Puppy Mill Online Sales Run Rampant

While many cities are banning the retail sale of dogs in pet shops, the Internet still remains dangerously unregulated. According to a harrowing new report from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, puppy mills are still doing business online. And it’s no small operation: the report claims that hundreds of thousands of puppy mill puppies are advertised online each day.

“The Internet is the Wild West of puppy mills. It’s a 24/7 unmonitored, anonymous marketplace, the world’s largest marketplace,” Jeff Flocken, director of the IFAW office in Washington, told the Huffington Post. “It’s very difficult to monitor and therefore easy for sellers to circumvent laws.”

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On one day in July, nine investigators from IFAW and 16 volunteers tracked ads on six sites known for high-volume puppy sales: Animaroo, DogsNow, NextDayPets, PuppyFind, PuppyTrader, and TerrificPet. They also scoured three more general-interest sites: Craigslist, eBay Classifieds, and Oodle.

They found 733,000 puppies for sale out of nearly 10,000 puppy ads. Investigators determined that 62 percent of those ads were from puppy mills. How do they determine whether an online ad is from a puppy mill?

According to HuffPo, “Investigators used a variety of factors … including if the seller screens potential owners, if puppies under eight weeks old are offered, and if the same puppy is advertised as a different puppy elsewhere.”

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Other criteria include whether sites have no-refund or -return policies, whether 20 or more puppies are simultaneously advertised, whether the seller offers registration papers, whether ads include slogans such as “Easter Pets” or “Christmas Pets,” and whether it appears that images of puppies have been digitally placed into different settings.

Flocken also said that another sign is whether the seller will let you visit the kennel: “Never buy an animal unless you can see the facility in which it was raised.”

The report went on to break down the sellers themselves, as well. Animaroo was the worst offender, with 85 percent of the ads seeming to come from puppy mills. Next was PuppyTrader (64 percent) followed by DogsNow (62 percent), NextDayPets (61 percent), PuppyFind (55 percent), and TerrificPets (44 percent).

Needless to say, you should never buy a puppy from any of these sellers.

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When confronted with the evidence, Dean Hamill, president of PuppyTrader.com, told HuffPo that he bans breeders who receive a complaint “with merit.”

“Breeders of bad reputation are usually found out quickly with this type of feedback,” he said.

He also disputed the report: “The writers even admit to the report’s likely inaccuracy by using their criteria to come to a conclusion that the advertisers were to be classified as only ‘likely a puppy mill.’”

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With the report, IFAW aims to increase consumer awareness and keep websites from posting ads from puppy mills. The group held a press conference in Los Angeles with actor Ben Stein.

“Consumers opting to purchase puppies over the Internet are duped into believing they are buying from reputable breeders,” Stein said. “The cute puppy images shown on many seller websites hide the heartbreaking reality of the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in which the dogs are housed.”

To see the full report, click here.

Via the Huffington Post

Photo: Homeless animals series by Shutterstock

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This post was written by Michael Leaverton, regular contributor to Dogster Magazine.


Valentina R.
Valentina R3 years ago

If people stopped buying pets from puppy mills, the business of such inhumane places would end. Demand = request. STOP BUYING PUPPIES FROM PUPPY MILLS, PET STORES AND BACKYARD BREEDERS.

Marcia Geiger
Marcia Geiger3 years ago

I encourage all folks I know are looking for pets to adopt.
One niece who got her little dog from a pet store ($$) has paid $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for all the medical problems.
You also do not know that the dogs are purebreds, unless a DNA test is run$ and then you don't know the health of the parent,
I would love to visit (with a Large trailer and many helpers) a puppy mill or 6.

Also helping is the trend of well known folk to encourage adoption, rather than look for a designer dog to carry in your designer purse.

Melania Padilla
Melania P4 years ago

Puppy mills should be illegal worldwide! Adopt and spay/neuter please!

Terry V.
Terry V4 years ago


Estelle S.
Estelle S5 years ago

ADOPT!!!! Spay and Neuter!!

Alexandra Pappano
Alexandra D. P5 years ago

I have adopted several dogs that came from these "mills". I am glad to report that they all,
after months of gentle handling and care, eventually got over their fear & became devoted
family pets.
Putting these "feed & breed" outfits out of business is paramount. If there was no demand,
the supply would not be as huge as it is. Always adopt.

Tammy Taylor
Tammy Taylor5 years ago

Do you think that there`s enough information out there about puppy mills yet or do you think it`s still because of a `Lack Of Knowledge` ... I only learnt about all of these heartbreaking issues when I became a Care2 member in the fall of 2012 ... I guess that`s why I want to believe and hope that it`s just because of the `Lack Of Knowledge` ... so perhaps more advertising, teaching, getting the word out ... people need to `GET IT `

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 5 years ago

What an appalling business. There should be no advertising of animals at all on these sites. Besides that such a high percentage come from these god awfull mills but do we know where these sweet animals are going when bought???? I can imagine that some will end up in horrifying and cruel situations. Something has got to be done about this and soon. All cat and dog mills should be banned everywhere. There is a surplus of cats and dogs waiting for a forever home. Please adopt 1 of these instead.

Carole N.
Carole Nixon5 years ago

people want designer dogs on the cheap. until we can change this mentality poor conditions will continue

Linda R.
Linda R5 years ago

If everyone went to the local shelters for their animals then these "mills" would have no business. Unfortunately some people want only "purebreds" and would rather pay hundreds to thousands for an animal that they don't even know is healthy. At least when you go to a rescue league you know the animal has had vaccinations, is fixed and adoptable. This is why I support the MSPCA, Humane Society etc.