How to avoid puppy mills
Puppy Mills are most definitely not a myth and they do happen right here in South Africa. It’s up to you as the potential pet owner to avoid supporting these horrific businesses where animals are abused and neglected in the name of making money.
While we advocate and recommend adopting from reputable animal welfares, we do understand that there will always be people who prefer specific breeds and don’t want to adopt from a breed-specific rescue either. If you absolutely have to buy, at least make sure it’s a responsible, legitimate, reputable breeder.
Be aware that your puppy WILL cost more from a reputable breeder than one from a fly-by-night, backyard, or puppy mill ‘greeder’ BUT remember that, if your puppy is cheap, someone is losing out – and we guarantee it isn’t the person who bred the puppies. It will be the parents of the puppy, the puppies themselves, and YOU – because buying a badly-bred puppy can come with a host of problems that may end up costing you a fortune in future.
Note that ‘having papers’ and being ‘registered’ to an association means absolutely nothing as far as the welfare of the animals is concerned – they do not do checks on the facilities and their focus is on breed standards, not welfare.
What to look for
No reputable, responsible breeder will do ANY of the below. They care about the puppies and their parents, both at their home and once they’ve left. If you see any of the below, they are RED FLAGS so don’t buy – or, better yet, adopt from a welfare.
- Pups are for sale on the internet, from pet stores, classifieds, or advertised on flyers & posters.
- You can’t visit the facility or see the parents, or the seller wants to meet somewhere else.
- The seller is offering several different breeds.
- Puppies are offered too young (under 8 weeks).
- There’s no paperwork (both registration or a contract for you to sign).
- They’ve docked the puppies’ tails. Nobody who GENUIINELY cares about animals will consider mutilating a puppy’s tail as acceptable or desirable, plus it is an offence according to the Animal Protections Act. Be aware that, if you buy a pup with a docked tail or cropped ears, it is highly likely that this was done without anaesthetic by the breeder themselves, causing suffering and fear. By buying that puppy, you are essentially paying someone to abuse an animal and helping to maintain the market for more animal abuse.
- There is no proof of vaccinations.
- The breeder is pushy or tries to convince you to take more than one puppy.
- The seller doesn’t ask YOU any questions – a caring, breeder wants to know where the pup is going.
Now that you know what to look out for, you can help fight the cruelty of puppy mills by not supporting them and by educating others about them.
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