- What is a Puppy Mill?
- In my opinion, the term is too
loosely defined to be useful and too liberally applied to be
helpful. I don't know that I can provide a concrete definition,
but I can tell you about areas that are problems...
- Department of Agriculture (USDA)-registered
kennels are normally commercial (livestock) breeders selling
puppies to pet stores. I don't consider the USDA designator
to be a mark of distinction. Rather, a local kennel license
and a vendor's license tell you that a breeder is registered
with and available for inspection by local authorities.
- Nearly all pet stores are selling
puppies that have been raised as livestock and are providing
little or no socialization while the puppies are in their care.
If a puppy hasn't sold quickly enough, they may "send
it to school", a term that refers to selling the puppy
to a buncher for delivery to medical research. Quality
breeders don't sell to pet stores.
- Bunchers gather dogs at minimum
price and sell them to research facilities. Good breeders
don't want anything to do with bunchers.
- Some breeders resort to dog auctions
for speedy volume sales, but a reliable breeder doesn't need
such an avenue to either acquire or sell dogs.
- Hoarders will gather animals and
keep them in continually deteriorating conditions, often allowing
random pregnancies simply because of failure to spay and neuter.
- Rescues are sometimes nothing more
than breeders who have found a way to make money without caring
for dogs. They may have no facilities, relying on foster
families to house and care for the dogs. They probably
require payment to take in a dog and also require payment to
place a dog. If they cannot produce nonprofit organization
papers, show you their facility, and provide a veterinary reference,
don't deal with them.
- Your local humane society is usually
staffed and funded by many well-intentioned people. When
you see a dog come through that system a second or third time
or you see puppies placed that have disabling conditions, you
realize that they also have problems. However, the shelter
and local vets are also where folks are educated about spay/neuter
and helped toward a decision that can drastically decrease the
number of "accidental" litters produced.
- Dog breeders range across an entire
spectrum of circumstances, from the top show breeder to the
owner of a backyard mutt...from a hobby breeder with a small
kennel to a kennel of 100 adult dogs. Its really difficult
to draw lines and consistently label any of these breeders without
individually examining their programs.
This entire litter of descriptions is
intended to provide some scope to the problem of regulating the
dog industry. I continue to be of the opinion that local control
is best. I have good faith that our local Dog Warden, County
Sheriff, County Health Department, and Shelter can handle our county
better than the State of Ohio. That said, the current rendition
of Ohio Senate Bill 95, as passed in committee, seems to do some
good things without being unfairly restrictive. In the current
form, SB95 would constrain our ability to allow our breeding dogs
to run as a pack, limiting 3 dogs to one of our large enclosures.
I can accept downsizing to meet that restriction because it
would also keep a bad breeder from housing 6 little dogs in
- At Laymani Boxers, we feel that
dog problems are largely driven by demand. If buyers will
actively seek a quality breeder rather than falling in love
with the puppy in the pet store window, the market will readily
decrease, driving opportunists out of the business. An
active, educated consumer, refusing to compromise on the living
conditions and quality of their puppy and its parents is our
best tool in solving the "puppy mill" dilemma.
Puppy Purchase Do's an
Don't purchase a pet shop puppy. They
almost always come from commercial breeders.
Don't be fooled by the term "USDA
breeder". Those are the commercial (livestock) breeders.
Don't "rescue" a puppy from
a breeder. Any money you give a bad breeder perpetuates those
Do expect a Rescue organization to be
able to show you proof of nonprofit incorporation and an actual
Do expect your breeder to hold a kennel
license and a vendor's license.
Do expect your new puppy to already
have a veterinarian relationship and call that vet as a reference.
The next few years will present a difficult
puzzle to work through. Ultimately, the Humane Society of
the United States (HSUS) would like to achieve "no breeding
animals" and then "no pets". It is a concept
called "One generation and out"...
"We have no ethical obligation
to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective
breeding. One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction
of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding."
Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of Humane Society of the US, formerly of
Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Animal People, May, 1993
How do we stand up for animals, while
denying the agenda of the animal rightists? I intend to continue
providing information and context on our website. Each of
our Laymani Families can then, at least, be armed with meaningful
discussion tools. Meanwhile, you might browse the following