Obi with ball in mouth

Puppy Farms or Puppy Mills

A puppy mill or puppy farm is a large dog breeding facility created to mass produce puppies for profit.

Likened to battery hens, the breeding dogs are kept in cages or pens for their entire life with the sole purpose of producing puppies for the pet shop, internet and overseas markets.

Pet shops require a constant supply of cute, young puppies and individual shops can take more than 20 a week. Multiply that by the number of pet shops found in shopping centres throughout Australia and you have the perfect distribution network for an industry producing hundreds of puppies with little concern paid to quality, health or temperament.

Puppy mills are legal in Australia, as long as the proprietors meet the minimum standard of care. The law is different in each state and territory, but usually requires that the dog can stand up, turn around and lie down and that the pen has a partial roof. The dogs can remain in these cages their entire life - there is no requirement for socialisation, grooming or bathing, human contact, exercise and certainly no requirement for love.

In Australia these farms have anything from 20 to 1000 breeding females who are kept constantly pregnant or lactating in order to keep up with demand. The health, behaviour and temperament problems found in puppies from puppy mills are well documented and for each cute, fluffy litter of puppies seen in a pet shop window their mother is likely to be suffering the fate of a puppy mill dog.

Even if the puppies look cute, clean and healthy there is no guarantee that their mothers aren't suffering as breeding dogs in cages for their entire lives.
If you're an animal lover please look at these ways you can help.

How you can stop puppy mills
1. Spread the word
Let people know that puppy mills exist in Australia and that you should never buy a puppy from a pet shop. The easiest way to effect change is by simple supply and demand. If you and everyone you know no longer considers buying a pet from a pet shop then these breeders lose their main outlet for profit.

2. Never shop at stores that sell puppies or kittens
Boycott stores that sell pets and let them know why.

3. Support pet-free stores
Buy food, supplies and toys at shops that do not sell pets; and be sure to tell them why they have you as a customer.

4. Adopt your next pet from a rescue group
Groups from around the country advertise pets looking for new homes on PetRescue. Puppies, pure breeds, designer dogs and mutts all come into rescue. A good rescue group will be able to help you choose the right dog for your lifestyle.

5. Donate
The shelters and rescues throughout Australia do not have the money behind them that the pet industry does. Help rescue by donating your old stuff, your time or your money. Click here to find out more.

6. Ensure that you never buy a dog from a puppy farm
If the only test you have to pass to get the puppy is whether your credit card charge goes through, that's a pretty good sign the breeder doesn't have the puppy's best interests at heart - or yours. Many animal lovers feel they are saving the puppy in the pet shop window, but in reality you may be condemning the mother, a puppy mill dog, to a life of misery.