Puppy Brokers, Perpetuating Puppy Mills

June 24, 2013

The Humane Society of the United States defines a puppy mill broker as “a pet dealer engaged in the business of re-selling puppies that were bred elsewhere.”  The middle men/women get the puppies from so-called breeders and puppy mills and then re-sell them.

In other situations, brokers are importing litters of puppies from other countries.  These puppies are often too young to make such a long trip and often don’t survive.  Sometimes the puppies don’t meet AKC standards or they have illnesses or deformities.

Pet brokers who sell to retail pet stores are supposed to have a special license issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which requires them to follow certain procedures and standards of care in the handling of puppies.  But some brokers sell puppies directly to individual buyers and don’t follow rules of any kind.

Maggie, our Miniature English BulldogOur Miniature English Bulldog is the product of a Missouri breeder – although her papers also listed a Kentucky breeder and a Virginia breeder.  Who knows where she originated!  A puppy broker sold her to a Florida couple.  They kept her for several months before turning her into an animal shelter.

Maggie came to us as a foster.  She was 8 months old and not house-broken and had an “attitude.”  She also had the energy level of a Jack Russell Terrier!

Over the next few weeks, conversations with her previous owners produced information that Maggie had been crated 10 hours a day while they worked, so it is no wonder the dog wasn’t house broken and behaved like a wild creature when set free.

I hoped that once she realized she had room to exercise and behave like a normal puppy, she would settle down.  I was wrong!

It took almost 5 months to housebreak Maggie, and it was clear whenever she had an “accident” in the house that she expected to be beaten.  I don’t want to speculate about what she may have endured before she came to us but certainly, her early treatment factored into her behavior issues.

Maggie’s continued behavior and personality problems have baffled us.  I do believe that many of her ongoing issues are the result of poor breeding.

We decided to keep Maggie as our own dog because we felt she would not be able to secure a successful adoptive home, due to her many problems.  I did some research on her background and discovered her possible puppy mill origin.  This is a very nervous animal.  Touch her when she is sleeping, and she comes up fighting.  She immediately settles down with a sheepish expression when she realizes that no one is trying to hurt her, but hers isn’t a normal reaction.

I swear that Maggie could outrun a racing Greyhound, and her breed isn’t known as speedy!  She is in constant motion.  All of her strange quirks added to her normal Bulldog stubbornness make for a pet that can be difficult to handle.

Our little Bullie is a challenge, but she is loveable and she is ours. But the truth is, Maggie’s breeders were most likely the irresponsible, indiscriminate puppy mill owners.  And the broker who sold Maggie to her previous owners perpetuate the success of those puppy mills.

When you are looking for a new pet, watch out for those ads that say they can get you a 100% pure-bred specimen of some exotic breed.  If they are acting as a middle man or woman, chances are they could be brokering that animal for a puppy mill.

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