New study finds that puppy mills leave dogs emotionally scarred for years afterward


Researchers found that the psychological damage caused by life without human contact persists long after the dog has been adopted.

photo by Sarah Ause, Best Friends Animal Society

An article to be published in an upcoming issue of Applied Animal Behavior Science, finds that dogs raised in puppy mills suffer dramatic emotional and behavioral effects for years afterward, according to a story in USA Today. Researchers Frank McMillan of Best Friends Animal Society, and James Serpell and Deborah Duffy of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, compared psychological and behavioral characteristics of 1,169 former breeding dogs recovered from puppy mills with those of 332 pet dogs without the mill history. 

The behavioral differences within that group existed whether they came from filthy, inhumane puppy farms or from cleaner, law-abiding large commercial breeding operations that have sought to separate themselves from the more unsavory breeders, McMillan says.

The USA Today article also includes tips for rescuing former puppy-mill dogs.

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