What is a Puppy Mill?

April 17, 2013

“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!

4 Responses to “What is a Puppy Mill?”

  1. lweis

    It is a good start. I’m reminded of the Potter Stewart, “I know it when I see it” quote – we all think we know what a puppy mill is but clearly defining one is much harder. Reinforcement is another matter entirely…

    Reply
    • Pet Camp

      True, but since 1964 the Supreme Court has been struggling to figure out what Justice Powell meant and few of them have had his opportunity to go to Casablanca for actual field research. The easy part is when the example is at one end of the spectrum or the other, the hard part is when it’s in the middle. I think that maybe this initial agreement will allow these important players in dog welfare to focus more on the bad actors involved at puppy mills and less on suing each other – but only time will tell.

      Reply
      • lweis

        I agree that the major players all needed to come together – I did not realize before reading your post that they were suing each other. What a waste of resources!

        Reply
  2. Lanette Larson

    Great start but think they could elaborate a little more and hopefully then they can all agree or disagree and move on with something in place — to use as a base line!!!

    Reply

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