Puppy Mill Q&A

How to Find Your Next Family Member… Humanely!

Many people we have spoken to about this horrendous incidence of animal abuse in Placer County immediately brought forth several questions. The first one being: “How do I make sure my next dog or puppy is NOT from a cruel mill?” Unfortunately, in the U.S. that is not an easy question to answer. But our amazing volunteers on this website have compiled a Q and A chock full of information and links to great national animal welfare websites with even more. Get your questions answered below!

What is a puppy mill?

A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. Unlike responsible breeders, who place the utmost importance on producing the healthiest puppies possible (and who tend to have genetic testing done on their dogs as well), breeding at puppy mills is performed without consideration of genetic quality. This can result in generations of dogs with unchecked hereditary defects, potentially adding to negative health and behavior issues.

Puppy mills grow or breed dogs, similar to how farmers grow corn, soy beans and other types of agriculture products. However, puppies should not be viewed by consumers as product and consumers need to be informed about where, exactly the puppies originate from and the income stream they generate.

Puppy mill puppies are typically sold to pet shops usually through a broker or dealer (the largest in our nation is the Hunte Corporation now known as Choice Puppies), who, in turn, sell the puppies to pet stores throughout the United States.

The pups are taken away from their moms and littermates younger than eight weeks of age and/or marketed as young as eight weeks of age. The lineage records of puppy mill dogs are often falsified.

The Office of the Inspector General even released a report detailing the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) lax and ineffective enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) against licensed large-scale dog breeders and brokers known as puppy mills.

Are Puppy Mills Illegal?

No, they are not and it is not illegal to keep a dog inside of a cage. However, the minimum requirement is that it must be slightly larger than the length of the dog so that the dog can turn around and for those cages to be constructed of wire and stacked one on top of the other (see photo).

Also, most puppy mill dogs receive little to no veterinary care, and the facilities offer no climate control or protection for the animals from weather (hot, cold rain, and/or snow). With limited or no regulations or enforcement, puppy mills have no clean-up control. This means the cages can be even smaller than what is deemed legal by the USDA and this also means that dogs can be living in urine and feces for indefinite periods of time.

How often can a puppy mill owner breed a female dog?

Most female dogs tend to go into heat at around six months old (however, smaller breeds can go into heat as early as four months old) and twice per year. Puppy mill breeders use female dogs to produce multiple litters a year or at every opportunity to make money, with little to no recovery time between litters. When, after a few years, they are physically depleted to the point that they no longer can reproduce, breeding females are often killed.

How many are there? And where are puppy mills located?

It is estimated that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the U.S. Fewer than 3,000 of these are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Puppy mills are in every state, across the United States. The highest concentration of puppy mills is in the Midwest, specifically in Missouri, but there are also high concentrations in other areas, including Pennsylvania, Ohio and upstate New York. Commercial dog breeding is very prevalent among Amish and Mennonite farmers.

How do I know if the puppy I am getting is NOT from a puppy mill?

Since data shows that 99% of the pet shops in America receive their puppies from mills, the only way you can be absolutely certain you are not supporting the puppy mill industry, is by going to an animal shelter to adopt your next pet and family member.

And while there is a California state law (the first in the nation) to ban the sale of puppy mill puppies sold in pet stores, that law won’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2019.

Thinking about buying a puppy online or from a pet store? You could be supporting businesses like these:

The Horrible Hundred 2017: Uncovering U.S. Puppy Mills

Why should I adopt a puppy (or adult dog) from a shelter?

Every year in America, it’s estimated that 2.11 million puppies are sold that originated from puppy mills, while 3 million are killed in shelters because they are too full and there aren’t enough adoptive homes for shelter animals.

Where can I go to adopt a puppy (or adult dog)?

Placer County Animal Services Center
11232 B Avenue
Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: 530-886-5541

Placer SPCA

Sacramento County Shelter

Sacramento City Shelter

Sacramento SPCA

You can also visit www.petharbor.com and search through California’s numerous public county and city shelters.

Only You Can Be Their Voice!

Pups in a cage

Please express your disapproval of a DA who has a 9 year history of embracing animal abusers by calling and/or emailing his office:

Call: 916-543-8000

Email: sowens@placer.ca.gov

AND Copy: bos@placer.ca.gov


** If you purchased a Havanese puppy from the Auburn, CA area, please send us a message. **


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