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Don’t buy heartache for the holidays

How to avoid buying puppies from puppy mills

The Humane Society of the United States warns pet lovers not to put cruelty on their shopping lists this year by unwittingly purchasing puppies from puppy mills. Images of adorable puppies joining their new families on a holiday morning are icons of this festive season, but sadly, behind the adorable puppy purchased from a pet store, website, or classified ad, there often lies a world of cruelty. Puppy mills are mass-breeding facilities where the parent dogs are caged for life with little or no exercise, attention or vet care, solely to pump out puppies for the pet trade. Conditions are unsanitary and both the parent dogs and their puppies are often sick.

“The HSUS puppy mills campaign braces itself every year for the upsetting calls that come in right after the holidays,” says Kathleen Summers, manager of the Puppy Mills Campaign for The HSUS. “People call about sick or even dying puppies that they purchased. Too often consumers who haven’t done their homework end up spending the holiday trying to save a sick animal.”

The HSUS offers three tips for pet lovers who want to avoid supporting puppy mills:

  • Do not buy pets or pet supplies from stores that sell puppies. A list of Puppy Friendly Pet Stores, stores that support local adoption programs rather than selling puppies, can be found at humanesociety.org/puppystores.
  • Never buy a puppy as a gift or impulse purchase. Puppy mills cater to impulse buyers who haven’t done their homework, and shelters are full of dogs that people could not take care of because they were unprepared for the challenge of raising a pet.
  • Always consider adoption first. Animals shelters are brimming with pets of all kinds who deserve a loving home (you may be asked to wait until after the holiday to bring the pet home). If choosing to go to a breeder, always visit a breeder’s premises in person to see how and where the puppy’s mother is living. Never buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site, which are primarily supplied by puppy mills. Find out more about how to get a puppy at humanesociety.org/puppy


Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store. 

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.