How to avoid a Puppy Farm

Animals Animal Cruelty Animal Welfare Posted May 8, 2024
Most people are unaware of what a puppy farm is, or how bad the conditions are for the animals that are kept on them.

Puppy farms are essentially intensive breeding sites that put the profit of dogs they sell before the animal’s welfare. Often puppy farms are overcrowded and animals are living in filthy conditions. But that is just the surface of what a puppy farm is.

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 most of these dogs, meaning a long road to recovery and rehoming.

bull terriers puppy farm

What is a Puppy Farm?

When the 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 cannot 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! Read more red flags.

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

What are the main welfare 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.

Some of the main animal welfare problems associated with puppy farms include:

  • Lack of basic essentials
  • Lack of space
  • Lack of safety
  • Lack of adequate housing
  • Lack of care
  • Lack of socialisation
  • Lack of genetic planning
  • Lasting trauma

Read more in-depth information on puppy farms on our knowledgebase.

How does a backyard breeder differ from a puppy farm?

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 - unplanned breeding or otherwise - requires their dog and puppies 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 supply number or breeder identification number in all advertisements.

How can I avoid a puppy farm or dodgy breeder?

To avoid funding puppy farms and backyard breeders, we encourage you to adopt. View all of the RSPCA animals waiting patiently for their forever homes.

Animals should always 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.

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.

What if I've purchased a pet from a breeder and it now has health issues?

There are different legal avenues that you can take to seek justice against a breeder or seller (including a pet store) of a sick pet. Read more on our RSPCA knowledgebase.

What is the RSPCA doing to end puppy farms?

At RSPCA Queensland, we believe there is a serious need for tougher laws around breeding dogs (as well as other animals). This is why we are actively reviewing the Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for the Breeding of Dogs and their Progeny and will be putting forward recommendations for certain Standards to be implemented to protect the welfare of animals, including additional provisions for large-scale breeders and the sale of animals. We are also seeking improvements to the Breeder Identification Numbers system which is currently failing.

However, legislation is only part of the solution, we need the help of potential puppy buyers to do their part to avoid supporting puppy farm operations by following the above guidelines.

Emma Lagoon
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