How Cold Is Too Cold for Puppy Mill Dogs?

January 17, 2020

Dog in cage

We all know the cruel puppy mill industry puts profit above the wellbeing of animals. Breeding dogs are often kept in overcrowded, cramped cages without adequate food, water, vet care or protection from the elements. It’s tough to imagine the horrible conditions these dogs endure day after day, and even tougher to imagine how they suffer in freezing cold weather. America’s puppy mills are concentrated in Midwestern states like Iowa, Ohio and Missouri, where temperatures often dip below freezing in the long winter months.

Most puppy mill dogs don’t have bedding or any protection from wind or snow. Their bowls freeze over, leaving them without water to drink. Even though most dogs have fur to help keep them warm, they’re still susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia.

Dogs in cages

Someone is looking out for these dogs, right?

Sort of … but not to the extent you might think. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is tasked with oversight of puppy mills, but its standards of “care” are shockingly minimal and so poorly enforced that a lot of room is left for dogs to suffer, especially in the winter. Through Freedom of Information Act requests, we obtained USDA photos of breeding dogs curled up and covered in snow—and even photos of dogs who froze to death. These types of violations are rarely acknowledged and typically go unpunished.

No dog should suffer like this. Please remember puppy mill dogs this winter, and join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to see how you can help in your state.