View Full Version : I just found out my puppy came from a puppy mill! I'm DEVASTATED!

16th May 2008, 05:50 PM
Hello everyone, please let me introduce myself. I am in my late 20's, I have two adult cats, and I have a Bachelor's degree. All of my life I have owned cats and I am a huge animal lover. For several years I have wanted to adopt a dog as I have never owned one of my own before. My mother's dog that we had both cared for had just passed away at 16. I was totally depressed over the loss of our dog and wanted a new companion of my own.

I went to several local shelters looking for a puppy because my good friend said that would be best as I wanted to get a dog I could socialize to my cats (not already in the habit of chasing cats.) Mainly I wanted a Cavalier - I have wanted one for many years. None of the local shelters had any.

I started doing research online and I found a "celebrity" puppy boutique that had tons of positive/great references and even "Sharon Osborne" and her family had bought a couple of dogs and I believe at least 1 Cavalier from this company. They advertised that their dogs come from "private breeders" and are "very well cared for." I was so stupid and naive to believe this hype!

I purchased my puppy in April for $2,000. She was 3 months old at the time. As soon as she came home she got sick! First she was diagnosed with coccidia and giardia. As if that was not bad enough two weeks later she came down with pneumonia! The owner of the company I got her from reimbursed me for the parasite treatment and is in the process of reimbursing me for the pneumonia.

As you can imagine the past month that I have had her has been full of tears, regret, and eye opening awareness about the choice I made to purchase her from this company. I had absolutely NO idea that this girl was from a puppy mill. I started to suspect it though because of all her ailments. I went online and found out this company has sold sick dogs in the past! I was FLOORED that I did not research them more. How could I have been so stupid. ME the ANIMAL LOVER of all time, who ABHORS puppy mills. I NEVER would have thought this company would WITHHOLD information aka LIE and tell me no way did she come from a puppy mill!!!

Well I received her registration papers yesterday. Her parents are AKC registered but the company who sold her to me originally got her from some dealer in OKLAHOMA! A DEALER! And the breeder must have sold my pup to the dealer first and then the dealer sold her to the company I bought her from. This is EXACTLY (from what I have read) the trend of how puppies are shipped from place to place!

Needless to say I am so depressed, regretful and crying all the time over this. I cannot believe she is from a puppy mill. How could the AKC even have registered her parents? I just ordered a three generation pedigree on the parents. They both have "elite" sounding names like as if they come from a breeder who shows dogs. Also I am currently waiting to hear back from petshoppuppies.org to find more information about WHERE she came from exactly.

Please I need some kind of advice or support about how to get over this. Needless to say this has been one of the most difficult times in my life to realize I have inadvertently supported a puppy mill operation. I cannot tell you the amount of regret I live with daily. It is so hard for me even to enjoy my new puppy because she is first of all recovering from her problems, secondly because when I look at her all I can think of is puppy mills, and third I am so scared about the future health/heart problems I am VERY LIKELY to have to deal with because I have no idea what health condition her PARENTS are in!!!

Why didn't I know about all of this BEFORE I bought her? Why couldn't the puppy mill issue have been something I knew about intimately? Why did I have to go through this horrible experience to learn about what puppy mills are? Why was I such an idiot to believe some company that had SO MANY GOOD REFERENCES? Finally, how could so many people buy from pet stores not knowing what they are IN FOR with these dogs? Not knowing that their parents are treated like MACHINES and not loved and cared for like they deserve???

Even if my puppy's breeder had dogs from healthy bloodlines, how could she have sold my puppy to a DEALER and not known or CARED where she was going???

I am crying as I write this. I am so sorry to all of you breeders who do care about your dogs and where they go. I am sorry I was so stupid I did not know I could have just bought my puppy from one of you. :(


Bruce H
16th May 2008, 06:26 PM
OK, sit down, take a deep breath, and stop beating yourself up. You have to understand that these puppy mills are pros at making themselves look like responsible breeders. You are not alone by any means to be fooled by a sweet-talking miller. So just love and enjoy your puppy! Coming from a mill does not mean that she will always have health problems. I wish I had more time, but I have to get back to work now; I'm sure others will come along with much the same comments.

