The truth about puppy farms: how you can avoid them

Animals Posted May 7, 2021
Most people are unaware of what makes up a puppy farm, or how bad the conditions are for the animals that are kept on them.

Puppy farms are essentially breeding sites that put profit of dogs they sell before the animal’s welfare. Often, overcrowded and filthy are two words that perfectly describe puppy farms. But that’s just touching the surface on what could be a defined as a puppy farm.

In 2019 a Bull Terrier breeder pled guilty to inappropriate living conditions for 110 Bull Terriers. A puppy farm where all the dogs were found living in horrible conditions, the situation greatly affected the mental health of the majority of these dogs, meaning a long road to recovery and rehoming. Find out more about this puppy mill case, how RSPCA Inspectors conducted their investigation and rescue of these animals, as well as thedisastrous conditions they were found in.

bull terriers puppy farm

What is a Puppy Farm?

When breeding of dogs occur on a large scale and conditions are poor, it is deemed a puppy farm. The same could be said for cats and kittens! Out of hand breeding and overpopulation of animals can not only cause severe behavioural and medical issues for these dogs, in the worst-case scenario sometimes rehabilitation is unsuccessful and sadly euthanasia is the only humane option left for their welfare.

dogs crowded in cage

Puppies that come from backyard breeding and puppy farm sites are sold through any avenue, including the internet, pet shops and markets. But there are many ways that the public can be duped by these breeders. The biggest warning sign is when you are unable to see the property where these dogs live, the parents and more. Never purchase a dog or puppy from someone sight and situation unseen!

Have an animal welfare concern? Report it to the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) 

What are the issues when buying from a puppy farm?

Dogs that are rescued from puppy farms are usually kept in overcrowded and filthy environments. They may be permanently confined in small cages, never being allowed out and walked, making them suffer from a range of health problems and behavioural problems as a result of being neglected. But even fairly ‘clean’ looking kennels where dogs are kept, doesn’t mean the animals are getting what they need to set them up for a better life. Bare kennels, poor bedding, nowhere to exercise and socialise with people or other dogs, causes a range of ongoing behavioural issues into their future. A puppy that is cute right now that you purchase from a puppy farm, may end up developing severe behavioural issues down the track, while their mothers remain at the puppy farm for breeding over and over again.

dog in barren cage

Puppy farming is a huge animal welfare issue around Australia. The biggest thing you can do to avoid the problem is being diligent in your research before you purchase from a breeder! Ask lots of questions and don’t just accept this person handing you a puppy at your home or other meeting point as a ‘convenient’ way to purchase.

What are the issues when buying from a puppy farm?

Backyard breeding is different again. Backyard breeding generally means and owner has neglected to have their pets desexed, resulting in unplanned pregnancies.

Anyone who has a litter of dogs in Queensland, backyard breeding or otherwise requires their dog to have a BIN number.

Good registered breeders follow a program and provide their dogs with the right resources, care and socialisation needed to set them up for life. Dog and cat breeders that are registered, are often members of a breed association or club. They are required to display a registration/ licence numbers in all advertisements. Thus, separating them from puppy mills and backyard breeders. 

How can I avoid a puppy farm or dodgy breeder?

To avoid funding puppy farms and backyard breeders, puppies should be purchased from a reliable source. The RSPCA has a step by step Smart Puppy and Dog Buyer’s Guide which can be accessed and used to help find a responsible breeder.

Two years on from the 2019 Glenarbon puppy farm investigation, many dogs including little Chevy received a happy ending, a forever home. Chevy has struggled with skin allergies and despite multiple vet visits and expenses, has a very patient family doing all they can to ensure he is comfortable. Chevy found a wonderful family who loves him dearly. You can read more on the happy endings these dogs received here.

At the time, 91 animals were seized from the Glenarbon property. Chief Inspector Daniel Young said, “The conditions the dogs and cats were being kept in were very disturbing. There was inadequate shelter and water and a number of the dogs were carrying injuries that needed urgent veterinary treatment. There was one dog that was sharing a small space with a dog that was deceased and there were the remains of a number of corpses lying near dogs that were tethered.” Just some of the video footage from this investigation can be seen here. Please note, this footage contains disturbing imagery.

Every animal deserves a loving home, so it is important to do your research before finding your next companion. There are so many animals looking for loving homes at the RSPCA that are already desexed, vaccinated, microchipped, worm and flea treated, so don’t forget that adoption is a great option when looking for your next pet.

Sophie Oxford
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