Upon hearing the words puppy mill, your brain probably produces some very negative thoughts. You probably think of sad dogs with big eyes looking out from behind bars, but there is much more to it. According to The Puppy Mill Project, a puppy mill can be defined as a breeder who puts financial gain above the health and happiness of their dogs. When this happens, the puppies produced in the mills end up being unhealthy and can have a lot of behavior issues that become a burden to the future owners of the puppy. Puppy mills are absolutely atrocious. Life in a puppy mill is no life at all. Mothers are shoved into tiny, wire cages that are stacked on top of each other with little room to move and no protection from heat or cold. Every single heat cycle they are forced to breed, and when they no longer can breed, they are killed. Dogs in puppy mills do not even get a peaceful death. The breeders will barbarically drown or shoot dogs instead of euthanizing them humanely, simply because it saves money. These dogs live in dirty, unsanitary conditions, where they can contract all kinds of horrible illnesses. So, why isn’t anyone doing anything about this problem? Well, the Department of Agriculture is supposed to be overseeing the treatment of animals in commercial dog breeding facilities. It is also supposed to be regulating the treatment of animals used for research and animals that are publicly exhibited in places like zoos. However, it has been very lax in its evaluation of facilities that breed dogs. It is estimated that Department of Agriculture inspectors “devote a maximum of 6 percent of their time enforcing the AWA.” The health of the animals is often overlooked, and the mills are granted a license when they only meet minimal standards set by the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare Act, which was enacted in 1966, mentions only the care and treatment of animals. The act takes the government out of anything having to do with the guidelines set in these facilities. Therefore, if the puppy mill sees their dogs as being treated well and cared for (even when they are locked in small cages their whole lives, while being forced to have puppies every time they go through heat), they very well may be granted a license. Clearly the owners of puppy mills should not be able decide if their facilities are safe and clean, since the reality is that many of them are dangerous and dirty.