Often times Rescue will have a
"puppy-mill" dog up for adoption.
is a Puppy Mill?
Puppy Mills are places that
mass produce (breed) puppies for the sole purpose of selling them to pet
stores all over the country. Often, these mills will have 20-40 different breeds
of dogs, and often 40-50 of each breed. Some of the
bigger mills will house 1500+ dogs. Conditions
are horrible and would shock you. Mills will breed each
female every time she comes into season. Puppies and parents
are never held, never played with and are seldom given proper vet care.
Puppies are taken from their Mom's at a very early age, all so they can
be sitting in the pet shop looking adorable when they turn 8 weeks old.
Quite often birthdates are forged, so the puppies are younger looking
and more appealing to the puppy buyer. As long as the
general public keeps buying puppies from pet stores, the mills will
continue to produce puppies.
purchased from a Pet Store, or a retail business, come from a
puppy mill. Period. The pet store certainly isn't going to tell
you they buy from puppy mills, (and often times the staff is even lied
to as to where the puppies come from) The truth
is NO responsible breeder would ever sell puppies through a pet shop.
A Pet Store is the WORST possible place to buy a puppy from.
Please help spread the word, and put the mills out of business.
Breeding puppies should only be done by knowledgeable, caring people who
have the time to devote to each individual puppy.
Many times "rescue" will take in a dog that comes from a puppy
mill. We may buy them at an auction if we learn of horrible abuse,
we may get them from an owner who bought one at a pet store....or
puppy-mill operator will surrender the dog to "Rescue" rather than
"dispose" of it. (sometimes happens) But no matter how
we got them, the story is same. These are not normal dogs,
and they do require work to socialize them and teach them how to be a pet. All the
things we take for granted in most dogs, are not true for these dogs.
Yes... there is a Momma and babies
in this pile of garbage.
Before you picture a nice, clean "kennel"......take a look
at a few of these puppy mills. This is the reality.
If you bought your dog at a pet store.... this is likely where it was
born, and where it's mother probably still lives.
Puppy Mills are hard to
get pictures of because most mill owners will not allow visitors OR camera's on the
property. But here is another mill that was photographed.
This could be home to as many as 800 dogs.
These places are run by people
intent on making a living to support their family......This is their livelihood, so they do take it
very seriously. Because of how some "animal rights"
folks behave, most mills allow NO VISITORS. Many of the
bigger operations have (armed) guards guarding the property.
Missouri is the state with the most puppy mills...........followed
closely by Pennsylvania, Iowa, Arkansas and many southern states.
Why is this allowed you may ask? Many have
researched this question and found shocking facts surrounding the
legislation that governs this industry. I will not express my
opinion on this media, however I would strongly encourage you to do the
research and come to your own conclusions. Each state has
different laws regarding "breeding" of domestic animals. Check your
Here is one instance where a
mill was shut down by authorities. Watch this video.
These dogs can be so sweet and adorable
looking, that people
adopt these dogs without fully understanding just *what* they are in
page tries to explain to you exactly what you have in store for you when adopting a puppy
mill dog. The rehab process is exhausting and can be frustrating.
It CAN be done, but you will need lots of love, patience and time.
These dogs are breeding stock. That's it. They
have not been loved and have not known love.
This is the biggest difference between a normal pet and these dogs.
In the mill, they are not cared for, other than to feed.
They are not held, they are not petted, they are not played with, they are
not comforted when they are afraid, they get nothing more than 4 wire
walls and food. The only goal for a puppy
mill operator is to make money from puppies. Therefore, the
emotional well being of the
breeding stock is not considered. Mill breeding dogs never leave their wire cage. Never. So just
imagine the fear when leaving the only 4 walls they have ever known.
They are terrified!! Why would they leave....you ask?
Many don't. BUT..... If a dog cannot or does not produce good sized litters,
or maybe does not produce the best color puppies......OR maybe the mill is
going out of business.....whatever the reason....when the dog is no longer
"needed", the dogs are "disposed of"....... (shot or drowned usually)
BUT sometimes, just sometimes.......IF they are lucky, they get in
When Rescue gets one of these
dogs, we have many issues to overcome. First and foremost, we
test temperament. Dogs that are THIS terrified and will generally
fall into one of two category's.
1) They just emotionally shut
down from fear. They will go stiff-legged from fear, and can
often be handled. OR
2) They are so scared they will bite when
Sadly, due to obvious risks,
we no longer will try and rehab dogs that will bite.
So....When you adopt a
"mill dog" just what can you expect? Here are just
a few things:
They are NOT excited to see
you. They are not used to being around people.
Your "touch" is terrifying. Some will shake violently from fear.
Others will defecate from fear.
have never been outdoors, seen sunshine, seen an airplane, or seen a car or
truck drive by.
They have never been in a
house, heard a television set, radio or a phone ring.
They have never stood on grass
or carpeting. (and it is usually frightening to them at first)
They have never ridden in a
Large, open spaces scare them.
They will try and seek refuge in small dark places. You may
have to forcefully pull them out of their crate.
They only time they may have
been handled by a person is to: tattoo their ear, shave them down,
or "pressure hose" them once a year. (the law in some states
requires these things)
They have never walked on a
leash. (many have never had a collar on)
They have never seen nor
learned how to climb stairs.
They have no idea what
"treats" are. (a very useful thing when training)
They have no idea how to drink
from a bowl.
Most of these dogs have
splayed toes from standing on wire for years.
Most are out of shape and fat
from no exercise.
They will NOT come when you
call them. In fact they will do all they can to get away from
you. That is why a fenced yard is so important for these dogs.
Here in rescue, we must often keep the dog on a leash IN the fenced yard, so that
we may catch the dog when it is time to come back in the house.
A mill dog loose in a fenced yard can be impossible to "catch".
They do not know their name
(Most are only known by a number tattooed in their ear)
And IF the dog has been traded
or auctioned to a different mill, often the ear tip is just "cut off" to
remove the tattoo from the former mill, and a new tattoo is placed in the
Oh....and NO, they are not
Fortunately, most dogs are
friendly by nature and want attention. So these dogs DO
respond well to kindness and love. ....... it just takes
a lot of time and patience to gain their trust and teach them how to be a
house pet. We DO begin training as soon as we get the dog in. However, this rehab
process can take about a year to complete. These dogs will turn around,
and they eventually do become more normal. But it takes a lot of time and patience.
have adopted a mill dog, and successfully rehabbed him or her, and would
be willing to be a "Mentor" via-e-mail to someone just starting out,
please e-mail us and let us know. We will put you in contact with
your "Mentee" and hopefully you can help someone else rehab a dog in