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How do you determine a Puppy Mill?

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  • How do you determine a Puppy Mill?

    Is a puppy mill someone who produces X number of litters a year? Is it a mill if they produce litters from more than 2 different breeds? Is it just the condition they're kept in? If the kennels are clean and the dogs are in runs not cages is that okay and make it not a mill?

    As a hobby breeder of JRTs I should know the answer to these questions but I'm in a quandary. On FB there is someone who is on several dog pages with me. This person is a licensed veterinarian. They have been breeding dogs for many years and now that their breed is AKC recognized they are going at it hammer and tongs. Recently on a reproductive board this person dropped a bombshell. In trying to justify their knowledge, they mentioned they breed 30 litters a year. 30 LITTERS. That's between 90-120 puppies. As someone who had a one year high of 25 puppies in one year (and got a lot of flack for having 4 litters that year) my mind just boggles. I mean you can have nice kennels, you can have kennel help that clean and provide some affection. But at a minimum this person has 15 brood bitches and has them whelping 2x a year (to be fair, recent research has turned the 'breed every other heat' on it's ear. Current thought is breed early, often and quit after 4-5 litters (or you get the puppy you want). Clearly they're working the internet to the max, and with the newly admitted breed being ragingly popular I'm sure they are managing to sell the puppies. To their credit, they do show their dogs and they do very well, so the dogs are (at least some of them) good quality. But I question whether they can have the ability to take a puppy back throughout its lifetime.

    So, are they a mill? Assuming they don't sell to pet shops, is that a criteria for not being a mill? Your opinions are welcome.

    Edited to add that according to their website, they have many co-owned bitches, which may live with their co-owner but come home to whelp.
    Last edited by Kryswyn; Aug. 25, 2012, 09:34 PM. Reason: additional info
    ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
    Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

    "Life is merrier with a terrier!"

  • #2
    I think level of human interaction has to factor in to the equation some how. I would consider it to be a puppy mill if the person only had one litter per year if they lived in a wire cage for their entire life and never touched a blade of grass with their feet. It would be very difficult to have the kind of volume you described and still interact with them adequately but not impossible if he had a dedicated staff and appropriate facilities.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home

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    • #3
      The words that popped into my head were ugly and not appropriate in any company.

      A good breeder is striving to improve their lines and create dogs who embody the breed standard and have phenomenal dispositions. Some breeders have the added focus of performance versatility and hopefully at breeders also strive to eradicate hereditary problems within the breed. If you need to produce that many litters per year to produce a handful of quality dogs then maybe you should reevaluate your breeding stock.

      Sounds like a glorified puppy mill to me.

      In my breed of choice we have a handful of big names who produce a couple nice dogs each year but are milling out puppies like crazy to do so. I think it's totally unacceptable but obviously I don't really have any say except to educate others and avoid their lines like the plague.

      Pardon the typos. Working off my iPhone.

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      • #4
        I call an operation like this a 'registered puppy mill'. If the person breeds only for the money, breeds without regard for anything but the bottom line, sells to anyone who pays the amount of money they want, and doesn't care about the home the puppy goes to, then in my book it's still a puppy mill.

        Just because the animals are registered, and not kept in horrific conditions doesn't mean the breeder cares about anything but money.

        And just because someone sells on the internet or through ads instead of through pet stores doesn't mean they aren't a volume, quantity over quality breeder either. The lowest level puppy mills sell to retailers of some kind also, and to my understanding they get something like 10% of the price the pet stores sell to the public for. And many of those dogs have papers too, though many are attributed to better bred dogs than they really are through claiming the higher quality parents are respeonsible for more puppies, and that way they get more money for a puppy by lying about the parentage. And I've also heard that many of the quantity breeders do sell to pet stores, but the culls or defective dogs, and that way they make something off of them also.
        You can't fix stupid-Ron White

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JanM View Post
          I call an operation like this a 'registered puppy mill'. If the person breeds only for the money, breeds without regard for anything but the bottom line, sells to anyone who pays the amount of money they want, and doesn't care about the home the puppy goes to, then in my book it's still a puppy mill.
          I agree. Unless they are some sort of "whelping service" only (e.g. something akin to broodmare care and they are not the breeder of record), then they are breeding way too many and way too fast to realize the outcome of the breedings....and therefore be able to say "aha, that was exactly what I thought it would be" or "whoa, never saw that coming!" That takes months...years, even!

          30 litters a year.....2-3 litters a month?? How could you possibly even keep up with those puppies to know whether they meet your expectations? Let alone keep up with them in the show ring (or performance event) 6+ months down the line to know if they do well? (And therefor justify/validate your breeding program.)

          Personally, I don't know that it matters if we call them a "puppy mill" or simply an irresponsible breeder. It's the same to me. There are a lot of different types of irresponsible breeders...this is just one example.

