Where do pet stores get their puppies?

  • Puppy mills. Honest, reputable breeders would not and do not sell to pet stores as they have buyer requirements, contracts that are required to be signed by the purchaser and they genuinely care about their dogs, their health, and the care they will receive in their new home.

But, my puppy is AKC registered. He couldn't have come from a puppy mill.. right?

  • AKC is simply a breed registry. They register individual dogs and litters. Puppy mills produce a lot of litters of puppies each year. The AKC makes a lot of money off of puppy mills. AKC also actively opposes any and all legislation which would help put puppy mills out of business. They did just that when Washington State introduced HB 1640 & SB 5209 which would prohibit retail pet store from selling dogs and cats.
    AKC Legislative Alerts

What is a USDA licensed breeder?

  • Commonly known as a puppy mill. USDA licensed breeders are breeders with 4 of more breeding females, sales of more than 25 dogs or cat annually &  wholesale distribution to retail pet stores or exhibition.

So what is the problem? USDA licensed breeders are regularly inspected, right?

You would think but sadly, that is no longer the case.

  • There are only 120 inspectors nationwide. That allows for an average of 2 inspectors for each state.
    As of 2016 there were 2,423 USDA breeders and 743 USDA brokers/dealers (middlemen who obtain animals from breeders and then resell) in the United States. The Midwest alone contains 1,697 of those breeders and 289 of those brokers/dealers.
  • There are not enough inspectors nationwide to inspect these facilities on a regular basis. Due to the lack of inspectors, the amount of inspections have significantly decreased over the years.
    "From October 2015 through September 2016, the agency initiated 239 cases under the AWA. Yet from October 2017 through June 2018, a nine-month window, the agency initiated only 15 cases. The report also reveals a drastic decrease in all other enforcement actions. Just two years ago the USDA assessed $4 million in penalties versus $163,000 so far this year." 
    https://www.aspca.org/news/usda-enforcement-animal-welfare-act-hits-new-low.  Dated 8/10/18
  • The USDA has made it almost impossible to connect a specific breeder to an inspection report.
    "Since early 2017, the USDA has removed almost all identifying information from the inspection reports it posts online. As a result, there is no feasible way to connect a specific breeder to an inspection report. "

    How can pet stores in good faith say they watch USDA inspection reports closely and only use breeders who have not had any direct violations within the last 2 years? There is no longer an accurate way to track this information. 

Why do I care if a person is breeding multiple dogs, heat after heat, like they do at puppy mills?

  • Animals are not products to be used and abused for our benefit.
    On top of that, puppy mill dogs are prone to many congenital and hereditary conditions due to the conditions that the parents and puppies are forced to live in. Puppy mill dogs often have behavioral issues due to the lack of human interaction. Puppy mills puppies are missing out on the critical socialization period that takes place within the first few months of that puppy's life when they are typically with their mother and litter mates. Puppy mill puppies are often removed from their mother and litter mates at just 6 weeks of age.

Why is spay & neuter important?

  • Age appropriate spay/neuter has significant health benefits. Females have a decreased risk of developing Pyometra (a severe uterine infection) & breast cancer. Males have a decreased risk of testicular cancer.
  • The time and funds that go into caring for an unexpected litter are extensive. On average, the cost to care for a responsibly bred mom and her puppies ranges from $7,500-$16,000 depending on the size of the litter and potential complications.
  • Helps to fight pet overpopulation. 1.5 million animals are euthanized in U.S shelters nationwide every year. Puppies included. 

Why is an application process so important?

  • An application allows reputable breeders to screen potential buyers and allows rescues/shelters to screen potential adopters to ensure the dog is going to a stable home and will be well cared for.
  • Typical questions asked on an application are:
    -Do you rent or own your home? If you rent, do you have permission to keep a dog? (this helps to ensure dogs will get to stay in their home and not get rehomed due to landlord issues)
    -How many hours per day will the dog typically be left alone? (this gives the breeder, rescue, or shelter insight on whether or not this dog would be a good fit. A high energy breed would not be a good fit for a family who works 10-12 hour days, leaving a dog home alone during that time)
    -Past pets? What happened to this pet? (this helps to screen applicants. People who re-home their dogs on a regular basis would not be a good candidate to get a new dog)
  • Having NO application process allows anyone to come in and get a dog, regardless of financial stability, current living situation, knowledge of dogs, and past history with pets.

So if I don’t buy from a pet store, where can I get a dog?

  • There are currently 127,000 dogs available for adoption in Washington state alone. Close to 1,400 of those dogs are located with in 50 miles of Puyallup, WA.
  • Petfinder.com and Adoptapet.com are excellent resources for finding dogs (and cats!) available for adoption in your area. You can search by location, breed, gender, and age!
  • Do you have a specific breed in mind? There are many breed specific rescues to choose from! Do you want a puppy instead of an adult dog? Many, many puppies are born into rescue or a shelter because people are unable to care for the pregnant mother and support her and her litter of puppies.
  • There are currently over 200 puppies available for adoption within 50 miles of Puyallup, WA.
    Please consider adoption!

I don’t know if I can trust a shelter dog.. aren’t most dogs at the shelter because they are bad dogs?

  • Absolutely not! The top 5 reasons for dogs being re-homed or surrendered to a shelter are (none of which are behavioral problems):
    1) Moving
    2) Landlord not allowing pets
    3) Too many animals in the household
    4) Cost of pet maintenance
    5) Owner having personal problems

    Shelter dogs are often there at no fault of their own or they were even born at the shelter or in a rescue's foster home.