Dogs: The Cycle of Puppy Farms, Pet Shops & Pounds

Puppy farms are large, commercial dog breeding facilities that mass produce puppies for profit. Mans ‘best-friend’ is forced to live in dreadful conditions, denied love and space to exhibit natural behaviours. This is the hidden industry behind the pet shop window.

Most have between 200-300 female dogs and approximately 50 male dogs, though some Puppy Farms have over 1,000 dogs on site.

Behind your friendly local pet shop, the rolling hills on a breeder’s website, or the newspaper or online ad, there often lies a Puppy Farm.

This industry supports the horrific killing of approximately 200,000 healthy companion animals each year, that are killed in pounds and shelters around Australia. Simply because:

  • there is a high demand for certain breeds
  • people want cute, baby animals like kittens and puppies, instead of adult animals
  • there is a lack of understanding about the conditions breeding animals face
  • people are not aware of the variety of breeds, temperaments and ages of animals looking to be re-homed in shelters.

Life on a Puppy Farm

Puppy Farm dogs will never see sunshine or grass, a bed, a treat, or a toy. They will live a life completely devoid of human contact, and are never walked, cuddled, or loved.

Female and male dogs are treated as breeding machines. Subject to a life in cramped, filthy conditions, either tiny wire cages, wooden kennels, or dirt or concrete floor pens; these loving creatures have no joy in their lives. While some are forced to live outdoors, with no protection from the elements, others live permanently inside, in huge sheds, locked up with hundreds of others.

These dogs receive just enough food and water to keep them alive, often being fed only 2-3 times a week, given no vet treatment, and living in their own waste.

The Puppy in the Window

The puppies are taken from their mothers between 4 and 5 weeks of age, and are packed into crates for transport. Frightened and confused, puppies that are shipped from the Puppy Farm to the puppy broker, pet store, or unsuspecting buyer can travel thousands of miles in pickup trucks, tractor trailers and/or airplanes, suffering long periods of time in transit without adequate food, water, or shelter.

Puppy Farm puppies will spend all the early vital moments of their life in a cage. The constant confinement, lack of veterinary care, and complete lack of socialisation results in unhealthy puppies, usually plagued with physiological, behavioural and psychological problems not visible from the pet shop window. As Puppy Farm dogs are bred for quantity, not quality, hereditary defects are common.

As a result, many puppies are abandoned within weeks or months of their adoption by consumers faced with unexpected vet bills, adding to the companion animal overpopulation crisis responsible for the death of 1 dog every 4 minutes across Australia.

Pounds and Shelters

Pounds and shelters are overflowing with unwanted animals. They regularly see an influx of baby animals particularly in the weeks and months after Christmas. Animals are purchased on impulse and given as gifts, without consideration of the responsibilities that come with having a companion animal.

As a result, pounds and shelters end up euthanising healthy animals due to lack of space and homes willing to take in abandoned animals.


Animal Liberation staff have gone undercover in pet shops, visited puppy farms and breeders, and helped media outlets expose dodgy practices in the Australian companion animal industry. Find out about the issues we uncovered:

  • Watch the video or read the transcript of the tail end , an episode of SBS Insightthat explores why we are killing so many companion animals in Australia. The episode features Animal Liberation’s Jacqueline Dalziell, as well as representatives from animal shelters and the companion animal industry.
  • Read the pet shop diaries, featuring three exposes of the companion animal industry by employees and informants, who reveal the horrors of what goes on behind the cute puppies in the window.
  • Read the transcript of Channel 7’s Today Tonight exposé of pet shops , resulting from the three-month undercover work of Puppy Farm Project Manager, Jacqueline Dalziell.
  • Jacqueline was also featured on ABC Radio National’s Background Briefing episode on the Australian pet industry.