Puppy Mills are USDA Approved

An estimated 167,388 breeding dogs are currently living in USDA (United States Department of Agriculture)-licensed commercial facilities for breeding purposes this very moment.*

A USDA license = a puppy wholesale license. Any dog breeder who wishes to sell to a pet store or to consumers over the Internet with five or more breeding females must be licensed with the USDA.

The USDA regulates these facilities according to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the Minimal Standards of Care at breeding facilities:

  • Over 2 million puppies are bred in mills each year.
  • There is no limit to the number of dogs on the premises. A puppy mill could have hundreds or thousands of dogs.
  • There is no requirement on the number of staff that must be available to care for the dogs.
  • Dogs may be kept in stacked cages.
  • Mesh or wire flooring is allowed.
  • Dogs may be forced to relieve themselves in their cages.
  • Dogs may be confined in spaces only six inches larger than their bodies, not including the tail.
  • A dog may be caged 24 hours a day for his or her entire life, only removed from the cage to be bred.
  • There is no exercise requirement if dogs are housed with other dogs and certain minimal size requirements are met for the dog’s enclosure.
  • Dogs can be housed indoors or out with minimal temperature regulation.
  • Human interaction is not required.
  • Breeding females at the first heat cycle and every heat cycle thereafter is permissible.
  • Unwanted animals may be killed in a variety of ways or auctioned off.
  • Many of the AWA’s requirements are vague. The AWA leaves it up to the mill owners to determine what is “adequate”.
  • The USDA currently has an estimated 110 inspectors on staff to inspect all the facilities under its supervision, not just commercial dog breeders and brokers.
  • There is no transparency to consumers or the public about the results of USDA inspections.

Read more: USDA License = Wholesale License

Sources: Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), The Puppy Mill Project, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)


  1. great visual – have shared on FB will share to twitter and pinterest

  2. This is wrong on so many levels, and its a joke. those rules are crazy outrageous while dogs continue to suffer……………..and the saddest thing, is most of the public have no idea when we talk about “puppy mills” because unless your world comes into contact with these people, they remain so called” underground”

  3. All this makes no sense and is very disturbing. In reality this means that it’s okay to have hundreds of dogs in wire cages for years just for reproduction, sometimes without food or water, never know how grass feels under their feet, never see a vet, not enough people to take care of them and dumped when they are not needed anymore. What this amounts to from the USDA is a license to abuse animals. What is wrong with that organization!

  4. OMG, this is so wrong. I did not know this and am shocked. I know our government sometimes does things that are beyond our understanding, but this. How can we expect to put an end to these horrendous places if we can’t depend on our government to stand with and behind us?????

  5. Reading this is truly horrific. It really has upset me. It is barbaric and out of date for this century. There is no regard at all for any of these poor . As I look at my 2 little dogs curled up next to me, living a life of luxury, I can’t help thinking how unfortunate the puppy mill dogs are to be born into such miserable unloved lives. The poor dogs. They too should be living happy, comfortable lives where they are loved, adored and have everything they could ever want. They should not be living in cramped cages, not allowed to walk out on grass. How can some dogs be so unlucky to end up in one of these places and just used and abused in such a disgusting way.
    This disgusting practice must stop! I wish I could scoop all of those poor dogs into my arms, smother them in kisses and show them real love in a happy home.😥

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