Puppy Farm Investigation

A totally dispirited dog without bedding in her rusty kennel. April 2004

In April 2004 Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV) raided one of Australia’s largest puppy farms. The Ballarat puppy farm has been the subject of over twenty raids by ALV in the last ten years and their investigation team has uncovered appalling cruelty during each visit. Debra Tranter, ALV’s puppy farm campaigner reports: “The dogs are filthy. They are kept in dirty pens and never bathed or groomed. Their fur forms huge matting, which can be quite painful… They are very, very frightened dogs. They are never brought into a home or put on a lead. In the middle of winter, it gets below zero and they sleep on a concrete floor with no bedding.”
The most recent raid received widespread media coverage including a double page feature in Sydney’s “Sunday Telegraph”. It’s important we keep the pressure up to get  puppy farms shut down. Make sure you tell all your friends about the cruelty behind that ‘cute little puppy’ in the pet shop window, visit an animal shelter instead and save a life.

Considering A Pet Shop Pup?

Courtesy of

If you are considering buying a puppy from a pet shop I urge you to first find out what is involved. The decision is a personal one, and fairly simple. If you buy a puppy from a pet shop you are supporting and encouraging that pet shop to continue selling puppies.

Legislation is never as powerful as the consumer. If you won’t buy because you don’t agree with the business practices then the business owner has no choice at all. Change or go out of business. If you buy, even if its because you feel sorry for the puppy, you are directly responsible for creating the demand to put more puppies in the same situation. The pet shop owner is not to blame. You are. You create the demand. You prove by your actions what business practices you support. Your words mean nothing. Your money is everything to the business decision. Choose wisely.

Thanks From Your Local Pet Shop Owner

The conversation below is entirely fictitious and unashamedly biased against pet shops who sell animals. I created it, however, not out of thin air, but from real conversations with real breeders and pet shop owners. It expresses the decisions made by this fictitious person… A pet shop owner who trades in animals…

“Thank you so much for buying a puppy from my pet shop. Your business is important to me. After all, selling puppies is how I make my living. Every person deserves to make a living, don’t they? I’ve got to tell you, the pet shop business is a tough one. With live merchandise you have all these extra rules and regulations the do-gooders forced on us. Well they didn’t make me do anything different, except now I’ve got to fill out a lot more paperwork. But is worth it. Puppies and kittens are important to my business and there are plenty of buyers out there.

Some people are trying to make out that pet shops are evil or something. It gives me a big laugh to see the sanctimonious twits who say bad things about pet shops but are always coming into my shop to see the “poor puppies.” They just can’t seem to stop themselves. And they almost never leave without buying something. Having puppies in the store is an important part of selling the other merchandise. I try to put the puppies where people can see them as they walk by the shop. That draws them in. I can make money without even selling the puppies.

I don’t see why selling puppies in my pet shop is any worse than raising any other kind of livestock. I treat my puppies very well while they are here. And I use approved methods for disposing of the ones I can’t sell. I care about these puppies and don’t want them to suffer, you know.

If I get something really contagious like Parvo I take quick action. All the puppies in the store are put down right away. Everything is disinfected and a new supply of puppies brought in. Often I have to fill the empty space with puppies from another breeder but quick action limits my costs and means I won’t end up on the hook for a lot of vet bills.

As for other kinds of disease like hip dysplasia and such well frankly it just isn’t a big concern. Most of this stuff doesn’t show up for a long time. And the legislation doesn’t cover it because it can happen even to the hobby breeder. Someone once asked me why I didn’t check for genetic disease. It was all I could do not to call the person an idiot! Why should I check for genetic disease? It’s expensive and almost no one ever asks so obviously they don’t care. And anyway I give a six month guarantee. Pretty generous!

Not that I’ve ever had to pay off or anything. I have had a couple people complain but I always make sure to carefully explain that the best thing to do for their poor suffering puppy is to “put it to sleep.” Most people will take the puppy away and not bother me any more about it.

