Puppy Mills |Endangering Innocent Animals

If you know me, there is one thing that I cannot stand and that is the overabundance of puppies.  This happens when “breeders” decide to breed their respective dogs frequently throughout the year.  An excellent sustainable breeder will only breed the female or Dam once a year and up to 3 times for the lifespan of the adult dog.  For years I have been quite upset and very vocal about the hazards of excessive breeding and the role it directly plays with unhealthy dogs, which can cost the future pet owner thousands of dollars in vet bills and the necessary euthanasia of the innocent pet.  This is one of the most difficult OpEds that I have had to write, because of the gross negligence of the owner, as well as anger for the future pet owner.

The Story

I also write this piece from personal experience.  Twelve years ago I adopted Coco Bean, a female Cockapoo.  I met the breeder at a doctors appointment and the only reason was that I had my little black Cockapoo with me at the appointment.  She thought Max was really exceptional and began to share that she raises exceptional Cockapoos.  She wrote down the name of her farm.   We set a time with to view the puppies but really didn’t know the benefits of asking questions back then.  Looking back on my experience, I have learned since then.   Remember, the most important questions come from researching experienced breeders.  This is very important because you can gather information about the breeder and their ethics or lack thereof.  I didn’t ask enough questions, questions such as “how many times do you breed the dam each year, how many puppies do you have at one time, how old was the dam when she was first bred, have you ordered the specific tests for the female, and when do you plan on retiring the Dam”? Also, can I see the Dam and Sire and do you socialize the puppies inside or outside?.  I add that only because socializing a dog will help with making sure the puppy is well balanced.  It also helps with separation anxiety.

We went to the farm and started looking at the puppies.  I was not very excited about any of them. Both of us thought the markings were not right. We noticed they were all outside in a little fenced in area.   I thought this was a bit odd as they were really young and didn’t have all of their protective measures required by state law.  After working with my current breeder I now think that is not appropriate to have them outside and I would rather adopt a puppy that is inside at that age.   There were a lot of puppies at this farm, which I thought was a red flag.  So many of them, they were everywhere.  We were getting ready to leave, her boyfriend and business partner brought to us a beautiful chocolate brown with blue eyes.  We both fell in love with her immediately. She was so docile and quiet, which now I know is a potential problem.   We chose a name at that very moment.  We decided right then that we were going to put a deposit down on her. The breeder put her away and while John was speaking to the other breeder I excused myself and went into the barn where there were a lot more babies and I found her, at the end of the barn on top of a pile of sawdust.  I could not believe it, nestled in a pile of sawdust.    I was shocked and I wanted to cry and take all of them home.  Joining the conversation in process the second breeder [who bred Coco] said that they did not dock the tail, remove the dew claws because their hired vet did not believe in doing these two and I might add very necessary things, especially the dew claws.   Looking back, I should have left and not adopted her, but she looked healthy enough.  Although I say this we are still glad she was a part of our family.  She changed our lives and had a huge impact on every person she met.  My personal feeling is that she and her other partner are nothing more than a puppy mill and unfortunately, they do a really good job at hiding that fact due to not having cage upon cage stacked on top of each other but lots of room for puppies to run.  Stacking the cages on top of each other does not constitute a puppy mill, but its the number of puppies that categorizes it as a puppy mill.

What makes a puppy mill a puppy mill?.  Well, Britannica Dictionary defines a puppy mill as the following:

Puppy mill

Sometimes known as a puppy farm, is a commercial dog breeding facility. There are an estimated 4,000 puppy mills in the U.S. that produce more than half a million puppies a year. Commercial kennels may be licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture and state and local jurisdictions which may inspect the kennels routinely.
30 puppies or more moves into the category of a puppy mill.  Just because the USDA is involved in monitoring these farms, doesn’t always mean it is humane and sustainable.  Because there are so many, and the fact they pop up very quickly and it becomes more difficult to monitor.  When it crosses the line of sustainability, meaning the number of puppy mills exceed the number of hired investigators to investigate each facility then things start to fall through the cracks.   Only then, you have problems.  After hours and hours and days and days of asking questions [remember, asking questions and doing your due diligence makes you smarter]  learning about breeds and things to look for within a breed.

Both the male and the female should be healthy, and should be at least two years old before breeding

Then there is this, Puppy Trafficking

Yes, you read that correctly, puppy trafficking.  Not only is the latter going on, but smuggling is another thing.  Both of these businesses are very lucrative.  I do want to specify that both are dangerous and disgusting.   I found a news article online posted by The Telegraph published online in Europe claims that the puppy trafficking industry is worth more than £100m’ and converting to US Dollars is approximately $128,034,825.47  which is an astounding number.  You can see it is a lucrative business at the mercy of the innocent animal.  Another disturbing fact is that the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or  RSPCA warns that there could be up to 100 gangs operating “like drug cartels” breeding disease-ridden dogs for sale in the UK.   Bringing this into the United States holds a set of problems, not only is it a health hazard for humans by transmitting unknown diseases from animals to humans, but it also creates a problem for future breeding in our country, which can become elevated and deliver more sickness to our otherwise healthy animals.  We as a country need to stop this destructive practice and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.  It needs to be treated the same way we treat criminals in our country.  In my opinion, there is absolutely no place for this type of business.  It’s morally wrong and extremely inhumane.  


Change the way to adopt a family member

You are in control and can be the difference in continuing the practice of inhumane adoption.  We can be the ones to make sure this does not continue in the United States.  It is important to remember that adoption in the United States is the key.  There are plenty of beautiful puppies right here that need homes.  Establishing these guidelines will help these practices to become commonplace will ensure that humans adopting a pet will have the best experience possible.  We want the best for our pets.


