Letter to the Editor: Puppy Mills

Clarke Daily News - Opinion & Editorial

I was dumbfounded after watching the special on the Oprah show regarding puppy mills. Soon after, HBO launched a documentary on the same subject. Being the animal lover that I am, I found it heartbreaking and so disturbing that I could hardly watch the entire episode. Undercover cameras revealed the cruelty of what actually happens in the puppy mills.  The dogs are in horrible conditions, small cages, and breed litter after litter until they can no longer produce. They are soiled with their own excrement, exposed to ammonia vapors, and their feet and legs often fall through wired floors. The dogs have never touched the grass and many have not seen daylight.  Thousands of puppy mills aren’t even regulated by the USDA.

I emailed an organization after HBO launched this documentary and they emailed me within twenty four hours! Bringing awareness to the public is a key factor. A second way to bring this to a halt is to stop visiting and buying puppies from pet shops. I visited a local puppy shop in Winchester. I asked to see a list of breeders. They would not provide this information. I asked to see the owner and they said he moved.


The same questions that I was told to ask were the same questions they would not answer. I want to urge the public not to buy a puppy from any pet store. The employee from this pet shop said, “This is not a chain.” A statement such as this concerns me all the more! Just because it isn’t a “chain” is irrelevant. Even private pet shops buy from puppy mills. People have often said to me “I cannot even watch anything about this because it upsets me too much.” This is okay and I completely understand. How can you help? You don’t have to watch the shows, look at the pictures, or subject yourself to the horrible information I have not even enclosed.  All that you have to do is to tell people who are considering buying a pet for five hundred to one thousand dollars that adoption is better. When we stop buying from pet shops, the mills will close down.

If you would like to donate or find out more information go to www.humanesociety.org/issues/campaign/stop_puppy_mills or StopPuppyMills.org
Sometimes we think ‘How can I make a difference?’ but if you tell one person who never knew, you are making a difference!

Meribeth Miller





  1. sargewillis says:

    Well said Meribeth, the one time we bought a pure bred it was from a good friend that loves her dogs. All the rest (we seem to have at least 2 dogs at all times) were pound bought and most were the of the best temperment!

  2. I agree with you Meribeth! Both of my furry babies were adopted and they are the sweetest dogs in the world! There are so many wonderful animals that are in need of a home…adopting from a shelter is the best way to go!

  3. If there’s a specific breed you like, or have purchased in the past, perhaps check out a rescue. Most breeds have rescue organizations you can adopt from.

    • Our two malamutes are rescue dogs. We also had one when living in Colorado. We help the Malamute rescue for VA, MD, DC, Pa, and WV area and there are a number that need homes. It is important when dealing with a rescue group to also be sure it is a good rescue group. There should be an application process and sometimes a home visit. Link to our rescue group http://www.chaamp.org/ .

  4. Laura Stevens says:

    Wonderful letter, Meribeth. I agree with you 100%. I am not against having purebred dogs but when breeders breed for certain physical characteristics over and over, it is sometimes at the cost of intelligence and their health. My dad was a vet and said mixes have ‘hybrid vigor’, that generally makes them healthier and smarter than many purebreds. I have two mixed breed, shelter dogs and I wouldn’t sell them for any amount of money.