Ask Dr. Chris

International Puppy Mills On The Rise?

Here’s a disturbing story from a recent client visit…

No one can resist the face of an English Bulldog puppy. Recently, one of my clients decided to buy two English Bulldog puppies!

Oh boy!

She called because the puppies had just been flown from the “breeder” in Florida and were sick.  When they arrived, it was clear they had some problems.

One of the puppies appeared quite ill with a purulent nasal discharge, cough, fever, lethargy and a poor appetite.  The other had sores on its feet and a skin infection on the underside of his abdomen and chest typical for dogs raised in wire cages or dirty enclosures.

These puppies were in pretty rough shape and we had to do what we could to get them back to health.

As I was going through their paperwork and vaccination history, I noticed that the health certificate and rabies vaccination certificate were in Spanish. Upon further inspection, I found that these precious fur babies had actually been shipped from Ecuador to Miami, 3 days before they were shipped to Pennsylvania.

This “breeder” appears to actually be only an importer but how could anyone know that based on an internet ad?

The second puppy with the skin lesions on the pads and underside had typical changes seen in puppies that are kept in dirty wire cages. It is common for puppy mill operators to stack one cage on top of another out of sight of the general public. Laws have been enacted in many states in efforts to reduce this practice. Of course, we have no control over the conditions in other countries.

Since English Bulldog puppies are in high demand and people are willing to pay thousands of dollars for them, it is not surprising that International puppy mills would grow to meet this demand.

Importation of dogs appears to be on the increase and my client had no idea that her puppies were coming from outside of the United States.

After 2 weeks and several visits to the daytime practice and one visit to the emergency hospital, the puppies are doing well.

It’s scary to think that as we try to improve conditions in the United States, importation of dogs from overseas is increasing because people are fixated on owning a certain breed instead of adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization.

Next time you decide to get a puppy, please consider all your options and avoid online and pet store sales. These are almost always puppy mill dogs.  If you have a story to tell about a similar experience, feel free to comment below.

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