Ask Joyce: Why Aren’t Puppy Mills Outlawed?

Posted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF's Founder and General Counsel on July 9, 2008

ALDF’s "Ask Joyce" column appears in each issue of The Animals’ Advocate, ALDF’s quarterly publication.

Dear Joyce,

saw an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show about puppy mills and cried my
eyes out. Why aren’t these places outlawed, and what can I do to help?

Dear Reader,

We should all thank Oprah for helping to expose the long-term suffering of hundreds of thousands of dogs who are held prisoner in U.S. puppy mills.
But, here’s the kicker: puppy mills are legal, and the wealthy industry
that profits from them lobbies hard to keep it that way. While there
are both federal and state laws that could potentially help, they are
full of loopholes and under-enforced.

Puppy mills are commercial "factories" where the
"product" is puppies and dogs are treated as machines. The "breeding"
dogs are kept in overcrowded wire cages for their entire lives with
little, if any, human contact or veterinary care. If the puppy mill is
outdoors, the dogs are unprotected from the cold of winter and the heat
of summer. They live with the stench of their own urine and feces and,
if the cages are stacked on top of each other, the dogs on the lower
level are hit with excrement from above as well. When the puppies are
eight weeks old, they are cleaned up and shipped off for sale. Some
die; many arrive sick.   

The simplest way to assure that you are not
supporting puppy mills is: don’t buy puppies. Puppy mill puppies are
sold in pet stores, on the internet, and in newspaper classified ads.
Don’t be fooled by ads telling you that the puppies were lovingly
raised by a family.  A good rule of thumb is that people who profit
from keeping animals in a state of misery will often be willing to lie
about how they treat those animals. Adopt from your local humane
society or shelter. If you are interested in a particular breed, ask
the shelter to notify you when a dog of that breed has arrived. Also,
check with rescue groups of the breed you are interested in. And don’t
forget the mixed breeds; they make wonderful, healthy companions. If
you want to actively oppose puppy mills, get online and educate
yourself about the issue. Forward that information to family members
and friends who are thinking about buying a puppy, and write letters to
the editor of your local newspaper.

Puppy mills exist because the American public
unwittingly supports them with the almighty dollar. They will disappear
only when the economic incentive is gone.

Best regards,


2 thoughts on “Ask Joyce: Why Aren’t Puppy Mills Outlawed?

  1. Nickie Capasso says:

    My mom just rescued a dog from North Shore Animal League in Port Washington, NY. They did a huge 200 dog rescue from puppy mills. I am a huge animal lover and am just horribly disgusted about these puppy mills. I have done some research on puppy mills, but am new to this. How can I maximize what I can do to prevent puppy mills? I know that puppy mills are legal, but what are the laws that protect these animals? Also, what happens to the people that run the puppy mills? Is anything currently being done to put an end to puppy mills?



  2. Angel says:

    I am writing a paper i class on puppy mills. It is a persuasive paper on how i can shutdown puppy mills. I am so sad at all of things i am typing and all of the pictures it makes me think about those puppys and how thay are tourtured. They need a secound chance. Do you have any advice of what to put in my paper?


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