Puppy Mill PupPuppy Mill. The term gets bandied about so often, I wonder, does the meaning get lost? Could you define one? Could you identify a dog who came from one? And did you know there are kitten mills too?

Puppy mills are large breeding facilities where dogs live in deplorable conditions, often without necessary food, water, or veterinary care. Melanie Kahn of the Humane Society of the United States says in the video below, “It’s a horribly sad experience.” These dogs often stand on wire mesh their whole lives, eat and drink from contaminated bowls, stand in their own feces, suffer from various injuries and infections, and they fear most everything.


As the video states, with an estimated 10,000 puppy mills in the US, the industry rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Somebody is forking over a lot of cash to sustain this cruelty. So who’s buying?

It could have been you. Puppy mills provide vast numbers of animals to pet stores where demand is high. These pups look adorable behind glass, but they have often been bred so close in bloodline that they become riddled with physical ailments, infection due to filth and lack of immunity, and have various anxiety issues. Unsuspecting customers only see adorable puppies and buy, buy, buy – supporting the system time and again. And guess what happens to those pups that don’t sell before they grow up. They get returned to puppy mills, trading their glass box for one of chicken wire to churn out more puppies until they die.


In 2008, HSUS conducted an eight-month investigation revealing that many Petland stores across the country are marketing puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting consumers. On the heels of an HSUS followup investigation, “Animal Planet Investigates: Petland” broadcast HSUS footage while exploring the relationship between Petland and puppy mills. The program featured heartbreaking stories of families who had lost beloved puppies to illness and pointed to the root of Petland’s involvement with mass-breeding facilities.


On September 9th of this year, Petland Canada announced a change in policy. They had been dogged by animal advocates and the growing trend of bans on retail pet sales long enough. To no longer sell pups and kittens was the right move. It’s time Petland USA took the same message to heart. UPDATE: Petland Canada’s shift was based on slow sales, not advocacy, and not all stores are participating in the change. Read BtC4A: Not So Fast to learn more.


Mary Haight, a self proclaimed unexpected activist,  created a petition and publicized it with the help of Be the Change for Animals and Change.org. Her cause is backed by a lot of community support too (see the link list below).

Join us!
Sign the petition.
Tell Petland USA to stop selling puppies!


Be sure to visit BTC4Animals.com today and all this month for more ways to fight Petland and puppy mills!


Don’t buy puppies or kittens from a store. Ever. Don’t even buy other items from a store that sells puppies or kittens. Adoption will not only save the life of that dog or cat who won’t be euthanized for the sake of overpopulation, it also prevents the demand that churns the puppy mill machine.


The Honest Kitchen, the food I feed my dogs and cats, has a strong stance against puppy mills and the selling of puppies in retail locations. To that end, they have never allowed their products to be sold in such stores because, as they say:

9 times out of 10, these puppies come from mass breeding facilities where they live in squalor, are bred for unnatural traits (squishy noses, low-riding hips, etc) and are transported around the country – without proper socialization, during a critical period in their development. Then, they’re sold to the highest bidder. Puppy purchasers are not vetted to see if they have the time, resources and know-how to take care if their new companion.  In fact, some stores are only now banning ‘drunk puppy purchasing’. With the continued press on the puppy mill issue, including this recent study on the psychological damage of puppy mill dogs, it’s important we continue spreading the word, and educate our fellow pet loving friend about the cause. It’s up to us to give these pets a voice.

Today I learned something new. The folks at The Honest Kitchen read an editorial this month from a pet industry trade magazine, Pet Age, asking the industry to band together and support the sale of puppies in retail locations. The Honest Kitchen pulled their advertising, and founder Lucy Postins published her Letter to the Editor here.

All it takes is a little research.
Be a wise consumer.
Vote with your dollars for what you believe in.