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  • Writer's pictureElise Wong Huey Wen

Poodles, Shih Tzus, Pomeranians and Many More: Behind Every Cute Purebred Dog is a Puppy Mill

Updated: May 5, 2023

In the light of My Forever Doggo’s recent exposé of a puppy mill in Kuala Lumpur and our rescue journey of two Pomeranians, one Poodle and one Shih Tzu from said puppy mill, this article aims to change the mindset of dog lovers who still buy dogs from dog breeders and pet shops instead of adopting from animal shelters. We want to remind everyone that when the buying stops, the breeding stops too.

Stun Dog is a male Shih Tzu that was rescued from said puppy mill by MFD and we were told by professional groomers that he had never taken a shower or been cleaned before. He was found with matted clumps of fur, covered in pee and poop. Stun Dog has been adopted into a very loving home. (Credits to Aliff Zulkifli / @alevz)

A puppy mill, also known as a breeding mill, is an inhumane commercial dog-breeding facility that sells purebred puppies to the public to gain profit without prioritising the health and welfare of the dogs. Most of the time, dogs are forced to breed their entire life until they are physically incapable of doing so, which means female dogs are always pregnant and giving birth to new puppies.

In a puppy mill, dogs and puppies are usually kept in small, dirty cages in crowded, unsanitary conditions. They are not given regular baths, veterinary care, sunlight, fresh air, or even a proper place to relieve themselves. Even though the situations found in puppy mills are extremely cruel and savage, they are actually pretty common and perfectly legal.

In Malaysia, puppy mills are able to operate on a large scale due to public demand. This is because most people are more interested in purebred toy dogs such as Pormeranians, Shih Tzus and Dachshunds, or popular foreign breeds such as Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Husky and others.

Most people may not have seen puppy mills with their own eyes before but that is where a majority of the puppies in online and offline pet stores come from. In this case, pet stores act as “dog brokers”, also known as middlemen, and help dog breeders to sell their puppies to potential customers. At the same time, they market the act of buying a puppy as “pet adoption” to mislead the public, prompting them to develop the temptation to “rescue” them from pet stores.

But little do people realise that the money they spend on “adopting” a puppy from a pet store will go directly back to the puppy mill where it came from, and more dogs will be bred as a result of the purchase. In the end, dog breeders are only concerned about profits.

Other than that, dogs that were bred in harsh environments are also prone to health challenges. This is because the owners of puppy mills often fail to separate dogs that have fallen ill from their breeding pools, hence puppies from breeding mills are more susceptible to congenital and hereditary conditions such as deafness, respiratory disorders, epilepsy, heart disease and more.

Due to their lack of socialisation with humans since they are kept in a cage, they can also display behavioural problems in the form of shyness, aggression, fear and anxiety.

What you can do to stop puppy mills

Dobby, a Poodle, is another female dog that was rescued by MFD from said puppy mill because she was no longer "useful" to the breeder. She was used to give birth to Poodle puppies over and over again so they could be sold to buyers. She was abandoned at the back of the house, all alone, scared and malnourished. Dobby has also been adopted by a loving family. (Credits to Aliff Zulkifli / @alevz)

A responsible dog owner should always go as far as requesting paperworks or certificates from pet stores to see if a puppy is a product of a puppy mill. If a pet store is reluctant to give any information about the origin of the puppy, it most likely comes from a puppy mill.

At the same time, responsible dog breeders will never sell their puppies through pet stores or in any other way that does not allow them to meet the buyers and interview them to ensure the puppy is a good fit for the family and that they will provide a good, lifelong home. Besides, they will also provide accurate health records of the puppies as well as the genetic medical testing of the parents and offer a guarantee against genetic health problems.

In short, if you do not get to meet the parents of the puppy you are purchasing, you are supporting the perpetuating cycle of a puppy mill.

So, what can you do to stop puppy mills from operating? If you are looking to adopt a dog, you should avoid buying at a pet store at all costs and visit your local animal shelters or talk to rescue organisations online instead. You can find them on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, or some even have their very own websites like My Forever Doggo and PetFinder!

We encourage you to support stores that do not sell animals so you can still shop for the necessary supplies and accessories for your pets without contributing to the sales of animals that come from a breeding facility.

Adopt, don’t shop. Let’s put an end to the puppy mills in Malaysia together.

Please don’t hesitate to send us a message on our Instagram or at our email if you know of any breeding mills in Malaysia.

You can read one of our articles entitled Kampung Dogs: Why Malaysians Don't Want Their Own Dog Breed if you want to learn about some of the reasons why foreign breeds are more popular than our local breed in Malaysia.


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