The Humane Society of the United States has just published a very troubling report titled 101 puppy mills: A sampling of problem puppy mills in the United States. According to the introduction, the goal of the report is to inform consumers about widespread problems with puppy mills before they make an uninformed purchase that could potentially support animal cruelty. The report includes puppy mills from 22 states, but because most of the dealers sell online or to pet stores, their puppies could be available to unwary consumers in all 50 states and beyond.
I am always very concerned on the rare occasion I enter pet stores that sell animals, as I can’t help but wonder how many of the animals come from these types of commercial breeders. I have reported one of the local pet stores a number of times because of the sub-standard conditions in which the animals for sale were kept (I know that fines were levied), so I don’t have much hope for their concern about the quality and integrity of the breeders from whom they buy the animals. As stated in the report, regulation alone cannot put an end to puppy mills; they will end for good only when consumers stop buying their puppies and insist on dealing only with animal shelters, breed rescues or small responsible breeders they have met in person. There are so many animals in shelters who need homes and who will make loving and faithful companions.