Thursday, March 3, 2011

Carol Bradley exposes the horror of puppy mills

What is a puppy mill? Are there puppy mills in Montana, or in other western states? What happens to female dogs in puppy mills? What do you need to know before you purchase a puppy?

This week on The Write Question, Carol Bradley answers those questions and others, and reads from her new book, Saving Gracie: How One Dog Escaped the Shadowy World of American Puppy Mills.

Gracie's life started much like any other puppy's would: she slumbered with her littermates ninety percent of the day and nursed the other ten percent. But she never had the chance to go exploring. Instead, the black-and-white puppy was crammed in a crate with the rest of her litter. There was no room to run and play; there was barely enough room to stand. Gracie was one of the lucky dogs who eventually escaped this cruel existence.

Award-winning journalist Carol Bradley chronicles Gracie's makeover from a bedraggled animal, worn out from bearing puppies, into a loving, healthy member of her new family.

Hear Chérie Newman's interview with Carol Bradley Thursday, March 3, at 6:30 (Yellowstone Public Radio) or 7:30 (Montana Public Radio). Or listen online.

Finding the Right Dog

You can avoid doing business with a puppy mill. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
  • Good breeders have nothing to hide. Don't let one talk you into meeting a some halfway point to sell you a puppy. Breeders should be happy to show you their kennel, where both the adults and the puppies are kept. Ask to stand in the doorway if the kennel operator doesn't want you inside the building. All of the dogs should be clean and healthy looking and protected from the elements.
  • Good breeders will test the parent dogs for hereditary diseases before breeding them. They will advise you on the health issues particular to the breed.
  • Good breeders will have a dog's registration papers ready when you pick up the dog. Their records will be complete and will organized.
  • Good breeders will provide documents outlining the vaccinations and any deworming the puppy has been given and what further shots or medicine the puppy needs.
  • Good breeders will want to check you out before selling you a puppy.
  • Good breeders don't work with a multitude of different breeds, nor do they advertise puppies for Christmas or other holidays.
  • Avoid buying dogs at pet wtores that do business with large-volume breeders.
  • Beware of wonderful-looking websites filled with photos of adorable puppies.
  • Consider adopting a cog from an animal shelter or a breed rescue group.

Find more information about puppy mills in Savie Gracie.


  1. Great job, Carol! And thanks for reminding everyone about "Camp Collie" -- visiting the dogs up in Shelby was one of my first Montana experiences after I moved here in 2002.

  2. Dogs are such great animals. The sort of soul-killing exploitation you discussed here is so sad. Thanks for keeping the spotlight on it.