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Pet store owners and their employees will typically say they don't get their puppies from puppy mills - they only get their puppies from 'USDA Licensed Breeders'. Well... that just means their supply sources are big enough breeding operations to fall under USDA jurisdiction. Here's the requirement: Breeders who have more than three breeding female dogs and who sell puppies to pet stores or puppy brokers are required to be licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
How Often Are Dogs Bred in Puppy Mills? In order to maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters. When, after a few years, they are physically depleted to the point that they no longer can reproduce, breeding females are often killed. The mom and dad of the puppy in the pet store window are unlikely to make it out of the mill alive—and neither will the many puppies that can't be sold. Click to learn more puppy mill facts.