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Lisa and Bill spend the next two days tracing the pet store puppies back to their breeders. Bill has fostered relationships with hundreds of breeders across Pennsylvania. He asks them to give him the dogs they no longer want or, worse, the ones they're planning to kill. Bill says these breeders most often want to get rid of older females and younger males. Breeders only need one or two male dogs to breed with every 20 fertile females, so young female dogs are valuable in puppy mills.

Lisa and Bill head to the breeder where the black cockapoo was born. The breeder tells them its mother is one of the dogs in cages outside. Lisa and Bill then followed the breeder into a building full of cramped wooden crates stuffed with dogs. "The spaces are so small, the mothers are stepping all over their babies," Lisa says. Bill says he thinks many of these dogs have never walked in the grass though they live on a 60-acre property.

Visiting the home of the Labrador retriever puppies, Lisa and Bill find the lab puppies' mother in a small, mud-filled pen. Her teats are swollen—Bill says this is evidence she's had many litters of puppies.
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FROM: Lisa Ling Investigates the Hidden World of Puppy Mills
Published on January 01, 2006

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