What is a puppy farm?

What is a puppy farm?
"Puppy farm" is a derogative term generally used for somebody who is breeding dogs solely for money and with no care for the dogs or puppies in their care. The dogs are kept and bred in atrocious conditions - usually an old barn, stable or shed, in filthy conditions and often with very little light. The barns are never cleaned out, there is no clean water and very little food. The dogs, both adults and puppies, are in poor health, often emaciated, ridden with fleas and worms. Their coats are filthy and matted and they often have terrible skin problems, causing them great distress. They are packed into small spaces, sometimes cages where they barely have enough room to turn around.

Never being cleaned out the bitches have their puppies lying on weeks worth of faeces. Usually fed and watered only enough to keep them alive means that they don't get the necessary nutrients in order to produce good strong healthy puppies. The bitches are bred time and time again, with no break to recover and build up strength and stamina before having the next litter.

Then the puppies are sent away to be sold. They are taken away from their mother far too early, sometimes barely weaned, and sent on a long journey along with many other puppies - all cold, hungry and frightened.

All this means that puppies produced are very unlikely to be good, strong, healthy puppies. They will be poor, weak and sickly, costing the new owner not only a lot of money with expensive vet bills, but also heartache to watch so helplessly their beloved pet suffer in bad health, and often die at a very young age.

Most people know about these sort of people - there have been many programmes on the tv about them and stories in the newspapers. But most people do not know about the other type of irresponsible breeder, who can be just as bad.

There is a new type of "puppy farmer" growing up - one who is listening to all the advice given out, telling puppy buyers to beware of puppy farmers, and they act in accordance with that advice.

They clean up their kennels so their dogs LOOK healthy and happy, they talk as though they care about their dogs. But the reality is that they still breed from bitches every single season, they don't care about nutrition or hereditary problems, they don't care about socialising their dogs or puppies, they falsify pedigrees. The results are still the same - the buyer ends up with a puppy who is not in good health, perhaps has hereditary problems such as hip dysplasia or PRA, or perhaps they have a bad temperament through not being socialised correctly.

Then there is the other irresponsible type of breeder - the so-called backyard breeder. They have a bitch and think it a good idea to let her have puppies. There are many different reasons - sometimes it's for some extra money, or perhaps they want another one just like their "Fifi", or they just simply think it would be nice. Sometimes these people are lucky and produce a lovely litter of puppies and all goes well. But most of the time once again they don't do their homework, and there are problems. Perhaps, through sheer ignorance, they do not feed the mother or the pups correctly, do not realise they must be wormed, and taken care of. These "breeders" do not know or understand about hereditary problems and do not check to ensure their bitch and the dog they choose to mate her to are health and free from problems. Once again the pups end up with poor health and often poor bones and ligaments creating problems later on in their lives.

So, how can you tell if the breeder you visit really is a responsible breeder? How do you know that they are doing everything they possibly can in order to produce good, strong, healthy puppies with good temperaments in order to provide you with a wonderful companion for many years to come? The bottom line is that you NEVER buy from a dealer or pet shop, always go directly to the breeder. Find the breeder from a reputable source, such as an official breed club.

Most important of all NEVER buy a sickly puppy simply because you feel sorry for it! That is what keeps these people breeding. If the puppy farmers could not sell these puppies would eventually stop breeding - as long as they can make money they will carry on.



© 2006 Jill Terry

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Submitted: 16 Aug, 2006 (Edited 29 Jan, 2010)
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