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Puppy Mills - What you should know
Resources and Guides for Determining the Source of Your New Pet

There are many definitions of Puppy Mills. Some are quite extreme and others are not strict enough. For purposes of, there are several guidelines of which we would like you, our customers, to be aware.

  • Puppies and parent dogs should not be confined to small cages. Puppies and parent dogs should not be confined to ample sized cages or crates all the time; they should be able to spend a lot of their time out of their cages and in the company of humans and each other.

  • The premises should be kept clean of feces, urine, uneaten food and trash/garbage in general.

  • Regarding pet buyer visits to breeder facilities -- Potential pet buyers, who were once allowed without question or concern by the breeder to visit the premises and tour the kennels to see where and how the puppies are raised, are now screened more extensively by breeders. There are a few purposes for this screening. The first is to establish if the 'potential buyer' is indeed someone looking for a puppy rather than perhaps someone just trying to get access to a breeder's premises. This is an unfortunate sign of the times we are living in. Breeders are now quite concerned with if and who they allow to visit and view their dogs and puppies on site. Of course, perhaps not being able to visit a breeder could make it more difficult for the potential buyer to make sure that the breeder is a reputable and ethical breeder, that the dogs are kept on the premises of the breeder, and that they are kept in accordance to the animal welfare laws of the particular state/county. Since breeders can screen potential new owners, interested pet buyers can screen a breeder by asking, for example, for references by previous buyers, or perhaps for the name(s) of the vet(s) of the breeder. If the breeder is a show breeder, the potential buyer could ask for the next event this breeder intends to show his/her dogs at. Sometimes, it is easier to meet a breeder at such a show.

Second, breeders must guard against visitors bringing deadly diseases into their kennels after having visited other facilities prior to coming to theirs. Unknowingly, visitors may have been exposed to diseases harmless to humans, but very deadly to young puppies. In the event a breeder does allow you to visit, you may be asked to wash your hands and remove your shoes prior to entering any area where the breeder may show you the puppies.

  • Puppies and parent dogs should be well socialized and have an open area for playing and exercising daily.

  • All dogs should be clean, healthy, with clear eyes, free from any discharge from eyes and nose, and appear happy and alert.

  • Reputable breeders offer a vet check health guarantee within a time frame of 24 to 72 hours. A conscientious, ethical breeder will give a long-term health warranty against genetic defects of his/her particular breed(s).

  • Breeders should be willing to give you references to other private parties who have purchased from them in the past. However, many people consider this very intrusive and a privacy invasion.

  • The number of breeds at one kennel can vary from one to several. Some breeders have several litters available during the year. The puppies should receive appropriate and timely medical care, and be given individual attention.

  • No puppy should leave a breeder before it is at least 8 weeks old and has had at least one set of puppy shots, proof of which is to be supplied to the buyer. Some States have strict regulations regarding the minimum age to let a puppy go to its new home.

  • Responsible and conscientious breeders will provide to puppy buyers a copy of the pedigree as well as appropriate kennel club registration information to buyers for the newly purchased puppy. At a minimum, breeders should provide in written format basic puppy care instructions including the preferred diet, hygene practices, disease prevention, exercise, socialization techniques and common puppy behavioral expectations.

  • Many responsible and conscientious breeders require spay/neuter contracts or limited registrations for their pet puppies and will provide this contract in writing for the puppy buyer.

Let us know what your experience is at the breeders you visit. If someone advertising on our site appears to be in violation of the points above, we want to know about it. We don't want to help promote operations of such a nature.

Remember, it is estimated by some authorities that as many as 90% of the puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. That is reason enough to not purchase a potential disappointment from such stores. You should look for reputable breeders who follow reasonable guidelines such as those above.