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Puppy mills can be a danger for families that want to adopt a new dog. A puppy mill is a breeding facility with the sole purpose of churning out the most dogs for the least money–and to make the most profit.

Substandard breeding conditions and inbreeding can lead to health and behavioral problems in the puppies bred there. Since the 1980s, the Humane Society of the United States has been fighting to shut down these facilities. You can do your part by making sure to research before you adopt and by keeping yourself informed! Here are some tips to avoid adopting from a puppy mill:

Avoid pet stores, newspaper ads, and great deals online!
Many puppy mills supply local pet stores with false information. Remember Bandit from Season 2 of The Dog Whisperer? His website said that he was from a licensed breeder, but he turned out to be the product of a puppy mill, costing his new family thousands of dollars in vet bills and heartache over his life-threatening health and behavioral problems.

Visit the breeder and ask questions!
Ask to see the entire facility where the dogs are bred and kept. Is it clean? Spacious enough? Ask to see the parent dogs as well. Does the breeder show hesitation to let you see the facility or to let you meet the other dogs who are being kept there? Or is the breeder willing to just sell one of his puppies to anyone who walks in off the street, sight unseen? Reputable breeders will want to make sure their puppies are going to good homes.

Adopt from a shelter or rescue instead!
This is the safest solution. Rescues and shelters most often have the best interest of the animal at heart, and many of them are last chance adoptions. But remember: don’t adopt out of pity! Adopt based on your energy level and compatibility!

For more tips on finding a reputable breeder, read How to Raise the Perfect Dog.

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