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A clean website can hide the dirty truth

Posted on Tuesday, February 18, 2020
A scared mother dog looks up from her dirty cage where she nurses her puppies in a puppy mill operation.
Michelle Riley/The HSUS In puppy mills, mother dogs live in small cages surrounded by filth—producing more than a dozen litters of puppies to be sold during their lifetimes.

Did you know that most puppies sold on the internet, just like most puppies sold in pet stores, come from puppy mills? If you didn’t, then you are not alone. Puppy mills and their brokers work hard to hide this dirty truth from the unsuspecting public—wanting you to believe that the puppies they sell come from idyllic farms where puppies are raised in loving home environments with parent dogs who are kept in first-rate surroundings.

But, don’t be fooled. In most cases, the reality is these puppies come from commercial breeding operations, of which the Humane Society of the United States estimates there are 10,000 nationwide. In puppy mills, hundreds of thousands of parent dogs suffer in cruel and inhumane conditions—reduced to lives of misery in filthy wire cages with no human interaction or veterinary medical care—in order to produce an estimated 2.4 million puppies for sale each year.

In order to conceal the unthinkable conditions these parent dogs endure, puppy mills have turned to the internet, just as they turned to pet stores, to reach consumers. Websites touting excellent customer reviews, health guarantees, USDA licenses (which provide no assurance that a breeder is not a puppy mill) and even “no puppy mill” promises are specifically designed to lure conscientious consumers into the webs of abuse that puppy mill operators spin.

Don’t buy into their deceptive advertising.
Learn the warning signs.

Michelle Riley/The HSUS
Puppy mills operate to maximize profits while disregarding the health and welfare of the dogs.

If you can’t visit the property to see for yourself the conditions in which puppies sold online and their parents have been living, click away from the website. The puppies available to ship to your door or to a nearby airport likely come from a puppy mill—plain and simple.

This month, the Richmond SPCA is launching an information campaign on social media that shines a light on online puppy sales and the cruelty it disguises. The campaign, which was developed by our talented friends at Yebo, is fully funded through a generous grant.

In the coming weeks, you’ll see our ads and videos on Facebook and Instagram. We’ve also created a mock website that helps point out the possible warning signs that a site could be selling puppies sourced from puppy mills. We hope you’ll view this crucial information and help spread the word using the hashtag #DontBuyIntoAnimalCruelty so that together we can help end the demand for puppies born into this industry of abuse.

When you know better, do better.

Maya Angelou famously once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” We know better. It’s time to do better. Adopt a homeless dog who desperately needs your love and comfort from an animal shelter like the Richmond SPCA. #DontBuyIntoAnimalCruelty

Additional reading

The Humane Society of the United States: Puppy mill research

Chicago Tribune: Documentary takes a hard look at who’s behind puppy mills

Rolling Stone: The Dog Factory: Inside the Sickening World of Puppy Mills
(note that this article contains colorful language and photos some readers may find disturbing)

Fox 8, Ohio: Exposing the gaps in the system to protect puppies

ASPCA: Barred from Love

Bailing Out Benji

Tamsen Kingry and Maggie (dog)

As the CEO of the Richmond SPCA, Tamsen oversees the development of our organization’s short- and long-term strategies to achieve maximum lifesaving and fulfill with integrity the Richmond SPCA’s mission.

When she’s not busy working alongside our talented and dedicated staff, Board and volunteers, Tamsen enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, as well as their two cats and a dog—all of whom they adopted from the Richmond SPCA.

Get the latest Richmond SPCA news:

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