Mississippi Puppy Mill Raid
How to Help Shut Down Puppy Mills
Puppy mills are abusive institutions that neglect dogs so that they can sell as many puppies as possible. The best thing you can do to shut down mills is to adopt dogs from shelters instead of buying them from pet stores. If you know of an abusive puppy mill, you may be able to report it, but you may find it easier to advocate for stricter laws. Make sure to educate your friends and family so that they can reduce the business a mill receives and shut them down for good.
Boycott puppy stores.Almost every pet and puppy store that sells puppies receives their dogs from a puppy mill. Buying these dogs, even to rescue them from the store, will encourage mills to keep breeding dogs in abusive conditions.
- Some pet stores may advertise their puppies as coming from USDA breeders, but this does not mean that the puppies came from humane conditions. Stores that sell puppies from USDA breeders are actually more likely to buy from puppy mills.
- Some pet stores will hold adoption events by bringing in dogs from local shelters. Verify with your local shelter that these dogs do indeed come from them before adopting at one of these events.
- Puppies sold online also often come from puppy mills.
Adopt from a shelter or rescue.Animal shelters and rescues are the best place to adopt dogs in need of a home. Many will even adopt out puppies or younger abandoned dogs. By adopting dogs from shelters, you make room for more dogs to have homes.
- Check out your local Humane Society or Society for the Protection of Animals (SPCA) for adoptions.
- Your county or municipality may run an animal shelter where you can adopt animals. These will often post adoptable dogs or puppies on their website. They may even have special events where they waive the adoption fees.
- If you’re looking for a specific breed, research a rescue that works with that particular breed. For example, if you want a greyhound, look for a greyhound rescue.
Visit the breeder.If you want to purchase a purebred puppy, find a local breeder yourself, and visit their kennel. This is the only way to guarantee that they are a humane breeder and not a puppy mill.
- When adopting from a breeder, check out the living situation of the puppies. Make sure that they have clean bedding and that they are free to roam during the day.
- Examine both the puppies and their mother carefully for any signs of disease or malnutrition.
- Just because a puppy has papers from a kennel club does not mean that they were bred responsibly. Always check the kennel for yourself.
Verify the puppy’s age.Many puppy mills will sell a puppy as young as six weeks.A reputable breeder will never remove the puppy from its litter before eight weeks of age, and some will wait until up to twelve weeks. To make sure your puppy is old enough to leave the litter, you should try to check its age.
- Ask for documentation that the dog has received their eight week vaccinations.This should be signed by a veterinarian, who you can call to authenticate the records. This will prove both that the puppy is healthy and that they are the right age.
- Eight week old puppies will be running around, and their eyes will be fully open. They should be fully weaned off their mother’s milk and capable of eating solid foods. They will sleep about 18 to 20 hours a day, but when they are awake, they will be active.
Closing a Local Mill
Research your local laws.In the US, puppy mills are regulated by the USDA. As long as the mills provide dogs with basic care, such as food, shelter, and water, they are allowed to operate under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This means that the puppy mill may not be illegal, and you cannot take direct action. That said, some states and counties have specific animal welfare laws that might restrict or outlaw these mills.
- In the US and Canada, there are about 70 municipalities that require pet stores to get their animals from shelters and not breeders or mills. If you live in one of these municipalities, you can find stores that buy from mills and report them.
Find evidence of neglect.Because puppy mills are permitted under the AWA, you may have to prove that there is extreme neglect in the mill to force it to close. This can be extremely difficult to do. As long as puppy mills provide the dogs with basic food, water, and shelter, they can keep as many dogs as they like, even in dismal conditions. That said, you can start to slowly build a case.
- If the dogs are sheltered outside in kennels with no protection from the elements, you may be able to make a case for animal neglect.
- If you know of sick puppies that came from the mill, you may be able to demonstrate that the mill is not providing sanitary care.
- Never trespass on property or break into a facility that you suspect might be a puppy mill. You can be arrested, and this will not help close the puppy mill. Instead, gather what information you can legally, and file a report with the authorities.
