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Never Buy Your Best Friend Online

The Humane Society of the United States

If Lisa Mullins knew more about puppy mills, she never would have purchased her English bulldog online. Mullins didn't know she was purchasing a sick puppy bred at a puppy mill when she bought her bulldog, Otis, from Bulldog Ravine. The Internet seller promised registration papers, "champion" bloodlines and a health guarantee.

It wasn't until after Otis became seriously ill that Lisa learned that Bulldog Ravine was actually a Pennsylvania puppy importer accused of selling unhealthy bulldogs from overseas puppy mills. Sadly, after suffering from many health issues that cost his family thousands of dollars in vet bills, Otis died at only 8 months of age.

If you buy a dog over the Internet, at a pet store or through a newspaper ad, your new pooch may very well be from a puppy mill — an abusive mass-production facility that churns out puppies under inhumane conditions.

Puppy mill producers often have slick, professional Web sites that convincingly advertise their puppies as "home raised" or "family raised." These claims are often false. A reputable breeder will never sell dogs through the Internet or other outlets that would not allow them to personally meet and interview prospective buyers.

The HSUS believes that Bulldog Ravine owner Brenda Moncrieff, like many Internet puppy sellers, has operated businesses under several names and used different Web sites to sell puppies, possibly including: B&E English Bulldogs, Heavenly French Bulldogs, APlusBulldogs.com, MNMBulldogs.com and GreenacresBulldogs.com. Mullins and dozens of other heartbroken Bulldog Ravine customers have contacted The Humane Society of the United States for help.

"Most of the puppy mills that The HSUS has raided in recent months have been Internet sellers that posed online as small reputable breeders," said Stephanie Shain, senior director of The HSUS' puppy mills campaign. "The HSUS encourages anyone who has purchased a Bulldog from Bulldog Ravine or one of these other online businesses to contact us as soon as possible."

If you are ready to share your home with a new pet and have the time, space and dedication to provide a lifetime of care and companionship, visit your local animal shelter. One in every four dogs in U.S. animal shelters is a purebred. Most dogs in shelters are there due to "people" reasons, such as cost, lack of time, lifestyle changes (new baby, divorce, moving, or marriage) or allergies, not because of something the dog has done.

Some shelters will keep a waiting list for people seeking a particular breed or species. In addition, private rescue groups exist for almost every breed of dog, as well as other kinds of pets. If you choose to buy your pet from a breeder instead, always visit the breeder's facility in person and see how and where all the dogs are living. Never buy a puppy without personally visiting where the puppies and their parents are raised and housed.

Puppy Mill Facts

  • Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction and are confined inside cramped wire-floored cages for life.
  • Breeding dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles and are typically confined for years on end, without ever becoming part of a family.
  • There is little regard for the dogs' health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.

To file a pet seller complaint with The HSUS: humanesociety.org/puppymillstory.

To learn more about finding a reputable breeder or rescue group: humanesociety.org/puppy.

More about puppy mills: humanesociety.org/puppymills.

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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.