What is a puppy mill? Let's think about what a "mill" is. A mill is a factory for certain kinds of manufacture. A business that dispenses products or services in an impersonal or mechanical manner, as if produced in a factory. It has industrial equipment to process raw material into mass products for sale to make a profit.
Now how can this be applied to dogs? Think it through...
Mass dog production.
How do you make it profitable?
1) Increase production.
2) Be efficient.
3) Cut down expenses.
4) Make sales.
How can you increase profits? Learn how to mass produce dogs in as efficient a way as possible and as cheaply as possible.
Your goals are:
Acquire purebred dogs as cheaply as possible. Only requirement is to have paperwork. Search "Free dogs to good homes" ads in the newspapers and online. Scour flea markets and network with other like-minded people.
Build the factory as cheaply as possible. Noting that there are no inspectors to satisfy, no government regulations to comply with. Put together crates, cages. To maximize your space (in case it's limited) you make the cages small, stack cages on top of each other and crowd too many dogs into each cage.
Keep expenses low. Purchase the cheapest food possible and underfeed the dogs. Don't provide any beds or toys. Don't control their environment with heat or air conditioning because that would cost too much. Give them enough water to keep them alive but don't waste water cleaning cages. No vetting expenses so no vaccinations, worming, or medical attention. Breed females as often you can so as soon as they have weaned a litter, breed them again. There is no "preventative maintenance" on your "machines". Who cares if the dogs live in their own waste or freeze their toes in the winter? Who cares if they are in the weather, or in the hot sun? As long as they can breed and have puppies. And when they are no longer useful, get rid of them and re-stock. Set them out on the road to be killed by a car or picked up by strangers, or wring their neck and throw their body in a ditch.
Make sales. Never let prospective buyers see the parents or the "mill" so take puppies to a pet store or flea market. Impulse buyers is what you want. Never stand behind your product, er, your puppies. Take the money and run. Know your market. If you know "teacup" dogs are more popular then breed tiny dogs to get the smallest puppies you can. Who cares if it's healthy? If you know that a certain breed is popular, breed them, the more the better. Sell the puppies as soon as the eyes open so that they look smaller than they really are. Of course, puppies should be at least 6 weeks old and the smaller the breed, the more time they should spend with their mother and littermates to have healthy socialization. But you don't care. You want to sell them as early as possible because more people want "teacup" dogs and because as soon as the pups are gone the mother can be re-bred.
Now do you see what a puppy mill is? Unscrupulous people have always been willing to do anything for money.
The only way to stop Puppy Mills is to remove their source of profit. DON'T buy from puppy mills. Make sure you can see both parents and the environment the dogs are living in. Make sure you have a breeder that stands behind their puppies and will be willing to mentor you if needed. Make sure your puppy is vetted and the parents are well kept and healthy. Don't buy on impulse. Do some research into the breeds that you are interested in to make sure that it really will be a good match for you and your family. Go in aware that getting a dog is a committment and an expense. Can you make the committment? Can you afford the expenses?
A dog needs regular vetting, can have health problems as it ages, may have special needs. Can you afford it? A dog is a dog. A real, living, breathing animal that lives to love and yet is still a messy little ball of fur. You can't expect a dog not to poop or pee. You can't expect a dog to go outside and not come in with dirty paws. You can't expect a dog not to shed and never chew. You can't expect a dog stay in the dog bed in the corner and never make a sound. These are unreal expectations and you might do better with a statue of a dog. You have to be willing to feed and water daily; take to the vet as needed (at least once a year); groom (baths, clips, nails, teeth, ears, express anal glands) or pay to have groomed; exercise and play with them; clean up after them; keep them safe (fencing, shade, leashes, crates, doghouse, dog runs) and warm/cool/dry; provide identification tags and microchipping, etc. It's not just bringing a puppy home, buy it a cheap collar and relegate it to the garage. A dog is like adding another baby to your home and requires (deserves) your help, attention, protection.
Having a new puppy or dog means you have a living little bundle of fur that has feelings and has needs that only you can meet. They are messy, inconvenient, loud but I would not give anything for any of my 5 little ones. They are worth every sacrifice I've ever made...it no longer even seems like a sacrifice. I just do it because it works for my little brood. They give you so much love and acceptance. I never have to worry about bad breath, or that I've put on too much weight, or having a bad hair day...they love me and pay me all the attention I want. It doesn't matter if I've had a crappy day or it's raining outside...they love me and want me. They look forward to my coming in the door and are so excited to see me. The more I minister to them the more they love me. They never get mad at me or are mean to me. They don't talk behind my back or insult me...I could go on and on but I think you get what I mean. Buying (or adopting) a dog is a big decision that is worth looking into. Consider it carefully, research as much as you can and let go of your unreal expectations. And keep learning. Get online and join a message board for your breed and listen to their advice. They may make you mad but find another group. Do a Google search on your dog breed and read up on them. Learn about rescue groups in your area. Do some volunteering at your local humane society. Be a sponge and learn all you can about dogs and your breed. Read books, get magazines, watch dog tv shows, go to some dog shows, take your dog to training classes...it's called networking and it can help you learn how to take care of your dog and get the most from your relationship with your dog. And it's SOOOooooooo worth it!!!