What are puppy mills?
Puppy mills are inhumane, commercial dog breeding facilities where profit is placed high above the well-being, health and care of animals. It is estimated there are 10,000 puppy mills (both licensed and unlicensed) operating in the US, with 165,474 dogs kept solely for breeding in USDA licensed facilities. Of these, 107,558 are female dogs. Female dogs in these facilities are bred at every opportunity, rarely given recovery time between litters, and when these poor, overbred dogs are physically depleted from producing litter after littler and can no longer can reproduce, they are often killed.
Dogs housed in these breeding operations live in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions, and forced to live in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs, resulting in painful, open sores. The cages are often stacked on top of each other, often subjecting the dogs in lower cages to be exposed to excrement from dirty cages above. Breeding dog spend their entire lives in these cages, and either live outdoors, where they are exposed to the elements without protection; or they crammed inside filthy structures where the dogs never feel the sun or breathe fresh air.
The dogs often suffer from malnutrition, as puppy mill dogs are rarely provided with adequate or quality food. They do not receive fresh, clean water, socialization or veterinary care. Puppy mill dogs do not get to experience treats, toys, or basic grooming. They do not get to exercise or positive enrichment, and have been observed circling frantically or pacing back and forth in their cramped space for movement.
The number of dogs in a puppy mill can vary greatly, ranging from 10 to 1,000 breeding dogs. Because not all puppy mills are licensed and/or inspected, and with the USDA removing vital data base records on the operations that were licensed, including the violators, it is now even more impossible to know the true numbers of dogs living in these abusive, cruel conditions and for animal protection agencies to help the animals suffering in these operations.
Rolling Stone Magazine released a very informative and eye-opening article on puppy mills in 2017, which can be read at: https://www.rollingstone.