BaxterBoo Blog
July 14, 2013

Thousands of Photos Catalog Puppy Mill Abuses

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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.

Lost puppy

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,

Marie on July 15 at 10:00 AM said:

My heart breaks for the poor dogs that could make great companions for someone. All they ask for is to be love. I volunteer for several dog rescue groups, and it is so heartwarming to see these dogs (from southern states mainly) that find a forever home. Please...if you love animals, do the right thing and spread the word about the thousands of dogs that are euthanized, simply because no one wants them. I have a rescue dog and he makes me laugh every day! Other people I know have a rescue dog (or two), and they all have great experiences with their dogs. Encourage those you know to get in the Internet and find a dog that needs a home. Don't go to a pet store! I once asked outright, "Do these dogs come from a puppy mill?". The answer was, "Oh no! Here - I'll show where they come from". He then grabs a print-out with a picture of the breeder from another state, and no pictures of the dogs ,or the conditions they were living in. We need to speak for those that have no voice!
Lesli on July 15 at 1:36 PM said:

It is always difficult to make people understand that they are only helping the puppy mills themselves by purchasing a dog in the pet store...even though they think that they are "saving" the dog. Some pet stores (like Petsmart) have kitties and dogs from local shelters, and they state that clearly on the cages, and some pet stores sponsor local shelters adoption events at their store (like Petsmart & Petco), so not all pet shops are bad. Just know that you are only exacerbating the problem of puppy mills being in business at all, by purchasing dogs from pet stores. If the cage is not clearly posted that the dog is coming from a local shelter/humane society, assume that the dog is coming from a puppy mill. By not buying, the puppy mills will go out of business! and that is what we need to happen. ADOPT. DON'T SHOP!

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