What is a Puppy Mill?

“Puppy Mill” – few terms bring about such a visceral reaction in the dog world. But what exactly is a puppy mill? Well in addition to there being no legal definition of a puppy mill, until recently there was no agreed upon industry definition either.

Recently, after two years of work, the American Pet Products Association (APPA), the American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and retailers PETCO and Petland announced what they hope will the agreed upon definition of a puppy mill: “a dog breeding operation, which offers dogs for monetary compensation or remuneration, in which the physical, psychological and/or behavioral needs of the dogs are not being fulfilled due to inadequate housing, shelter, staffing, nutrition, socialization, sanitation, exercise, veterinary care, and/or inappropriate breeding.”

While the desire to define what is and what is not responsible dog breeding is laudable, and should serve to stop these entities from suing each other, the definition still leaves much to interpretation and the issue of enforcement looms large. That said, having these previously sparring parties agreeing on a working definition is a step forward and might serve to bring others to the table to discuss the interpretation of the definition and how it can be enforced.  What do you think?

Thanks for reading!