Don't buy a pet

IMOM believes that any business developed for commercial breeding of animals is a business to stay away from. Including any business developed to sell commercially bred animals.

There are any number of ways for you to get a puppy, kitten, bunny, reptile etc. or any other pet you want. For the sake of the animals, please choose the right option.

Click on a title below to read the information. Which option will you choose?

  • Commercial Breeders aka Pet Mills

Pets bred by commercial breeders are sold a minimum of three times before finding a home.

You've probably mostly heard commercial breeders referred to as "puppy mills" but not only puppies come from mills so IMOM refers to them all as pet mills.

Pet mills are filthy disgusting places where animals are bred simply as income for the miller. It's a business driven by greed. No thought is given to the welfare of the animals and certainly not to betterment of the breed.

The animals are housed in unspeakable conditions and deprived of proper veterinary care, grooming, socialization or the touch of a loving human hand. 

No attention is given to genetic condition/s they may pass along. Genetic health issues are passed from one generation to the next.  More often than not they are passed on from both the sire and the dame.

Females are bred every time they go into heat. They are not even given time to recover from one litter before having another.

When they are too sick or too old to breed they are killed and discarded like trash or they may be just starved to death. They may also be put up for auction and go to the highest bidder.  We can only hope the highest bidder isn't in the market for lab animals or bait for fighting dogs. If they are lucky they may be surrendered to a good rescue group and finish out their lives knowing what it's like to be loved and cherished.

I could go into a lot more detail about pet mills but there are hundreds of good web sites where you can learn anything you need to know.

Millers will tell you they love their animals. Michael Vick also said he loved his dogs. Hard to imagine that kind of love, isn't it?

The commercial breeder will sell the animals to a broker. This is the first time the defenseless animal gets sold.

  • The business of pet Brokerage

Pet brokerage is big business. When pets are mass produced in mills, the millers have to have an outlet for them. Thus, the business of pet brokerages.

The brokers are just as slimy as the millers. They buy in mass quantity and sell the animals to pet stores. The animals are stacked in crates and transported in tractor trailers.  Sometimes they remain in the trailer for days at the time before reaching their destination. You can bet the driver doesn't take time to  feed, water or exercise them!

Their final destination is a pet store -- where they will once again be caged.

The broker is finished with them. They have purchased them from the mill and sold them to the pet stores for a very good profit.

Now they have been sold twice.


  • Pet Stores

Now that they have been sold twice, their job is to simply look adorable so when you see them in the pet store you won't be able to resist them.  The pet store owner is counting on you to be impulsive and buy your new pet from them.

Walk in to any pet store and ask them where their puppies come from. They will tell you they all come from good, reputable breeders. That's a lie. Their puppies come from brokers who buy from commercial breeders - pet mills.

A good breeder breeds for the betterment of the breed - not the money. A good breeder would never, ever sell their pups to a broker or a pet store.  I can guarantee that!

When you buy that adorable little puppy from the pet store you are lining the pockets of the brokers and the millers.  You are allowing them to continue mistreating and over-breeding animals. You played right into their hands when you couldn't resist that puppy or any other animal, or reptile you buy from them.

Can you get a healthy pet from a pet store?  Yes, you can but you are still helping the mills to stay in business. You are lining the pockets of the very people who abuse and torture animals.

  • Backyard Breeders (BYB's)
I don't believe that all BYB's truly understand why they should not be breeding their dogs.

Some are just people that love their own dog, and think it would be "nice" to have an offspring of their pet. Sadly, this can often end tragically. With no genetic research, or appropriate testing (always done by reputable breeders), there is a large risk of unhealthy puppies, or puppies with genetic defects. Most BYBs don't stop to think - what if there is a problem requiring Mama to go to the vet for a c-section, or if pups are born ill/failing? Most haven't made any provision for expensive veterinary care, and if a problem arises, it could mean suffering and death for both Mama and pups. Even if things happen to go well, and healthy pups are born, what if they aren't all sold or given away? Many times, BYBs find themselves with a couple of quickly-growing pups that they can't handle, and those pups are then dumped at shelters and rescues, or worse.

