By Sonali Vardhan

Malnourished, caged, and overbred, are just a few of the brutalities inflicted upon dogs across the country at the tortuous chambers commonly known as puppy mills. These dogs that are kept at puppy mills are essentially treated as cash crops to feed dog-owning Americans with their desired dog breed. The treatment imposed on the dogs can only be described as cruel and undeserving, and more actions must be taken to end this savagery.

The harsh treatment associated with puppy mills is greater than what the majority of Americans can delineate. They are malnourished and starved, and the food they are given is hardly edible. Lizzie Johnson at the Washington Post brings the audience to understand how grim the food conditions are as she describes the food these dogs are fed, “…maggot-infested kibble, 300 dead puppies and injured beagles” (Johnson). If this is not enough, they are also kept in stacked cages, where they are forced to relieve themselves as well. They are essentially bathing in bacteria. These dogs are pumped with different “vaccines” which have side effects as bad, if not worse, than the effects of the bacteria. The quality of the basic necessities given to these dogs is nothing better than the filth they are forced to inhabit, and it is sickening to see how normalized it is in our country.

Overbreeding and inbreeding are also major issues seen in puppy mills that have more pressing effects than seen on the surface. The quality of not only the mother’s life but the offspring’s as well is deeply threatened. The volunteers at Paws emphasize the horrors of the overbreeding and inbreeding at the mills, and what happens to them afterward, “…inbred continuously until they can no longer produce, then destroyed or discarded” (“Buyer Beware”). Not only is inbred overbreeding a major health hazard for the mother, but it is also highly probable the offspring will be born with congenital conditions that may jeopardize the quality of their life. After this savage cycle, the dogs are “discarded” as if they are an object. To “discard” a living creature is inhumane, and it is truly disgusting how people can peacefully sleep knowing they murdered an innocent life for their own selfish desires. The treatment at puppy mills is nothing short of barbaric and inhumane, and it is truly astonishing that the people who inflict this treatment are satisfied with their work.

Along with being stacked in cold metal cages, the overall housing of these dogs is vile, and anyone with a heart will agree. In these mills, one or two people look over fifty to over a thousand dogs. They are neglected to the point they can be classified as abused, and this leads to a variety of mental issues such as neurotic disorders and behavioral issues like lunging at other animals and humans unprovoked. This leads to the euthanization of many of the rescued animals due to them being labeled as “dangerous”. This contributes to countless lives lost for no reason other than the selfishness of American consumers who feed into these mills.

According to Mark Greenberg at The Human Society of the United States, “2.6 million puppies are sold each year after originating from a puppy mill” (Greenberg). The main reason for the high number of puppies sold from these mills is Americans want a dog breed for the guaranteed traits, and by buying from a puppy mill, this is assured. They pay for the hope of a guaranteed personality and physical characteristics of the dog. Although it is agreeable that the appearance of the dog is almost fully assured, no one dog breed owns a personality trait. Every dog will have its individual personality regardless of their breed, and to think otherwise would be foolish. In regards to looks, ask yourself if having the preferred appearance of your puppy is worth the suffering of not only the puppy but the mother and father as well. Furthermore, wanting a preferred dog breed and buying from a puppy mill supports them and keeps them in a functional business where they will continue to murder innocent animals. By Americans supporting the puppy mills by continuously buying from them, no change will ever be made, and if you think the looks of your dog are more important than the well-being of the majority of dogs across the country, you are part of the problem.

However, not all people who buy from puppy mills are as heartless as the rest. How to recognize a puppy mill is not common knowledge, but it is not as hard as one might think. In addition, recognizing a puppy mill and refraining from buying from one is a vital action that can be taken to shut them down.

The government is egomaniacal in its holding back on inaugurating austere ordinances in fear of it affecting the economy. The National Humane Education Society supports this claim by portraying the level of regulations put on the mills by The Animal Welfare Act (AWA), “ … standards mandated by the AWA are weak and seldom enforced” (“Puppy Mills”). To bring change and justice to these animals, Americans must do their part and desist from supporting puppy mills. Some ways to identify puppy mills are not being permitted to visit the puppy’s parents or breeding site, sales contracts instead of adoption contracts, the puppy being shipped to you, and high adoption fees. By doing your part in identifying and avoiding puppy mills and instead adopting from shelters, it will lead to the saving of a multitude of innocent lives, and further leading to the eventual shutdown of puppy mills altogether.

The atrocities imposed on dogs across the country in the horror houses known as puppy mills are truly sickening. From the conditions they are forced to live in, to the long-term effects they must endure, it is clear actions must be taken to end this savagery. These actions must be put in motion by the Americans to start the long process of the eventual shutdown of the puppy mills that take habitation across America. With the contribution of Americans across the country, a change will happen to end this horrid form of animal cruelty that is the cause of the death of many innocent lives in America.