Home > Animal Rescue, Backyard Breeders, Pet News, Puppy Mills > Puppy Mills: Why is the number 60% so important?

Puppy Mills: Why is the number 60% so important?

Last week I wrote about the minimum size requirements for puppy mill kennels. The key number in that post was “6” – as in the 6 inches of additional kennel space your dog is allowed in a USDA-licensed breeder’s facility.

This week I would like to share a new number with you. This number came to me courtesy of Animal Folks MN – an excellent resource for finding out more on puppy mills and the puppy mill bills and laws in the state of Minnesota.

The number? 60%

As in….

60% of the USDA-licensed breeders and brokers in MN have dropped their USDA license over the past 6 years. 

You might be asking yourself, “Why does that number matter?” or “Why should I care?”

Let me go back to something I wrote at the bottom of my post from last week:

Many mill owners like to tout their USDA license with unsuspecting buyers to give them an air of legitimacy. Don’t buy it. “USDA licensed” does not equal “responsible breeder”. Having a USDA license only means the puppy miller is required to meet certain minimum care standards. Puppy millers who sell over the internet do not have to be USDA-licensed (as of today). They are not subject to any minimum care standards at all. This is why we are seeing more and more puppy millers moving their business to an internet-based one. As sellers of puppies over the internet, puppy millers are not subject to USDA inspection, nor do they have to follow any minimum care instructions when it comes to their dogs.

When 60% of Minnesota’s USDA-licensed breeders and brokers drop their USDA license, people should take notice. This is not some arbitrary statistic, especially when Minnesota used to be in the top ten list for USDA-licensed breeders. This is a warning shot across the bow. This is a sign of what is to come. This is where the puppy mill business is going in Minnesota and throughout the United States. As dog lovers, we should all be worried.

In the past, much of the drive to stop puppy mills has been focused on stopping pet stores from selling puppy mill puppies. But, as the public has gotten more educated about the pet store-puppy mill connection, pet stores are finding it harder to sell their pups. Many are closing down or switching to hosting adoption events in place of selling puppies. This leaves puppy mill operators in the precarious position of trying to sell enough puppies to make a profit. Turning to the internet is the most a logical choice.

How convenient that there are very few, if any, state or federal regulations around the internet sales of puppies. As consumers, we all need to be aware.

Puppy mills who only sell over the internet:

  • Are not subject to any minimum care standards for the dogs they breed (unless they happen are in a state with strong breeder laws on the books – good luck on that one.).
  • Ship sick puppies to unsuspecting dog lovers who assume they are working with a “responsible” breeder. (Nothing could be further from the truth.)
  • Ship underage puppies.  (A responsible breeder will not ship a puppy and certainly not one that is under 8 weeks old. In many cases they will even wait until they are 9-12 weeks old.)
  • Will ask for a deposit before they ship and then never send the puppy at all.
  • Ship the wrong puppy or the wrong breed puppy to unsuspecting buyers.
  • Sell to anybody for any reason. (They do not care who buys their dogs because it’s not about the dogs, it’s about the money).
  • Sometimes import sick puppies from other countries and represent them as their own. (You can see more information on this at TheWrongPuppy.org.)

A puppy miller that drops their USDA license to avoid inspection is not someone I would ever want to trust with the care of my future puppy. How about you?

Please spread the word:

Every puppy someone purchases over the internet is a vote to support puppy mills.

Every puppy purchased over the internet is supporting puppy millers who are not subject to minimum care standards for their dogs.

Every decision made to buy a puppy from one of these places is supporting a cruel practice of keeping dogs in cages, with wire bottoms, and six inches to spare.

My continued thanks to Animal Folks and Animal Folks MN for always keeping me, and many other Minnesotans, updated on what is going on in our state. While the statistic I shared in this post is a horrible one, I am grateful for your continued work to educate the public and influence change in our state.

