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Video Monday | If you were a dog toy

"Where’d you get this little guy?" Learn the Realities of Puppy Mills

We are a country that embraces the companionship of dogs more deeply every year. Today, the dogs we have are treated as loving members of the family. As education spreads about the benefits of having a dog in your life, fewer people see a dog as merely "equipment" but as therapist, protector and healer.

About 39% of US households have at least one dog. The amount of money we are willing to spend on our furry family member is climbing. It is estimated this year, we will spend more than $20 billion on just pet food in the US. [Source: APPA] Clearly, all signs point toward a love affair that isn't ending any time soon.

Awareness. I live in San Francisco, a city well known for its fondness for dogs. We have festivals and holidays celebrating all things dog, like Pet Pride Day. We have more dogs than children living here. The Bay Area has many well respected animal care organizations, yet last October the San Francisco SPCA uncovered a sad statistic: 30% of Bay Area residents are getting their dogs from puppy mills.

IMG_6623Before I found my dog Cleo at the SF SPCA, I was interested in German Shepherds and found several great breed specific rescues. What made them great? People who knew the breed inside and out, quizzed me repeatedly when I showed interest in one of their dogs at an outreach event. Not only could they answer my questions, they had questions of their own for me.

Having grown up with Doberman Pinschers I thought I wanted a German Shepherd, but after several candid conversations they had me realizing this wasn't a good match. Buying a dog or adopting, the in-person meetings and conversations are incredibly important. A great rescue or a responsible breeder will want to speak with you openly and honestly.

Education. Even in San Francisco people seem to understand that buying from a pet store is irresponsible, but many still don't understand the connection between buying online and supporting puppy mills. Sometimes it still seems as if people want to believe, that when they buy a dog online from a "farm", they are getting their very own Snoopy from the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. 

While working in the spay-neuter clinic, Dr. Scarlett, Co-President, San Francisco SPCA, uncovered how clients bought many of their dogs online. "Every morning we check in young, unaltered dogs (and cats) for their surgery and I was curious where these animals were coming from—they weren’t coming from us. So I started asking clients in a friendly way, “Where’d you get this little guy?” And over and over and over, these well-meaning people would say they’d bought the animal online—from a “farm” in Missouri, Idaho, maybe Kansas, someplace with an appealing pitch and sometimes a celebrity endorsement. There’s the first warning sign: a responsible breeder will never sell an animal sight unseen, or refuse to let you see where the dog was born and raised. Sure enough, 42% of the people in our survey who bought from a breeder said the breeder had never even interviewed them."

Share. I encourage you to watch the video at and share it with your family and friends - especially anyone thinking about getting a dog online. You will see how easy it is for anyone to fall for a cute face. This video is an imitation of common puppy mill advertisements. It then reveals the realities of how puppy mill dogs are raised. 

Share this video and what you learn again and again.

  • Educate yourself about the realities of puppy mills
  • Check out the educational video we created to highlight the deceptive marketing practices of puppy mills – and share it with your network
  • When you are interested in adding a canine companion, adopt from a local shelter
  • If you want a particular breed, make sure you find a reputable breeder, one who is willing to let you examine their entire facility, see the puppy you’re buying, and check their references, and they’ll probably check yours, too.
  • Look for a breed-specific rescue

Help us put puppy mills out of business.

Puppy mills are dog breeding facilities that put profits ahead of the welfare of dogs. They don’t care about filth, disease, socialization, overcrowding. They don’t care about inbreeding or genetic defects. They don’t care about who adopts the puppies or about wearing out the breeding moms. They just care about making money. It’s a sad truth, but it’s the truth.



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