We Boomers love our other species family members
(aka, pets)...a lot.
Unfortunately, too many of us turn not to animal shelters to give an unwanted critter a good home, but instead, to breeders or pet stores, wanting a pure-bred dog or cat (if pureness of breed is that important to you, there's many to be found in shelters, btw).
Puppy mill dogs are typically kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs—and cages can be stacked up in columns (which means waste falls on the dogs housed below them). Compromised health and conditions like matting, sores, mange, severe dental disease and abscesses are often widespread.
Many puppy mill puppies are born with or develop overt physical problems that make them unsalable to pet stores—which means they end up abandoned or just left to die. Many sick puppies do manage to end up at pet stores, though, where the new puppy owner unknowingly purchases the sick dog.
Breeding dogs at the mills sometimes spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements—or crammed inside filthy structures. Female dogs usually have little to no recovery time between bearing litters. When, after a few years, the females can no longer reproduce or when their breed goes out of “style,” the dogs are often abandoned, shot, or starved until they eventually die.
Finally, here's a list of "puppy mill" stores in the Tampa Bay area. To find puppy mills in another area, simply input your zip code; you'll be stunned when you see how many there are.
If you believe yourself to be a true animal lover, do not buy your next pet at a pet store. The most loving thing to do, of course, is to adopt a shelter animal.
And remember, it's not enough to simply buy no puppies from them; anything you buy there goes to purchasing more puppy mill puppies.