News Item | PAWS Chicago

PAWS Chicago Helps Rescue Missouri Puppy Mill Dogs

by Patty Donmoyer | May 01, 2011

On March 23, PAWS Chicago helped with the rescue of more than one hundred puppy mill dogs. These dogs came from three Missouri puppy mills that have since been shut down. 

Sixteen of these sweet dogs and puppies, ranging in age from 10 weeks to eight years old, who were living and being bred in isolated, sub-standard conditions came to PAWS Chicago. While young puppies are typically adopted quickly, older pets often require more care before being ready for adoption. 

The vast majority of dogs who are sold in pet stores originate from puppy mills where they live in extremely poor and confined conditions, are treated inhumanely, denied medical treatment and are over-bred, resulting in hundreds of thousands of new puppies each year, many who have significant health and behavior problems. These dogs are bred for a profit and are simply a commodity to their breeders. 

While several of the dogs were available for adoption within two days of their arrival and have already found loving homes, others arrived with customary signs of life in a puppy mill – dental disease, skin irritations and loss of fur, untreated medical conditions and an extreme fear of people. These dogs required additional medical treatment and time in foster to adjust to their new lives outside of a cage, like Finlie, an extremely shy five-year-old Pekingese whose litters were being sold for a profit. When she first came to PAWS Chicago, she shook with fear when touched and required dental surgery. Today, Finlie is a healthy, sweet-natured girl who is learning how to trust and be loved. She is currently available for adoption. 

PAWS Chicago built its Adoption Center in 2007 to provide pet owners with an alternative to purchasing animals, and through this rescue, these wonderful dogs have been given the gift of life. No longer will they suffer and be mistreated. Rather, PAWS Chicago will ensure that each and every dog finds a loving home where they will have a chance to love and be loved. 

So many dogs are currently suffering in puppy mills throughout the U.S. and PAWS Chicago is focused on saving homeless pets in need.

Saving Merle & Devyn

From Puppy Mill to Pet Shop

Merle’s story represents the millions of dogs who are bred and are breeding in puppy mills, and serves as a reminder to choose adoption rather than buying from a pet store which enables the problem to persist. 

Merle is a very sweet eight-year-old German Shepherd who came to PAWS Chicago after being rescued from a Missouri puppy mill. Upon her arrival, she was suffering from signs of significant neglect, including severe wearing of her teeth from gnawing on her cage bars after years of confinement, extreme skin irritations, rough fur that fell out in some places, and masses on her mammary glands from significant over-breeding. 

PAWS Chicago has gotten this sweet girl back to health. She was spayed and underwent five hours of surgery to remove her masses and improve her dental health. After spending time in foster to heal and adjust to her new life of freedom, Merle has a loving demeanor and is now available for adoption into a new home.

This adorable puppy, Devyn, was rescued by PAWS Chicago from a Missouri puppy mill in March 2011. In a pet store, shoppers only see this too cute for words puppy. What they don’t see is that puppies like him are born at the expense of dogs like Merle.


Saving Armani

Six-year-old Pomeranian, Armani came to PAWS Chicago after being rescued from a Missouri puppy mill. This adorable boy was suffering from severe dental issues, including periodontal disease and missing teeth, a continually dislocating knee cap, and also required a major cleaning of his coat and ears, which were filthy. Because of his life in the puppy mill, Armani is extremely shy. His foster family is currently helping him learn how to trust and socialize with people and acclimate to a loving home environment. Once Armani has gained confidence, he will be available for adoption.


Saving Finlie

This sweet girl was emotionally scarred from her time at a puppy mill. When she arrived at PAWS Chicago, the mere approach of a volunteer would cause her to defecate in fear. Every day, Finlie continues to make progress. She’s looking for a patient and understanding home that can help her heal and gain confidence.

Many of the dogs who were rescued from the puppy mills have already been adopted into loving homes. The others are making great progress in learning how to socialize and be loved in foster homes and will soon be available for adoption.

To learn more about what you can do to protect animals in puppy mills, please visit