Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Drawing the line

Puppy mills are usually characterized by their cramped quarters and squallid conditions. Typically dogs are mated every time their heat cycle rolls around, and their existence revolves solely around churning out puppies. They're mistreated and unhealthy.

That's what comes to mind when I hear "puppy mill" - how about you?

If you could write the definition of puppy mill, what would it be?

By calling a place a puppy mill, you're saying it should be shut down, that the laws apply to that place: so consider that when you answer. Also consider the state the dogs must be in for a commercial kennel to qualify.

Is a puppy mill a large facility where the dogs are locked in their cages all day long, fed little, and experience little human contact?
Is it a place where any number of dogs, even a few, are bred indiscriminately for profit alone?
Does it cover a backyard breeder who cares for her dogs and socializes them, but always has a litter available?

This is something I've been thinking about lately, so I'd like to hear your thoughts. :)


Havocec said...

I think a puppy mill is any operation whose sole purpose is to sell puppies. The operators offer more then one litter a year. They do not practice responsible pet ownership nor do they encourage the purchasers of their animals to practice it. Operations or byb who are not active in their breed associations, showing. Breeding animals without pedigrees or papers and Designer dogs. Puppy mills will also not offer a buy back policy or mandatory neuter/spay agreements from their clients.

Puppy mills don't necessarily bred. There is one individual in my area who "buys" puppies from various byb's then resells them. P*ppies r Us is the name of her business.

muttpuppiesontrial said...

That's another point - do we include the people who sell dogs they haven't bred (like Hunte Corp) under the umbrella term "puppy mill"? I'm inclined to say yes, but on the other hand, some certainly may treat their puppies right, and they aren't contributing directly to the pet population... Still, I'd call these places puppy mills - and therefore state YES, they should be shut down - unless they spay every dog to leave their possession.

That puppy mills breed designer dogs is another glaring factor. The HSUS only includes "purebreed dogs" in its definition of a puppy mill. But designer dogs are an undoubted trend, and there are plenty who would leap on the bandwagon to make a buck.

I'd slap the label on anybody who prizes profit over puppies. Breeders should care about their dogs, even after the puppies have left their possession, and it's easy to spot the ones who don't. They're the ones with fishy health warranties, who ship dogs out, and don't take them back. A good breeder should prefer to personally rehome her former puppy if things don't work out, rather than have it end up in a kill shelter, for all she knows. Those who are eager to fob off their dogs and wash their hands clean of any responsibility that went with it - they are the puppy mills, in my books.

GoLightly said...

Havocec, I think you nailed the question, with your first sentence. Puppies 'r Us. More then a litter, or a litter a year, with no break for the bitch. Bad practices. They are out there.. (shudder)
There was one caught and "charged" 7km from where we live.
"Misener", , and I am annoyed I can't remember the first names of the couple.
I don't want to type if I'm not sure. Really bad conditions....

Have you read Dogs In Canada this month?
They do manage to annoy me, every time I $ it.
A letter to the editor got snarky, for a change, because the previous month's DNA article was about a (gasp) mutt. The letter writer was aghast that such print would be wasted on mutts, with her $ going TO the CKC, which pays the Ragazine advertising, and "designer dogs" being such a terrible $ drain on their business. The pure-breeders are skeered, because their $ share is going down. As well they should be, with the bad press due to the closed genetic pool "we've" created.
"They're healthier" isn't true, but it is a great selling point for the masses.

As if that wasn't enough, I had mixed thoughts about the Rag's completely AGAINST story for a new idea'ed company called "FlexPets", where, you rent your pet...
A pet rental company.
With all the excess shelter animals, which is what they're using, I think, (I don't know squat about the company)
I can't see how it's bad.
Jean Donaldson was braying that "dogs thrive on constant unchanging routine", they "are traumatized when their home environment changes". I think it would be GOOD for dogs, as they certainly, at least in my experience, thrive on new places to go, new people to meet. It's rigid routine that makes most dogs get bored, and get well, you know. Destructive/aggressive/barksalot/hyperactive/
(fill in the blank).
It's HUMANS that create seperation anxiety! There were lots of articles suggesting lots of paid dog training, for your poor untrained pet. I just wonder...

At least the dogs would have a chance to get out there, out of crates and cages for awhile!
Maybe improve their social skills, sort of like "paid fostering".

There was also a letter from a "hyper-active lab" owner, who had worked her damndest with lots of "training help", (fly-ball/agility/obedience/u-name-it) and the dog was still hyper-active at 5years old. She is ashamed to go to trials and etc., because the dog is still so strong. Those are poor training techniques she's getting out there, and poor breeding from her lab breeder, IMO.

What do you think?

gotta go:)
Great Post!

Havocec said...

My Parents took me to a puppy mill in the 70's. My memory is of a barn full a cages of dogs, floor to ceiling.

Puppies R Us made the news in Nova Scotia when several animals sold by them died in quick succession.

Don't rule out the big box pet stores that have unlimited amounts of animals from who knows where (salt water fish included).

My puppy mill Lab (2000 Model), with his $1200 ligament replacement (2003) is asleep on the rug with his head on my foot. He's very much an "in your face" kind of dog.

Clickers, treats, praise. Whatever works. Mine likes treats and the clicker. I taught him hand signals and touch signals in case he goes deaf or blind. I need to brush him up on them though.

GoLightly said...

I think some well-meaning, but not well informed dog owners forget to train "calm down and relax" into their dogs. They're too busy training, and training and training...
I think some owners actually foster hyper-activity, just by constantly making the dog think your world "revolves" around him.
Which (at least for me anyway) it does, but they don't need to know that!
My puppy's signal to calm down and relax, when we're done playing, is when I leave the room. Two minutes, she's out like a light:)
And remains calm until I return. Which could be an hour, or four. Good puppy!!!
Havocec, how do you know he's a puppy mill lab? Did you rescue?
I had a neighbour, who got a lab puppy, when his wife was seven months pregnant with their second child.. Brilllliant:(
Poor dog, beautiful big hunting dog looks and athleticism, lonely doesn't begin to describe it. I finally had to call the Humane Society on them, after they'd left the dog out in a wire crate, not covered, all night, in a bad thunderstorm... Barked his poor head off. I moved not long after that. Hard to find good neighbours, for me, anyway:)


Whattya think of Pet Renting?
Just curious...

Scritch behind some ears for me!
Mine have gone to bed, as usual, ahead of me:)

Havocec said...

I assumed he was a mill puppy. No papers, no history, not neutered and no vet records from his previous "caring" owners at 5 months. No reference back to a breeder. Most of our Lab breeders are pretty high profile, come highly recommended and will take back animals.

I went to see this one. I felt like he needed to be rescued. The woman had a mobile home full of dogs. Some with litters, some expecting.

I think she used him for breeding before I got him. Why do I think this? Cuz he humped everything in sight until I got him neutered. And he's a damned handsome, easy, smart dog. He lays on his back so you can cut his nails.

Pet renting? If people want a temporary pet they should walk dogs at their local shelter.

GoLightly said...

That's the thing though Havocec. There are many people that may want a pet, but because of their life-style, know they can't do it full-time.
Frequent travelers, and the like. If they are fostering ("renting") pets from shelters, and paying for the privilege, where's the harm?
More money for the shelter, more socialization for the pet, which can help with adoptability.
As I say, I know nothing about the company.
I just always get my back up when I read DIC. They are part of the mega-Pet-industry, which doesn't Always have the animals' best interests at heart..

Kudos to you for rescuing your Lab. Sure sounds like he came from a Mill.