Resist the Cute: Don’t Support Cruelty!

September 20, 2021

As an ASPCA Guardian, we know you love animals. We also know you never want an animal to suffer. But the harsh fact is that cruelty is often hidden in the shadows. With your support, we are bringing the truth to light.

Puppies melt hearts and can have you quickly reaching for your wallet to buy a new pet. But you should know that many pet stores and websites that sell puppies are working hard to intentionally conceal a very sad situation: that their dogs are from puppy mills.

Puppy mills are for-profit breeders that supply pet stores and puppy-selling websites. They aim to maximize profit by producing the highest number of puppies at the lowest possible cost, and they can hide the atrocities behind the spotless, wholesome images portrayed to customers.

By law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for licensing and overseeing these businesses. Yet when puppy mills break the law, the USDA chooses to let violations go unreported and unpunished. Despite overwhelming evidence of cruelty, the USDA does nothing. We are suing the USDA to require them to fulfill their responsibilities.

Right now, it is estimated that there are about 250,000 dogs languishing in puppy mills across the United States. These dogs face being bred over and over again or being sold to unsuspecting pet parents who have no idea the cruelty their dog faced.

To help us shine a light on the puppy mill industry, we asked pet parents of puppy mill survivors to share their stories. Here are a few:

My puppy mill survivor Greta did not know how to walk on a leash, did not know what stairs were and was not potty trained. Her legs bowed from standing in a cage for five years and she was so afraid of everything. - Melinda P.

When we first saw Azalea, she was four and shivering in the corner of her pen. She wouldn't let us pet her or give her food. We knew at once we couldn't leave her there. We had to carry her out–she had very little muscle and weighed only 20 lb. It took her hours before she would even enter our house as she had only ever lived outdoors. She has scars, both mental and physical, from her first four years of fighting rats and other dogs for food, from being repeatedly bred and from never knowing love. - Kelly L.

We rescued a survivor who was used for breeding for four to five years before being adopted. He didn’t know how to play with toys or enjoy sleeping in a cushy bed. We hired an animal behaviorist who guided us through the steps to help him. Joey became blind and deaf, developed painful arthritis in his back leg and required an amputation of his tail, which was broken at the puppy mill years prior. He was a precious, tortured soul! - Judy G.

These dogs left their cruel histories behind and finally learned what it is like to be loved by people.

Your Guardian membership means we can advocate for animals and work hard to protect them under the law. Thank you for standing with us and being their voice!

Want to help even more? Make Pet Adoption Your First Option® and urge all those you know to resist purchasing puppies in stores and online.