16th May 2008, 06:30 PM
I agree with Bruce, and I dont have alot of time either~ However, you didnt ententionally support a puppy mill...Please take a breath and Ill write more later~ Promise.

16th May 2008, 06:50 PM
Welcome to the board and glad you found us -- and I echo what is said above. One of the reasons I set up this board with the information that is here is to try to alert people so that they can make informed choices when getting puppies, as many of the BYBs and mills and casual pet market breeders are very, very adept at making themselves look legitimate. As you found they often charge as much or more than reputable show breeders who focus on health and conformation, or they come in just under those prices making themselves very attractive pricewise.

It can take a lot of experience to know how to deconstruct their websites and recognise what the red flags are. Inasmuch as I can within libel law, I will name and shame -- eg if people's convictions etc are a matter of public record -- but other than that I cannot list the sites and names to watch out for.

If you send me the link to your 'breeder's' site privately (by PM) I'd be interested to know -- not least as I wonder if this is someone I have seen get a lot of publicity in California as a celebrity cavalier breeder even though when I checked the site, the red flags were there for anyone knowing what to look for (but that's the hard bit as it takes time to learn what to look for :x) -- and if they are actually buying up and selling on puppies bred elsewhere (eg acting as a broker, not a breeder), that would certainly be interesting... (though maybe this pup is from a petshop? I am not sure, from your post).

Many people here come to the board in your situation and there's no reason to love your cavalier one iota less. Many of us also have rescue cavaliers that came from totally unknown, primarily poor, backgrounds and we love them as much as our dogs from the good breeders. The important thing is that you now understand the system better and will be a smart advocate and adviser to others you meet in future who are looking for a puppy.

Depending on your state, you may well have the ability to at the very least demand the breeder cover your costs plus some for your anguish (I see that you are getting some reimbursement, but just in case). I know people who have gone to small claims successfully and if you get a judgement -- well, then I can publicly note the name of this puppy broker as well as the terms of the judgement. Then it will come up in internet searches. :thmbsup: Also your state or the seller's state my have puppy lemon laws that would apply. You can also file a complaint to the AKC (though the AKC doesn't really police breeders -- if the parents are registered AKC then the puppies can be registered -- that is really the only requirement), to the state attorney general, etc. Please see this post from the Library:


16th May 2008, 07:08 PM

Congratulations on your beautiful puppy!
What is her name?

A friend of mine bought Charlie from a pet store in Annapolis.
His wife doesn't like dogs, so Charlie was given to us.
It is one of the best things that ever happened to us.
We love Charlie to death and it doesn't matter, at this point, where he came from.
Enjoy your little girl and give her a safe and happy home.
Any more pictures? :paw:

16th May 2008, 07:21 PM
I'm so sorry you got taken advantage of and are hurting so badly. Like everyone else has said, these places have a way of putting on a good show. I, too, was duped 5 years ago when I got my Casey.

I was looking for an adult Cavalier and called every breeder I could find in the state of Florida. One (who advertises in the paper- ALWAYS A RED FLAG FYI!) had a 2 YO female said she would be place in a pet home. So, we made the 3 hour drive. AT THE DOOR, she tells us she has changed her mind, "but look at these adorable puppies that just arrived this morning from the UK!" Well, we were anticipating bringing a new dog home that day, so we drove to the bank to pull out the $1700 cash she was charging for the pups, and brought baby Casey home.

After researching her pedigree, her ancestors are all Irish. Now, it doesn't take a dumby to realize this woman was purchasing Irish puppy mill pups from a broker. I was an idiot and acted on impulse and have a puppy mill dog too.

I'm sure that many of us on this board do. Some knew it, some didn't. Some realize it now. Regardless....I LOVE her and I don't know what I would do if I didn't have her.

You have to concentrate now on your pup and as soon as she is well again, you will appreciate this breed for what they are; devoted, sweet, velcro dogs. She will be everything you always wanted and more.

Don't be so hard on yourself...you are only human! Lesson learned. Now you can educate others about your experience. After you are reimbursed for your medical costs, write the paper and any other public source you can find if that will make you feel better.

Take care!

