Stop Puppy Mills – Be The Change for Animals

by Mary Haight on January 16, 2011

Stop Puppy Mills
Image by Feral Indeed! via Flickr

There’s a lot of great work being done to “be the change you want to see in the world”* on behalf of animals that deserves more light.

I’ve had the luck to meet and/or speak to many people working to be the change for animals and rather than choose one, here’s a group of unrelated people and organizations focused on the same mission – to stop puppy mills. They work from different angles, through education, the arts, activism, government, sometimes all three.  So with fanfare and great appreciation, I offer:

Kyla Duffy uses her talent as a fabric aerialist and her Ups for Pups organization (501c3) to raise funds  to “improve the lives of mistreated domestic animals…through creative, memorable initiatives.”  Duffy works on many hands-on and educational aspects of rescue, including transport, fostering, and Happy Tails books, publishing a series of books filled with stories of rescue, rehabilitation, foster care and adoption.  She also has a free e-book, Mill Dog Manifesto, which gives the straight poop on puppy mills, pet shops, reputable breeders and much more.  As if all of the above were not enough, Duffy recently discovered a missing link in rescue work and is now working with more than 15 rescues to formulate useful standards and guidelines for success in rescue. 

Kyla Duffy choreographed and will be performing her new show “Don’t Kill Bill”, named after her rescued puppy mill dog, Feb 12 in Boulder, Co.  The show will include two aerialists, Clementine the dog, and tells the story of mill dogs through original music, film, and the cirque du soleil style aerial performance. Check Kim Clune’s This One Wild Life, Deborah Flick’s Boulder Dog and Hilary Lane’s Fang Shui Canines for ticket and more information.


Best Friends has been pushing for change by convincing pet shops to switch from puppy mill purveyors to working with shelter and rescue dogs instead, and has seen good success in the face of some major opposition.  The protests that are sometimes used as part of the process caused concern when at one peaceful but persistent protest action in Santa Monica, protesters  involved were shot at. 

Puppies Aren’t Products campaign seeks to address the pet overpopulation crisis by promoting adoption, relieving the burden on shelters through programs like Pup My Ride, educating the public and advocating for better legislation regarding commercial breeding and pet store/internet regulations within the pet trade.

We have seen significant success within each of these components, from pet store bans to the increase in rescue-only pet stores, to higher adoption rates, to a greater public awareness of puppy mills and the pet store connection.  We anticipate that these successes will continue, and we will continue our efforts until we have achieved our mission of No More Homeless Pets.” (Quoted from previous interview here)


Indiana recently took an interesting and useful tactic against puppy mills by using the same laws that brought Al Capone down. The State can claim all the animals as assets of the business and then go after them for tax evasion.  Pennsylvania passed laws that were stringent enough to have 60% of their puppy mills leave.


Debbie Jacobs of Fearful Dogs, trainer, blogger, author, and rescuer, just wrote a post on Saving Island Dogs talking about her yearly trips there and her work with the Satos of Puerto Rico – street dogs, starving, in need of medical attention. She brought up a topic that is not much discussed. Puppy mills are sending regular shipments of puppies to San Juan and all the other cities. This made my head spin.  Is it really all about supply and demand? 

You can donate time or dollars to all of the above, with the exception of the State initiatives mentioned, and if you weren’t aware of them before you are now, and that’s a good start!

*Mahatma Gandhi

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