‘They just want to be loved and want to love back’
November 2, 2007 : 3:49 PM ET
By the end of his first week with the dogs rescued from a decrepit Virginia puppy mill, Dr. Frank McMillan had evaluated the baseline emotional well-being of more than 120 of the adult dogs used in the breeding operation. Dr. Frank’s analysis is part of a Best Friends study on dogs who are subjected to the isolation and deprivation of mass commercial breeding conditions.
“There’s no scientific data out there,” says Dr. Frank. “Any information at all is anecdotal. We’ve all heard about the physical conditions of dogs in puppy mills, but there’s no hard science about the psychological effects of those conditions.”
It’s estimated that there are more than 10,000 puppy mills in the United States. Most of them operate as clandestine operations to avoid government regulation. They range from huge operations hidden in remote barns to backyard breeders keeping dogs in sheds and trailers. Although every state has puppy mills, Virginia is becoming one of the largest puppy mill centers in the nation. Altogether, such mills produce an estimated four million puppies per year.
A cruel irony: an estimated four million homeless animals are killed every year to control pet overpopulation in the U.S. ( more!Collapse )