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It is estimated that puppy mills grind out more than half a million puppies every year to be sold almost exclusively in pet stores. But it is not only puppies--who, after all, escape the squalor and crowding after six or seven weeks that suffer. Of equal concern is the fate of the puppy mill breeding stock-living, breathing, feeling adult dogs-used to produce these "valuable" puppies. These dogs often are forced to spend their entire lives in cramped cages or pens, with not enough food or water and no shade from the scorching midwestern sun or shelter from the brutal winter winds. The females are bred every time they come in season--and woe to the female that falls off in production after a few years of this abuse. It is for these miserable animals that puppy mills are truly living hells.

In the late 60's, The HSUS was very active in efforts to regulate puppy mills, and was instrumental in bringing about the passage of the Federal Animal Welfare Act amendments of 1970. We hoped that these amendments, which required commercial dog breeding facilities to be licensed and inspected regularly, would end the existence of the type of puppy mills described above. However, during the intervening time we have continued to prod, demand change, and even close down some puppy mills with little federal help. Because puppy mills were conducting business as usual, HSUS put a full-time staff member on the puppy mill issue, to document conditions, and assess the extent of the problem.