To the health of your pet and yours









The Telegraph Dated Monday 29 October 2018 Puppy trafficking industry ‘worth more than £100m


Smart nutrition can save your pets life

I wrote an article about Kibble “fast food for pets”.  Being one of those conscious owners, some refer to me as the “Helicopter Mom” of the pet world, I continue to be against all processed foods and very determined to feed my 12 year old boy and new girl, Coco Chanel a raw food that I can get at my local store.  So, let me tell you the story of how I got to this point and necessity of writing this article.  To set up this story, it is necessary to understand how important food and nutrition is to our family and our two babies, Max and Coco Chanel our new family member.


Boutique diets are not as they seem.  Do your due diligence and make sure your dog is getting the proper nutrition based on your dogs breed

The Story

If you remember, I layed our beautiful chocolate Cockapoo Coco Bean to rest the week before memorial day.  It was a very bittersweet event and I still miss her to this day.  After much thought and discussion, we decided to adopt a chocolate Cocker Spaniel with the hope of having beautiful chocolate babies in the near future.  Looking back, we did a lot wrong with our first girl, down to the vaccinations she received along with a very conventional veterinarian.  Since Coco Beans diagnosis of diabetes, gaining two vets who are very holistic minded, we began to do everything correctly and was able to have her with us two years longer than anticipated.  So, with that being said, When I acquired Coco Chanel it was understood that her care would be drastically different all the way to the food we choose for her.

When I brought Coco Chanel to my vet [who I adore] we talked about the diet and how I wanted to immediately put her on the raw diet Max is currently on, she steered me to another food because she was only 8 weeks old.  I agreed but was really patiently waiting to move her from the puppy blend into a more natural brand.  The next weeks leading up to the 12-week mark, I was excited about transitioning her to the raw diet.  Twelve weeks arrived and I was excited to have her give the green light to go ahead and make the change.  We chatted about her weight, talked about her vaccination schedule and then we discussed diet.  She was adamant about forgoing the raw diet based on some new research about the boutique foods which included the diet my dogs have been on for the past two years.

Boutique diets are not what you think

When we talked about the diet, she mentioned there has been researching done showing food companies neglecting key ingredients that can make or break a dog, possibly forcing the owner to put their dog to rest.  “Grain-free”  is not always the best option for your pets, such as not adding “taurine” a key amino acid and is directly attributed to protecting the heart and eyes.  There are specific breeds that need that in their daily intake.  Without this very important amino acid,  these small dog breeds are vulnerable to serious health issues.  Breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, King Charles Cavalier, Bulldogs, are very susceptible to specific health concerns.

As I continued to read Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University and the http://www. vetnutrition.tufts.edu/2016/06/grain-free-diets-big-on-marketing-small-on-truth it spoke about “grain-free-diets, big on marketing, small on truth”, I learned that although these big priced companies that promote grain free think they are doing the animal a favor, really are not.  The article also stated and I feel this is very important to notate: “Whole grains, rather than “fillers”, can contribute valuable nutrients including vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and fiber to diets. Some grain products even provide protein that is easier for your pet to digest than some protein from meat.  Even refined grains such as white rice can be beneficial for health depending on the type of diet and the pet. The vast majority of dogs (and cats!) are very efficient (>90%) at digesting and utilizing nutrients from grains in amounts typically found in pet foods.

Allergies to grains, not so fast

It has also been mentioned that canines do not have the typical allergens to grains as humans do.  This is the other misnomer and hyperbolic argument that has swept the animal world.  In humans, it is the allergen culprit or Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO.  If dogs have any allergens it is due to the chicken or beef and not the grains.

This information is somewhat new and for many, it will probably be extremely unsettling as most of the serious pet owners want the best for their family members and almost feel taken advantage of by the various food companies that claim these “grain free” foods are the very best for your pet.  For most, it is all about the money.

Heart-Stopping Facts

What are the experts discovering with grain-free diets?. A very dangerous and damaging heart problem called Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DCM.  It is characterized by a distention and thinning out of the muscular walls of the heart, causing it to be a less effective pump to move blood throughout the body. As you might imagine, that’s not a good thing! Dogs with DCM are at great risk of progressing to heart failure.  Here is a portion of the explanation from Google.  The cause of DCM in dogs is largely unknown. Nutritional deficiencies of taurine or carnitine have been found to contribute to the incidence of DCM in certain breeds such as King Cavalier and Cocker Spaniels. Evidence also suggests that some breeds have a genetic susceptibility to the disease. In most breeds, male dogs are more susceptible to the disease than female dogs.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy Explained

DCM is a condition in which the chambers of your dog’s heart become dilated, or expand. The left ventricle of the heart is usually the most affected, though the disease can affect all four chambers of your dog’s heart. The disease can cause heart arrhythmias and murmurs. It can also cause leakage around the valves of the heart, leading to the build-up of fluids in the chest and abdominal cavities; when fluids build up around the heart, your dog is at risk for congestive heart failure.

Risk Factors for Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs

Dilated cardiomyopathy is most common in the larger breeds of dog. Male dogs contract this disease more often than female dogs. Breeds prone to this disorder include:

  • Irish wolfhounds
  • Great Danes
  • Dalmatians
  • Portuguese water dogs
  • English and American Cocker Spaniels
  • Old English Sheepdogs
  • Newfoundlands
  • Saint Bernards

Most dogs develop this disease between four and ten years of age. DCM is a life-threatening disease with a high mortality rate.

In closing, I just want to say that if you have been feeding your pets a grain free diet and they are over four years old, have heard any unusual sounds in their breathing, behavioral changes or they have not had a yearly checkup, make an appointment to see your trusted doctor immediately.  If they are a really good vet following the integrative approach to health and wellness it is most likely that they will recommend a healthy grain diet.  Always remember to slowly introduce them to a new diet slowly so they have not adverse effects in the transition.


To your pets