If you can donate money to help Animal Folks, please do. They are a small organization that is doing really big work. They have already researched many breeding facilities in Minnesota and have pictures and stories to share with you and our legislators, but they can only continue their work if you help. Don’t have a lot of money? How about $5? Every dollar counts.

Here is how Animal Folks MN will use your money:

  • conduct research (gather photos, stories, affidavits and documents to illustrate the problem);
  • file complaints against dog and cat breeders where animal neglect or abuse is suspected; and
  • educate authorities and the public throughout Minnesota about problematic dog and cat breeding.
  1. October 8, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    It still boggles my mind that a person is willing to plunk down money to buy a puppy, sight unseen.

    • Mel
      October 8, 2012 at 9:08 PM

      Me too Karen. I would never buy a dog without knowing who the breeder was and their reputation, but to not see the puppy first? Just crazy.

  2. October 8, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Puppy mills are horrible, I wish we could find more money in the budgets to regulate and inspect these people. I would never buy a puppy from a pet store or over the internet but so many people just don’t understand responsible breeding.

    Educate, educate, educate!

  3. To Shea
    October 8, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    I agree with Jodi and VeryVizsla, the fact that puppy mills are even still in business bothers the hell out of me. It is a real shame that these people are just there to make a quick buck, Makes me sick!
    Now the question I thought of is WHY are the USDA Licenses are not being reapplied for a 2nd year.
    My guess is the Cost is probably too high. I know the cost of having a pet treat license and the FDA approval to see treats is pretty high. If the Govt fees werent so high maybe it would not have been a problem in the first place.
    This is just a observation I noticed, just like to look at both sides.
    BUT that does NOT give the puppy millers the right to treat these dogs like merchandise!
    What do you think Mel?

    Alex and Penny…:-)

    • Mel
      October 8, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      Me too Alex. It’s a great point – about the USDA license. I don’t know how much they cost, but I am sure they are not cheap. It could be another valid reason to drop them.

      In Minnesota we don’t have as many puppy mills as in Missouri or Pennsylvania, but we have some of the largest in the country. One I know of in southern MN has over 400 breeding pairs and 7 staff members. I am guessing they are turning enough profit to pay for the license.

      I hope one day they will cease to exist.

  4. October 8, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    I’m rushed for time, so no lengthy comment. AMEN! Luckily here in Missouri, the HSMO and our Attorney General are trying to stay on top of the internet sellers. No easy job, however some are being “busted.” Unfortunately, more and more puppy millers are going this route, I’m afraid.

    • Mel
      October 8, 2012 at 8:58 PM

      Oh Sue. I started laughing because I read it breathlessly like I was you running out the door. Thank God or your AG and the HSMO. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. October 8, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Great article Mel and so important although it does make me so sad to read that this is the route it is taken. 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Education is so key here. I feel that Ohio, while have made small strides, still has so much further to go.

    • Mel
      October 8, 2012 at 9:35 PM

      Thanks Jen. Yes. I think it’s sad that it is 1 step forward and 2 steps back. I suppose we have to expect that though. Leo from Kenzo the Hovawart shared how the same thing is happening in his country. Ohio is making progress, as is Missouri, but Minnesota has a long way to go.

  6. October 9, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Ugh… I agree with everyone else. I don’t really understand how these Internet businesses thrive (as Karen said, who would buy a puppy sight unseen?). It’s so frustrating that they do and equally frustrating that the laws take so long to catch up to technological advances and new ways of doing business.

  7. October 14, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Sadly here in Canada … and Quebec in general it’s an epidemic … Rescues and the International Human Society are doing a lot of good work but at times it feels like a drop in the bucket. But they do get busted.

    • Mel
      October 15, 2012 at 7:02 AM

      I know the feeling. It seems like a drop in the bucket here too. Unfortunately, so many of the laws are so weak that hardly anyone gets into any serious trouble for the neglect suffered by teh dogs in their mills.

  1. October 11, 2012 at 1:28 AM
  2. October 28, 2012 at 10:50 AM

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