Bulldogs on sale! Yorkie puppies available here! Have you ever wondered where all these cheap puppies for sale in pet stores come from? The answer is that they are produced in factory-like environments known as “puppy mills.” Puppy mills are large-scale dog breeding operations where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. Puppy mills treat dogs like products, not living beings, and usually house them in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, socialization, or even food and water.
The cute puppies for sale at your local mall were probably bred from dogs who don’t play outside or get groomed. Puppy mill dogs are typically kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs—and cages can be stacked up in columns (which means waste falls on the dogs housed below them). Compromised health and conditions like matting, sores, mange, severe dental disease and abscesses are often widespread. Many puppy mill puppies are born with or develop overt physical problems that make them unsalable to pet stores—which means they end up abandoned or just left to die. Many sick puppies do manage to end up at pet stores, though, where the new puppy owner unknowingly purchases the sick dog.
Breeding dogs at the mills sometimes spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements—or crammed inside filthy structures. Female dogs usually have little to no recovery time between bearing litters. When, after a few years, the females can no longer reproduce or when their breed goes out of “style,” the dogs are often abandoned, shot, or sometimes starved until they eventually die.
What "USDA Licensed" Really Means
Many pet stores with cute puppies for sale will tell you that they don't get their puppies from puppy mills. They'll say their puppies are all from "USDA licensed breeders." If you dig a little deeper into what that actually means, you'll find that it's not worth much! The standards of care required by the USDA are woefully inadequate and not what most of us would consider humane. Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, which is enforced by the USDA, dogs in commercial breeding facilities can legally be kept in cages only six inches longer than the dog in each direction, stacked on top of one another, for their entire lives. It's completely legal to house dogs in cages with wire flooring and to breed female dogs at every opportunity. The standards of care currently required leave a lot of room for dogs to be severely mistreated. Take a look at our gallery of breeder photos taken by the USDA to see for yourself where pet store puppies really come from and what it means for a breeder to be USDA licensed.
Even if the standards were adequate, they're not enforced! Take a look at a scathing report done by the Inspector General on USDA's lax enforcement of the law regulating breeders (heads up, it's a little graphic!) and judge for yourself whether USDA licensing of puppy mills is enough to make you shop at stores that sell puppies. We don't think it is! In fact, you only have to be licensed by USDA as a commercial breeder if you are selling puppies to pet stores or brokers! So USDA licensure is actually a pretty good indicator that the breeders are, in fact, puppy mills! Small hobby breeders who sell their dogs directly to the public, including those who only sell their puppies online, do not have to be licensed or inspected by USDA.
Don’t support the industry.
Most pet shop puppies come from puppy mills, and so do most dogs sold over the Internet. Pet shop puppies are separated from their mother at as young as six weeks of age. The health of the puppies is not always guaranteed.
Purchasing a puppy for sale at a pet store or online often supports the horrible puppy mill industry. Buying anything in pet stores that sell puppies supports the industry, too! Buy all your pet supplies—toys, pet food, kitty litter—from stores that do not sell puppies, or buy your pet supplies online from websites that do not sell puppies.
Help us celebrate No Pet Store Puppies Day on July 21 by taking the pledge and refusing to shop in pet stores and on websites that sell puppies.