We thank you for your inquiry and are happy to address your concerns. As a rescue organization that deals primarily with the rescue of retired puppy mill breeder dogs, we have found that, oftentimes, education is the key to understanding our dogs as well as our cause. One of the first questions we like to ask our potential adopters is: “Do you know what a puppy mill is?” because the answer to that question will give great insight into what to expect from a dog that you may adopt from our organization.
A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding facility where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. In order to maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little-to-no recovery time between litters. Puppy mill puppies, often as young as eight weeks of age, are sold to pet shops or directly to the public over the Internet, through newspaper ads and at swap meets and flea markets.
In a puppy mill, dogs are often kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs—and it is not unusual for cages to be stacked in columns. When female breeding dogs reach a point of physical depletion and can no longer reproduce, they are often killed.
Because puppy mills focus on profit, dogs rarely receive veterinary care. So, breeder dogs often have rotten teeth or no teeth due to years of no dental care and may even have mammary tumors due to overbreeding. Because mill dogs spend many years in a cage being repeatedly bred without veterinary care, upon rescue, they are often found to have serious internal problems, as well as parasites and other diseases. These dogs spend an average of 7-8 years confined to a small, cold wire cage with no socialization so they often suffer from fear, anxiety and other behavioral problems.
The average cost of veterinary bills for one mill dogs is $500. The level of veterinary care required makes it cost-prohibitive for many rescues to take in mill dogs. In addition to internal health issues that a rescue needs to address, mills dogs generally have serious external issues that require immediate treatment which include extensive grooming, severe matting, overgrown nails, lacerations, and untreated injuries.
Mill dogs are almost always in very poor physical and emotional condition; they need immediate and substantial veterinary care. Though most of our mill dog rescues are seniors, our adoption rates are set to allow us to provide the care needed once they are freed- regardless of their age. Those that choose to adopt our rescue dogs understand that our fees are in place to allow us to give that animal the care it deserves. Our adoption fees also allow us to care for future rescued breeder dogs because our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and re-home as many dogs as we can.
In a lot of ways, though these mill dogs are often considered “seniors”, they are puppies at heart- because they have never had the chance to be a puppy! With our fosters – and in their new, loving adopted homes- they will feel the grass on their feet for the first time . . . learn to walk the stairs for the first time . . . sleep on a soft bed for the first time! Rescuing a senior dog that has never known happiness is not an easy endeavor, however, the love and joy you will gain – the bond you will form- will be one of the greatest gifts imaginable!
Our goal is to give these dogs a second chance a life. A chance they were denied. We commend you for making the choice to adopt, rather than shop for a loving companion. By making this choice, you are not only saving a life we have already rescued, but you are helping save the life of future puppy mill breeders.
Stacy Block (Currently, mom of two puppy mill dogs)