Puppy Mills and Commercial Breeders Defined

by Mary Haight on March 8, 2010

Reporting over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune said activists are after commercial breeders as well as puppy mills. No surprise here, given that Chloe’s Law, written in Jan 2009 to deal with this problem, was gutted in the last quarter of the year due to pressure largely from a lobbying alliance between the AKC and NRA.  Defining puppy mills will not be as easy as it should be. Commercial breeders somehow believe they are not part of the problem.

Not long ago, a Chicago pet shop prosecuted protesters who allegedly became a little strident in their attempt to educate the public about the source of pet shop animals.  Protesters accused the place of buying their dogs from puppy mills.

The owner took great exception to being portrayed as a seller of puppy mill puppies, proclaiming their shop bought from a USDA approved facility…as if that granted him a clean bill of health, especially in Illinois. There has been no activity in either suspended or revoked breeders licenses for the last five years; funds are not assigned for proper oversight.

Federal laws do not sufficiently protect the welfare of animals, and have been fashioned to make things easy for the commercial breeders, even to imposing unfair taxes on good family breeders. I’m talking about those who socialize their dogs in their home, and who can provide you with a good look at the mom and the dad of the litter. Because these breeders don’t raise pups for profit, they struggle to make ends meet.

Puppy mills are not just the barns in the middle of vast tracts of land run by unqualified or disinterested, sometimes unlicensed owners looking to make a financial killing on the backs of suffering dogs and cats.  Puppy mills are any facility that mass produces animals destined to be companion animals.  This includes commercial breeders whose only interest is to perform a monetary transaction and transfer of ownership of puppys and kittens.  Just like puppy mills.  No good breeder is interested in just the money–they want meet you, your family, and find out all about you to ensure you are a suitable fit for their pups. And they sure don’t raise dogs in wire cages outside the norms of everyday home life experience.

The Tribune article seemed to hitch one of its arguments to the fact that commercial breeders are legal, implying that therefore they should not be lumped in with puppy mills who mistreat animals. I would caution that legal status does not guarantee ethical behavior, nor does it confer legitimacy in business practices.

As to Ryan Rauch, the 40-year-old commercial breeder, I would say, even with eight employees, he can’t believe he is properly socializing and caring for 200 animals to be family pets.  In wire cages. In a commercial barn.  Where he won’t allow photographs, fearing trouble from animal activists, as if interior photos would give away location.  This sounds like denial to me, so let me help.

Mr. Rauch, you did not make your case.  We are not just pot-stirring “trying to get uneducated individuals seeing everything their way.”  We are trying to stop the madness.  4-5,000,000 pets killed per year.  How many puppys and kittens are farmed in facilities like yours per year? They are sold without any questions asked by the pet shops you sell to, then a  percentage are dumped in the laps of shelters when the puppys are young dogs and people find them difficult to control and too expensive to train?  Not to mention illness and genetic defects. If we take it on its face that we have a pet overpopulation problem, do you see a possible connection here?  Any questions?  We welcome your comments.

Related Posts: Beat Puppy Mills at their Own Game; Ben Stein Against Puppy Mills; AKC Partners with Hunte; Dog Law News


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