The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently carried out an undercover investigation to draw attention to this fairly new component of the puppy mill issue, the sale of puppy mill dogs at flea markets. Over the course of a year, HSUS visited 21 flea markets across 10 states and found 125 different puppy dealers who supplied the animals to these markets.

Dogs born on puppy mills are essentially the product of a cruel and elaborate puppy factory designed to sell commodities (AKA living, breathing puppies). These large-scale facilities hold breeding dogs captive for the duration of their lives, denying them the basic necessities of clean water, food and medical care. Once a litter of puppies is born, they are evaluated for sale and then shipped off to pet stores, sold online, or as this investigation shows, sold at flea markets.

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What is particularly unsettling about HSUS’s findings is that “few flea market sellers were licensed in any way, but even many of those with USDA or state kennel licenses housed dogs in unsanitary and inhumane conditions.” Meaning, the sellers were operating with basically no oversight. According to the investigation, when the flea market was over, some vendors admitted to simply abandoning the leftover puppies in a nearby field!

As you can see, Green Monsters, there is nothing cute about this and it needs to be stopped. As an animal lover, always choose to adopt and not shop for a new pet, as the latter will only fuel this cruel practice. To learn more about what HSUS is doing to end this abuse, check out their website.