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The HSUS Calls on Responsible Breeders to Support Puppy Mill Legislation

The Humane Society of the United States

Puppy mill legislation pending in various states has faced resistance from some rank-and-file dog breeders, apparently out of unfounded fears about the potential impact if these bills become law. In truth, though, abusive, mass-scale dog producing facilities, known as puppy mills, not only adversely affect dogs and consumers, but small-scale breeders as well. The Humane Society of the United States urges these breeders to join in supporting reasonable standards to improve the welfare of dogs at puppy mills and restore consumer confidence.

"Upstanding members of the purebred dog fancy have a chance to support legislation that will protect the dogs they love, clear their name and regain the public's trust," said Stephanie Shain, senior director of The HSUS' puppy mills campaign. "These dog lovers shouldn't defend an industry that is so abusive, and I hope all responsible breeders will join us in protecting man's best friend."

Public awareness and outrage about puppy mills has increased significantly in the past year, thanks in part to high-profile cruelty cases that drew widespread media coverage. Law enforcement officials and HSUS experts have revealed a sickening and indefensible pattern of animal mistreatment at these large mills. Reputable breeders now find themselves in the awkward position of defending their love of dogs while being misled by an industry bent on the status quo. 

"Reputable hobby breeders raise dogs in humane conditions and provide proper care, nutrition and socialization. These breeders consider their dogs as part of their family and personally approve the families that purchase their dogs," says Ted Paul, long-time collie breeder and AKC judge.

The modest protection standards introduced in various state bills include capping the number of unsterilized dogs that a facility can keep at one time and providing very basic care standards, such as access to food, water and medical attention. Reputable hobby breeders do not breed anywhere near the mass quantities of dogs found at puppy mills and already provide proper standards of care for their animals. Some of these breeders are fighting legislation that would ensure humane treatment for dogs and burnish the reputation of the dog breeding industry.


  • Puppy mills are factory-style breeding facilities that keep animals in cages or kennels, often in squalid conditions without exercise, socialization or meaningful human interaction. After the breeding dog's fertility wanes, they are destroyed or discarded. These facilities are generally legal, but the conditions are all too often inhumane and horrify dog owners across the country when exposed.
  • Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog's health, genetic history or future welfare.
  • Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia passed laws in 2008 to crack down on puppy mills.
  • More than two dozen states have considered puppy mill legislation in 2009. Bills in Washington and Indiana have passed their state legislatures and await their governor's signature, and other state bills are under consideration.

To learn more about puppy mills, visit humanesociety.org/puppymills. For help finding a responsible breeder, click here.


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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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