These two pups are Boomer and Delta's babies that SEPR rescued in January. They were not part of a mill, but most likely some backyard breeding for money.
Have you ever wondered where puppies come from? No, I'm not talking about the birds and the bees lesson, but rather what is their background. Unfortunately, 99% of all puppies that you purchase at a pet store are from a puppy mill. What is a puppy mill you ask? Just what is sounds like. It is a large scale dog breeding facility where females are bred every heat cycle until they can no longer produce litters. They exist in horrendous living conditions, sometimes never seeing the light of day. Many are housed in semi trailers, old agriculture buildings, and salvaged cargo truck boxes. Their small, wire cages are stacked on top of one another with feces and urine dropping on the residents below. Many are crammed so tightly in a cage their legs and bodies become deformed. They are not given necessary veterinary care. They suffer from rotted teeth, wounds from fighting with cage mates, their fur is so matted they are not able to see, eat, walk, or deficate. They are fed poor quality food, just enough to keep them alive. They are not exercised, and suffer through extreme weather conditions. And what happens when they can no longer make money for the owner? They are shot, abandoned, tossed out with the trash, or rarely relinquished to rescue groups. Many of these dogs are in such poor health, so mentally traumatized, they have no idea how to be a dog and a cherished member of a family.
Iowa is ranked #2 in the nation for the number of puppy mills. This seems to be a popular form of income for the Amish and Mennonite people. Over 23,000 adult dogs are being bred. Many facilities house up to 500 dogs at a time. Puppy mills are USDA licensed and sell their puppies wholesale through pet stores, brokers, and dealers. State licensed facilities have more than 3 intact breeding dogs and sell offspring directly to the public via ads, internet, etc. The USDA is to conduct routine inspections of these facilities. There are not enough inspectors to properly carry this work load. Furthermore, in my opinion, dogs are not livestock and should not be treated as such.
So what are you getting when you buy a puppy from one of these facilities? A puppy that has probably been a product of inbreeding which can lead to health problems, a puppy that has not been properly socialized, has been taken from it's mother and litter mates too soon. A puppy that may have aggression issues due to overcrowding, and competitive for food and space. These puppies can be difficult to potty train because it has been acceptable to mess in their crate.
If you are insistent on getting a puppy as a pet, check the shelters, insist on seeing the pups mom and dad if you buy elsewhere. Ask to see the facility. Go to the site, ask questions, and get legitimate records from a vet showing the pups current medical records. Don't accept excuses as to why you can't get this information or see the parents. It is the owners way of hiding what they don't want you to see.
If you would like more information about where these mills are, who is running them, and how to put an end to the suffering, go to www.iavotersforcompanionanimals.org