Dogs are beloved pets. The quest for a puppy from a trustworthy source is not easy. As a result, people still end up at a puppy mill.
At a puppy mill profit comes before the wellbeing of the breed bitches, puppies and future owners. Many sellers buy very young puppies abroad, mostly in Eastern Europe, where rabies has not yet been eradicated.
Since the start of 2015 all puppies moving across borders in Europe, require rabies vaccination at the minimum age of 12 weeks. This is followed by a mandatory waiting time of 3 weeks (required for the vaccine to become fully active) before the puppy can moved across borders. A puppy thus needs to be minimum 15 weeks before leaving the country of origin. Many breeders and dog traders/sellers do not want to wait this long, as this reduces their profit, moving puppies at too early age. Passports are falsified with fictional birthdates, making puppies older versus their real age.
Most of the time puppies arriving from Eastern Europe have the required official documents confirming vaccination but the information is not trustworthy. In many cases imported puppies have diseases (e.g. parvovirus) much less observed with puppies being breed in our country.
Imported puppies, in many cases, have not been or insufficiently vaccinated nor dewormed. In addition, due to long travel times puppies are often weakened. The removal from the mother at too early age results in a deficient immune system and development backlog. This increases the risk for diseases, potentially leading to long suffering and (costly) treatment, and potential even dead. Parvovirus and giardia virus are the most common. Additionally, the puppy can be carrying rabies, a terrible disease contagious to all other mammals, including humans, with a deadly outcome for all.
The puppies are being held in nurseries, places where during the first weeks they rarely encounter humans. Often, they are removed too early from the mother. In many cases this leads to behaviour problems later in life, such as fear and aggression. They shy away from humans and have problems to adapt. The start of their socialization was not good, sometimes irreversible with negative impact towards future socialization.
Remember that these – often animal unfriendly and horrible – conditions are only sustained if people keep purchasing puppies from these puppy mills. The thought that one puppy can be saved is often an incentive for people to buy.
However, for every puppy purchased at a puppy mill, another one (or even more) is transported in pitiful conditions.
If you purchase a puppy, you add a family member for many years. It is thus of upmost importance that, before you start, you think twice and get informed.
Make sure to reconsider if you end up with a breeder holding more than 3 different breeds, has immediate availability of puppies or make house deliveries, is unable to let you see the mother dog, if the puppies look unhealthy, scared, stressed or unkempt, and if they have a foreign or invalid passport.
If you buy with a trustworthy breeder, you most likely must wait for a puppy, go to a screening yourself and complete a questionnaire, have multiple visits. In return, you will get a healthy and well socialized puppy, which will give you lots of pleasure, less medical costs and training. These puppies do not need to be more expensive! Be alert, prepare well and get informed.