Any one who walks into my store and wants to know about the health of my puppies I just tell them that they are very healthy! Of course if they want to know about genetic diseases I have to use a different strategy. First I try to explain that its always the fault of the owner if a dog gets something like patellar luxation or hip dysplasia. If they get nasty or something I ask them if they really want to buy a dog from a hobby breeder? I’m a professional, I make my living off of dogs. I breed lots and lots of puppies. I sell most of them. After all its very hard to resist that cute little puppy in the window.

It’s very simple. Every time someone buys a puppy I make at least $200, quite a bit more if they buy the puppy when its little. Yeah, puppies are cute, but you can’t afford to get too sentimental. Puppy selling is a business and if you don’t treat it as such then you can’t stay in the game. Its all about cost/risk/benefit. If you lose sight of that you better get out of the business, just sell supplies or something.

Despite what everyone says there is a large market out there for pet shop puppies. There is absolutely no need to waste good money of hip tests and other such crap. The truth is simple. Even when people know better the puppies are so cute that they just can’t help themselves so they buy them. Heee hee pretty cool. It doesn’t look good to have lots of empty cages so I make sure I always have puppies on the way. Sometimes I get a bit of a scare, though. Like last year.

There was a lot of bad press about pet stores and all of a sudden no one was buying. Well of course if I’m not selling the ones in the store its pretty stupid to be getting more in from the puppy farms, so I told my staff to hold back a bit. I was afraid for a short time that I was going to actually have to stop buying them in forever, and that really scared the puppy farmers too. Some even stopped breeding for a while. No point in breeding if you aren’t selling. Fortunately as the puppies that we had for sale got older some of those do-gooder types looking in the window every day started to get worried. I made sure my staff played off on this. They were told that if anyone asked what happened to the unsold puppies that they should just look real sad and say that they were “taken care of.” I liked that. A real non-committal answer and the absolute truth too!

I told the staff not to use a larger cage too, that would make the puppies look bigger and sadder. So of course the puppies were “rescued” from my shop. I got enough money to cover the costs of keeping them, a small profit, and the scare was over. Back to buying and breeding. As long as there are buyers like me, the puppy farms will keep breeding puppies and I can keep selling them in my shop. Lots of money to be made, so no reason not to…”

Where Do Pet Store Puppies Come From?

(“Where Do Pet Store Puppies Come From?” written by in the USA. Sadly the situation is not that different in Australia.)

Most puppies sold in stores come from breeding “farms” called “puppy mills,” where mother dogs and “studs” spend lonely lives in small filthy cages, producing litter after litter.

Recently, PETA found dogs at one puppy mill living on hard wire with no bedding, little protection from the searing hot summers or the frigid winters, and little to no veterinary care. Crusted, oozing eyes, raging ear infections, mange that turned skin into a mass of red scabs, abscessed feet from the unforgiving wire floors—all were ignored or inadequately treated. Some dogs injured their feet by catching them in the wire of their cages, and they hobbled painfully around their small space, trying to keep their balance. The collar on one Labrador retriever had not been adjusted as the dog grew and had become embedded in his flesh. Even though the gangrenous skin fell away as the collar was removed, his neck was treated with nothing but a worm-repellant spray.

Timid dogs were terrorized by their more aggressive cagemates, who often prevented them from eating and drinking. Sadly, many of the old mother dogs had gone mad from confinement and loneliness. They circled frantically in their small cages and paced ceaselessly back and forth—their only way of coping with their despair.

These conditions are typical at hundreds of puppy mills across the country. Laws offer little protection and are poorly enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Serious Health Problems

Unhealthy conditions, lack of veterinary care, and careless breeding lead to serious problems. By the time puppy-mill puppies are shipped to pet stores, many suffer from ear infections, bronchial illness, and serious congenital health conditions, such as hip deformities, epilepsy, and vision or hearing problems. People paying hundreds of dollars for puppies often find that they must spend thousands more for veterinary care.

Overpopulation Crisis

While puppy mills are churning out litters, millions of unwanted dogs are dying in pounds and shelters. If everyone who wanted a companion dog were to adopt from a shelter instead of buying from a pet store, tens of thousands of dogs would be spared and the puppy mills would go out of business—preventing thousands more breeding dogs from enduring lonely, miserable lives.

Where Should I Get a Dog?

