Beware of the Bad Breeder!!!

Use our "Warning Signs When Dealing With a Breeder" to help you identify disreputable sources for purchasing pets. If the breeder you are considering exhibits even one of these traits…

You may be getting yourself into an expensive, heartbreaking problem.  The “Online Resources” section at the end lists helpful URL’s for further research.  Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project * P.O. Box 516 * Elkhart Lake, WI 53020 *

Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project Fact Sheet:

Red Flags:  Warning Signs When Dealing With A "Breeder"

Advertising: Does the Breeder —

Advertise in classified newspaper ads, flyers in stores and on classified sites on the Internet?
Use hand painted "roadside" signs to advertise puppies or other pets for sale?
Advertise "Puppies always available" or "Puppies Ready for Christmas/Easter /etc.?"
Advertise many different breeds for sale?
Advertise oddball or specialized varieties or "rare" breeds?

Sales Pitch: Does the Breeder —

Tell you that the "whole deal" can be completed with one phone call or email?
Make excuses why you can't meet the parents of the pups?
Tell you that the parents of the pups are a different location and he's just acting as an "agent" to sell the puppies?
Offer stud service to the general public or sells "breeding pair?"
Tell you that he doesn't require spaying/neutering of "pet quality" puppies?
Try to sell you a puppy that is under eight weeks old?

Sales Venue: Does the Breeder —

Offer to meet you at a parking lot or public place to sell you the pup?
Sell puppies at a public place like a dog auction, flea market, yard sale, swap meet or pet store, or out of the back of a pickup truck, car, or van?

Breeding Site:

Do the adult animals onsite appear dirty, poorly groomed or have poor coat quality?
Act aggressive, vicious, anti-social or overly fearful?
Spend their lives in stacked cages or poorly lit outbuildings, garages or basements?
Lack shelter protected from inclement weather or kept from getting too hot or too cold?
Have no water available or water that is available is dirty or frozen?•
Appear either too thin or too heavy or just seem generally unhealthy?
Seem to be more numerous than the breeder can properly care for, exercise and socialize?

The “Papers” Pitch: Does the Breeder —

Try to imply "quality" of the dog because he / she is "registered" or has "papers?"
Have suspended AKC registration privileges? See Online Resources for where you can check.
Tell you that "Papers" are not available at time of delivery of the pup?
Use registries like American Canine Association Continental Kennel Club Inc. or others you have never heard of?

Is this business legitimate —

Does the breeder demand cash only payment and/or does not have a State of Wisconsin Seller's Permit?
Does the breeder inform you that you must pay sales tax?
Has the breeder been the subject of complaints registered with local humane societies or sheriff's departments?
Has the breeder been convicted of a crime against animals?


What Does Breed Registration Really Mean?

Check for suspended AKC registration privileges

American Kennel Club explanation of their Registry:

For an example list of questionable breed regestries, see:

Has a Wisconsin breeder been convicted of a crime against animals?

“Interview With a Puppy Farmer,”

AKC Recognized Breeds Listing,

UKC Website Breed Information Section,

WPMP “Identifying a Quality Breeder” page:

WPMP “Guide To Finding Your Perfect Pet” page:

In our opinion, puppy millers and back yard breeders should NOT be called "breeders." A
more accurate description of these people is PET PROFITEERS. They don't care about the animals — they only care about M-O-N-E-Y. They use and abuse animals for profit, and frequently hold their own customers in contempt. If the market dries up for disreputable breeders they will no longer make a profit and will quickly lose interest in the "pets for profit" business.