Thousands of years ago we chose dogs to be our companions, protectors and friends. We took them into our homes and into our hearts. And yet, we continually let them down. Allowing the existence and survival of puppy mills is one of the worst betrayals we could ever do to our canine friends.

Many people donít realize what truly deplorable conditions exist in puppy mills. A puppy mill raises litter after litter in an old barn or chicken coop or worse, in unclean, feces covered cafes stacked one upon another. Often several dogs are crowded into each small cage. They suffer sweltering heat in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. Their numerous litters are sold to pet stores or directly to unsuspecting buyers. The cute puppy in the store cannot tell you its awful story and many people donít know or care to inquire as to the puppyís background.

The female dogs in a puppy mill are breeding stock. They have their first litters when they go into their first heat and have a litter every heat cycle thereafter until they are too weak and sick to produce any more puppies. That usually occurs around the age of five. Veterinary care is out of the question for these dogs because that would cut into the profits Many puppy mill dogs are found with mange, tumors, infections, malnourished, rotted teeth and jaws, and matted with feces. Many are found dying or dead and decomposing in their cages. These dogs rarely and often never see the light of day. Never feel grass under their feet. Never are petted or have any socialization with humans. Never are given comfort when they are in pain. And come the day when they can no longer reproduce, they are killed. Usually they are shot or bludgeoned to death - inhumanely treated from the beginning of their lives to their untimely end.

This is not a pretty picture. It is not what the pet store would like you to know. It is not the picture they want you to see when you are thinking of buying one of their cute wiggly puppies. And so the cycle continues each and every time a puppy is purchased from a pet store at a hugely inflated price. The puppy mill sells its purebred puppies for as little as $35.00 each. It is easy to see why there is no money expended for veterinary care at such a price. The consumer at a pet store then buys the same puppy for hundreds of dollars.

Most good breeders do not make much money - itís a labor of love. Their breeding stock and pups get the best of care. They are bred sparingly and carefully to pass on only the best traits of their particular breed. Reputable breeders will not sell to just anyone with money in hand. A pet store or puppy mill asks no questions, all you have to do is hand over the money and the puppy is yours.

Only when the public realizes the horrors of puppy mills and refuses to purchase their puppies will these people be put out of business. Please donít unthinkingly promote cruelty. If you are going to get a puppy, buy from a reputable breeder where you can meet the parents of your puppy and see the conditions in which it was raised. Better yet, check out your local shelter or go online and search through the many rescue organizations who have dogs in need of homes.