National Puppy Mill Awareness Day


September 17, 2022 is National Puppy Mill Awareness Day. The goal is to inform pet parents regarding the truth about puppy mills and to encourage dog lovers to adopt dogs instead of shopping for them.

Of course, puppy mills are horrible places. The breeding is rampant with some dogs bred until they are no longer able, and then disposed of. There’s little (if any) socialization and typically no veterinary care The dogs are kept in inhumane conditions, as they live in wire cages and on often on their own feces.

Investigators from the U.S. and state departments of agriculture are greatly culpable for allowing mills to exist.  However, this is changing. Earlier this year Congress directed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to no longer allow its inspectors to use a controversial regulatory practice called “teachable moments.”

Starting in 2016, this “teachable moments” practice allowed inspectors to use their discretion to overlook “minor violations” of law and instead “educate” the puppy mills, roadside zoos (which should be abolished), research labs or other USDA licensees. This is good news is for the animals. Critics argued that the “teachable moments” policy was introduced as a way to ignore infractions and reduce citations at regulated facilities

Puppy mills continue to thrive in the U.S., though. They sell dogs to the unsuspecting online, as well as to pet stores.

The puppy mill funnel into pet stores is being disrupted as sales of dogs/cats at pet retail stores are now banned in California, Washington (state), Maine, Maryland, Illinois and New York State once Governor Kathy Hochul signs a bill now on her desk. The Governor is reportedly being pressured by the New York City based American Kennel Club (AKC) to not sign the bill which means the AKC supports puppy mills.

In addition, humane pet sales laws are an effective way to put the squeeze on commercial breeding operations. These laws prevent pet stores from selling puppies and kittens from breeding mills, which shrinks the market for inhumanely bred pets to be sold. To date aside from the states noted above and many counties, over 400 cities in Canada and the U.S. ban sales of dogs and cats (and in some cities also rabbits) at pet stores. In New Jersey over two dozen cities – accounting for the majority of the state – currently bans sales. Most recently Bend, OR enacted a humane law banning sales of dogs/cats at pet stores.

In a nation where over half of all the households share their bedrooms with their dogs and spend money on elite food and designer outfits, it’s astoundingly sad that puppy mills continue to thrive. The good news is that more states are waiting in the wings to outrightly ban pet store sales of dogs/cats. The bad news is that savvy puppy millers trick those purchasing online.

Do consider “liking” the Facebook Page, Veterinary Professionals Against Puppy Mills.