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SPEAKER FORUM:

 

 

TOPIC:    "The Harmful Effects of Puppy Mills on Breeding Dogs and Their Puppies"

SPEAKER: Veterinarian Dr. Franklin McMillan

DATE: This event was already held; an abbreviated presentation was also given to the MN Board of Animal Health

DISCUSSION

The term "puppy mill" has evolved over the decades to reflect commercial breeding facilities of any size that have neglectful, not just egregious, conditions which harm the physical and emotional well-being of each animal.

 

Dr. Franklin McMillan, a board-certified specialist in veterinary internal medicine and leading expert on emotional pain in animals, defines a puppy mill as:

"Any profit-centered breeding facility in which the number of dogs has exceeded the owner's ability and/or willingness to meet the physical and emotional needs of all of the animals to a degree that permits the animals to have a decent quality of life."

 

The issue of puppy mills, and dogs and puppies obtained from these breeding facilities, continues to generate awareness and concern among animal rescuers, veterinarians, authorities, consumers and others.

Dr. McMillan has conducted considerable research on the behavioral challenges in dogs and puppies from commercial breeding establishments (CBEs), including the mental health and emotional well-being of animals who have experienced psychological trauma from abuse and neglect.

 

Dr. McMillan's work has led him to conclude: "The psychological trauma to both the adult dogs and the puppies from their confinement in these commercial breeding establishments is extensive, severe, and long-lasting ... [Today's] laws haven't come close to keeping pace with the advances in scientific knowledge about the nature of canine well-being."

 

SPEAKER BIO

Franklin D. McMillan, DVM, is the director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society (Utah). Dr. McMillan was previously in private practice for 23 years as well as serving as clinical professor of medicine at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine. He is the author of the Textbook Mental Health and Well-Being in Animals and has published dozens of scientific journal articles on the subjects of emotional health and suffering, stress, and quality of life in animals.

Dr. McMillan is known for his research on breeding dogs and puppies from high volume breeding facilities. One of Dr. McMillan's studies, based on evaluations of 1,159 dogs from mass commercial breeding establishments (CBEs), was published in 2011 in Applied Animal Behavior Science. This study provided the first clear quantitative evidence that "dogs confined in CBEs for breeding purposes demonstrate impaired mental health and, as a result, diminished welfare."

What the study found:

• The results showed a broad range of abnormal behavioral and psychological characteristics in the former breeding dogs from large-scale commercial breeding establishments, including: significantly elevated levels of fears and phobias, pronounced compulsive and repetitive behaviors such as spinning in tight circles and pacing, house soiling, and a heightened sensitivity to being touched and picked up.

• The psychological harm demonstrated in these dogs is severe and long-lasting. Much of the harm is irreparable and will remain a continued source of suffering for years after the dogs leave the breeding facility, in some cases for the entire lifetime of the dog.

Another study by Dr. McMillan, published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, focused on puppies and compared the psychological and behavioral characteristics of 413 adult dogs that were purchased as puppies from pet stores with adult dogs purchased as puppies from small-scale, private breeders.

What the study found:

• Dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores received significantly less favorable scores than breeder-obtained dogs on most behavioral variables measured. Compared with dogs obtained as puppies from noncommerical breeders, dogs from pet stores had significantly greater aggression toward human family members, unfamiliar people, and other dogs; greater fear of other dogs and typical life events; and greater separation-related problems and house soiling.

• The chances of a dog developing serious behavior problems is much higher for dogs purchased as puppies from pet stores, as compared to obtaining dogs from small, noncommercial breeders.

 

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Mental health of dogs formerly used as 'breeding stock' in commercial breeding establishents. FD McMillan, DL Duffy, JA Serpell. Applied Animal Behavior Science 2011; 135: 86-94.

Differences in behavioral characteristics between dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores and those obtained from noncommercial breeders. FD McMillan, JA Serpell, DL Duffy, E Masaoud, IR Dohoo. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 2013; 242: 1359-1363.

Understanding and Caring for Puppy Mill Dogs by Dr. Franklin McMillan

Help for Specific Issues with Adopted Puppy Mill Dogs by Dr. Franklin McMillan

 

RECENT CE PRESENTATIONS

Maximizing quality of life of ill patients. CanWest Veterinary Conference. Banff, Alberta, Canada, October 19-22, 2013.

Psychological trauma in animals. CanWest Veterinary Conference. Banff, Alberta, Canada, October 19-22, 2013.

Animal stress and distress: an update. CanWest Veterinary Conference. Banff, Alberta, Canada, October 19-22, 2013.

The complexity of animal well-being: advances in our understanding of quality of life, welfare, and happiness — and why it matters in animal research. 9th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences. Prague, Czech Republic, August 24-28, 2014.

Emotional pain: Why it can matter more to animals than physical pain. 9th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences. Prague, Czech Republic, August 24-28, 2014.

Life after research: the psychological well-being of animals following release from the laboratory. 9th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences. Prague, Czech Republic, August 24-28, 2014.

 

 


 

 

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