Puppy mills or puppy farms are all about quantity and profits. They are not about responsible breeding. So here are signs that you could be dealing with a puppy mill:
- It’s a puppy from a pet store. Pet stores buy from puppy mills and dealers who source cheaply from puppy mills.
- The advert is posted on a general puppies for sale
- The advert is otherwise cheap or free eg free ads, notices in vets etc
- The breeder does not give a residential address or landline phone number for contact
- The web photo is of a single puppy only and no other photos are available of the mother and litter with your puppy clearly in it
- They offer cheap deals eg ‘buy two at discount‘ or ‘last one, must go, reduced due to time wasters‘ – no breeder I know ever does that, no matter how long a puppy might be with them. They wait for the right home to come along, however long that takes.
- They will ship a puppy direct to you without you ever seeing it
- They will offer to bring the puppy to a convenient location somewhere in the middle for you to view
- Puppies are sold at less than 12 weeks old so they don’t have to spend money on vaccinations.
- Vaccination and vet check papers aren’t offered / aren’t available
- Genetic testing is not offered / not available
- Pedigree certificates are not available or ‘will be sent with your puppy’ and never arrive
- They do not ask you any questions about your home circumstances or suitability for the dog
- There are a lot of complaints about that breed with animal control/animal health/animal rescue organisations in the locality where your puppy is bred
- You cannot simply drop into the breeders if you are in the area – if at home, breeders I know are happy to welcome unannounced visitors
- You’re not allowed to view the whole ‘facility’
- You feel rushed or pressurised into a quick decision
- You are rushed into handing over money – the breeder asks about the cash to buy/wants a down payment to secure one almost as soon as you make contact
- There’s no puppy pack (food, lead and collar, papers, toys etc)
- The ‘breeder’ will find as many ways as possible to prevent you visiting under the guise of ‘making it easier for you’.
Believe me, these days it is getting harder to spot a puppy mill operating independently as they are getting very clever about how they conduct business. They will even go as far as to rent houses kitted out to look like a nice family home where you can visit. They will then often present you with a single puppy without mother and litter mates (‘the rest have all gone‘).
However even if you do see what appears to be a puppy with mother and litter mates, there should be enough other early warning signs from this list so that you never buy from a puppy mill.
In fact, using these 20 ways to spot a puppy mill you’ll hopefully not even get close to buying from one.
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