What comes to mind when you picture a “puppy mill?” Heartbreaking images of malnourished dogs living in filthy, unhealthy conditions? Stacked, cramped cages as far as the eye can see? Dogs who live out their entire lives with little or no care, exercise or socialization?

Puppy mills are deplorable and should not be tolerated

Puppy mills are unlicensed mass-breeding operations that are inhumane, cruel, and illegal. Unlike USDA licensed breeders, puppy mills are unregulated and operate with no oversight from any government agency.

Unfortunately, there are some people who indiscriminately use the phrase “Puppy Mill” to refer to all breeders. Whether intentionally or accidentally, they fail to distinguish between licensed, inspected breeders and unscrupulous bad actors. This confusion actually make things worse as it unfairly punishes breeders working to ensure animals come from safe and healthy environments.

Pet Sale Bans Have No Impact On Puppy Mills

Some groups have lobbied communities across the country to pass pet sale bans with the mistaken belief that they will eliminate puppy mills. They believe that making it illegal to purchase dogs and cats, and even rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals from pet stores will put unscrupulous breeders out of business and solve issues of pet overpopulation. In reality, these bans only make things worse: they eliminate the most regulated and scrutinized option for purchasing a healthy, well cared-for pet.

Puppy mills already operate outside of the law and will continue to do so even in the face of pet sale bans. These bans harm responsible pet stores and limit your ability to choose where you get your pet. If we want to ensure that our pets come from safe and caring environments, we need a better solution than pet sale bans.

Families Should Have the Right to Choose Where They Get Their Pet

Just like every pet, every family is different and has different needs. Responsible pet ownership begins with finding the perfect pet for each unique set of circumstances. Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue can be a wonderful thing for both the pet and the new pet owner, but it’s not always possible for everyone. City-dwellers may not have enough space for a pet with high exercise needs. Families with children may need a pet with patience and playfulness. Even the President of the United States had to take allergies into consideration when seeking a companion for his family.

Poor matches make it much harder to form the kind of lasting bond that should be the goal of every prospective pet relationship. By protecting your right to choose the right pet for your family, you can take the first step toward forming a mutually beneficial bond for humans and animals alike.

Lack of Enforcement and Uniform Breeding Laws

Pet stores are required by law to obtain animals from USDA-licensed sources. Despite this, 4 out of 5 breeders are currently operating without government oversight. These unlicensed breeders are the ones responsible for inhumane conditions we’re fighting against and they are the ones that need to be stopped.

Unfortunately, inconsistent laws across states and a lack of resources at the federal level are what allow puppy mills to continue operating from the shadows. Only by creating — and enforcing — uniform standards for breeders can we put an end to puppy mills for good.

Get Involved

You can help ensure all breeders and pet stores are responsible.