The Heart of the Issue
The chief problem which leads to harm and distress is the design of the system: puppy farms, also known as puppy mills, breed dogs intensively through a factory or battery process. The high volume of puppies greatly increases the chance of infection. To avoid expense, unscrupulous breeders will skip the health and genetic screening needed to rear healthy puppies. Unsold puppies are dumped, returned to the breeding sheds, or killed. Those that make it have usually been removed from the litter too early, just to experience a long, frightening journey to one or more sale locations. Many of these puppies will die after just a few weeks of life, having been exposed to infection before their immune systems have developed.
To produce these large numbers of puppies, breeding bitches are used continuously, giving birth to one litter after another, until they break down. They are used as breeding machines until their bodies can’t take any more at which point they are often killed, sometimes inhumanely. Some are relinquished to rescues. For the bitches who survive puppy farming it’s a long, slow road to recovery and for many it will be the first time they’ve experienced grass and sunshine.
These battery bred dogs are commonly marketed through classified websites, newspaper adverts or cards on noticeboards. They are also sold wholesale, to puppy ‘supermarkets’, farms, riding stables and even domestic householders. This means that puppy buyers responding to adverts do not realise they are buying a farmed puppy through a third party agent. Although they meet sellers and dogs in a setting that appears to be a genuine home environment, what looks like a well reared pet, raised by a family, is actually a puppy that’s been bred and sold in fear.
The trade, including private homes trading like pet shops, requires a consistent supply of puppies of different breeds, cheaply, and in high volume. As a result these sales venues rely on industrial breeders that have no interest in the future wellbeing of the dogs they sell.