Puppy Mill Conditions Reform

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org



Helping to improve existing conditions in USDA-Licensed Dealer facilities
(informally known as “puppy mills”).

There is a lot of miscommunication and misinformation about dealers (breeders).  To clarify:

  • Some dealers are known as “Commercial Breeders”. These dealers are regulated by the USDA, engaging in activities that require a USDA License. These dealers usually (but not only) sell litters at the wholesale level (to pet stores and/or via Internet).  It is these dealers that are commonly referred to as “puppy mills”.
  • Some dealers are known as “Hobby Breeders”. These dealers produce litters to be used commonly as show dogs or for purposes of keeping bloodlines alive, and if they do sell animals, it is on a retail level only. They do not consider themselves “commercial”, even though they also have to be USDA-Licensed. These are dealers on a ‘smaller’ scale.  Hobby Breeders fall into the same category as “backyard breeders”.  Backyard breeders follow no rules, and unless they are reported and held accountable, there is no action taken for any bad breeding habits.

You may not be aware of exactly what a “puppy mill” is.   The formal, correct term for a puppy mill is a Commercial Dealer or Substandard Facility.

Think about that term.  Substandard Facility.

You’ve come this far, so go a little farther and do a search on “Puppy Mills”. Now you will understand why so many are advocating every single day to make changes for those that cannot speak for or defend themselves.

Many bad breeders state they are “USDA Approved”, or that they are selling puppies that are “USDA Approved”.  Even pet stores now state that they are only selling puppies that are “USDA Approved”.

  • Know that there are no USDA “approved” breeders. There are only USDA licensed dealers.
  • Know that not all breeders are USDA licensed even though they should be.
  • Know that “USDA Approved”, simply explained, is a self-appointed title and can be defined as meeting the minimum standards put in place by the USDA in order to obtain a license.  It does NOT mean that the animals they are selling have been formally approved or examined.

Unfortunately, there are many bad breeders and puppy brokers that hide behind their self-appointed “USDA Approved” title, but do not follow the guidelines to ensure animal health and safety, even though they have a USDA License. So bad breeders fall between the cracks and become invisible, thereby allowing them to continue to relentlessly breed in inhumane conditions and sell in sometimes unbelievable amounts, without any consideration to the animals themselves. This gives responsible breeders a bad rap.

For all breeders, these animals are considered “money makers”, and for bad breeders, they are treated less than humanely because for them, money comes before the welfare of these animals.

Many would like to see commercial breeding eradicated – mainly because of the neglect and abuse that comes from maintaining these animals in inhumane conditions, and/or because there are so many animals starving, living as strays, and/or euthanized due to over-population.  Even with so many determined individuals and groups diligently working on this same issue, this goal is not going to happen quick enough for anyone concerned.

Since last year, just-do-something.org has been working with New York State Local and State legislators on a Bill proposal outlining specific goals to improve conditions in existing USDA-Approved Commercial Dealer facilities that we would like to see addressed on a State AND Federal level.

In October 2013, our draft Bill Proposal was provided to the Deputy Administrator of Animal Care at the USDA Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service.  They presented this Proposal to the Fall 2013 Breeder’s Meeting held by USDA APHIS.

just-do-something.org met with the Deputy Administrator of Animal Care as well as with other select members of this team in August 2015 to discuss this from a USDA standpoint. We will be speaking again in early September as a follow-up to our discussion and to see what we can do together going forward.  In addition, now that the laws have recently changed within New York State on Bill legislation, we are currently working with legislation within NYS to see the best way to have ours pushed forward.

Anyone interested in viewing our draft version of our Bill proposal, please drop us a line to receive an electronic version.

Did you know?

Roughly 90% of ALL puppies come from commercial dealers.  90%.   This number remains constant. Why?  Because there is money in commercial breeding, and money is a great roadblock  when it comes to trying to right something that is impacted by greed.   As long as people are making money from the relentless (over and over without care or rest) breeding of the same Mother Dog, and then the buying and selling of these puppies, no matter what the injustice to the animal, there will be those who will fight to keep them in production.

By the way, THIS is what 90% looks like:

Animal Advocacy Blog Picture Janet Bovitz Sandefur just-do-something.org

That is A LOT of breeding dogs and puppies kept in inhumane, unhealthy, unsafe conditions just so others can profit.  90%.

That number represents A LOT of suffering animals.

Think about it.


What can you do?

  • Unfortunately, it is getting harder and more difficult to distinguish responsible dealers from bad breeders.  And, many people are not aware that pet stores obtain the majority of the animals for sale from breeders and brokers. So, never buy an animal from a pet store or a breeder, and discourage others to do the same.
  • Never purchase an animal from the Internet.
  • If you DO purchase a sick animal, REPORT it, and request that your veterinarian to report it also.
  • Speak up.  We are their ONLY voice.
  • Encourage shelter adoptions!  Save a life.  Someone is always (ALWAYS) waiting for a forever home from a shelter.
  • In the minute it takes you to delete or ignore information to share or sign on “Puppy Mills”, PLEASE INSTEAD, read and educate yourself, and then share and sign.   Spreading awareness really does make a difference.

Get Educated!

  • USDA = United States Department of Agriculture
  • APHIS = Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • USDA APHIS enforces animal care and treatment through the regulations stated in the Animal Welfare Act.
  • Are you familiar with the Animal Welfare Act?  If you are interested in Dealer guidelines and Dealer reform, take time to familiarize yourself with this document.
    Click HERE to read everything you need to know.
  • Do you have a question on anything pertaining to the care and treatment of animals?
    Contact USDA APHIS.
  • Want to stay in the know?
    Click HERE to subscribe to the USDA Stakeholders Registry, to receive the latest updates from APHIS on animal issues. After you click “submit”, you will be prompted to select which updates you want to receive.  Select “Animal Care”.

Are you doing anything on this issue?

We would LOVE to know.    Share it with us, and we will share it all over the place.   If it’s something we can also get involved in, we will!    If you have a suggestion or idea, pass it along!   There is power in numbers, so  let’s join together.   Contact us!

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