          ETA: My dog's breeder has been "in the business" for 30 years (owning, showing, handling, breeding). I don't think she's bred 15 litters in 30 years....let alone 30 litters a year! And that's with whelping litter of bitches he has bred, but doesn't actually own. Yeah....I think this person is a puppy mill!

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          • #6
            Puppy mill puppy mill puppy mill. She isn't raising corn! How does she socialize and interact with so many puppies, and as for keeping bitches on the wire like that -eewwww.

            Paula
            He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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            • #7
              Any organization that sells/gives a dog to a college student still living in a dorm where it is clearly against the rules to have a dog, let alone a puppy, is definitely a puppy mill. A girl who lived on my hall actually purchased/rescued (??) a puppy from a mill selling them on the side of the road, and somehow snuck it into our dorm and it lived there for a week before going to her house, without (one of) the RAs knowing about it.

              Apart from that criteria, haha, I'd say anyone breeding too much without socializing/properly raising the dogs is a puppy mill. If they breed enough of course they are going to get lucky and have a few nice dogs, but that does not a dog breeder make. In my very inexperienced opinion, haha.
              "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
              "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

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              • #8
                in my area... a mennonite farm with a permanent sign "puppies for sale" and "No sunday sales"... it's a dead give away...

                Unfortunately, the townships issue breeding licenses and the Humane Society let the "breeders" know about 20 days ahead of time that there will be an inspection!

                Lots of noise right now in the area... and a vet who is willing to vaccinate the puppies but ignores the living conditions of the parents. Disgusting...

                Sorry but mennonites are not all they pretend to be... whether it's horses or dogs.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I would just like to clarify that as far as I know the breeder I'm referring to does NOT keep the dogs in wire cages.

                  As for being all about the money. According to the website prices range from $1200-1500. Prior to being eligible for any sort of registry these breeds of dogs could be found for $250-350 in Virginia.
                  ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                  Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                  "Life is merrier with a terrier!"

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                  • #10
                    Breeding 30 litters a year is inexcusable, even if they were extremely wealthy and able to take back every last puppy. It's simply unconscionable to treat dogs as if they were livestock. There is no way the adult dogs and the puppies can get appropriate interaction and attention in those numbers.
                    The limitation placed on a thinking, feeling companion animal who shares his or her companion with dozens of other dogs is painful. A handful of dogs will be the "special" ones, and the rest will just exist. That's real cruelty, even if it's not visually arresting.

                    *For the easily excited - I'm not saying it's cruel to have 3 dogs.

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                    • #11
                      IMHO Puppy Mill=anyone who breeds for profit rather then the betterment of a breed. A responsible breeder works with a breed club to breed the best specimens possible for show, performance, or companion animal, and will make sure all their pups are properly handled and socialized and will screen buyers meticulously, and refuse those they feel are not a match for either the breed or a particular dog. They study genetics and conformation in depth and only keep breeding animals who are superior to the previous generation and/or have performance records to justify breeding them. They insist that pet-only quality dogs are spayed or neutered. Breeders who do not do these things are puppy mills, whether they have one litter a year or 20.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by HenryisBlaisin' View Post
                        IMHO Puppy Mill=anyone who breeds for profit rather then the betterment of a breed. A responsible breeder works with a breed club to breed the best specimens possible for show, performance, or companion animal, and will make sure all their pups are properly handled and socialized and will screen buyers meticulously, and refuse those they feel are not a match for either the breed or a particular dog. They study genetics and conformation in depth and only keep breeding animals who are superior to the previous generation and/or have performance records to justify breeding them. They insist that pet-only quality dogs are spayed or neutered. Breeders who do not do these things are puppy mills, whether they have one litter a year or 20.
                        I agree except I would say they are an irresponsible BYB or puppy mill depending on numbers produced.
                        Last edited by jetsmom; Aug. 26, 2012, 11:17 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by HenryisBlaisin' View Post
                          IMHO Puppy Mill=anyone who breeds for profit rather then the betterment of a breed. A responsible breeder works with a breed club to breed the best specimens possible for show, performance, or companion animal, and will make sure all their pups are properly handled and socialized and will screen buyers meticulously, and refuse those they feel are not a match for either the breed or a particular dog. They study genetics and conformation in depth and only keep breeding animals who are superior to the previous generation and/or have performance records to justify breeding them. They insist that pet-only quality dogs are spayed or neutered. Breeders who do not do these things are puppy mills, whether they have one litter a year or 20.
                          This, a thousand times over.

                          We adopted a chihuahua from a no kill shelter. The chi was one year old and had been turned over by her puppy mill breeder. Let me be clear, we adore this chi and will continue move heaven and earth to keep her healthy but she is a genetic cesspool. Completely different critter from our other "pet quality" chi who has yet to have any issues.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            putting out 30 litters means having 15 bitches producing...
                            That alone is mind boggling!

