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PetGazette - Post



Updated: Jul 15, 2022

Edited for length by PetGazette from the blog of Sophie Gamand

Lately, I have noticed a growing trend: puppy mill-types of breeders are using the dog rescue language to promote their puppies and lure buyers in: “Looking for a forever home”, etc. In addition, we are also seeing so-called “rescues” partnering with breeders and puppy mills. For the sake of this article, I will use the term “Rescue” to refer to both shelters and rescue organizations. These groups buy puppies off the breeders, and then offer those “for adoption” to unsuspecting adopters.


I am a rescue advocate, and will 100% recommend adopting versus buying from a breeder. Though I can’t speak highly enough about adopting an adult dog, I understand the desire to have a puppy. If that’s your decision, please make sure to go to a good, responsible breeder. The Humane Society has gathered guidelines to help you identify them.:

  • Don’t sell in stores or online.

  • Keep dogs in a clean, spacious home

  • Encourage multiple visits

  • Note, an AKC affiliation is NOT a sign

  • Do extensive health testing on the parents they breed

  • Won’t sell puppies until they are at least 8 weeks old.

  • Want to know about you, what home you can provide. They care about their puppies and will always offer to take the dogs back if there is an issue, any time during the lifetime of the dog. If they don’t offer that option, run!


The page has no adult dogs for “adoption”, only puppies. And they don’t show the moms either.

  • Some states are particularly notorious for puppy mills: Missouri, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Ohio are top of the list.

  • They sell in pet stores or online.

  • Pay attention to wording. The page offers “pick up and delivery” or something similar – words not used by rescues.

  • A rescue will have an active social media account, featuring their daily rescue work and adoption updates.

  • Note that a puppy will usually cost $300-600 from a rescue. That’s because you are getting a puppy who is fully vetted, vaccinated, and spayed/neutered, etc.

  • Bad breeders will tell you the puppy will be “sent back” because nobody wants it. They will offer a discount. They will make you feel like you are saving a life.

spot a bad rescue/ or a good one

Although it pains me to admit it, there are bad dog shelters/rescues out there. Some of the signs will be similar to those above: Often have “purebred” puppies available. This could be a sign that they are working with local breeders / puppy mills.

  • Adopt puppies out way too early. A good rescue will normally wait until a puppy is fully vaccinated, before sending them home.

  • No support as the dog adjusts to your home. A good rescue usually works with trainers, vets. If they don’t, adopt from somewhere else!

  • No 501(c)3 status and are a nonprofit organization. Good dog rescues will have such status, because this is how they are able to raise money and operate thanks to donations.

  • All about glorifying their director. Is there a lot of public drama happening? Run away.

  • Pulls a lot of dogs from the city shelter, and it’s not always clear what happens to these dogs. Bad rescues pull more dogs than they can handle, and often will send those dogs away to “board and train” facilities, where the dogs sit in yet another cage, sometimes for years.

  • Pulls a lot of high profile rescue cases. With those cases, they can raise a lot of money, by pulling at the heartstrings of their supporters.

  • · Won’t take their dog back. If a shelter or rescue doesn’t have a “return” policy, do not adopt from them.

Note from PetGazette: we’ve done our best to edit Sophie Gamand’s blog for space without changing her meaning. Please go to her blog to read the entire article.

Sophie Gamand is an award-winning photographer and animal advocate living and working in New York. Her most known series are Wet Dog and Pit Bull Flower Power. Pit Bull Flower Power has become one of the most powerful tools in today’s pit bull advocacy worldwide, changing the public’s perception and renewing the conversation around these misunderstood dogs, while saving countless lives. Enjoy her work at and social media.



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