16th May 2008, 07:28 PM
It is not uncommon for many people who are bright, educated and most of the time exhbit good common sense, but who are novices to the world of purebreed dogs, to end up getting a puppy from a "pet producer" who breeds simply to sell, as opposed to a responsible, ethical breeder who is breeding with consideration for structure, health and temperament and who will be there to support those who "adopt" their puppies for the puppy's life.

Do not beat yourself up. Love your little one, think about where she might be if she was not with you, and use your experience to educate others about how to avoid the puppy mill trap. For everything there is a purpose, and you will discover a reason why she came to you.

You should, of course, see what legal remedies you have and you should also file a complaint even if you think they will not do anything because the more complaints the harder it is for the authorities to ignore.


16th May 2008, 07:51 PM
I certainly can feel your anguish and anger. But PLEASE PLEASE remember, none of this is your little girl's fault. She deserves the best life, and, no matter where she's from, she'll love YOU unconditionally. Dogs from the best of parents can have serious problems--I know it's less likely--but there are no guarantees. Please just love her--all the more so since she's not feeling well.

One of my dogs is a ruby, too--I just had to have a ruby! He was recently rescued from a terrible mill (he's 5). He's always getting into trouble, but he's the most fun of all my dogs--I love just watching him!

Please tell us all about your little girl--what name did you choose? Any personality quirks showing up yet?

Brian M
16th May 2008, 08:38 PM
Shes a very beautiful little girl just like my Rosie and shes very lucky to have come together with you in whatever circumstances so i hope and know that the two of you now that you are together will have many years of happiness and comfort ahead ,please take good care of her shes a very special little girl.

Kindest Regards
Brian Dawn & Luke
Poppy (Tri) Daisy (Blen) & Rosie (Ruby)
Ami & Tammi (my cats) :thmbsup::thmbsup::thmbsup:

16th May 2008, 08:54 PM
I would say that it isnt your fault that you got the dog from a puppy breeder. She looks beautiful. Just like my ruby. That is also a huge amount of money you paid for her. As you know its not her fault that she is from a puppy mill it is very good luck for her that she got you to take care of her now. You might be lucky with her and she might be fine now that you have taken care of the initial problems. My ruby could have health problems just the same. We never know these things. And she is from a good breeder and i saw the mother and father etc. Good luck with her. I hope she is ok for you. I know you are really disappointed but she will love you no matter where she is from...poor pet... :lotsaluv:

Elaine 2
16th May 2008, 10:10 PM
She's a little poppet.......just perfect:lotsaluv::thmbsup:

16th May 2008, 10:45 PM
She is very cute ! You are not responsible ; don't worry. The most important thing is now to have a puppy in better health who will live long years of happiness with you

16th May 2008, 10:48 PM
I have the sweetest little tri cavalier, she is from a Irish puppy mill. Moosie is 12 years old and still very healthy and has lived with me for the last 6 years.
I love her so much. I am now hooked on the breed, and have added 2 more from very good breeders.
I hope you have the same good luck with your dog as I have.
Love your dog and have lots of fun.

16th May 2008, 11:03 PM
It doesn't matter now where she came from all that matters is that you have a beautiful little girl. She will Love you no matter what..she is a real cutie.It is not your fault,so just try to forget her past and concentrate on your future together.

16th May 2008, 11:14 PM
Just a gentle reminder that seeing the mother and father alone is not enough to indicate a good breeder (seeing the father can actually be a red flag -- not always, but most show breeders and those focused on health will not be breeding to all their own males but bringing in good lines for health, fresh positive qualities for their line, and genetic diversity. If the father is owned by the breeder, I'd want to talk a bit more about why they chose that dog to sire the litter).

What to look for? Most crucial is: seeing the cardiologist (not VET!!) clearances for the parents and grandparents, making sure the parents are at least 2.5 years old and heart clear, asking for certification if the breeder hip scores/tests patellas/certifies eyes (which a good breeder will do), asking about their approach to breeding around syringomyelia and whether they have MRI screened and graded their dogs and if not, what is their breeding approach... making sure they show or are otherwise active in some form of dog sports (obedience, agility etc)... and that they are not just breeding litter after litter for pets like the vast majority of breeders offering pet quality puppies for sale :(. A breeder also should have told the buyer about MVD and SM in the breed and other health issues, about feeding, and basic care, and the dog should have been sold on closed registration so that it cannot be bred unless other arrangements were made. Proper registration with a national breed registration (not one of the trash registries) is also important but only the very barest minimum as starting point. Some breeders deliberately take buyers in because they have national (KC, AKC, IKC) registration and this has people thinking this definitely indicates a good breeder. It is pretty easy to get any of those registrations.

