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Puppy Mills

Hearts United for Animals is one of the nation’s leaders in the fight against puppy mills. Since 1996 we have rescued over 10,000 dogs from puppy mills. The atrocities we see are staggering. The injuries we repair, both emotional and physical are beyond comprehension for most loving pet owners. With your help we fight for a day when dogs are no longer housed by the hundreds, stacked in wire cages, suffering from lack of medical care with no family to call their own, no beds, no blankets, no clean food or water and no concept of what it means to be loved and cared for. With your help we are gaining ground and winning the fight. Due to a combination of public education, legislation and enforcement there are 1,532 less USDA licensed breeders in the U.S. in 2013 than there were in the year 2010. There are still thousands of unscrupulous mills left to go and we will continue the fight until they are gone.


Please see our inspirational video by James Lipton, of Inside the Actor’s Studio on Bravo, for an inside view of some of our puppy mill rescue missions and meet a few of the dogs who have been rehabilitated at Hearts United for Animals.



things that you can do to help

  1. Support Hearts United for Animals in our efforts to shut down puppy mills and rescue the dogs. Monetary donations make it possible to rehabilitate the dogs we rescue from puppy mills. Our veterinary costs average $23,000 per month. It is not uncommon for one puppy mill dog’s initial expenses to total over $1,000. They often have hernias, fistulas from their jaws into the their sinus cavities from lack of water and oral health care, uterine infections, luxating patellas, eye and ear infections, feet cut on wire, tumors and severe mouth infections that cause them to lose many teeth, even at an early age.

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  2. Let everyone know about the suffering of the parents of pet store puppies. Even though "puppy mill" is becoming a more common term there are those who still don't understand. Let them know that buying puppies from pet stores and over the internet is the reason that puppy mills are still in business, and the reason that the parents of those puppies are still suffering year after year in pure misery. To help spread the word you can order our Prisoners of Greed brochures to pass out at events, local grooming shops, veterinary offices, pet supplies stores, etc. Just write to us at clinic@hua.org and we will be happy to send you some. They are a great way to illustrate the importance of everyone coming together to help the suffering animals who cannot speak for themselves. We can assist in taking the message to schools to educate the children and give you some fun ideas of what they can do to help – just write to us at hua@hua.org. We can also assist with ideas for protests of pet stores that sell puppies in your area. Protests have proven to be an effective way to spread the word and shut down pet stores.

  3. Let your state and local officials know you care. Let them know that you won't tolerate puppy mills in your state and if they vote against legislation that would help the dogs you will vote against them and tell all of your friends to do the same. It is hard to believe that anyone would vote against a bill to help animals, but in the Midwest we see it all the time. Puppy mill proprietors scare farmers into believing that if dogs are provided more comfort their agricultural practices might be next to be regulated. This is completely absurd, but unfortunately it has worked. Let the legislators know that companion animals are your concern. Over 60% of American households own at least one pet. We are collectively a huge voice…we just need to use it. Ask where they stand, track how they vote, inform everyone you know which legislators are for and which ones are against man's best friend. Look for voting bloc groups in your area. In Iowa you can sign up for legislative alerts here.

  4. Advertise. It could be as large as a billboard or as small as a bumper sticker. If you have the means to spread the word, large or small, please do it. The more visible the issue, the more people will talk and become educated. Do you have an idea and resources for a print ad? Perfect location and funding for a billboard? Write to us and we will be happy to help with design and details!

  5. Adopt a dog from HUA. For each dog adopted it makes space for another to be rescued. The requests are pouring in for us to take more dogs, but we can only do it if we find good homes for the ones currently residing at HUA. We will not overextend ourselves, as it isn't safe or fair to the dogs already in our care to have to live in an overcrowded environment. Tell everyone you know about our wonderful dogs for adoption. Each space that opens at the shelter means another life can be saved!


For those who don’t believe the problem exists, please show them our videos and photos. The facts are undeniable.

2013 Puppy Mill Facts & Figures

Published by HSUS

  • 10,000 – Estimated number of puppy mills in the United States (both licensed & unlicensed)
  • 176,088 – Estimated number of dogs kept solely for the purpose of breeding in USDA licensed facilities
  • 114,457 – Estimated number of female dogs kept for breeding at USDA licensed facilities (less than half breeders licensed by the State of Nebraska are USDA licensed)
  • 2,150,000 – Estimated number of puppies sold annually who originate from puppy mills – both USDA licensed and non-USDA licensed
  • 3,000,000 – estimated number of dogs and cats euthanized by shelters every year in the U.S.


Scenes from HUA Puppy Mill Rescues:

See more puppy mill rescue videos on the Hearts United for Animals YouTube channel.

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Homeless Man and His Dog Need Help to Stay Together
Tracy rescued Buck when he was just a baby.  Buck was tied outside where neighbors would watch him fall off the porch, suspended by his leash, just short of being able to put his little paws on the ground and strangling himself.  They would help him out only to have it happen again.  Finally Tracy came along and gave him a home where he would be safe.  Returning the favor for being rescued, Buck rescued Tracy.  Tracy had Buck certified as a therapy dog to help him with his PTSD.  Buck became his best friend and helps him tremendously with his mental illness.  Several months later Tracy received a call saying that his mother in Nebraska was in ill health, that he needed to come be with her and get her set up in a permanent care facility.  Tracy was able to
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18 Puppy Mill Dogs Were Scheduled to Die
Just seven days ago, late in the afternoon, we received an urgent message.  Eighteen puppy mill dogs were going to be killed by the breeder first thing the next morning if they weren't rescued.  Another rescue had found out about it but did not have the resources to drop everything to go save them.  Within 20 minutes of receiving the details, Julie and Lori threw crates and blankets in the HUA van and took off for central Missouri.  Six hours later, after a harrowing trip through the steep hills of Amish mill country, complete with horse and buggy crossing signs, the dogs were safely resting and gobbling down soft nutritious food at HUA.  We were told they were all old, but some turned out to be quite young. 
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41 Dachshunds Saved from Arkansas Puppy Mill
Forty-one Dachshunds arrived at Hearts United for Animals on Monday evening, January 25th.  Julie and Linda from HUA rescued them from an Arkansas breeding facility that was going out of business.  We were told that they were rare colors, gorgeous dogs with many championship winners among them.  The breeder said they were well cared for and were her babies.  She knew each one and would tell us all about them.  That sounded different from the typical puppy mill rescue, a breath of fresh air to find a breeder who treated the dogs so well.  Unfortunately, when we arrived the story didn’t resemble reality at all.     Julie and Linda were taken into a
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