My Turn: Puppy mills or legitimate breeding operation? - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Puppy mills or legitimate breeding operation?

Most of us have a soft spot in our hearts for puppies or kittens.  I'm sure many of us have owned animals at some point in time.  So, I think we can all agree that keeping animals in unsanitary and cramped conditions is not good.

Recently the police busted what they called a puppy mill operation in Brunswick and New Hanover Counties.  The owners lost their animals and quickly pleaded guilty.

But, it raised a good question.  How can we tell a puppy mill from a legitimate breeding operation?  This confusion is warranted.  North Carolina's law is pretty vague when it comes to this matter.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals wants some rules when it comes to breeders.  Right now, you don't have to be licensed in North Carolina.  You don't have to face inspections either.

I think the ASPCA is making a lot of sense with this recommendation.  With regulation like that, we can make sure situations like the one that happened here isn't likely to happen again.

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at



Emailed comments from viewers:

Thank you for your comments on puppy mills. I own a NC licensed boarding kennel, and welcome the regular inspections.  If the millers loved the animals they wouldn't mind the inspections.  If they do mind then they shouldn't have the responsibility of caring for pets.  I think that everyone who cares for pets in any such capacity should be regularly inspected.  (Pounds, boarders, breeders, and groomers.) Maybe NC will consider changing their laws in these areas soon.


I totally agree that we need stiffer laws in NC to protect our babies. My dogs are like my children and sometimes are more well behaved!! Ha! I am an avid animal lover and will volunteer to hand out flyers, etc whatever it takes to get these laws in place for the animials!!! Thanks for the article!!


Breeding animals is cruel to them . Why would you do knowing this plus the economic burden it puts on you? That's a big reason why when people try this and it fails. Plus some people don't see a loving and caring animal they see dollar signs and  that's wrong.


The Humane Society of the United States estimates that between 3-4 million pets are euthanized each year.  About 25 percent of these pets are purebred.  Puppy mill breeders are a large part of that 25 percent.  The rest of the problem  comes from irresponsible pet owners that do not get their pet spayed/neutered.  There is no excuse for pet owners to own a pet that is not spayed/neutered.  They people who use the excuse that they want their children to experience their pet giving birth need to purchase a DVD of a pet doing same.  If they insist on not spaying/neutering, I encourage them to go to their local shelter and observe an euthanasia.  If a pet is picked up by an animal control officer or surrendered by the owner, that pet needs to be spayed/neutered before it leaves the shelter.   New Hanover County has a policy that all pets adopted out of the shelter are spayed/neutered.   Unwanted pets are a financial drain on the economy.  On a national scale, expense and ethical mistreatment of animals is a national tragedy.  The New Hanover County budget allocates $1,127,392 for animal control annually.  Erring on the conservative side, let's suppose this county spends $125,000 on expenses directly related to confiscation, vet care, boarding, adoption of homeless  pets.  When that figure is multiplied by 100 counties, the total expense, just for county animal control  services related to homeless pets in NC is over $12 million.  The Humane Society of the United States estimates the cost of pet overpopulation costs $2 billion annually. The State of North Carolina has laws on the books that make it a Class 2 and Class 3 Misdemeanor to run a kennel that does not meet specific guidelines, but, the state is weak on punishment for violators of these laws.  A good start would be to enforce the laws already on the books and to strengthen the laws that punish violators. The couple that were charged and convicted of running a puppy mill got away with a slap on the wrist.  Money talks and since they were in this business for monetary gain before considering the humane treatment of the pets in their care, I believe their punishment should be based on the profits they made while in that business.  Basing their fine on the last 5 years of gross income as stated in their NC State Income Taxes appears fair to me. If they are unable to pay the fine, they need to be incarcerated and work off their debt by cleaning the runs and cages of the local animal shelter.  Recently, the NC General Assembly had an opportunity to strengthen the laws that apply to cruelty to animals.   In 2011, Chamberlin's Law (HB 426) died in a NC legislative committee.  It supported an act to amend the laws regarding cruelty to animals.  In the future, do you know how your congressmen and senator will vote on these issues?  

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