How to stop a puppy mill
Actions anyone can take
- Be sure to get your facts straight. Don't depend on hearsay and don't make the mistake of labeling a kennel as a "puppy mill" unless you know first-hand that it is dirty and the dogs are in poor health without veterinary care.
- Don't investigate on your own. If you visit a kennel that keeps dog in poor conditions, report it to local authorities.
- Make notes about the conditions after your visit and be prepared to send those notes to the appropriate officials. Be prepared for bureaucracy to grind slowly and to restate your observations several times. Observations, not heartache, not hysteria, not an emotional outburst.
- Contact your local humane society and health departments and describe the conditions you have seen as specifically and unemotionally as possible. Humane societies can investigate based on reports from the public, but they are bound by law to use evidence, not opinion and hearsay, to make a case. Health departments can deal with threats to public health from fecal contamination, dead dog bodies, etc.
- Check the USDA website to see if the kennel has a federal license. Lists of licensees can be found at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ac/publications/reports/A_cert_holders.pdf. If your state has a kennel licensing law, contact that department as well.
- If the kennel advertises AKC registered puppies, contact the AKC registration department at http://www.akc.org/about/depts/investigations.cfm or call (919) 816-3563. Since the mid-1990s, AKC has revoked registration privileges from breeders who violate care and conditions standards along with those who violate record-keeping regulations. An AKC inspector will also report a substandard kennel to USDA or to local authorities, whichever is appropriate.
- Follow up to find out the results of the investigation.
- If all else fails and the kennel operator does not fix the problems, contact the local media.