Last fall I saw a news clip about Petland pet stores selling puppies that are from puppy mills, and lying to customers by telling them the puppies came from carefully screened breeders.
Three years ago I found myself in a Petland store looking for a dog bed. This particular Petland had small cubicle type rooms they called playpens. Any adult customer could request to play with a puppy in this small enclosure. On one hand, it is nice to play with the attention deprived puppies, on the other hand constantly allowing strangers to handle and play with puppies can be very stressful for the puppy. I decided to play with a few puppies this day, and noticed one of them walked with a strange gait, almost hopping. I asked two employees where the puppies came from and was told by both of them they came from responsible breeders. One employee told me they only came from local breeders, while the other told me they came from small scale breeders throughout the region that were hand selected and carefully screened. I specifically inquired whether or not any puppies came through brokers, from high volume breeders, or from puppy mills, and was assured none of these puppies were from any of these sources.
If you want to know more about why not to purchase from a pet store, and the horrors of puppy mills I encourage you to read this flyer. Puppy mills have gotten very creative in their marketing, whether it is selling over the internet, calling their breeding operation family run, or selling certain sized or colored dogs (often that are not bred to the breed standard) as rare or valuable. In a day and age where our own Vice President purchased from a puppy mill, Oprah purchased from a high volume breeder/border line puppy mill and celebrities are purchasing mixed breed purse sized dogs at over inflated prices from irresponsible breeders it is easy for a normal citizen to be led astray. I encourage you to read my very first post, and learn how I too almost purchased from a puppy mill!