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The next time you think of purchasing a cute dog from a pet store or online, please think twice.

Most puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills, large commercial breeders where animals are often warehoused in unsanitary conditions, in cramped cages, deprived of socialization, exercise, and necessary veterinary care. The breeding dogs spend years, if they survive that long, suffering in these deplorable conditions.

Although the Federal Animal Welfare Act and regulations contain licensing requirements and minimum standards for the care of animals at some puppy mills, enforcement of the Act has been widely criticized. A government report provided numerous examples of inadequate enforcement:

Lack of necessary care of dogs with hair loss over their entire bodies and raw, irritated spots on their skin. Despite the continuing violations AC (animal care department of the USDA) did not take enforcement action.

Dog was left untreated for at least seven days after being bitten by another dog, resulting in the flesh around the wound rotting away to the bone.

Numerous dogs infested with ticks. In one case, the ticks completely covered the dog’s body.

A large amount of feces and urine was pooled under the kennels producing an overpowering odor. The inspector recommended no enforcement action.

The inspector found five dead dogs and other starving dogs that had resorted to cannibalism. Despite these conditions AC did not immediately confiscate the surviving dogs, and as a result twenty-two additional dogs died before the breeder’s license was revoked.

In several parts of the United States and Canada, there are legislative and other efforts to stop the sale of puppies at pet stores, since pet stores obtain most of their puppies from puppy mills. YOU CAN BE A PART OF THIS EFFORT!

*Don’t buy a puppy or kitten from a pet store, on the Internet, or from a puppy mill or commercial breeder. There are so many homeless animals who are waiting for the chance for happiness and love in a new home.

*Urge your local pet stores not to sell puppies and kittens. Ask them instead to promote animal adoptions by working with local animal shelters and rescue groups.

*Contact your local and state legislators and ask them to sponsor and support legislation to ban the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores. Such legislation has already passed in some municipalities in California, Florida, Nevada, Texas, and in British Columbia and Toronto, Canada.

*Contact your two US Senators and Congressman/woman and ask that they support the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act: H.R. 847 and S. 395. This legislation provides that high volume dog breeders must be licensed and adhere to standards of animal care, including exercise requirements. This legislation would close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act which has been interpreted to exclude from coverage animal breeders who sell directly to the public, including on the Internet.

To find out if your US legislators are already sponsors of this legislation, go to If you are not sure of the names of your US senators and representative, go to and Put in your zip code where indicated and contact information for your legislators will be provided.

Let your legislators know:

  • Until such time as puppy mills are banned, breeders must be required to provide better care for their animals, including exercise, and
  • There is no justification to exclude any puppy mills from the animal care provisions in the Animal Welfare Act, and
  • Loopholes in the law need to be closed so that puppy mills which sell animals over the Internet or directly to consumers are mandated to comply with animal care standards

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