A new groundbreaking study published in last month’s Journal of Applied Animal Behavior Science (attached below for downloading) confirms that dogs held in puppy mills suffer psychological damage that leaves emotional scars after they are removed from the puppy mill.
This is not news to those who rescue and rehabilitate puppy mill survivors. But it is the first time this has been confirmed scientifically which could mean lawmakers and others who influence regulations of commercial dog breeding operations might take further action to stop the suffering and danger. Like shutting these places down permanently.
The study makes clear it is simply not enough to pass and even enforce laws requiring sanitary conditions or bigger cages.
Dogs require socialization, companionship and love; they suffer terrible trauma, fear and isolation in the harsh environment of a puppy mill. According to the study, this can mean that after they are rescued, the dogs will need rehabilitation – and love – to overcome fears, phobias, heightened sensitivity to touch, house soiling and obsessive and repetitive behavior such as spinning in circles.
The study’s lead author, Frank McMillan, DVM, Director of Well Being Studies for Best Friends Animal Society, elaborated "we can now scientifically confirm how truly destructive these places are for the dogs".
Dr. McMillan worked on the study with researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, James Serpell and Deborah Duffy.
The study was based on a definition of puppy mill that defined them as "commercial breeding operations…, … large scale facilities where dogs are confined in small enclosures for their entire lives with little to no exercise or positive human contact-for the sole purpose of mass-producing puppies to sell in retail pet stores and via the Internet." For more information about the study….