Home > Animal Rescue, Backyard Breeders, Pet News, Puppy Mills > What you don’t see when you buy your puppy online

What you don’t see when you buy your puppy online

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Thanks to the media, celebrities, and numerous animal advocates, the message about pet stores, and the puppy mill dogs that supply them, is starting to reach people. More and more pet stores are being shut down or have stopped selling puppies. It’s encouraging to see the tides of change coming.

However, there is another front in the fight against puppy mills that people don’t often think about – the internet. 

The internet is a relatively new marketplace for puppy mill owners, but they love it.

  • It’s an easy way to sell their puppies. Create a website, tell a great story about how much you lovingly care for your puppies, post a few cute puppy pictures, and you’re in business.
  • It also increases a puppy miller’s profit margins – no middle man to take a cut of the profits. They just ship the puppy directly to you.
  • The other attractive feature in using the internet is that it’s safer than selling your puppies to pet stores. Online sellers of animals are not subject to  USDA inspections. No licensing. No inspections. It’s a relatively safe way to hide those skeletons while preying upon the unwitting puppy lover.

What most people don’t realize is that puppy millers are some of the best grifters out there. They know how to build trust, tug on your heart-strings, and reassure you they are on the up-and-up, all in one phone conversation or email exchange.

The sweet stories they are telling you online is not what’s really going on behind the scenes – animal cruelty, abuse, starvation, minimal, if any, medical care, and no socialization for the dogs.

Using the internet allows them to fool you into thinking they are a wonderful family who breeds dogs because they love them so much. Of course, they will be sure to let you know all of their breeding dogs are “family dogs” and live inside with them as a member of their family. How sweet. How could you not trust someone like that?

It’s so easy for them to fool people.

One example came to light recently that I thought was worth sharing.

Example: Pedigree Pets

Such a cute picture of a sweet little puppy isn’t it? Such a beautiful website. Simple, but how can you resist that puppy?
Pedigree Pets-1

What a sweet little family. You can tell they care so much for their dogs and puppies. It’s so sweet that their grandchildren play with the puppies. And, I love how they “deliver each and every one of the puppies themselves.” I wonder how they do it with such loving care?

Pedigree Pets-2


Oh wait. What happened here? A raid? 241 dogs seized? What happened to that nice little family with the grandchildren that loved to play with all their cute puppies? The puppies they personally delivered by hand?

Examiner article-Pedigree Pets

I know it’s hard to believe, but that cute little family story puppy millers put on their website is just that, a story. Or, as I like to say… B.S. According to the sheriff, veterinarians and the Ohio SPCA, the dogs were starving, had no water and were in bad shape. At least those are the allegations. The owners plead Not Guilty today, so we will have to wait to see how many of the 723 charges they will  be convicted on. I’ll leave you to check out the video of the raid on Pet-Abuse.com and make your own judgement.

Here is an excerpt of the story from Examiner.com:

Pedigree Pets was raided on Saturday, November 17, 2012 after an investigation by Deputy Cami Frey. Dogs and puppies were found living in horrid conditions and many were found to be ill, injured and emaciated. Several of the dogs had to be treated for wounds and infections.

The local sheriff that was involved in the raid on Pedigree Pets says it best…

“Online puppy mills are notorious for depicting their kennels as being wonderful places. In reality, they are massively breeding and housing dogs in cages and hutches for their entire lives”.

Don’t be fooled by those cute little websites featuring cute little puppies with fanciful stories of their wonderful families and family life. Buying a puppy online is just as bad as buying from a pet store.

Please Don’t Shop (not online or in a pet store), Adopt.

My sincere thanks to the Ohio SPCA for their hard work in saving these dogs and in seeing to their immediate care. Pedigree Pet’s breeding dogs, and their puppies, are now in the care of 22 wonderful Ohio rescues. The money it costs to care for all these dogs is not a minimal amount. Many puppy mill dogs are sick, undernourished, full of worms and have eye and dental issues. This case is no different. I am listing all of the rescues here. If you an donate to help with the care for these puppy mill dogs, please do so. It takes a village to help these dogs. One dollar is more than nothing. Please give what you can.