If you have the time, resources, and love necessary to care for a dog properly, adopt one from a shelter or pound. If you must have a particular breed, you may be surprised to find that at least 25 percent of shelter dogs are purebred.

You CAN improve the lives of dogs and cats suffering from cruelty and neglect.

Pet Shops in South Africa

by Paula Spagnoletti – Founder, Say No To Animals In Pet Shops South Africa

I have often contemplated the issue of animal cruelty, and I have come to realize that there is one and only one reason why pet shops should not be allowed to trade in domestic animals and that reason is that all pet shops are PROFIT DRIVEN. Money and profitability will always take preference over the life and wellbeing of an animal. Responsible pet care requires an emotional, as well as a financial investment. Pet shops will never be in a position to make that investment, as the cost of veterinary consultation, for example, would have a direct impact on revenue. Pet shops will never truly be in a position to reflect and act upon the best interests of the animal.

In South Africa the situation is further exasperated by the fact that there is no legislation ensuring that those who support, participate and profit from the sale of domestic animals follow a code of good practice. Pet traders have no minimum standards or guidelines for the humane and ethical treatment of animals intended for sale. This has resulted in an insatiably greedy and cruel industry that is rampant with abuse.

The problems caused by our unregulated and uncontrolled pet traders are too numerous to mention all at once: Pet traders in South Africa are a law unto themselves.

In an ideal society pet shops would not have the right to sell animals as their interest in animals is purely based on profit. This clearly renders pet shops unable to ensure that animals intended for sale are humanely treated and properly cared for. Pet trading should be limited to animal shelters and licensed, registered, ethical breeders.

I believe that no matter how many laws are made or exist, in order to protect these animals, these laws will all remain largely ineffective in controlling the abuse within pet shops for the straightforward reason that the law cannot see what happens behind closed doors. The trade of animals from pet shops needs to be stopped altogether.

We all know where these animals come from. We all know the truth about puppy mills and people who breed animals indiscriminately for profit. We all know that world wide over 10 MILLION healthy animals are put to death simply because they are no longer wanted. We all know that most of these animals put to death were impulse buys from local pet shops. What I don’t understand is why these people are allowed to continue churning out and selling animals by the millions when their only destiny is a life of abuse, neglect and death by lethal injection.

How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?

by Janet Crease

How much she is that doggy in the window, the one with the waggely tail…

“Can we take it home with us mom?”

“How much is that doggie in the window?”

“For you lady it’s fifty dollars” says the shopkeeper.

“So expensive” says mom. “Oh well, I guess it’s something for the children to play with over the holidays.”

“A home at last”, thinks Puppy to itself.

“What’s that on the carpet?” yells dad.

“Where are my sneakers?” says son.

Chewed sneakers, a puddle of pee on the carpet, a steaming brown pile of something in the corner, whining and crying from Pup…

“Put that thing outside” yells mom.

“I thought this was going to be a great place” thinks Pup, shivering and wet outside. “Everyone is screaming, yelling and kicking me, I just needed to pee!”

“Put that dog on a chain” yells mom, and leave it there.

More whining and crying from Pup.

“Shut up! Shut up!” yells the family and the neighbours.

Days later, peace and bliss reigns once more in the household, kids watch video games, mom and dad go about their lives. Life has got back to normal for the family.

“Anyone seen the dog?” asks dad. “No? Well, put some food out the back, it will come when it’s hungry. Did it eat its last meal? Stupid dog, doesn’t know when it’s well off.”

Tired, cold and hungry, Pup finds itself in the back of a truck and then at the Animal Shelter.

Pup thinks to itself, “This is better, food, water and no kids to pull me around and a nice warm secure place to sleep. Heaps of company, I want to stay here forever”.

It’s Xmas holiday time, the Shelter is overloaded, too many dumped and unwanted dogs.

“Hello Puppy” says the friendly vet. “Now, this won’t hurt a bit, just a little sting.”

“Night night Pup” says the attendant for more times than she has wished to utter those final words, as she cradles the puppy against her. “Off to the Rainbow Bridge”.

Family at home. “I wonder what happened to that nuisance Puppy. It was a real pain in the neck, all that mess” says dad.

Peace reigns within.

How much is that Doggy in the window, the one with the waggly tail.