Simple advice: Don't purchase puppies from a pet store, from a Web site, from a classified ad — or from any source where you cannot be absolutely certain that you are dealing with a reputable breeder. The HSUS urges families to first consider adoption from local shelters or rescue groups, where healthy, loving animals need nothing so much as a happy family this holiday.
Puppy mills are mass breeding operations designed to maximize profits. As HSUS investigators and rescue teams have shown over and over again, operators of these facilities commonly disregard the physical, social and emotional health of the dogs. Sloppy mass breeding programs and poor living conditions cause puppies from puppy mills to have more physical and behavioral problems than dogs from reliable sources.
"The Humane Society of the United States braces itself every year for the upsetting calls that come in right after the holidays," says Stephanie Shain, senior director of the puppy mills campaign for HSUS. "People call about sick or dying puppies who were purchased for the holidays. Too often consumers do not do their homework and end up spending the holiday trying to save a sick animal instead of enjoying the festive season."
To help spread the word, a new video featuring Justin Scally, manager of the HSUS Wilde Puppy Mill Task Force, discusses the suffering he has witnessed at some of the 16 puppy mills The HSUS has helped to shut down this year. Scally also introduces a puppy mill survivor named Brandy. Scally says people who are ready to welcome a dog into their home this holiday should be aware that pet store and Internet sellers have been known — and filmed by undercover investigators — to mislead prospective customers about the source of puppies. If you do deal with a breeder, you should visit the home in person to see how and where the puppy's mother is living. And please, make sure you and your family are ready for the responsibility of a lifetime commitment to a pet.
Puppy Mill Facts:
For more information on how to adopt or find a good breeder, go to humanesociety.org/puppy.