About Puppy Farms & Mills

These Places Raise Dogs as Livestock…

Large numbers of dogs and puppies live in kennels, not in homes with families. They can be “state-of-the-art” or they can fulfill the “puppy mill” stereotype with neglected dogs living in filthy, dilapidated kennels.

Sick puppy at Puppy Mill


USDA Photo at Puppy Farm
Puppy Farm

What’s Wrong with That?

My pup will be fine if he lives in a kennel for a bit, won’t he?  Regardless of how “modern” they are, puppy farms still frequently produce sick, diseased, and/or temperamentally unsound puppies.  Why?  Because of the effects of Puppy Farm practices.

Puppy Farm Practices

Dogs and puppies are housed in kennels or cages.
Not inside the home. This deprives puppy farm puppies of the critical socialization they need to grow into mentally healthy adult dogs.

Dogs are often housed in unsanitary and crowded conditions.
The high number of animals and lack of sanitation make puppy farms prime places for the development of behavior problems and diseases.

Parent dogs’ health and temperament aren’t considered when breeding.
Dogs with behavior and health issues are repeatedly bred, producing lots of puppies likely to have the same problems.

Owners often play “doctor” instead of bringing puppies to a licensed veterinarian.
As with other agricultural cash crops, veterinary standards are minimal, even if USDA licensed.

USDA Regulations

The United States Department of AGRICULTURE (USDA) regulates livestock production. This includes overseeing puppy farms. If a “breeder” is USDA licensed, they are, by definition, running a puppy farm.

USDA Licensing and the Animal Welfare Act

Puppy farms licensed by the USDA are supposed to meet the standards of care set forth by the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This sounds great, but PupQuest wants you to know that…

» Animal Welfare Act requirements are minimal.
Dogs and puppies housed in total compliance with the AWA are still not getting what they need to be healthy in body or mind. “Accepted husbandry practices” are agricultural practices for raising livestock on a FACTORY farm. They are not appropriate for raising puppies to be family pets. Check out the requirements for housing and exercise.

» There is a serious lack of enforcement of even these minimum standards. Don’t believe us? Early in 2010, the USDA Office of the Inspector General released a report on an audit of USDA puppy farm inspections across the country. The audit found that….

  • The “Enforcement Process Was Ineffective Against Problematic Dealers”
  • “Inspectors Did Not Cite or Document Violations Properly To Support Enforcement Actions”
  • The “New Penalty Worksheet Calculated Minimal Penalties”
  • Guidelines were “misused” to “Lower Penalties for AWA Violators
  • “Some Large Breeders Circumvented AWA by Selling Animals Over the Internet.”


Survey Says…

87% of people who bought their dogs from breeders said they knew about puppy mills, but 21% also said their breeder was USDA licensed. Many people don’t know that USDA licensing means the “breeder” is a puppy farm! Did you?

infoWhiteHow do I avoid getting a puppy farm/mill pup?  It’s easy, just…

  • DON’T buy puppies sight-unseen over the Internet.
  • DON’T buy from a pet shop

in expected places like the mall or unexpected places, like a private home that has puppies shipped in from elsewhere. Guess where they come from. Yup, puppy farms. Reputable breeders don’t ship their puppies to retailers to be sold to strangers.