The ASPCA has posted thousands of photos taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that oversees commercial dog breeding operations. These are commonly known as puppy mills. The ASPCA hopes to educate the public about the sick dogs and harsh kennel conditions that many pet store puppies are born to.
An all-to-common scenario
The photo above is of a Cocker Spaniel taken at a puppy mill in Fort Scott, Kansas. She has an enlarged red eye with discharge. Notes from the federal field agent inspecting this facility reveal that she was only one of several dogs with eye infections.
Other notes from this inspection: “excessive excrement, food not protected from elements, expired vaccine, waste on concrete slab, female white cocker spaniel with brown material on teeth, discharge at gum line, plant material lodged under brown material.”
Several of the dogs mouths were photographed that were encrusted with brown tarter as if they had never been given a chew toy. There were photos of the owners holding the dogs roughly (lifting an adult dog by only the scruff of the neck.) Filthy enclosures covered in excrement were inhabited by heavily matted dogs.
Also troubling were several photos of tiny puppies (see above) that were wandering around outside of the enclosures. They look terribly vulnerable. One can hope that they can find their way back to their mother in the maze of cages and excrement.
A wide-spread problem
These are just a few photos of one puppy mill in Kansas. There are hundreds of commercial breeder operations with violations across the country. The ASPCA has cataloged over 10,000 photos from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on its NoPetStorePuppies website showing conditions of dogs through a public-records request.
The fight against puppy mills has been going on for years. Agencies began cracking down on the pet industry as the number of pet owners telling heartbreaking stories of illness, death and costly vet care increased. Los Angeles and other cities have even banned the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores. Instead, stores can partner with shelters and promote adoption events.
Not all breeders are puppy mills. The ASPCA takes issue with large-scale dog breeding operations where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs: “Puppy mills treat dogs like products, not living beings, and usually house them in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, socialization, or even food and water.”
To learn how you can help, visit the ASPCA’s site, NoMorePetStorePuppies.com.