Contact the authorities.If you have evidence that a puppy mill is neglecting their dogs, you can contact the appropriate authorities to shut them down. There are many different legal venues you can reach to open an investigation.
- The USDA is responsible for overseeing puppy mills and breeders in the US. In most cases, they will be the first and only place to file a complaint.
- In the UK, your local authority is responsible for licensing breeders or puppy farms. Visit your council for more information about reporting a puppy farm.
- If puppy mills are illegal in your area, you can contact law enforcement to report your suspicion of a local puppy mill. They will handle the investigation and collect evidence.
Inform an animal defense organization.It can be extremely difficult to shut down a puppy mill on your own, and it is not advised that you contact the mill yourself directly. Instead, reach out to a local or national organization with experience in animal defense. They will be prepared to handle the legal aspects of the closure. Some places you might call include:
Rehome the rescued dogs.If you do manage to shut down the puppy mill, you should make sure that all of the dogs find new homes. Otherwise, the dogs will likely end up at a shelter, and many might be euthanized.
Becoming an Advocate
Talk to your local representatives.If you want to make puppy mills illegal, you should reach out to your local municipal, state, province, or council leaders. Let them know that you want new regulatory laws to be introduced to outlaw puppy mills.
- Calling or writing letters to your representatives will let them know that you are serious about this issue. You might even want to organize a campaign where you get others to all call about the same issue at the same time.
Volunteer to work at a local animal shelter.Animal shelters are often in dire need of volunteers to help walk, feed, clean, and socialize their dogs. By volunteering, you’re helping them reduce costs, and enabling more dogs to find homes.
- Many animal shelters will post forms on their websites for volunteers.
- Volunteering is a great way for younger advocates to get involved in caring for animals.
Raise money for a local rescue.By raising money for animal shelters, you can help stray dogs find homes. This will reduce the business that puppy mills do, thus helping them close forever.
- You can sell homemade cookies, cakes, lemonade, or jam. You can donate the money to a local shelter, or use the money to buy pet food and supplies for your local shelter.
- You might set up a fundraising page on a crowdfunding website to encourage people to donate to your cause.
- Research carefully to make sure that the shelter or rescue you are donating to will use the money on animals and not on their own administration costs. Ask them to show you where their money is going before making the donation.
Tell your friends to adopt.To reduce the amount of business that puppy mills receive, encourage friends and families to adopt their dogs from shelters or rescues instead of buying them from stores.
- If someone you know mentions that they want to adopt a puppy, you can say, “That’s sounds great. Are you going to rescue one from the shelter? That’s the best way to find a healthy puppy that wasn’t born in a mill.”
- If they want a purebred, you can offer to go check out the breeder with them. You can say, “Make sure you visit the breeder so you know that the puppy didn’t come from a mill. I’d love to come check it out with you if you’re worried about that.”
- Always try to maintain a positive tone, and don’t criticize your friends. You’re much likelier to convince them if you remain non-judgmental and pleasant.
Explain what problems a mill puppy may have.If your friend seems insistent on going to a puppy mill, you might try to warn them that mill dogs are more likely to have genetic or behavioral problems. These puppies may also be infected with a disease like mange, kennel cough, or parvovirus.
- You might say, “You know that puppies that come from pet stores may not be as healthy, right? In fact, they’re more likely to be sick when you adopt them.”
- You should also remind them, “Puppies from mills are taken from their mothers too soon. The dog may develop bad habits or behavior problems. It’s safer just to adopt.”
There is a puppy shop in Hamilton, OH and the conditions these dogs are in is deplorable. There are sick dogs mixed in the group and some of these puppies clearly are still needing to nurse. What should I do?
Where are the puppy mills in Ohio?
Are puppy mills legal?
- A reputable breeder will always let you visit the kennel and meet the puppies with their mother.
- Some people may protest that breeding restrictions affect reputable breeders, but this may not be a concern, as many reputable breeders do not have large-scale productions that abuse dogs.
- Never trespass on property or break into an establishment, even if you do think it is a puppy mill. The best thing you can do is let local law enforcement handle the situation.
- Research the organization you are donating to, and find out if the money goes towards administrative costs or to animals.
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