The definition of the term “puppy mill” is a breeding facility in which the profit is more important than the welfare of the dogs. Think of it as a factory farm for puppies. The parents are bred every heat cycle until their bodies give out. They are forced to live in cramped cages their entire lives, their paws never touching the ground. These parent dogs are not always fed healthy food or clean water and they are very rarely (if ever) seen by a vet for illness or injury. PUPPY MILL DOGS ARE NOT CONSIDERED PETS TO THE BREEDERS .
A puppy mill can be obvious, or it can be well hidden. What are the worst states when it comes to puppy mills? The MIDWEST has the highest concentration of puppy mills, although there are other mills across the country. The Midwest is commonly referred to as “The Puppy Mill Belt”. Missouri and Iowa are the highest offenders when it comes to the sheer number of mills, but Ohio and Pennsylvania are horrible when it comes to unlicensed mills and violations. Puppy mills operations are easily hidden among agriculture buildings.
If puppy mills are so bad, why do they exist? One of the most common questions we receive is, “Why are puppy mills legal”? The answer, plain and simple, is that the USDA and state agencies allow them to exist. Not every USDA licensed dog breeder runs a horrible operation. But they are all required to follow the same very lax laws the USDA set forth in the Animal Welfare Act.
According to the AWA:
Do you think that is enough? For more information on the AWA click here.
As noted above, the AWA does nothing to address boredom, emotional well- being or quality of life. A dog spinning in circles in a tiny cage 24-7 would not trigger a USDA violation as long as that dog appears outwardly healthy and the cage is at least 6 inches taller that the dogs’ head and 6 inches wider and longer than the dog measures from nosetip to tail BASE. This is an example of why the AWA needs to be rewritten. Emotional torture is every bit as damaging as physical torture for these dogs. The AWA requires that basic standards of care and treatment be provided for certain animals bred and sold for use as pets, used in biomedical research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public. Individuals who operate facilities in these categories must provide their animals with adequate care and treatment in the areas of housing, handling, sanitation, nutrition, water, veterinary care, and protection from extreme weather and temperatures. Sadly, the word adequate doesn’t meet many of OUR standards.
Most commercial breeders use wire flooring on their cages so the feces and urine are able to fall through the openings. This set up is another cruel part of the industry. When people started getting smart and complaining that the wire flooring was causing further injury and deformity to the dogs, the breeders asked that the USDA refer to it as “mesh”. After many people spoke up, the USDA required the wire to be coated, as opposed to making the wire thicker. Any attempts at making changes to these regulations has been met with much resistance.
Although Federal requirements establish basic standards, regulated businesses are encouraged to exceed these standards. (AWA website.) Most do not. Unfortunately, many USDA licensees not only have a history of violations, but they have many repeat violations with no follow-up or enforcement by the USDA. In fact, every year the Humane Society of the United States creates a “Horrible Hundred” puppy mill list, and many of the violators are repeat offenders.
It is also important to note that in February of 2017, the USDA removed all of their public access to USDA inspection reports in a shocking and sudden move, leaving countless animal welfare organizations in the dark on what is going on within these facilities. Several organizations are in ongoing litigation to fight for our right to obtain the records in their full, un-redacted state. This made the work a lot harder. Since the records have been redacted before being released for public viewing, we have seen a dramatic difference in what inspectors are reporting. In fact, the Washington Post uncovered that the USDA’s enforcement of the AWA had virtually stopped in 2018.
In 2019, the Washington Post also provided additional research showing that “USDA inspectors documented 60 percent fewer violations at animal facilities in 2018 from the previous year.” However recent updates with the USDA 2020- On the orders of Congress, the USDA was recently forced to reinstate all of their records back on the USDA website.
Information shared from BailingoutBenji.com website.
Bailing Out Benji is a national, grassroots nonprofit organization that is devoted to providing the most current and accurate data regarding the puppy mill industry.
If you want to get involved in our fight to expose the puppy mill industry, don’t forget to like us on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter! You can also sign up to become one of our volunteers.
There is a huge need for organizations like Bailing Out Benji to exist. We not only research the puppy mill industry, but we connect them to the pet stores they sell to and we have volunteers working to end this cruel industry every day. This is where we need your help!
Keep talking about puppy mills and help us educate; go to your city, state and federal leaders to strengthen enforcement on a local level; and don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to get more involved with our small nonprofit!
DISCLAIMER: Due to the lack of regulations and the nature of the animal industry, as well as the ever-changing practices of pet professionals - Midwest Animal Welfare Society, Inc. cannot be responsible for the actions of other pet professional companies and organizations. This includes pet professionals that have trained under the Life Changing Dog Training™ and Communicative LeashWork Process®. We will do our very best to connect you with pet resources and services and educate you on best practices, tools and information to help pet owners. However it is up to you the individual to do your own research and make a decision to hire a pet professional or work with an organization that you trust will best meet you and your animal's needs.
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