The Amish and Puppy Mills
Many puppy mills and pet stores have started using the term “adopt” to mislead consumers – don’t be fooled. This picture was taken in Ohio Amish country. Buying a puppy is not the same as adopting one.
While puppy mills are a problem throughout the country, there are areas of the country and certain communities where puppy mills are particularly prolific. Dog farming is a large part of the economy for many Amish communities. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Holmes County, Ohio, and Shipshewana, Indiana are home to thousands of breeding dogs that will spend their lives in puppy mills. This comes as a surprise to many given the reputation the Amish, and is a side of the Amish community of which most people are not aware and would never knowingly support.
The dogs in these Amish mills are treated like livestock. They will spend their entire lives in a cage, being bred until they can longer produce. The Amish breeders that we have researched may have anywhere from 10 to over 1,000 dogs. These breeding dogs often spend their lives in a barn in stacked cages, only being removed to breed.
What is a Dog Auction?
Many people have never heard of a dog auction. Dog auctions are common in the puppy mill industry, and are particularly prevalent within Amish communities. A dog auction is essentially the same as a livestock auction; it is simply limited to selling dogs as well as housing and breeding equipment.
“Witnessing a dog auction is one of the most cruel and horrifying things I’ve ever experienced. These dogs are disposable. They are auctioned off for next to nothing just to squeeze out one more litter. Their lives mean nothing at all.” – Janie Jenkins, Executive Director
Dog auctions are held for several reasons. A commercial breeder may going out of business and wants to sell all of his breeding stock, or a breeder may be interested in culling old breeding stock and purchasing younger, more fertile breeding dogs. New breeders may go to dog auctions to purchase their start-up breeding stock and equipment.
Dog auctions usually have 100-450 dogs of all ages listed for sale. They are sold in an auction-style format, to the highest bidder. The dogs are cataloged before the sale by number and bidders may view the dogs before the sale starts. Once the sale begins, the viewing barn is closed and the dogs are brought out in groups of four and the bidding begins. The dogs are lined up on a table usually four at a time. The auctioneer starts the bidding, highlighting the ages of the dogs, if they are in heat or not, if they are proven breeders, good mothers, or if they produce large litters. The auctioneer will say anything to sell the dog for the highest price. The dogs are sold “as is” and most are sold with chronic untreated painful conditions such as ear infections, rotten teeth, urinary tract infections, sores on their feet, mastitis, and more.
If you would like to learn more about dog auctions, learn more Ban Ohio Dog Auctions.
Here is a gallery of photos from some of the Amish mills that we have researched: