Known informally as “puppy mills,” these often large scale operations serve as suppliers for pet stores or disreputable Internet sites that sell dogs indiscriminately. Living conditions in the puppy mills are frequently horrendous, as the dogs and puppies live in filthy, squalid cages or rabbit hutches, have minimal or no respite from extreme weather conditions, and receive unsatisfactory veterinary care.

The fate of the puppies bred in such facilities is of deep concern. But what happens to the parents – the breeding stock that is used over and over for producing these puppies? After enduring years of miserable existence, these adult dogs, mostly females, reach a point where they are no longer of value to the breeders; they may become infertile, stop producing desirable puppies, or develop medical conditions that render them liabilities due to the cost of needed veterinary care. Having no more use for such dogs, the breeders often readily surrender them to rescue.

These “puppy mill breeder dogs” are typically very fearful or skittish around people. They have never lived in a home, are poorly socialized, and need weeks, sometimes months, of slow, patient rehabilitation before they can be adopted into new families.

Breeder Dogs and DVGRR

At DVGRR, we have been working extensively with puppy mill breeder dogs for the past several years. We offer adopters a great deal of information, counseling and support, both before and after adoption takes place. Our innovative Project Home Life program, developed in 2009, works as an intermediary between the kennel and the adoptive home, helping to transition the puppy mill breeder dog into his or her new family.

For those dog lovers who are up to the challenge, adopting a breeder dog can be a tremendously rewarding experience. Assisting with the journey, which takes the dogs from simply enduring a miserable existence to becoming a happy, trusting member of the family, is a memorable triumph.

Downloadable Articles:

Other Resources

The Internet is replete with articles and information about the puppy mill horrors that still plague our society. Despite many years of education and efforts to “get the word out,” so prospective puppy buyers will not intentionally or unintentionally support puppy mills, the problem is far from gone.

Far too many pet stores and websites still sell puppies, thousands of disreputable breeders still supply those sources, and unsuspecting families nationwide still experience the heartbreak of bringing a physically or temperamentally damaged puppy into their homes.

Please, learn as much as you can about puppy mills and share the information with others in your network of friends and family. Every dog lover and responsible pet owner should view dismantling the puppy mill industry as a high priority of the utmost importance.

The following resource list provides a good overview of the problem as well as ways that all of us can advocate for the welfare of dogs and puppies.

From the
Why You Should Never Buy a Puppy Online
No More Pet Store Puppies – Take the Pledge (Great for kids)

From the
Best Friends Animal Society:
Puppy Mill Initiatives

Why You Shouldn’t “Rescue” a Puppy from a Pet Store

From the
Humane Society of the United States (HSUS):
Stop Puppy Mills Campaign

Puppy Mills: Frequently Asked Questions
Seven Ways You Can Stop Puppy Mills
Pet Store Doublespeak
Puppy Buyer’s Guide
A Guide to Using Local Ordinances to Combat Puppy Mills
An Advocate’s Guide to Stopping Puppy Mills
State Puppy Mill Laws

Other Useful Sites:

United Against Puppy Mills
The Puppy Mill Project
Puppy Mill Awareness Day

Short PSAs
No Puppy Mills (great for kids)
Puppies are Not Toys
SPCA of Texas: Know Puppy Mills

Public Figures Advocating Against Puppy Mills
Colbie Caillat Speaks Out For Dogs

Congressman Adopts Puppy Mill Dog
Jana Kohl Speaks Out Against Puppy Mills

Stories, Investigations, Documentaries
Meet Billy, Rescued From a Puppy Mill

Billy’s Legacy (follow up story to “Meet Billy”)
Chicago Pet Store Undercover Investigation
Flea Market Breeder’s Cruelty Exposed
Puppy Mill Insider Speaks Out
Puppy Mills Supplying NY Pet Stores
South Carolina Puppy Mill Rescue
Oodles of Puppies
Rescue and Renewal: Puppy Mill Rescue (National Geographic video of Best Friends rescue)
Saved From Suffering  (Dogs rescued from Indiana puppy mill)

Puppy Mills Stink Contest Entries (HSUS)
Angel’s Story (First Place Winner)

I Will be Saved (People’s Choice Winner)
The Spirit Within: Surviving the Stink (DVGRR Entry)