Friday, September 14, 2018

National Puppy Mill Awareness Day

As tomorrow is Puppy Mill Awareness Day, we're reposting an interview from 2011 with Sarah Little, Manager of Admissions and Animal Healthcare at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City.

I asked her about the role animal shelters and rescue resources like Wayside Waifs can play in our fight to eradicate puppy mills in America. Here's what she told me:

puppy in cage
Puppy in cage, from
"There are so many reasons to become involved with the puppy mill problem. You're helping the animal community but you're also helping the human community. The truth is that some animals are living in horrid conditions because some - not all - breeders either do not have or choose not to use the financial resources necessary to maintain a basic quality of life for these animals.

"In Missouri, there are some decent, licensed breeders but there are also many unlicensed breeders who keep their animals living in terrible conditions. Our goal is to help get the dogs out of there so they can be given the proper nutrition and medical care they need, they can be rehabilitated and given a chance to live a normal life."

Dog in cage, from
"We've seen some serious issues with the dogs we rescue from puppy mills. The biggest issue by far is dental. The animals are fed such a poor diet that young dogs only a few years old are losing teeth. In some cases the teeth have rotted away and the decay has gone into the jaw bone. In one particular case, the decay was so pronounced, portions of the jaw were eroded completely and the jaw was, in fact, broken in places.

"They have found frequent cases of mammary tumors in dogs who had whelped too many litters, some benign, others tragically malignant. Then there are skin conditions that are easily treated but ignored as extraneous expenses: cherry eye, a common congenital eye defect in various dog breeds easily corrected by surgery, is just one example.

"All I can say is that to be able to give these dogs the medical help they need is more rewarding than words can express."

Many thanks to Sarah for letting us interview her back in 2011, and giving us just a brief glimpse into how rewarding it can be for a local shelter to help carry the torch as we all seek to bring an end to puppy mills in the U.S.

Please...encourage your local shelter to consider implementing a similar program!




  1. we have helped with transports of these dogs and it is so very sad. all so some person can walk into a store and get a "special breed" and pay a whole lot of money for a badly bred and usually sick dog. it just makes us angry...

  2. I've just joined Puppy Mill Awareness - Michigan FB page, and have been a member of the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance, which has worked hard to close down many pet stores in Metro Detroit. Education is needed; let's get the word out that puppy (and kitten) mills exist and need to be made right!

  3. Puppy Mills are sad. There are kitten sellers too, but those "usually" seem to be individuals who raise one litter at a time at home to sell. Which is still maybe one too many, given all the shelter cats, but Ayla and Iza came from a place like that. I sometimes look at the pet ads in the newspaper and wonder why there are 40 puppy ads and one kitten ad.

    And Skeeter and LC both came from a small pet store that was probably like a puppy and cat mill, and they both had health problems at first.


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