Also, what becomes of the pups they DO sell or give away? Rarely if ever will a BYB have a contract that requires spay/neuter (and is followed up on/enforced). If a contract of any kind is signed, rarely does it stipulate that dogs sold be returned if for any reason they cannot be kept (something reputable breeders and reputable rescues always do). So what does this mean? This means that many people who buy from a BYB, go on to become a BYB themselves, and the vicious circle continues. It also means that many of the dogs, unable to be kept for their lifetimes, will be dumped in a shelter somewhere, or worse. Statistically, only one in ten dogs stay in their original home for their entire lifetimes.

Puppy mills are the number one source of dogs ending up in shelters/rescues. BYBs are the second. Millions of dogs are euthanized in shelters every year, simply due to lack of homes. Please do not support those that are responsible for millions of deaths each year.    
  • If you feel you must buy from a breeder
There are indeed a few reputable breeders out there. How can you recognize one? A reputable breeder almost always shows their dogs, in confirmation, working, agility, obedience, or some similar venue.

Reputable breeders are concerned with maintaining the breed standard, and the betterment of the breed. They do all the testing on their dogs before even considering a breeding - this can include hips, elbows, eyes, epilepsy, dwarfism, and any other possible genetic problems potentially in their breed. Most reputable breeders breed their dogs very seldom, and quite often have all the pups spoken for before a breeding even takes place. They do not have puppies available all the time, or "Christmas puppies" (giving a pet as a gift is never a good idea!) - they generally have a very long waiting list. And they perform the same checks and balances that reputable rescues do - interviews, reference checks, home visits, and of course have a contract that stipulates that the pet must be returned to them if he/she cannot be kept for any reason. A reputable breeder will ask you many questions, and will encourage you to ask questions of them as well. They will not just hand over a pup in exchange for money.

If you want to get your furry companion from a breeder, please do your homework, and make sure the breeder you choose is reputable. Taking your time and doing your research is a great investment that will pay off in a long, happy and healthy life for you and your furry companion. Again, Pet mills and BYBs are counting on you to be uneducated and impulsive - don't be, it could cost you more than can imagine in money and heartache.

  • Reputable Rescue
There are many rescues out there - how do you find a reputable one?

Sadly, not all rescues are reputable. If you have made the decision to adopt a pet from a rescue (good for you!), it is wise to do a little homework on the rescues you are considering working with.

Reputable rescues will tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly about the breed in general, and about any specific dog/s you are inquiring about. They don't want you to be blindsided with any unknown problems - the main goal is a happy forever home, for both canine and human - so the more information, the better. Reputable rescues will have a lengthy adoption process, often consisting of one or more phone interviews and home visits. They will ask for (and check) references. Reputable rescues do not do "same day" or impulse adoptions. Adopting a furry companion should be a well thought out family addition, not an impulse buy.

Pets from reputable rescues will be fully vetted - this includes spay/neuter, microchip, all vaccinations, fecal and heartworm tests, and other medical needs an individual pet may need - additional bloodwork or medications, dental cleaning, etc. There are rare circumstances when a pet cannot be immediately spayed or neutered, such as age or condition. In those cases, reputable rescues will either hold the pet until it can be done, or they may, on a case-by-case basis, allow an adopter to foster the pet until it can be done.

It will seem as if reputable rescues have a lot of "rules" in their contracts - such as taking your new companion (although already fully vetted) to your personal veterinarian for a base line health check, attending obedience classes, crate training, allowing post-adoption follow up visits, etc. This is because reputable rescues care about the long term welfare of the pet they have placed with you, and want to ensure that both you and your new companion will live happily ever after together. Reputable rescues will also have a stipulation in their contract, that if at any time you cannot continue to keep or care for your adopted pet, the pet MUST be returned to rescue and not given away elsewhere. Again, this is because they care about the pet - for their entire lifetime. They will be around to help you and your new pet adjust to each other, and address any questions or problems that may arise, again, for the entire lifetime of your furry companion.

One last note: Pet mills, BYBs, and less-than-reputable rescues are counting on people to be uneducated, and impulsive. They prey on people who want that cute puppy or kitten TODAY. Reputable rescues (and reputable breeders also) have a lengthy process, because they want a lifetime of happiness for you and your furry companion. They understand that pets are a large commitment, not an impulse buy. If for some reason you cannot work with a reputable rescue or reputable breeder, please consider going to your local animal shelter and saving a life.