Puppy Mills

By: Shane Symolon Email
By: Shane Symolon Email

Those cute puppies you see in the store window may not always come from a good home. The Humane Society of the United States released an undercover video report Friday saying that many puppies in Virginia are being bred in filthy conditions.

One puppy mill allegedly operates in Augusta County. When the Humane Society put hidden cameras inside puppy breeding facilities across Virgina, they often found puppies living in filth.

"We did not expect to find the number of puppy mills that we did or the large scale of them," says Stephanie Shain with the Humane Society.

The society came out with the hidden camera video report warning people to be careful where they buy puppies and to get the state to regulate dog breeding.

Right now, the United States Department of Agriculture does minor monitoring, but only when someone tells them they're operating a facility.

"Partly, what allows these facilities to deteriorate into poor conditions is that there is no agency inspecting them, going in on a regular basis and making sure the animals have adequate food and water," says Shain.

The report says that puppies from these mills are even sold to pet stores, but the owner of Valley Pets in Waynesboro, Patrick Roche, says, he didn't want people to think that all shops were the same.

"Before they're purchased, I personally visit the breeder and see exactly what the conditions are and how they're raising the dogs, and a lot of the breeders we do deal with are personal friends," says Roche.

He says he makes sure the puppies are brought up in clean conditions, so they'll be fun and healthy pets for his customers.

"We give a health guarantee on our dogs and if anything’s wrong, we stand by them and so do our breeders," says Roche.

Dog breeders are hard to regulate because there are so many. The Humane Society says there's almost a thousand in Virginia, many without licenses.

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