Countless dogs are used for repetitive breeding in puppy mills around the world, often in horrible conditions with no veterinary care.
When they are no longer able to produce puppies for profit, their value disappears.
And what is the future for a dog without the ability to create cash for the operators of the mill?
They are discarded, auctioned, killed or left for dead.
The lucky ones are bought at auction or obtained through a rescue mission if the operator has agreed to surrender the animals to a humane society or rescue organization. Those who can’t rescue animals participate in other ways, such as volunteering, educating, sharing information and donating.
Below, in no particular order, is a list of just some of the varied groups working to shut down puppy mills.
1. National Mill Dog Rescue
Theresa Strader obtained a little Italian Greyhound named Lily at a dog auction in Missouri. Lily spent 7 years in a tiny cage with no vet care, quality food or human interaction. These conditions led to her being full of mammary tumors; she also had part of her jaw rotted away and was terrified of people.
Strader rehabilitated her at home and taught her love, affection and the meaning of family. Lily died peacefully in May 2008.
Lily’s legacy lives on with National Mill Dog Rescue, a rescue group founded by Strader in February 2007 as a nonprofit organization based in Peyton, Colorado, to help more dogs just like Lily. NMDR operates on donations and has saved 8,120 dogs to date, a number that is sure to keep rising.
2. North Shore Animal League America
The world’s largest no-kill rescue and adoption organization was started in 1944 by a group of animal lovers. They continued to grow — often faster than the funds needed to care for all the animals — and that’s when supporter Elisabeth Lewyt and her husband, Alex, stepped up to help continue the organization’s mission in a larger capacity.
The organization has been rescuing puppy mill dogs for years. Rescues beginning in 2010 or later are listed on their website. The deliver immediate medical, dental and grooming care for the rescues, have them evaluated and rehabilitated, and help them find forever homes.
3. Hearts United for Animals
Since 1996 Hearts United for Animals has rescued and rehabilitated puppy mill dogs. More than 5,000 dogs have been helped through their efforts of saving puppy mill survivors in addition to their other work.
They educate as many people as possible about puppy mills and also created a curriculum to educate children in public schools on the basics of animal care, companionship and the issues facing puppy mill dogs.
Potential adopters need not be close to the organization in Nebraska. HUA has been placing dogs with forever homes all over North America; dogs have been adopted in 45 states, and even Canada residents have been recipients of HUA dogs through their Jet Set Dogs program.
4. WolfSpirit’s Toy Breed Puppymill Rescue
A group of family members and friends in Ohio opened up their homes to rescued toy breed dogs in 1999. In October 2000, WolfSpirit’s Toy Breed Puppymill Rescue received its nonprofit status, and the tight-knit network has been rescuing and rehoming ever since. Although they mostly take in toy breeds, they also take in other dogs in need, such as seniors, special needs and even young puppies.
The group relies on donations, holds auctions with donated and handcrafted items, and attends expos when possible. They educate people about puppy mills and rely on a network of foster homes to find the dogs their forever homes after they have been rehabilitated.
They also help with puppy mill owner surrenders when possible, continuing their commitment to help as many dogs as possible.
5. Pup Aid
Veterinarian Marc Abraham founded Pup Aid in 2010 in the United Kingdom after getting frustrated with the number of sick puppies continuously coming to his practice. He worked to help shut down the source and desired to inform the public about the horrors of puppy mills through the organization.All year long the organization educates people about puppy mills, and this past year Abraham started a petition to pressure the government to do more about puppy mills. Their annual, celebrity-filled event in London raises awareness and offers a free day of fun for everyone.
6. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Found in 1866 and listed as the first humane organization, the ASPCA operates to prevent cruelty to animals, rescue, push for stronger animal laws and educate the public on proper animal care, puppy mills and much more. Their pledge program invites people to commit to refusing to shop at stores that sell puppies instead of featuring adoptable animals.
The ASPCA participates in puppy mill rescues, many of them large operations. Often a prosecutor’s office will request and provide authority to the ASPCA’s investigation team to investigate and recover the animals while securing charges against the mill owners.
Large rescue missions usually involve multiple humane societies, shelters, veterinarians and other personnel from surrounding areas to assess and treat the dogs once removed from the puppy mill.
7. The Puppy Mill Project
Started in 2009, The Puppy Mill Project was formed to put an end to puppy mill cruelty through public events, education and awareness. The organization is active throughout Chicago and operates an educational program to teach students about responsible pet caretaking and the puppy mill industry.
A law was passed in 2010 by the Chicago governor requiring pet stores to post breeder information on the cages of puppies for sale. The disclosure law was celebrated as a small step toward a monumental problem, and the organization continues to bring the subject of puppy mills to light.
They also organize walks, awareness days and other events to bring the puppy mill issue to the forefront; their most recent awareness walk was on September 22 on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
8. Animal Rescue Corps
A team of dedicated individuals with more than 40 years of collective experience in animal rescue is the basis for the Animal Rescue Corps, founded in 2010.
The organization has 3 main goals: rescue animals from abuse and disasters, educate people through public awareness of animal suffering, and train and assess professionals working in the animal care industry.
Just this month the Animal Rescue Corps worked with the law enforcement agencies in Kentucky to rescue more than 100 dogs, cats and parrots. The animals were taken from puppy mill conditions and transported to an emergency shelter in Tennessee. The group’s efforts have drawn the attention of many, including musician Sheryl Crow, who recorded a public service announcement for the organization.
9. The Humane Society of the United States
With its own network of animal sanctuaries and rescue centers, the Humane Society of the United States works coast to coast for the protection of animals.
The organization was formed in 1954 and is currently involved in a massive rescue of 367 dogs from a fighting ring across multiple states; several organizations are involved in this rescue, including the ASPCA and countless local humane societies.
In addition to assisting with dogfighting busts, HSUS operates rescue missions for dogs in puppy mills. They work with law enforcement to rescue, treat and adopt out the dogs to permanent homes when possible, depending on the legal issues being applied to the owners of the puppy mill.
The organization also pushes for harsher legislation and works on educating the public on proper animal care and the horror of puppy mills.
10. Suncoast Animal League
The Suncoast Animal League was founded in 2006 by Rick Chaboudy in Florida to rescue abandoned, abused, homeless and unwanted animals. Their rescue efforts include rescuing and proving care for puppy mill dogs; they had multiple rescues during the past month alone.
Even if they do not perform the rescue, they open their doors to rescued puppy mill dogs in need from other organizations and rescue missions.
Suncoast works with foster homes to give the rescued animals a temporary home while they recover and await their new homes. The organization hosts awareness and fundraising events, such as a “Mutt March,” which has been running for 7 years in Florida.
Suncoast works with other local and national rescues to take in as many puppy mill dogs as they can fit into their location and receive a lot of help from volunteers, groomers, vet techs and veterinarians.
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This list is by no means comprehensive or all-inclusive, and there are countless other charities, rescues and individuals who spend endless time caring for puppy mill dogs, running rescue operations, securing foster homes and continuously spreading awareness of puppy mills.
If you are unsure of how to recognize a puppy mill, take a minute to check out our puppy mill red flags article.