How to stop a puppy mill
Actions anyone can take
Raising and selling dogs is a business for profit for many people. There should
be no stigma attached to earning money by selling dogs; problems arise when
the dogs are poorly bred, housed in poor conditions, denied proper medical care,
are sick when sold, or are falsely advertised.
Unfortunately, many kennels have been falsely accused of being puppy mills.
For more information on this situation, see Just what
is a puppy mill?
No one wants dogs raised in squalid conditions with little or no concern for
their welfare. If you visit a such a kennel when searching for a puppy to add
to your family, don't hesitate to report it to the proper authorities.
- Be sure to get your facts straight. Don't depend on hearsay and don't
make the mistake of labeling a kennel as a "puppy mill" unless you
know first-hand that it is dirty and the dogs are in poor health without veterinary
- Don't investigate on your own. If you visit a kennel that keeps dog in poor
conditions, report it to local authorities.
- Make notes about the conditions after your visit and be prepared to
send those notes to the appropriate officials. Be prepared for bureaucracy
to grind slowly and to restate your observations several times. Observations,
not heartache, not hysteria, not an emotional outburst.
- Contact your local humane society and health departments and describe the
conditions you have seen as specifically and unemotionally as possible. Humane
societies can investigate based on reports from the public, but they are bound
by law to use evidence, not opinion and hearsay, to make a case. Health departments
can deal with threats to public health from fecal contamination, dead dog
- Check the USDA website to see if the kennel has a federal license. Lists
of licensees can be found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ac/publications/reports/A_cert_holders.pdf.
If your state has a kennel licensing law, contact that department as well.
- If the kennel advertises AKC registered puppies, contact the AKC registration
department at http://www.akc.org/about/depts/investigations.cfm
or call (919) 816-3563. Since the mid-1990s, AKC has revoked registration
privileges from breeders who violate care and conditions standards along with
those who violate record-keeping regulations. An AKC inspector will also report
a substandard kennel to USDA or to local authorities, whichever is appropriate.
- Follow up to find out the results of the investigation.
- If all else fails and the kennel operator does not fix the problems, contact
the local media.
Norma Bennett Woolf
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