Puppy mills are dog breeding facilities that put profits ahead of the welfare of dogs. They don’t care about filth, disease, socialization, overcrowding. They don’t care about inbreeding or genetic defects. They don’t care about who adopts the puppies or about wearing out the breeding moms. They just care about making money. It’s a sad truth, but it’s the truth.
View the reality of puppy mill conditions at http://www.prisonersofgreed.org/ . (Warning: this site has graphic photos and a video that some people may find disturbing.)
Sadly, the vast majority of puppies purchased online come from puppy mills with terrible conditions. Documented abuse at puppy mills includes forced over-breeding, inbreeding, disease, overcrowding, filth and hunger. Puppies purchased from puppy mills frequently suffer from severe illness and behavioral problems. Learn more about the psychological damage suffered by puppy mill dogs at http://yourlife.usatoday.com/parenting-family/pets/dogs/story/2011-10-11/Puppy-mills-leave-lasting-emotional-scars-study-finds/50722874/1 
And conditions only get worse for the moms, who are forced to breed over and over again with little, if any, veterinary care. Once they can no longer reproduce, they are usually killed. Often, this is at the young age of four years old.
Don’t be fooled by websites. If you can’t visit the puppy first, you may very well be getting one from a puppy mill. There are lots of great dogs out there. Know where yours is coming from.
The best way to stop the cycle of cruelty in puppy mills is to adopt from a local shelter instead. View our available dogs here .
And if you choose to purchase one instead, make sure it is coming from a reputable breeder.
Sometimes it can be pretty hard to determine whether you’re getting a puppy mill dog, which is why we always recommend adopting from a shelter or rescue instead. That being said, here are some sure-fire puppy mill signs:
For more information on responsible breeders, see our position statement .
The SPCA does not encourage criticizing the purchase of purebred dogs. Making people feel guilty for their decision doesn’t help the cause. The best thing to do is to inform others of some of the facts. Here are just a few:
Despite its commitment to animal rights, San Francisco is not immune from supporting puppy mills. In a recent SF SPCA survey of 426 dog owners in the city, online purchase ranked first as the way to buy a puppy. The survey indicated that about 30 percent of puppies purchased in San Francisco are from puppy mills. Fifty one percent of those who purchased dogs online would not knowingly purchase from a puppy mill, yet 19 percent don’t know about puppy mills.
You can read the entire survey here .