Although most don’t want to think about this type of breeding, which many activists call “cruel,” national puppy mill expert Kari Meyers in Chicago said plenty still do exist in Nevada.
“It really is America’s little secret,” Meyers said. “There still are about 10,000 puppy mills in this country. You’ve got puppy mills in Nevada. There’s all kinds of puppy mill stuff going on there now.”
Meyers said she believes nearly all stores that sells dogs acquire them from these mills.
“I think everybody needs to know that when they go to look for a dog, it’s very easy to fall in love with the dog,” she said. “But that dog came from a puppy mill. The breeding mother had no vet care, no human contact. The only time she was taken out of her cage was every six months when she was bred.”
No responsible breeder will sell to a store, Meyers said. Puppy mill advocates have taken to classrooms and educated children about the dangerous conditions of these operations she said. The puppy mills are considered agriculture, but more and more laws and restrictions are being set into place to protect the small animals from cruelty.
Ultimately, the dogs that result from the operations are usually not as strong and can become sick easily, costing the new owner hundreds of dollars in unexpected veterinary bills, Meyers said. Many are surrendered to shelters.
“This is animal cruelty,” Meyers said.
To combat the issue in Nevada, the state enacted SB 299 in 2011, which set tougher licensing requirements to be a breeder, set forth rules on frequency of breeding and made changes to standards of care.
Persons wishing to report a valid tip are encouraged to call 1-877-MILL-TIP and will remain anonymous.
“Many people don’t realize that when they buy a puppy from a pet store or online they are most likely condemning the mother of that puppy to a life of misery in a puppy mill,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of the puppy mills campaign for The HSUS. “We encourage anyone with information on potentially illegal or cruel conditions at a puppy mill to speak up and call our tip line.”
The HSUS’ education affiliate, Humane Society University, is also celebrating Puppy Mill Action Week by adding a new online course for animal advocates focused on stopping puppy mills. This online course will help advocates understand the most common problems inherent in puppy mills and what can be done to address them. Students will gain a greater understanding of what puppy mills are, why they continue to thrive despite increases in public awareness and strides in public policy, and what individuals can do to help.
Also new this year, The HSUS’ puppy mills campaign launched the video contest “Why Puppy Mills Stink.” Contestants submitted 90-second videos for the contest, and finalists’ videos are posted online for the public to vote on through Thursday. The winning video will be announced Friday, and may be broadcast on television stations in the winner’s home state and in other select media markets.
To learn more about the online course, video contest voting, the tip line and reward and other resources to stop puppy mills, visit www.humanesociety.org/puppymills.