Thursday, August 2, 2012

That Which We Call A "Puppy Mill" By Any Other Name?

"What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” This famous quote from Romeo and Juliet, the play written by William Shakespeare, encapsulates the tragedy that befalls dog breeders across America today which is, all in a name. 
All in a name, the term “puppy mill” was intentionally devised by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)  to empower their animal rights agenda and cause deliberate harm, and over time, dismantle the image and reputation of exceptional dog breeders while painting them with the broad brush of shame.
So, what exactly is a so-called, “puppy mill”?  
In 2010 as the campaign manager for The Alliance For Truth, a campaign to defeat HSUS’ “Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act” (Prop. B) in Missouri, I learned first hand that HSUS and their animal rights agenda promotes and capitalizes on the term “puppy mill” as a reference to ALL dog breeders. That’s right.  ALL dog breeders.  It was during the campaign to defeat Prop. B that I recall having to sit in a waiting area at a St. Louis TV station with our opposition's campaign manager, Barb Schmitz, before going on air.  When I asked her how she could possibly justify her claim that Missouri had 3,000 "puppy mills," she responded by telling me that all breeders are "puppy mills" and they must be closed down. 

So there in lies the deception to the American people.  HSUS is against breeding. Period. So any breeding facility, commercial or otherwise, is considered to be a “puppy mill” because of the emphasis on breeding and making a profit.  No matter how well the breeder cares for their dogs, HSUS doesn't want legitimate, lawful dog breeders making a living or any kind of a profit breeding dogs. So they vilify.
So while dog breeders jump through hoops to stay in business, it is impossible for them to keep up with all the onerous business killing regulations aggressively promoted by HSUS through lobbying, ballot initiatives, and infiltration into government agencies.  The fact of the matter is that the end goal is NOT about creating better welfare standards for breeding facilities -- it’s about eliminating the breeders. And that’s the animal rights agenda and goal: the elimination of animal ownership.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS illustrates this goal in his quote, “One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.” Wayne Pacelle, Animal People, May, 1993.
Those two little words “puppy mill” pack a punch, and they continue to destroy exceptional kennels across America by chipping away at the public’s view of dog breeding because, in the eyes of HSUS and other animal rights groups, ALL dog breeders are considered to be a “puppy mill”.  
This serves as an important reminder as HSUS is turning citizens into bounty hunters by offering a cash reward of $5,000 to terrorize and destroy dog breeders by making false accusations against their neighbors.  While they use the term "puppy mill" to describe their targets, what they really mean is any and all dog breeders, hobby and commercial breeders alike. 
Calling every dog breeder a “puppy mill” is like labeling every football coach a pedophile because of what happened at Penn State. Sadly, those of us who are involved in animal agriculture are going to be in a public relations battle to defend animal husbandry for the rest of our lives, so we must start by no longer referring to a substandard breeder as a “puppy mill.”  If we continue to use that term, we are perpetuating the false HSUS propaganda, and helping Pacelle and his minons drive all of us off the not so symbolic cliff.  
Mindy Patterson is president and co-founder of The Cavalry Group, a member based company legally defending & protecting the Constitutional and private property rights of law abiding animal owners & animal-related businesses nation-wide.


  1. This is true, very sad. I have seen the damage with my own eyes.

  2. And yet you used the very term yourself in this article-repeatedly. Isn't it time to do as you say?

  3. I have bred 30 litters over many years. I carefully place my puppies in approved homes. I would be very upset if someone shut me down or said I should not breed. The mutt breeders should be shut down.

  4. Anonymous there in lies the problem. You are a responsible breeder of whatever type of dog you breed. But you yourself cast negative implications by calling out "mutt" breeders. All breeds of dogs at one time were mutts (the definition of a mutt I think you would agree is a mixed parentage dog i.e. labradoodles, cockapoos, or your run of the mill brown dog) Breeders all RESPONSIBLE breeders need to stick together. Now outing irresponsible breeders is one thing but just disparaging someone because of your opinion is what started the whole mess with the term puppy mill. And I agree most responsible breeders would be heart broken to have animal control come in and seize their animals but it happens EVERY DAY! Oh and since I did not figure out how to sign in with my name my name is Anne Marie Duhon

  5. The definition of a puppy mill is a large scale breeding facility that churns out litter after litter for profit only. Without concern for the well being of the breeding stock. Rarely do these dogs receive veterinary care, are fed sub standard food, live their entire lives in and on wire cages, many have congenital defects which go undetected do to lack of vet care.

    Please tell me if any of you on this page do this practice? If you do, would you admit it? Or let someone come take a look at your kennels when they want a pup?
    Do you test for breed specific genetic defects? Do you treat eye or ear infections?
    If you say you love dogs, then why would one let another unscrupulous breeder ruin the reputation of responsible breeders? Would you sell your pups to a pet shop? Would you sell one of your pups to someone sight unseen and ship them away to that person?

    1. The problem with defining "puppy mill" is that it means something different to every person who lets those words pass their lips. To the best of my knowledge there is no legal definition for that term. The problem I have with your post Lynne is that you seem to feel that your set of standards for a breeder are the only correct standards. Let me assure you that someone out there thinks your a puppy mill too. Don't be surprised when someone turns you into Animal Control even if you only own a couple dogs. As breeders and dog lovers we need to ban together and fight for our right to "own" our dogs.

  6. when you find me a "mutt" breeder that carefully plans a breeding based on temperament and health (because obviously type is irrelevant here) I'll consider them a responsible breeder. When they spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to test for genetic disease that could be found in their dogs. When those same breeders have contracts to make sure their puppies are never found in a rescue or shelter by taking them back at any age ... then and only then will I consider them a responsible breeder. Most breeders that produce the dogs that do end up in shelters and in rescues are NOT responsible. They are either doing it for fun, money, or as the result of carelessness...

    1. And as an apparently self-defined responsible breeder,lynbirl, what would you then call yourself if, despite a contract filed with an attorney, a dog that you had placed as a pet in another state after the owner flew to your residence to see the dog, only to discover that when the owner died suddenly her adult children took the dog and then dumped it at a local vet to find a good home?

  7. The message here is that if you don't police yourselves, you open yourselves to outside regulation. The AKC could end puppy mills overnight by simply removing the financial incentive to poor breeding practices and unsafe breeding environments. The AKC provides registration papers which add value to any dog breed for profit. They should require that any breeder requesting registration meet strict standards and withhold papers from any breeder who does not meet their standards.