Some of these facilities contain hundreds of dogs who never get to experience the joys of running outdoors or breathing fresh air during their lives in a puppy mill. Due to the sheer numbers of dogs in puppy mills, the farmers deal with the problem of barking by de-barking the dogs. This is done by shoving sharp instruments down their throats to destroy their vocal cords. The adult dogs kept for breeding often suffer through wounds and infections, untreated. Sadly, it's legal to euthanize or shoot a dog in PA that puppy mill owners deem are no longer useful to them, such as a female who is too old to produce more puppies. Main Line Animal Rescue often gets called by puppy mill owners one hour before they are going to kill a dog. One such Golden Retriever rescued by Main Line was found to have several C-section scars. It's thought that many female dogs like her often have C-sections performed by the farmers, who then stitch them back together with twine -- all of this done without anesthesia.
Bill Smith of Main Line Animal Rescue says that most of these dogs, when rescued, don't know how to walk on solid ground. They move like a crab, because it's so foreign to them. Having lived their entire lives with their paws on chicken wire, they just don't know how to walk on a solid surface. Cages are often stacked on top of each other, and the waste from one page falls into the cage below. The dogs' paws are offered inflamed from living on chicken wire.
For these farmers/commercial puppy mill facilities, the dogs are merely an income, nothing more than a cash crop. The puppies themselves are often sold by the puppy mills to pet stores that sell them to the public. Many unsuspecting and uninformed people walk into these pet stores and see the precious little puppy faces, and purchase them. They have no idea of the "industry of secrecy" these puppies came from, or the horrendous conditions that they are supporting.
Main Line Animal Rescue has been instrumental in getting new legislation for puppy mill dogs to have access to a solid floor and outdoor exercise. A great step, yet so far to go to create basic rights and humane treatment for such gentle souls. Main Line Animal Rescue has been very instrumental in raising public awareness of the deplorable conditions in puppy mills. When featured on Oprah last year, it was one of the most watched Oprah episodes ever. I donate 10% of my publisher royalties for my book to Main Line Animal Rescue. Please help spread the truth about puppy mills, and when you decide to get a dog, please consider rescuing from a shelter or breed rescue group.
Based on ABC's March 27, 2009 Nightline feature on Puppy Mills
Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life