Peace for Paws (on Facebook)

Central Ohio Pomeranian Rescue (on Facebook)

WolfSpirits Toy Breed Puppy Mill Rescue (on Facebook)

Chihuahua Rescue and Transport (on Facebook)

Mid-Ohio Animal Welfare League (on Facebook)

Dachshund Rescue of Ohio

Great Lakes Westie Rescue (on Facebook)

Star-Mar Rescue

SICSA (Society for the Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals)

Columbus Cockers (on Facebook)

Central Ohio Dog Rescue League (on Facebook)

Marilyn’s Voice (on Facebook)

Paws Ohio (on Facebook)

Stormy’s Place (on Facebook)

Lost and Found K9 Rescue (on Facebook)

Thirdtyme Rescue (on Facebook)

Ohio Fuzzy Pawz Shih Tzu Rescue (on Facebook)

Measles Animal Haven (on Facebook)

Silky Rescue (on Facebook)

Lucky Star (on Facebook)

Colony Cats (on Facebook)

Ohio Basset Rescue (on Facebook)

Permission to share this photo was granted by the Ohio SPCA.

  1. November 27, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    Thank you for sharing this. These stories are hard to read/see/hear – but so important to know.

    • Mel
      November 27, 2012 at 8:48 PM

      They are hard to see and know about, but it’s the only way I can think to bring about change.

  2. November 27, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Thank you for this story. We just can’t raise awareness enough. I think alot of people just like to think that this kind of thing doesn’t really happen. They need to see the reality. We also need to contact Congress to let them know we want to close the loophole in the AWA that lets these internet breeders get away with this. Thank goodness the authorities in this case were able to charge these people. But we need more protections nationally also. Some states are worse than others in this industry, but it probably goes on in many more places than we are aware of. This is a great time of year to be getting this word out more too.

    • Mel
      November 27, 2012 at 8:48 PM

      Thank YOU Jan! I agree with you on contacting Congress. I have written both my senators about the PUPS bill and I have commented on the USDA’s website about the AWA. I can only hope that online sales of puppies and kitties is under the AWA soon.

  3. November 27, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Great points, Mel. I’ve read and heard so many accounts of people going online, contacting someone via email, and then meeting them at a restaurant or some other parking lot to make the exchange. Personally, I don’t buy fruit out of a van by the side of the road so I am certainly never going to buy a puppy that way. But so many people fall victim to this, thinking it’s normal, and then are shocked when the puppy has tragic health problems. Half the time they don’t even know the breeder’s name or phone number. I understand being taken in by a pair of big eyes in a photograph but I struggle to have a lot of sympathy in these cases. To me, making a purchase at a pet store at least has a touch of legitimacy. If a seller wants to meet you under an overpass, you know something shady must be going on.

    • Mel
      November 27, 2012 at 8:46 PM

      I have heard of that too Kristine. More often than not I am seeing people having their dogs shipped to them. This worries me a great deal. It’s awfully hard, not to mention expensive, to ship a sick dog back isn’t it?

      I think pet store or online, some people will just choose to ignore the warnings until they are the victim of one who sends them a sick dog. My former co-worker is a good example. I warned her not to buy her puppy from a website that was so clearly a front for a puppy mill and she said okay. Guess who has a new puppy of the same designer mix she had ben looking at on the website. Yup. 😦

  4. November 27, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    This is such an important message Mel. I see so many dogs that are purchased this way come through the doors at work. They see a nice pretty website, nice pictures of dogs and think that everything is ok. When we find something medically wrong with the puppy we ask if they can contact the breeder and many of them have no contact information other than an email. No address. Nothing, just a sick puppy.

    Glad to see this place was shut down, Ohio needs to keep going strong with this movement.

    • Mel
      November 27, 2012 at 8:43 PM

      Wow. I had no idea Jen. How sad is that? It makes me sad to see so many people fooled by these people.
      I’m glad they were shut down for now. They may get their dogs bak if they get off, but with that many counts against them I am hoping that is a slim chance.
      Ohio is impressing me with their hard work to crack down on these places.

  5. November 27, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    This is awful. If the people spent half as much time taking care of the dogs that they supposedly love as they did building a website that makes them look like saints – the dogs would not be living in such deplorable conditions.

    There is no reason to continue to buy from shady backyard breeders. They should all be out of business by now. Thank you for posting this and raising awareness of this practice. I really had no idea that so many of them were now using the internet as a medium for depicting themselves as reputable breeders. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you aren’t allowed to visit a breeder at their home to see their dogs and how they keep them, look elsewhere.

