Although no standardized legal definition for “puppy mill” exists, a definition was established in the Minnesota case Avenson v. Zegart in 1984 as “a dog breeding operation in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits”.
Let’s examine what would constitute “health of the dogs is disregarded”.
- Breeding the bitch before the age of 2 years. This is very much like a 12 year girl having a baby. Not letting the Bitch mature before you breed her is putting profit over the health and welfare of your bitch. All puppy mills breed the bitch on her first heat cycle which is anywhere from 12 to 14 months.
- In addition to the young age, health testing is completed at 2 years of age, which is Hips, Elbows, Heart and Eyes. These tests will run anywhere from $500.00 to $1000.00 depending on the region of the country you are from.
- So now the puppy mill has bred their 14 month old bitch, the next step to maximize their profit, is to sell all of them at between 6 and 8 weeks old. Food, vaccines, de-wormers, bedding, toys, all of it starts becoming very expensive to properly raise a litter of Irish Wolfhound puppies. The cost alone to feed a quality food a litter from 8 weeks to 12 weeks is costly. So the puppy mill sells them young, to lower their overhead and maximize their profits.
- One of the most irresponsible ways that the puppy mills lower their overhead, is to not Liver Shunt Test their puppies. They claim Veterinarians state it is a waste of money and stressful to the puppy. The cost once again depending on the region of the country can be anywhere from $100.00 to $175.00 per puppy.
This is an important test and not stressful at all. I Liver Shunt test at between 10 and 11 weeks. I fast them the night before (12 hours) the test, we load up all the puppies and go to the clinic, where they get a simple blood draw. They are then fed a yummy breakfast, we wait 2 hours. During that 2 hours they play, get loved on by the staff, and my Vet does a complete exam of each puppy. Sounds pretty stressful, right? They then get another blood draw and that’s it.
The puppy mills have not provided any names of all the veterinarians who claim it is stressful and a waste of money. One puppy mill even claims she has spoken to 7 Veterinarians. Another claims that the Kansas State University made this claim. If the person tells you they will Liver Shunt for an additional fee, run from them.
Let me assure everyone reading this, the quality responsible breeders do the above points because our concern is the health and welfare of the puppies and dogs. It is not because we just want to waste a lot of money performing unnecessary testing.
If you are looking for an Irish Wolfhound puppy, arm yourself with some simple to the point questions for the breeder.
- Is this her first litter, and how old is she?
- What health testing has the Sire and Dam had completed? Can I have their Registered names so I can look up the testing on the Irish Wolfhound Database and OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) websites.
- At what age do you release your puppies to go to their new homes?
- What is your vaccine, de-wormer schedule and can I see the paperwork?
- What are you feeding the puppies and how much?
- Do you Liver Shunt test the puppies?
Please do not purchase a puppy from this type of person, you are condemning the bitch to a miserable life of pumping out puppies and you just financed another litter to be born under these horrible conditions. Where the importance is placed on profits and not the health and welfare of the bitch and puppies.