a commercial farming operation in which purebred dogs are raised in large numbers
So what is this all about…
Each year American consumers purchase dogs from unregulated dealers who sell animals from their premises . Many of the animals are sold through newspaper advertisements and via the Internet , which means the purchaser can't see the conditions in which the dogs live.
U.S. animal shelters euthanize 3 million to 4 million cats and dogs every year, and yet pet industry statistics show that about one third of the nation's 11,000 pet stores continue to sell puppies.
Puppy Mill History
Pet store original sales channel
Pet store decline and rebound
Aren’t puppy mills illegal?
“ Why don’t you just outlaw them?”
Bad business practice = failed businesses (right?)
Do dogs = corn? (or cows?)
“ But I’m in [state x] and we don’t have puppy mills here.”
Common problems with puppy mill dogs
Kidney and liver problems (puppies)
Animal Welfare Act
About thirty-five years ago, Congress passed the AWA to, in part, ensure that breeders provide humane treatment to animals in their care.
AWA requirements include adequate housing, ample food and water, reasonable handling, basic disease prevention, decent sanitation, and sufficient ventilation.
So, the United States Department of Agriculture regulates (through licensing and inspection ) "commercial" breeding kennels.
A "commercial" breeder is an operation with more than three breeding females that sells dogs or cats to wholesale dealers ( middleman ).
Puppy Mill Chain Puppy Mills Dealers (Exempt from USDA (federal) licensing and inspections if selling to the public) It is the USDA’s position that these dealers are retail pet stores (unless selling T-o research, a dealer, or an exhibitor). Can also be Puppy Mills Pet Store (Retail Dealer) (Excluded from AWA (federal) minimum humane handling requirements) Commercial Breeder Regulated by USDA Licenses and Inspections Public Broker Wholesaler Research Facility Other Pet Dealer
Dealing Dogs Chain Class B Dealer (Subject to USDA Licensing and Inspections) C.C. Baird Laboratories Institutions Other Dealers for Research Testing Education Bunchers Flea Markets Auctions Individuals Pounds Shelters Other Dealers
The "Retail Pet Store" Exemption Problem
The USDA has never required dealers who sell their animals directly to the public to apply for licenses , regardless of the size of the operation.
It is the USDA's position that these dealers are retail pet stores .
Why is this significant?
The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) excludes "retail pet stores" from its minimum humane care and handling requirements !
Many think that a person breeding animals on his own premises and selling them directly to consumers is not a "retail pet store.“
Puppy mills can get around USDA licensing requirements by selling directly to consumers , and many simply rely on the limited reach of the law—with so few inspectors and only minor fines in place, it's often easy for puppy mills to stay in business.
Who is (or should be) looking at puppy mills?
USDA vs. State
Difference in state laws and enforcement
State inspections vital for all operations
Migration from Pennsylvania
A good breeding facility law:
applies to all breeding operations with animals or animal sales numbering over a specified threshold.
requires a licensing fee and pre-inspection .
includes routine, unannounced inspections at least twice yearly.
is enforced by an agency with adequate funding and properly trained and tested staff.
rotates inspectors to cover different areas of the state.
is equipped with strong penalties when facilities are in repeated non-compliance, including but not limited to cease and desist orders.
Wants cash payment
Won’t let you visit the kennel and meet mom and dad
Meets you somewhere else for “convenience”
No AKC papers
Stops answering phone or emails
Puppy Mill Solutions
Apply care standards to both licensed and unlicensed facilities
Authorize Ag. & Mkts. to enter premises to assure compliance
Put inspection reports online
Require advertisements to include name and address
Require Ag. & Mkts. to report cruelty and neglect to local authorities for follow-up