Let me start by saying: PUPPY /KITTEN MILLS ARE HORRIBLE.
Some friends of mine, people I really respect and care about by the way, recently went to a Dog Auction in Millersburg, Ohio. (I'm pretty sure that's where it was.) They bought 8 dogs (maybe more) at what I would consider to be outrageous prices for unvetted, most likely unhealthy dogs. This was a very noble gesture and I commend them for going there and opening up their hearts and wallets. It is heart-breaking to see the dogs.
Years ago, I helped dogs at a puppy mill bust and believe me, that is ten times worse than the auctions are and they are pretty shitty.
The problem is.....
As long as dogs are considered "Livestock"...puppy milling will continue. Let me state that I'm not a vegan, nor would I ever want to be one. I think it's pretty extreme stuff myself but that's for another blog. I can eat a "farm animal" (beef, pork, fowl, etc.) but I just wouldn't want to eat Fluffy or Mittens. So yes, I don't consider pet animals to be livestock. Nitro's Law didn't pass in Ohio because the line was too vague. I didn't support it because I thought it was badly written albeit with noble intentions. California (thanks to PETA and DDAL) passed a similar law and it decimated that state's agriculture and put California into a financial spin from which it may never recover. Should "farm animals" be treated humanely? Absolutely. I don't think any animal should be "milled." But I digress.
I am going to be really blunt here but seriously, you could get a fully vetted, healthy nice, pet-quality dog from a REAL breeder for the same price that these dogs were purchased for. You could go to the humane society or a reputable rescue (mutt or purebred) and get a fullly vetted, "speutered" dog for that price.
Trust me on this: The sellers at this auction, mostly Amish, saw my friends, all the advocates and protesters and privately laughed in their beards. They don't give two shits about The English and their sentimentally over an animal. As a matter of fact, they were probably thrilled. More publicity for the auction. Next crowd will be bigger, I'll bet. Hate to be harsh but there it is.
Somebody is buying these dogs because trust me, the Amish and other millers would not be doing it if it weren't a big money maker. What is interesting to me is that the Amish HAVE gotten into puppy milling, 30 years ago they weren't. I've also noticed they have in recent years taken worse and worse care of their horses. I don't get that at all. Hey, that's your f-----g CAR!! The Amish I knew when I was a teen and early 20s wanted and needed their horses to last and be sound and healthy. Even the Amish has bought the myth of disposable animals, part of our disposable society.
The big Puppy Millers in this and other states have (occasionally) been shut down and (definitely) hunted by advocates. They are being watched and often, when they try to relocate, some advocates go after them. You can't stop them but you can root them out. Temporarily. Trust me, people need to protest the farm breeders and they are not. Maybe because someone is going to get hurt or killed as a result. The Amish won't kill you, it's against their faith but since there is money to be made, someone will protect that investment.
A huge part of the problem are the dog brokers....the ones who buy puppies from auctions like this or very young dogs to turn around and sell at a profit. These are the people they are making huge money, the middle man. The pet stores who sell milled puppies don't make as big of a profit as you would think.
In buying breeding age females, you can stop the misery and chain a tiny bit by spaying the girls you get. It has made a difference to that particular dog and her future life. It is a noble and kind gesture. Of course: you won't see older dogs at an auction. They are killed usually. There is profit in puppies and breeding age females. Like society at large, there is no profit in the old.
I didn't hear there were too many males at that auction. If they are getting rid of females, the chances are very, very good they were not good producers, no large litters or poor quality (like fading puppy syndrome). One male dog can pretty much take care of a large quantity of females. And remember, they don't give two shits about health testing, pedigrees, pre-natal care, care in general.
I love the "papers" thing. I know kennel clubs get the rag on this but, in spite of the face that yes, you can find AKC and UKC registered dogs in someone's backyard or at an auction, most carry bogus papers from made up registries like the Continental Kennel Club.
And please....don't get on the rag of ALL breeding should be stopped. This punishes legitimate breeders, the ones who care and IT WILL NOT (I repeat) stop backyard breeders or Puppy Millers. It just won't. That's an airy-faery pipe dream. Even putting a moratorium on breeding won't stop the "bad guys" from breeding. You'll drive them further underground like rats.
Part of the solution (a huge one) is to stop pet stores from selling puppies. I don't know how the hell to stop this one but I personally have been threatened by a pet store employee if I didn't get away from the front of their stores and quit talking to their potential customers. Before Security could escort me out of the Mall, I beat feet. Please see my Blog (published) called THE RED DOG.
Part of the solution is to tell people just because it has "papers" doesn't mean dick. If you didn't see one or both parents on premises and check their health records, you get what you deserve. A good breeder or puppy "grandparent" will be there for you from birth until death of that dog. If they're not, you deserve what you got: dick.
Part of the solution is to tell people puppies (and kittens) are HARD WORK. Breeders and folks who are involved in the Fancy (judges, handlers, etc.) can help with this and should.
Part of the solution is helping and encouraging people to spay an neuter their pets AND giving them lost-cost or free ways to do that. There are some great grass-roots organizations that are out there doing what they can to help with this. We need to give them money, which is what they need. Helping people understand that neutering Butch isn't cutting YOUR balls off. He doesn't need to screw to be amused and satisfied. Throw him a f----g ball.
As an aside on this: We can encourage people who want their dogs to feed their human ego by winning prizes that there are about a zillion performance events to do with your "speutered" purebred or mutt pet. You can get a ribbons, sometimes prizes! (Agility, Frisbee, Obedience, Rally, Dock-Diving, Herding, Carting, Pulling come to mind.) If you want to show your cat, the American Cat Fanciers Association has competitions for altered cats to win ribbons and accolades.
Part of the solution is to educate kids, especially those from low-income, urban or rural backgrounds. They see dogs as a way to make money, not as a living creature. You have to get them young and you have to be pretty graphic. I say: SCARE THE HELL out of them. I want that image of dogs in tiny crates, dirty and scared to be burned on a 6 year old's retinas. I want the picture of the cat burned with lye to make them reach for the nearest waste paper basket. Call me harsh, but I've done educational programs and when 4th graders consistently tell me it's "ok" to hit a dog if it steals your Nintendo, something is seriously screwed up. (By the way, this was ALL income brackets.)
Part of the solution (to be honest, ladies) is to get more MEN involved with this whole thing. Anti-puppy mill folks, etc. are mostly women. You start getting a whole bunch of testosterone on the picket lines and I think this will help change. Remember that most millers are MEN! Hoarders, for the most part statistically, tend to be females. Women are also, alas, often brokers and definitely are used as agents for getting dogs for fighting or as bait dogs. Women are not blameless in this whole mess. Gentlemen, start your engines! We need MEN educating MEN!