There's more detail in the Library section on finding a breeder; these guidelines apply internationally. :thmbsup:

16th May 2008, 11:39 PM
Hello everyone and thank you for your understanding and compassionate responses. I feel so much better reading your perspectives on this unfortunate situation with my baby girl.

Fortunately the owner of the company has been cooperative and has been reimbursing me for most of her medical bills. However, I just found out that the Humane Society had started a law suite against this company within the last 2 years! The news about them just keeps getting worse. :mad:

I am going to actively tell EVERYONE who is interested to hear about the dangers of pet store puppies, and specifically I will emphasize the ILLNESS that they are exposed to and often develop shortly after coming home! So SAD that so many people do not know about puppy mill horrors. I mean as if it is not bad enough that the parents (especially mothers) are treated like breeding machines but I don't know if that is enough to arouse people's concern. I think what concerns most people is money and health of the puppy they bring home. If I can just convince people of the risk and FINANCIAL costs involved if one of these puppies should fall ill, maybe more people will listen. In my case, I am fortunate (if that can even be applied here) that at least I bought her from a company with a solid health guarantee. Some of these random pet shops from what I have been reading will only help out on a very limited basis, if at all!!

So now about the little angel. Her name is Misha. She is absolutely a LOVE! She licks everyone who greets her... to excess!!! We joke about not having to wash our faces cause she does all the work! She is very smart - I taught her to sit in 10 minutes! When she sits, she gets this very serious look on her face and she snaps her bottom into place on the floor like she's been given a military command LOL! Even though she's been sick she has been quite active and playful. My mother also now has another dog, a large pomeranian, and Misha chases him and bullies him in a playful way (she thinks she's his size) - it's hilarious to watch. If she's been too hyper I tell her to calm down and softly pet her head and then she always falls asleep on my lap! Like clockwork! She snores also! She has lots and lots of puppy dreams, sometimes kicking and softly barking to herself. She is so sweet!!!

Here are some more photos of her:


17th May 2008, 12:23 AM
Well~ It sounds like you have taken a breath~ She is darling and knock wood you wont have any further issues with her....and I really applaud you for being so forthright in your post and hopefully your experience will help others....Thinking of you from here~ Enjoy your darling puppy.

17th May 2008, 03:38 AM
Your Misha is a little dollbaby and an innocent in all of this. Just love her and she will become your precious, devoted companion. I would continue to send the vet bills to this company and demand that they take care of them. You are fortunate that so far they are at least helping with the bills without demanding her return, which is usually in the fine print. There are very few of us who could return our babies once they own a place in our hearts.

After clearing up the illnesses that she is experiencing, you may find that she is just fine. Might I suggest that you purchase veterinary health insurance for her before anything major occurs. Anything that she has been treated for so far will be excluded in the future, but it could be helpful down the line for other issues that may arise. I will never own another dog without an insurance policy. Our last dog (a rescue aussie mix), who passed away at age 14 several years ago, had many thousands of dollars in treatment for cancerous tumors and arthritis of the spine, so it is just good to have regardless.

You can certainly use your experience to educate others, so please, please don't beat yourself up. Just enjoy your beautiful girl! :luv:

17th May 2008, 04:57 AM
Thanks so much hbmama for the wonderful advice. Actually thank goodness I did get her health insurance the moment I got her! It activated 2 weeks later so her pneumonia bill (nearly $1,000) will be covered!!! But not the coccidia/giardia (which was already reimbursed by the company I got her from.) Last year one of my pets had an expensive issue I had to deal with and had I known about health insurance then I would have had all of my pets on it. Again, I live and learn. Now all my babies have insurance and are covered on a great plan. Will update more about her status tomorrow!

17th May 2008, 06:38 AM
you have a very cute ruby puppy.
i am sorry that you have to find out about puppy mill the hard way.
i look forward to updates from ur pupppy as well!

Cathy T
17th May 2008, 02:56 PM
I think you've gotten some wonderful information from other members.

