What is a puppy mill?

Puppy mills are inhumane high-volume dog breeding facilities that churn out puppies for profit, ignoring the needs of the pups and their mothers. We're fighting to end this cruelty, but we need your help. Here are seven ways you can take action to stop puppy mills:

1. Help make retail pet stores puppy-friendly

The Puppy-Friendly Pet Stores initiative asks dog lovers everywhere to help their local pet stores implement puppy-friendly policies by refusing to sell puppies in their store and supporting homeless pet adoptions instead. Stores that already do not sell puppies can sign up to show that they are taking a stand against puppy mills and to make official their policy of not selling puppies. Always refuse to buy pet supplies at stores that sell puppies.

2. Be an advocate

Our downloadable advocacy guide is a great resource with ideas that can help propel you into action. It also offers a detailed guide on working for passage of laws in your own community that will improve the lives of dogs in puppy mills.

Anyone with information on a possible crime involving puppy mills can report it. If you witnessed deplorable conditions in person and wish to file a complaint, please fill out this form.

View our list of localities that have passed ordinances banning the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores not obtained from shelters or rescues.

Watch Our Free Webinar: "Stop Puppy Mills: Your Questions Answered!"


View reports, diaries, videos, statistics and more from our undercover investigations of the largest puppy-selling pet store chain in the United States.

Overcrowded kennel in Petland Texas store, where many puppies were sick and most likely from petland puppy mills.

3. Contact your legislators

Contact your federal legislators and let them know that you're concerned about the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills and want the puppy mill issue to be a priority for Congress. Ask them to press the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act a top priority, with strong fines and penalties for breeders who don’t follow the law.

4. Write letters to the editor

Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper is a great way to get the word out about puppy mills. Write your own version—a short, polite letter is most effective. 

5. Print and post flyers

Download and print these flyers and bring them to local businesses or events to help potential new pet owners avoid puppy mills.

Stop Puppy Mills [PDF] 
How to Find a Responsible Dog Breeder [PDF]
The Cruelty Behind the Cuteness [PDF]

6. Introduce our "Nose-to-Tail" program at your school

Are you interested in fostering a culture of kindness with elementary students? The Humane Society of the United States has developed an exciting new humane curriculum tailored for this age group. From Nose to Tail: Lessons to Inspire Care and Compassion for Dogs is available in two versions, grades K-2 and 3-5. Both explore various dog-related humane issues, with a special focus on puppy mills. 

Learn More

7. Shop our online store

Wear your support on your sleeve and share your love of animals by wearing our branded merchandise; find it on Amazon.