Dispelling a Myth: The phrase ‘puppy mill’ does have a legal definition

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I continue to read insane propaganda from those who support puppy mills and those who fight against any and all legislation directed to shutting down more mills.

One of the myths circling around websites, message boards and comment sections is the one making the false claim that the phrase ‘puppy mill’ does not have a legal definition. It’s as odd as claiming the moon does not exist.

Within any existing piece of legislation regarding the regulation of breeders, where standards of care are part of the legislation, we can find the standards that define a substandard breeding operation – a puppy mill. It is true that in many cases the regulations do not go far enough.

But there are penalties involved for breeders who fall below the basic standards.

In many cases, the breeders are required to offer regular veterinary care, house their dogs to minimum standards (some banning the use of wire flooring), offer the dogs regular periods for exercise and provide them clean food and water. So in a very minimum level, a puppy mill operation would fail within any one or more of these areas.

Clearly, a substandard breeding operation is define and therefore a puppy mill is defined. So the next time you read a comment from someone claiming ‘puppy mill’ does not have a legal definition, point out the clearly defined definition. Although these individuals often have a lot of trouble with reading comprehension, others might better understand the topic.

I was reading a news article recently about a store planning to open in a Toledo, Ohio – where puppies will be sold. How the mall – in 2013 – could even consider this move is beyond belief. But some of the comments under the story might be funny if the topic was not so serious.

One person used the same old tired propaganda about there being no definition of a puppy mill. And she went further, claiming bad breeders could not possibly hide from view now. And get this, she claims all of the videos from puppy mill raids are old. (These people will claim anything at this point.)

She goes on to claim:

— Sick puppies don’t sell, so puppy mills couldn’t possibly sell sick puppies. (Of course she fails to note that these breeders don’t take sick puppies back and in some cases, the puppies get sick later or develop cancers later.)

— She claims most commercial breeders have state-of-the art kennels and are inspected every year. (Clearly, this is not true, as we only recently saw the USDA change the rules to cover the thousands of breeders who sell over the Internet or in ads.)

— She tries to claim improved regulations won’t help shut down puppy mills. (If that was the case, the puppy mill supporters would not be working so hard to stop the improved regulations from passing – in states across the county.)

But in too many cases, current regulations are far too weak, in regard to the housing, exercise time and veterinary care – and in the punishment for animal cruelty. So clearly we need better regulations.

— And she leaves one the highly-false claims for last, one we see spewed out often. She claims breeders are not responsible for dogs going into shelters.

She is partly correct in suggesting irresponsible people are to blame. But in too many cases, people are buying puppies from substandard breeders – through stores or over the Web – and then turning them in to shelters after they show behavioral problems or health problems.

If these puppy mill breeders would follow breeding practices that include genetic health factors and if they would stop selling puppies at 6 weeks old, the situation would be greatly improved.

 

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