All I can add is.....welcome to you and Misha!!! Now you can be a spokesperson for how to properly buy a Cavalier ;) I'm glad you are accepting of the fact that she didn't come from the best place but that certainly doesn't diminish the fact that she's yours and you love her so much.

I think Misha is just precious and I hope you have a long long lifetime of fun and joy with her.

17th May 2008, 03:50 PM
Charlie McFarlie says "hi" to Misha. :dogwlk:

17th May 2008, 04:16 PM
I think SHE is very lucky to have got YOU too.........and besides that you just reminded me.....i have no pet insurance!!!!!!!!!

19th May 2008, 01:01 AM
Misha is very cute. We learn something each time we purchase a dog. Whether it be training, food or crating. Enjoy her and I wish you both much happiness.

20th May 2008, 04:49 PM
Misha is absolutely adorable. She reminds me so much of Annie when she was in that "all legs" stage:


Here's what you have to look forward to:


20th May 2008, 05:48 PM
You and Misha will be great together! You will love her and she will adore you. Any way you care to look at it, it is all that matters now. If you ever go out to get Misha a brother or sister you now have great sources of advice.

I'm so glad you had the courage to tell your story and that you and Misha are part of the CT community.

icon_welcome to both of you!

20th May 2008, 06:10 PM
Misha is absolutely adorable. She reminds me so much of Annie when she was in that "all legs" sstage:


Here's what you have to look forward to:


Are they both the same dog above??????? Oh my god the second photo is so fantastic.. Is that what my ruby is going to look like? She looks like the first photo now..all legs.... what age is that second photo taken at if its the same dog ?????????????????

20th May 2008, 09:53 PM
Are they both the same dog above??????? Oh my god the second photo is so fantastic.. Is that what my ruby is going to look like? She looks like the first photo now..all legs.... what age is that second photo taken at if its the same dog ?????????????????

Yes, that is the very same dog -- our beloved Annie. The second photo was taken right around her second birthday in February. The feathers on her coat and her ears are still growing in.

21st May 2008, 06:57 AM
anniespeeps - WOW - she's GORGEOUS!!! Your girl is a DOLL!!!! I am so excited Misha is going to be as beautiful as your baby girl! Thank you so much for sharing those beautiful photos. We've been talking about how Misha's coat is so thin and how it's funny "all legs" that is a good way to put it. Is it only the rubies that go through this? All the other puppies from the other colors seem to have soft and fluffy coats even as little youngsters.

jcj528 - Thank you for such a kind and warm welcome. I appreciate yours and everyone's very compassionate responses and thank you so much for making me feel welcome here. I felt scared to post at first out of fear that people might think my baby is not worthy because she's a puppy mill dog.

21st May 2008, 02:50 PM
anniespeeps - WOW - she's GORGEOUS!!! Your girl is a DOLL!!!! I am so excited Misha is going to be as beautiful as your baby girl! Thank you so much for sharing those beautiful photos. We've been talking about how Misha's coat is so thin and how it's funny "all legs" that is a good way to put it. Is it only the rubies that go through this? All the other puppies from the other colors seem to have soft and fluffy coats even as little youngsters.

jcj528 - Thank you for such a kind and warm welcome. I appreciate yours and everyone's very compassionate responses and thank you so much for making me feel welcome here. I felt scared to post at first out of fear that people might think my baby is not worthy because she's a puppy mill dog.

She's the only Cavalier we've ever had, so I can't speak for the other colors. But it has definitely taken a while for her coat to develop. I think I read somewhere that it's not fully developed until they're 2 or 3. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

As far as the puppy mill thing, I can understand your feelings about your dog's background. But now that she's yours, she deserves just as much love and TLC as any Cavalier -- or any dog, for that matter.

22nd May 2008, 02:26 AM
Thanks so much anniespeeps (http://board.cavaliertalk.com/member.php?u=3166)! I appreciate the encouragement!! I do feel that I need to pretty much put the puppy mill thing behind me in terms of not letting that get in the way of my love for Misha. She is my baby girl and she is so innocent. She doesn't care where she came from. She only knows that she loves to run and play and eat good food and she loves her mommy and the wonderful people around her. Thank you for this reminder...