                            vote is YES on puppy mill.

                            My SIL had a similar setup, minus the vet experience...and not as many dogs....but she had about 6 or 8 bitches going, twice a year.
                            Thankfully even having he dogs in kennels was too much work for her and they abandoned the Christmas business, shortly after the other part was gone, too...
                            Originally posted by BigMama1
                            Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                            GNU Terry Prachett

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HenryisBlaisin' View Post
                              IMHO Puppy Mill=anyone who breeds for profit rather then the betterment of a breed. A responsible breeder works with a breed club to breed the best specimens possible for show, performance, or companion animal, and will make sure all their pups are properly handled and socialized and will screen buyers meticulously, and refuse those they feel are not a match for either the breed or a particular dog. They study genetics and conformation in depth and only keep breeding animals who are superior to the previous generation and/or have performance records to justify breeding them. They insist that pet-only quality dogs are spayed or neutered. Breeders who do not do these things are puppy mills, whether they have one litter a year or 20.
                              This. And you can't go strictly on numbers of litters produced, because small breeds typically only have 1-3 puppies per litter. So all of the above criteria are much more meaningful than just litter numbers.
                              Laurie

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Kryswyn View Post
                                I would just like to clarify that as far as I know the breeder I'm referring to does NOT keep the dogs in wire cages.

                                As for being all about the money. According to the website prices range from $1200-1500. Prior to being eligible for any sort of registry these breeds of dogs could be found for $250-350 in Virginia.
                                Keeping the dogs in crates instead of wire cages and charging $1,200 does not make someone a reputable breeder.

                                Are others in your group aware of how many dogs she breeds?

                                Does anyone know what she is doing with all of those puppies that don't end up being show quality?

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I "liked" a corgi breeder on FB for a while because the pictures were cute and a friend had gotten a puppy from them. Then I looked more closely at their information, and they're breeding their bitches twice a year, which I don't like at all. When I got Tribble, it took me a month of calling around to find a breeder who had a litter that wasn't all pre-sold. Most of the ones I talked to had, at most, one litter a year and the puppies were reserved months in advance.
                                  I only got Tribble because she has a coloring "fault" that makes her unsuitable for showing. All her siblings went to show homes.

                                  It makes me uncomfortable seeing "breeders" always advertising PUPPIES AVAILABLE NOW!
                                  I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I don't think it's necessarily bad to breed a bitch twice in one year. So I wouldn't use that as a criteria to identify a bad breeder.

                                    My breeder bred one of her bitches twice; once at 4 and again this past spring at 6. She had to have an emergency c-section to deliver the last two puppies, and the vets said that it could be for no reason at all, but that she's "middle-aged" at 6 so it could be age related.

                                    Considering that you shouldn't breed before age 2 (minimum age for things like OFA hips), and 6 is already pushing the age limit into "middle-aged"...it doesn't leave much time for breeding -- especially if you are also showing or competing your bitch between ages 2-6.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Was downtown eating lunch with my boyfriend and ran into a couple with a precious ball of fluff. I of course stopped and made small talk while I loved on their little puppy. When they said 'doodle I immediately asked what rescue they got her from and they corrected me and said it was Southern Charm Labradoodles.

                                      When I got home I got on their website and saw a cute page with references to a puppy cam and regular updates. I also realized that they have 15 studs, 20+ bitches, 8 litters available as of 8/12, and their "foundation stud" was killed by a delivery truck because he was an outside dog.

                                      http://www.southerncharmlabradoodles.com/index.php

                                      It makes my stomach turn to think that well-intentioned but ignorant people are funneling $1,800-$2,300 per puppy to an irresponsible puppy mill breeder hiding behind a nice website.

                                      Everywhere I turn I find irresponsible breeders and puppy mills.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
                                        When I got home I got on their website and saw a cute page with references to a puppy cam and regular updates. I also realized that they have 15 studs, 20+ bitches, 8 litters available as of 8/12, and their "foundation stud" was killed by a delivery truck because he was an outside dog.

                                        http://www.southerncharmlabradoodles.com/index.php

                                        It makes my stomach turn to think that well-intentioned but ignorant people are funneling $1,800-$2,300 per puppy to an irresponsible puppy mill breeder hiding behind a nice website.

                                        Everywhere I turn I find irresponsible breeders and puppy mills.
                                        Not to mention that some of their "stud dogs" aren't even two yet....so their OFA scores would be preliminary only...if they had had them done. But it says "Hips and elbows per Dr. Wallace OFA grade good and Normal"....meaning some vet supposedly is giving his own OFA score to the dogs....not OFA itself. Hmmmm.....

                                        FYI, (not that this makes them a good breeder), but most of their dogs don't live with them.

                                        ETA: the spelling on her website is atrocious!

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