Pet Professional Guild links up with Victoria Stilwell to support National Puppy Mill Awareness Day

Tampa, FL – National Puppy Mill Awareness Day falls on September 27, 2015 and the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has partnered with renowned dog trainer, television personality and PPG Special Counsel member, Victoria Stilwell, in an effort to highlight the plight of millions of dogs held in puppy mills nationwide.
Sept. 25, 2015 - PRLog -- According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a puppy mill is a “large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.” The National Puppy Mill Project states that there are currently 800,000 adult breeding dogs “suffering in puppy mills.” The organization’s website says it is “legal to confine adult breeding dogs to small, wire-bottomed cages, only 6 inches longer than the dog on all sides, often stacked on top of other cages, for life. They live in overcrowded, squalid conditions, neglected, starved and left sick and injured without medical care or relief from overwhelming pain. Most females are bred as frequently as possible, with no recovery time in between litters, and when they are no longer able to ‘produce’ they are discarded like garbage. Recent studies confirm that dogs confined in puppy mills for breeding purposes demonstrate impaired health and diminished welfare and carry emotional scars for years.”

Stilwell recently released a video detailing a large puppy mill bust by Cherokee County Animal Shelter and Cherokee County Marshal's Office in Georgia that she was involved in last year.

“The puppy mill had been operating since the 1980s but fortunately all dogs and puppies were rescued from the horrific facility and were cared for at the Cherokee County Animal Shelter until they were ready for rescue or adoption,” said Stilwell. “Many pregnant females gave birth shortly after the bust, raising the final total of rescued dogs even further. The owners of the puppy mill plead guilty to 25 charges of animal cruelty and were sentenced to 25 consecutive years of probation.”

To raise awareness, PPG asked members to share photos and stories of dogs rescued from puppy mills. One of the incredible tales submitted included that of Hoppy, rescued at four months with his infected back leg “barely hanging on,” according to guardian Dawn Goehring. The leg had to be amputated. Hoppy was adopted and returned – twice – for resource guarding and being “hyper” before coming to Goehring. He now goes into schools to teach pet responsibility, bite prevention and to discourage discrimination against both pets and people with disabilities. Another story came from Nikki Finn-Loudenslager who adopted beagle/terrier mixes, Poppy and Jasmine, from the Teller County Regional Animal Shelter, Colorado in March 2009 after a puppy mill in Kansas was shut down.

“They were just 5 months old, physically they were in pretty good health considering the circumstances. Mentally, however, we had a lot of work to do. It took nearly six weeks of daily positive reinforcement, counterconditioning [and] patience… for them to accept human contact from me [and] another month or so to accept contact from my husband. Then the real work began of learning how to walk on leash, travel in the car without anxiety, desensitize to common household noises, [house] training [and] building confidence to interact with new dogs and new people. It was a long road to recovery, but today [Poppy and Jasmine] are the types of dogs that I can take anywhere.”

“Dogs who come from backgrounds such as those in puppy mills are often deprived of human attention and environmental and mental enrichment, are poorly socialized, have grown up in deplorable conditions and may well carry emotional scars as a result,” said Niki Tudge, PPG’s founder and president. “Some dogs adapt to their new lives quite quickly while others may need some help. While it may be time consuming to rehabilitate them, it is almost always possible once one has an understanding of the dog’s emotional state and how to modify his behavior. This is why force-free, positive, humane training that is scientifically sound is so important. Dogs who are fearful and/or anxious can be prone to aggressive behavior because they have no other benchmark. This is where qualified, highly educated and experienced PPG trainers and behavior consultants can help new pet guardians work through any potential issues and put a plan in place to build a dog’s confidence levels to help him integrate into family life and our human world in general.”

National Puppy Mill awareness Day takes place on September 27, 2015.

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Resources: Puppy Mills

Puppy Mills: Facts and Figures, January 2014 (source: Humane Society of the United States)

• 10,000 - Estimated number of puppy mills in the U.S. (both licensed and unlicensed)
• 1,924 - Number of USDA Class A and B licensed facilities that breed dogs for the pet trade
• 167,388 - Estimated number of dogs kept solely for breeding purposes in USDA-licensed facilities
• 108,802 - Estimated number of female dogs kept for breeding at USDA-licensed facilities
• 9.4 - Estimated number of puppies per breeding female per year
• 1,022,740 - Estimated number of puppies produced by USDA-licensed facilities each year
• 2.04 million - Estimated number of puppies sold annually who originated from puppy mills – USDA-licensed and non-USDA licensed
• 25% - Estimated percentage of dogs in animal shelters who are purebred
• 3 million - Estimated number of dogs and cats euthanized by shelters every year in the U.S.
• $4-$7 - International City/County Management Association budgeting recommendation, per capita, for animal control programs
• $500,000 - Estimated cost of a puppy mill bust involving 250 animals

Humane Society of the United States:

National Puppy Mill Project:

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

VideoVictoria Stilwell in Georgia Puppy Mill Bust:

About Victoria Stilwell

Victoria Stilwell is a dog trainer and behavior expert best known as the host of the international hit TV series It's Me or the Dog through which she promotes the power, effectiveness and safety of force-free, positive dog training. A best-selling author of three books, Stilwell is editor-in-chief of, president of the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training & Behavior, and CEO of Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training (VSPDT). For more information, see:

About The Pet Professional Guild

The Pet Professional Guild is a 501(c)6 a member organization founded on the principles of force-free training and pet care. Its membership represents pet industry professionals who are committed to force-free training, pet care philosophies, practices and methods. Pet Professional Guild members understand force-free to mean: no shock, no pain, no choke, no fear, no physical force, no physical molding, and that no compulsion-based methods are employed to train or care for a pet.

Pet Professional Guild

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