During that exciting time when you’re planning to adopt a puppy, you’re probably doing a lot of research.  You want to know if the breed you’re considering is right for you and your family or if that shelter pup is friendly and social.  But, are you also doing research on the person or place from which you are adopting or purchasing?  If not, you might want to take it into consideration before paying a large amount of money for a poorly bred puppy mill pet.  According to the Humane Society of the United States, Puppy mills contribute to pet overpopulation and cause countless numbers of dogs to suffer in horrible living conditions and endless breeding cycles.  Just last month, more than 60 dogs were rescued from a puppy mill in North Carolina.  Many were suffering from severe medical issues and living in deplorable conditions.

North Carolina isn’t the only state with a puppy mill problem.  According to HSUS, Mississippi, Kentucky, North Dakota, Idaho and South Dakota rank among the worst states in the country for legislation regulating breeding and protecting dogs from puppy mill environments.  One state in our area, Virginia, earned the top spot for its strong protections of puppy mill dogs and owners buying dogs from pet stores.  “Puppy mill dogs are almost always fraught with genetic diseases, multiple parasites, respiratory disease, and skin disorders.  They are often harder to housebreak and socialize because they are more fearful”, says our veterinarian Dr. Bethany Falter.   Want to avoid contributing to this serious problem?  Check out these tips for avoiding a puppy mill pet from the HSUS:

1)     Consider adoption

2)     Find a responsible breeder and visit the premises

3)     Don’t be fooled by common claims made by pet stores when pushing their puppies

4)     Don’t be swayed by a great web site or ad.  Just because the site says “home raised” or “family raised” doesn’t make it true

5)     Avoid the temptation to “rescue” a puppy mill pet by buying him

6)     Do your part: Pledge to help stop puppy mills!

For more information about puppy mills, visit the HSUS’s web site.