Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Puppy Mill?

Puppy mills are large dog breeding facilities that house up to several hundred dogs at a time in deplorable conditions.  Most facilities force female breeding dogs to live in small cages and reproduce until they can no longer carry a pregnancy due to age or health.  Many dogs can be housed in one small cage without room to move.  Puppy mill breading dogs are worked like slaves for the financial profit of the owner.  The conditions are cruel, and unfathomable to most animal lovers.

Neighborhood puppy mills are also a problem in the United States.  These are smaller scale operations, often found in people’s homes.  In this scenario, people breed their personal dog for a profit without adequate time between pregnancies or proper veterinary care.

Why are puppy mills bad?

Puppy mills operate for profit with little concern about the health and treatment of the dogs in their care.  Often the female breeding dogs suffer most, forced to live their lives in small cages and reproduce until they can no longer handle pregnancy or die.  Many times when a female breeding dog is no longer able to reproduce, she is brutally killed or abandoned.   These dogs never have a chance at a happy life or human companionship.

Quite often the dogs that are produced by puppy mills have health and behavioral problems attributable to their lack of human contact, over-breeding and deficient veterinary care.  Health certificates and histories for the dogs are sometimes faked or never supplied to prospective buyers.  The result: uneducated consumers purchase animals with numerous health and behavioral problems and many of these dogs end up euthanized after surrender.

How many puppy mills are in America?

It is estimated that there are almost 10,000 puppy mills currently operating within the United States. The majority of puppy mills can be found in the Midwest – largely in Missouri and Kansas.

It is unknown how many neighborhood puppy mills there are currently in business within the United States.  They are defined as people that breed their personal dog for a profit, without the adequate time between pregnancies or proper veterinary care.

Are puppy mills illegal?

The responsible breeding of domesticated animals is not illegal.  However, keeping an animal in an inhumane situation and forcing it to reproduce without proper veterinary care and adequate time between pregnancies is considered cruel, and is illegal. All 50 states have laws to protect against animal cruelty and neglect.  To find out more animal cruelty laws and how they pertain to puppy mills in your state, visit your state legislative website or call your local animal law organization.

What is SPCA International doing to stop them?

SPCA International is working to stop puppy mills through education, reporting and support for local action.

SPCA International frequently receives reports of abuse and neglect.  We work with every good citizen reporter to find the appropriate local authority and follow each case as closely as possible.

What can I do to stop puppy mills?

This SPCA International article is intended to help further your understanding of your animal’s needs. We understand your unique bond with your pet and it is our pleasure to help you look after its welfare. Thanks to your continued support, SPCA International is able to provide you and countless others with important news regarding the safety of your pets. Thank you again for your donations – every little bit helps!