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Letter: Puppy Mills

I know this is lengthy, but I ask that you read this and truly feel what I’m trying to express by putting yourself in my shoes for a few moments. I volunteer at Last Hope Animal Rescue and what I observe will sicken you and hopefully tug your heart strings. 


I have been volunteering for the past year and I can’t even begin to tell you how much these dogs has gone through. Almost all the dogs that we rescue come from puppy mills in Kentucky and West Virginia. We try to rescue as many dogs as we can each week from these terrible places. Most people don’t know what happens in puppy mills and that is what I am trying to expose to everyone. Puppy mills are dog breeding facilities that operate on breeding their animals in unsanitary conditions. The main goal of puppy mills is to produce as many puppies as they can and keep the cost at a minimum.  Puppy mills is a business that is growing and spreading very rapidly. A very large percent of pet store puppies come from these mills. Puppy mills normally sell to puppy brokers who distribute the puppies to the pet shops. Besides the selling of these dogs to pet stores, puppy mills face many other problems. 


One problem is insufficient housing. The breeding dogs are held in wired cages. These cages cause permanent damage to the dogs’ feet. Another problem is overcrowding. These places squeeze as many dogs as they can into one small, cramped cage where the dog can’t even turn around or stand fully. Puppy mills even put these poor innocent dogs in crates that are nailed shut. Another problem is lack of sanitation. There is no cleanup crew so you can only imagine how the place smells? Underfeeding is another problem. At puppy mills dogs are fed at the minimum so that they are kept alive and producing. As a result of this malnutrition and other diseases are common here. The biggest problem is cruelty to the animals. Almost all of the breeding female dogs spend their entire lives in filthy, and small cages without any human interaction, exercise and love. After these dogs aren’t able to produce anymore they are left to die or they are just killed. 


Luckily, for rescue organizations most of these dogs that were going to be put down is rescued just in the neck of time. Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation has saved over 600 dogs in the past 3 years. This past week we were able to rescue 6 dogs from a puppy mill in Kentucky. Sadly, some of these dogs you can tell just had multiple litters. For example, Lorielei is a golden mix who just got transported to us. She just gave birth and was completely terrified of everyone. She had no idea who to trust or where she was. She was so afraid that she wouldn’t even go out for a walk.  Eventually, once she realized she was able to trust us volunteers she opened up to us a little more. Personally, I interacted with her for a good hour. I wanted her to see that not everybody is mean like the breeders. After playing ball with her for a little while she began to let me pet her and after that.... She fell asleep on me. I guess we can say she trusted me?


There are many dogs out there like this that need our help. They need to know that not everybody is mean like these breeders. These dogs need someone to open up their hearts and love them as they will do the same. Don’t buy from pet shops. As long as these shops have people to buy from them these puppy mills will flourish. Instead adopt a shelter pet. Check out Last Hope Animal Rescue either in person or online It’s almost guaranteed you will find your four-legged best friend just like I did.


Florentina McGrath