A friend  (who does not read this blog) just sent me this about an ‘exposé’ done by the CBC on puppy mills.  The coverage is rather superficial, but I thought the timing was interesting considering my post earlier today regarding ‘to spay or not to spay.’  The video basically documents how puppies from pet stores come from large pet brokers, who in turn get their puppies from puppy mills.   

The practice of breeding puppies as a cash crop became wide-spread shortly after World War II when the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) encouraged poor farmers to produce a new product.  Today, according to this webpage, between 2-4 million puppies are produced in roughly 10,000 puppymills across the US, every year.

 According to this article, at least 90 percent of pet store puppies are factory farmed animals, just like the meat we buy at the grocery store.  And while the puppies escape, their mothers are kept in small cages for their entire life, bred every single heat cycle until their production goes down.  After that, they are “disposed” of (the article does not go into details on exactly how…). 

What I find interesting in the video is that people pay thousands of dollars for these puppy mill puppies (one woman interviewed paid $2500 for a Pomeranian, who in turn cost her $10,000 worth of vet bills) because they want puppies “from reputable breeders.”  At no point does the video clarify the following, so let me make this perfectly clear to anyone who might be in doubt.  No reputable breeder would ever, ever, ever sell puppies through a pet store or broker.  Never, ever.  Full stop.  End of discussion.  No exceptions.

If someone tries to convince you otherwise, they’re full of sh*t.  Run, don’t walk away, regardless of how cute the puppy may be.

Puppy mill production of dogs is a tremendous problem and is largely behind the horrific overpopulation of dogs on this continent.  People love purebred dogs, and there is a tremendous demand for them.  At between $1000-3000 for a puppy (depending on the breed), this makes for a lovely income for the breeder.  For example, I know of one breeder of Portuguese Water Dogs (PWD) who bred her two bitches.  Each dog had 10 puppies, and each puppy sold for $3000.  That means she made $60,000 from those two litters.  I know she had some expenses as raising a litter well is expensive.  But most of that $60,000 would have been profit.

I know of several other people who breed 6-7 litters of border collies per year, at $1000 per pup.  These people don’t have to work because their dogs earn them enough for a comfortable living.

In my opinion, the definition of a puppy mill includes people like this, who “only” breed 6-7 litters a year, in addition to those big facilities mentioned above.  Quite frankly, if someone breeds more than one litter a year, I start to question their ethics.  For me a truly ethical breeder is someone who only breeds to produce a puppy for themselves every few years, and then carefully finds homes for the rest of the litter.  

There is a border collie puppy mill about 10 minutes from where I am moving to.  I have known of this place for years, and have taken in quite a few rescue dogs from that operation.  But I did not know where it was located.  Now I do.  It will be interesting to find out what goes on inside…