What is a
Probably the best
way to explain what a puppymill isn't, is to delineate the different
types of breeders,
and then give a definition of a
A breed fancier who usually has only one breed but may have two; follows
a breeding plan in efforts to preserve and protect the breed; produces
from none to three or four litters per year; breeds only when a litter
will enhance the breed and the breeding program; raises the puppies with
plenty of environmental and human contact; has a contract that protects
breeder, dog, and buyer; may either breed from their home, where the
dogs are housed or from a small, clean kennel; screens breeding stock to
eliminate hereditary defects from the breed; works with a breed club or
kennel club to promote and protect the breed; and cares that each and
every puppy is placed in the best home possible.
Professional Breeder: Similar
to Hobby Breeder but general produces from two to twelve litters a year
of one or two different breeds. Typically runs a small, clean kennel
with separate facilities for whelping and nursing bitches and another
area for weaned pups. Facility is clean and up to date. All breeding is
in adherence to a breeding program which is usually strict and formed by
several involved with the breed. Breeding stock are screened to
eliminate hereditary defects from the breed. They work closely with
breed and kennel clubs to promote and protect the breed, they guarantee
all pups produced against hereditary defects and temperament
inconsistencies usually for at least two years. They offer refunds or
exchanges during this period. They may see a small profit from their
breeding practices but that profit is typically invested back into
better facilities for the animals.
One who usually has several breeds of dogs with profit as the primary
motive for existence. The dogs may be healthy or not and the kennel may
be clean or not. The dogs are probably not screened for genetic
diseases, and the breeding stock is probably not selected for
resemblance to the breed standard or for good temperament. Most
commercial breeders sell their puppies to pet stores or to brokers who
sell to pet stores.
One who buys puppies from commercial kennels and sells to retail
outlets. Brokers often ship puppies by the crate-load on airlines or by
truckload throughout the country. Brokers must be licensed by USDA and
must abide by the shipping regulations in the Animal Welfare Act.
One who collects dogs of unknown origin for sale to laboratories or
other bunchers or brokers. Bunchers are considered lower on the
evolutionary scale than puppy mill operators, for there is much
suspicion that they buy stolen pets, collect pets advertised as "Free to
a good home", and adopt unwanted pets from animal shelters for research
at veterinary colleges or industrial research laboratories.
A dog owner whose pet either gets bred by accident or who breeds on
purpose for a variety of reasons. This breeder is usually ignorant of
the breed standard, genetics, behavior, and good health practices. A
backyard breeder can very easily become a commercial breeder,
or a puppy mill.
A breeder who produces puppies hand over fist with no breeding program,
little attention to puppy placement, and poor health and socialization
practices. A puppy mill may or may not be dirty but it is usually
overcrowded and the dogs may be neglected or abused because the breeder
can't properly handle as many dogs as he has. Puppy mill operators often
denigrate hobby breeders or professional breeders and their dogs in
attempts to make a sale.