Dogs are suffering and dying in puppy mills across the country, but the agency in charge of regulating animal breeding facilities is doing next to nothing to help these dogs, according to an eye-opening report just released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's inspector general. In one Oklahoma puppy mill, inspectors found five dead dogs lying among other dogs who were so starved that they were cannibalizing their cage mates. The USDA didn't rescue the survivors, and 22 more dogs perished.
Dogs in other puppy mills were found living on piles of feces. Some dogs were crawling with ticks and suffering from open wounds, but puppy mill operators were rarely penalized for first offenses--even serious ones--and repeat offenders were frequently let off the hook.
As this report shows, we can't rely on a government agency to ensure that breeders treat dogs decently. It's up to each one of us to stop dogs from suffering in puppy mill hells by never buying animals from pet stores, classified ads, parking lots or over the Internet and by always having our animals spayed or neutered.
The vast majority of puppies who are sold through these channels come from mass-breeding facilities where dogs are treated like puppy-producing machines and are never given any love, attention or even a chance to roll in the grass. Dogs in these facilities are typically confined to outdoor hutches or stacked in small crates or wire cages, often one on top of another, so that dogs on the lower tiers become soaked with urine and covered with feces from the dogs above.