    • Mel
      November 27, 2012 at 8:40 PM

      Agreed. I wish they cared as much for their dogs as responsible breeders do. In Minnesota we have seen a 60% decrease in commercial breeders applying for a USDA license. Some may have gone out of business, but we suspect many just turned to selling their dogs over the internet. Not good news. I just wish I could tell everyone about puppy mills and the methods they use.

  6. To Shea
    November 27, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Very good and Important info Mel….Many people still do not realize where and how cruel Puppy Mills are. Many of these dogs are severly malnurished and suffer throughout their lives. It is HORRIBLE. I receive emails from this lady evey day showing me these terrible photos and how these animals are tortured over and over again.
    I will NEVER buy a dog from a shop. Only from a reputable breeder and I want to see the entire family living quarters…to make sure they are a FAMILY pet.

    Alex and Penny

    • Mel
      November 27, 2012 at 8:37 PM

      How awful Alex. I try to avoid the really graphic ones because I get too upset knowing there is nothing I can do. All I can do is add my voice to the many who are agaist puppy mills. Thank you for committing to never buying a pet from a store. I am very motivated to get the word out.

  7. November 28, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    This is terrible, it seems like the internet has become an avenue for so many horrific things.
    I hope one day puppy mills can be eradicated entirely !

  8. November 28, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Thanks for this important post. Reblogging on WordPress now.

  9. November 28, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Reblogged this on Dog Leader Mysteries and commented:
    So easy to fool people. Shopping for pets online, don’t do it. Adopt, never shop for a pet online.

  10. November 29, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    First of all, *why* would anyone buy a dog without seeing it first?! Secondly, shipping young dogs is NOT a good idea, so many bad things can happen and most breeders WILL NOT ship a dog for those reasons.

    Very sadly, people that sell over the internet and aren’t willing to open up the “shop” to let people pick up the dogs are usually doing something bad.

    • Mel
      November 29, 2012 at 6:35 AM

      Agreed Karen. I ask myself all the time why people would take a dog sight unseen and have it shipped. I guess our “gotta have it now” culture just doesn’t think about the fact that it is a living and breathing body with emotions just like us. I agree. If you don’t open up shop then you probably have something to hide. I can’t imagine asking people to trust me boarding their dogs and not let them see my home first.

  11. December 4, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Reading the story on her website had red flags going up for me (even though I knew what this piece was about) grandchildren ALWAYS want to play with puppies, would have me asking how many dogs do you have?

    I would love to see someone policing the internet for these vipers.

    The good news is that the more we chatter about it, the more people learn about, we will make a difference, just not always in the time frame we would like.

    Keep up the good fight Mel.

  12. December 30, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Reblogged this on SAVE OUR PRECIOUS ANIMALS.

  13. Cherie Hunchak
    December 5, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    Here is a challenge for you – how can the public be educated on discerning between folks like these above and genuine responsible breeders? I have been involved in protecting and maintaining the Borzoi for 31 years. I am president of my breed club, have assisted in breed rescue, health check all my breeding stock, screen for only the best homes, have a contract and encourage visits to my home. I also have a website educating people about our breed, and occasionally get inquiries. So how do we teach people what to watch for in looking at websites? A few starters to get you thinking: do they offer more than one or two breeds? Do they offer information on their breed, detailing the pros and cons, and what kind of home the breed would NOT be suitable for? Are they active in the canine community via clubs, activities, or volunteer work? Do they screen homes for suitability, or is it all about selling you a dog? Can you think of other talking points to teach people how to be discerning?

    Quality purebred dogs from a dedicated breeder are a joy, and one option for people to choose from. Not everyone wants a shelter dog and all the baggage that may come with it. Pets are meant to bring us pleasure, and picking the right breed and the right dog for you is critical. Shelter dogs won’t always be the right choice for a happy fit. If they are, that’s fantastic. But if not, knowing how to find the right breeder and how to recognize them is paramount.

    • Mel
      December 5, 2013 at 7:17 AM

      I think you just did Cherie. I totally love responsible breeders. I think educating the public on the differences is a huge one. If there are a couple of warning signs people should look for when buying a puppy, I would include:
      1. Selling multiple breeds or designer breeds.
      2. Won’t let you come to see where the parents live and how they live.
      3. They sell their dogs online and ship across country site unseen.

      I wish more people went to responsible breeders like you.

  14. December 1, 2014 at 3:41 PM

    Wow! Thanks for sharing! It is important to get the word out about puppy mills and the monsters that run them. Don’t let yourself be fooled!

  1. November 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM
  2. November 29, 2012 at 2:52 AM

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