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united states: puppy and kitten mills in the u.s.
KEY MESSAGE: In the United States (and throughout the world), puppy and kitten production is a multi-million dollar industry with a sophisticated distribution system, profiting many players.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates there are approximately 10,000 puppy mills (licensed and unlicensed) in the United States. It’s also estimated that over 2 millions puppies sold annually originated in puppy mills — USDA licensed and non-USDA licensed. For a sheet on puppy mill research (compiled by HSUS), including puppy mills facts and figures, severe USDA violations and other items, go to:
Dog and cat breeders and brokers who are licensed by the USDA are inspected by the USDA and required to follow Animal Welfare Act standards. Violations (those seen and recorded) are reported on USDA inspection reports. Some of these violations are photographed by the USDA. The ASPCA has created a website with some of these photos (see link below). Animal Folks MN has, for years, also requested these photos through FOIA for use in cases where animal cruelty is suspected.
A multi-million dollar industry
It's estimated that dog and cat breeding and dealing is a multi-million dollar industry. As with other industries, it depends on a full system of distribution that cross state borders, which is why it’s defined in terms of commerce.
Breeders are only one part of the ‘commerce’ picture.