longer want them. You won't get a refund on your money if you return a three-year-old dog to the breeder but you can rest easier knowing that the breeder will make sure your dog is not abandoned in a kill shelter or doesn't wind up being a puppy mill dog because you didn't spay or neuter before giving him up.
Please be aware that this article has some upsetting information.
Thanks to Freep.com for this article.
More states are cracking down on disreputable dog breeders
June 3, 2007
By ERIC OLSON
OMAHA, Neb. Bob Baker has seen the worst In his 27 years as an animal cruelty investigator. There was the Missouri breeder who skinned dead dogs and fed them to other dogs in his kennel. There was the South Dakota breeder who used a handsaw to amputate the leg of a pregnant Rottweiler in hopes she would survive long enough to give birth to another litter.
Baker says such cases are the exception, but adds that mistreatment of dogs in large-scale breeding operations remains common and troubling.
Most breeders learn how to keep their standards just above violating cruelty statutes, but the conditions are still unacceptable," said Baker, a St. Louis-based national investigator for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Its difficult dealing with these people. We file charges on the most egregious ones."
State legislators across the nation are attempting to crack down on rogue breeding operations and pet sellers.
The week after the May 16 rescue of 173 dogs from the property of a Dawson County man, the Nebraska Legislature passed a law that increased the number of state kennel inspectors from one to four and requires new operations to be inspected before opening.
Puppy lemon laws, which let buyers get their money back if health or genetic defects are discovered within a set time, are on the books in 16 states, not including Michigan, and were introduced in four others this year.
California lawmakers are studying a bill that would require cats and dogs over 4 months old to be spayed or neutered, unless the person caring for them obtains a breeding license.
Laws that would tighten the regulation of retail pet shops are pending in Oregon, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and bills establishing standards for breeding operations were introduced in Minnesota and Ohio.
Mass breeding has been a hot-button issue for decades with animal welfare activists, who use the term puppy mills" to describe the most unsavory of operations, which are usually situated in rural areas.
The Humane Society of the United States has long identified Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio and Pennsylvania as the major puppy-mill states, said outreach director Stephanie Shain.
Of the 7 million to 9 million dogs brought into U.S. families each year, Shain said, an estimated 2 million to 4 million are products of puppy mills.
The demand for popular breeds, and the high prices people are willing to pay, keep breeding operations churning, Shain said. A quick Internet search showed many puppies with four-figure sale prices, and some breeds, including bulldogs and Belgian Malinois, with top prices exceeding $3,000.
Many dog breeders chafe at the term puppy mill," saying it is inflammatory and lumps conscientious commercial dog breeders together with the unscrupulous.
Clem Disterhaupt, president of the Nebraska Dog Breeders Association, said most commercial breeders have the animals best interest at heart.
We dont associate ourselves with puppy mills, but sometimes people are under the impression that if you have a lot of dogs, you must be a puppy mill," Disterhaupt said.
Disterhaupt said reputable breeders are licensed with state or federal agencies and provide adequate space, cleanliness, heat and air conditioning and ventilation.
Thats not a puppy mill," he said. People need to distinguish the difference."
Daisy Okas, assistant vice president of communications for the American Kennel Club, said breeders, kennel operators and pet stores register all types of breeds with her organization. The AKC has 15 inspectors who visit about 5,000 places a year where significant numbers of dogs are registered.
Shain, however, said people who want a puppy should avoid pet stores and instead buy from a hobby breeder or adopt from a shelter.
Puppy mills, Shain said, damage dogs emotionally and physically because the animals are confined in tight, unsanitary quarters with little or no socialization with humans or veterinary care. Females are bred repeatedly, some when theyre as young as 6 months.
The overbreeding, combined with the dismal environment, results in sickly puppies that have genetic defects and temperament problems, she said. The dogs are sold in pet stores or on the Internet to unsuspecting buyers.
Investigators such as Baker inspect breeding operations after receiving complaints. Breeders usually cooperate, but when they dont, he said, he gathers information by interviewing neighbors and observing the facility from afar.