So you bought a puppy…

So you bought a puppy from a pet store…

Congratulations on your new family member! Let’s make sure you have everything on the “new puppy checklist”.

  • Puppy Food
  • Water/Food Dish
  • Age appropriate toys
  • Kennel
  • Puppy Training pads
  • Leash/Collar
  • A VERY good Veterinarian.

Did I forget to mention that the puppy you bought came from a puppy mill? And the last thing on that list will be the first number on your speed dial in the future? 99% of all pet shop (and online) puppies come from puppy mills. If you have never heard of a puppy mill, please read more here:  How much is that doggie in the window? .

I know, I know, their puppies are different. Their puppies don’t come from puppy mills, but from wonderful local breeders– “Outstanding Citizens”, in fact. Let me ask you one question… Do you believe your car salesman too? That is the connection here, both are just trying to make a quick buck.

The reality is that no responsible breeder would ever place one of their puppies in a pet shop. If you truly care about the dogs that you are breeding, then you want to know exactly where the puppies are going! You wouldn’t just sell them to the first person with $400.  Any breeder who has placed a puppy in a pet shop has immediately disqualified himself as  “responsible”. Before I get too far in to this, I want to share my definition of a puppy mill. Puppy Mill- A commercialized breeder (or breeding facility in general) that values their profit over the welfare of their dogs.

Why is this, do you ask?

Because, as a commercial establishment, pet shops are legally required to sell a puppy to anyone who can pay. Legally, they are not allowed to “screen” buyers for suitability, because they are a store and not a rescue/shelter! Let me ask you, if you raised puppies, would you want to know exactly where they were going to spend their lives? Wouldn’t you want to know if they were in the right home– their forever home? Exactly… Any RESPONSIBLE breeder wouldn’t be able to sleep at night wondering where their puppies went.

But the  pet store says…

We buy our puppies from ONE responsible breeder.”

Yes, the employees are told to say that.  But virtually every pet store puppy comes from commercial breeders (puppy mills), no matter what the employees say. Do you think the store owner takes each and every employee to the breeders house and gives them a tour? I highly doubt it.  

“Our breeder is USDA-licensed.”

This is a huge red flag. If the breeder is USDA licensed, then it means they are allowed to breed as many dogs as they want AND sell to pet stores. Oh, and if you don’t know– USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture. AGRICULTURE! Their business is farming and livestock. What do they know about dogs?A USDA license is not something that should reassure you. On the contrary, it is warning sign that a breeder is cranking out lots of puppies. One more thing to be weary of… Designer Dogs. They ARE NOT AKC recognized breeds. You are likely paying way too much for a mixed breed dog. Read more about Designer Dogs = Expensive Mutts.

“We have a health guarantee on each puppy!”
Ah, yes… The comforting pet store guarantee. This reassuring statement is how pet shops and puppy mills are able to get around testing the breeding dogs for genetic defects. Oh yes, if you are a Instead of preventing these diseases in the first place by requiring the breeders to do genetic health tests on every parent dog used for breeding, the pet shop offers to replace your unhealthy puppy. And why do they do it this way?
  • First, they are almost certain on you becoming attached to the puppy that you have had for weeks. Why would you want to return your new family member. They know that most of us  would keep a sick puppy and pay the  thousand of dollars in vet bills and endure the heartbreaking months (or years)  nursing it back to health.
  • Second, many genetic health problems don’t show up for months or years. Either the guarantee has expired by then, or you (and your children) would never dream of giving the dog that has been in your life for that long. The health problems that I am talking about are inherited. If your puppy has inherited those genes, these health problems WILL show up eventually, long after you’ve brought the puppy home and fallen in love with it. Most health tests can determine (with 100% accuracy) whether a puppy has inherited a serious health problem. The other tests that can predict the risk. Responsible breeders do these tests. Breeders who sell to pet stores don’t. Why is this? Because it is too expensive to test the 350 dogs on your property for genetic defects! Why not just refund the money IF the dog is returned!

My honest opinion is that you need to IGNORE everything pet stores tell you.  Don’t be gullible. Would you buy a car without looking under the engine? No… Then don’t buy a dog without insisting to see the parents (and their health records)! This whole thing is a giant scheme to get your money, and guess what– it works!  See my experience with a local pet shop/ puppy mill connection: Dyvigs Pet Shoppe, Ames, Iowa.

Finally, the main disadvantage of buying a pet store puppy is . . .

You’re supporting the worst kind of industry. Think about it. In what other line of work can 2 animals make you over $5000 a year, while requiring little to no care? Think about it… Farmers (in a sense) have to care for their livestock. They cows and pigs need to be plump for the sale. But the parent dogs do not require this. No matter how much you abuse them, starve them, deny them vet care- their puppies will still come out fluffy and adorable.

Sure, you’ve emptied one cage – but there is another puppy just waiting to take its place. That is why it is a puppy mill, they are able to constantly churn out puppies to keep the pet store stocked up! Even if you are lucky and your puppy turns out okay, a large percentage of the others will not, and YOU helped provide the incentive for them to be born by buying the one who came before them. Not to mention, those parent dogs are still suffering. They will never be able to step outside of their cage. They will never feel love. They will never be pet. They will be bred until they die (or are killed).

Because of purchases like these, you are adding to:

  • The misery of female dogs who spend their lives in a cage, being bred again and again so people will have that “quick and convenient”.
  • The misery of future puppies born with inherited health problems.
  • The misery of your own family who have to cope with all the health and temperament problems.
  • The misery of Rescues and Shelters who have to deal with all the pet store puppies dumped on their doorstep when frustrated families give up on them.

*If you recently purchased a puppy from a pet store or a breeder and it is sick, please contact me! I will put you in touch with the right people. It might not just be your dog… Please speak up and be the voice for your pet!* It is my firm belief that Shelter dogs aren’t broken! and you should always choose to adopt instead of shop!

I want to leave you with this thought… When you adopt, the adoption fee goes straight back to the dogs for vet costs, food, and toys…. Where does the money go when you buy from a pet store?  




Please also visit if you are interested in ANY BREED of dog and also our facebook page for updates and more info about puppy mills. 

Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe, Ames, Iowa

Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe in Ames, Iowa sells puppies from known puppy mills. 

As an animal lover, I am asking everyone reading this to please think twice before you shop at Dyvigs Pet Shoppe in Ames, Iowa. Every Saturday morning (and some other days)  animal lovers from central Iowa gather to educate the citizens of Ames about the pet store/puppy mill connection.  Dale Dyvig, owner of the pet store,  knowingly purchases his puppies from a “family breeder” in  the “Waterloo area”, or so he tells his customers… Century Farm Puppies is located in Grundy Center, Iowa and they are the definition of a puppy mill. Dyvig also forgot to mention that he also uses New Design Kennels in Rockwell City, Iowa.  As you can see below, the CFP breeder will even tell you that the puppies are not kept in the home! 


The owner of the store and the employees have been feeding their customers that same line for over ten years. (The pet store here in Ames is not his first pet store, he has owned at least two more in recent decades- all while using the same breeders). Now is the time for people to learn the truth about where those puppies really come from. Keep in mind, when we talked with Dale before the protests began, he said that he had visited Century Farm Puppies and was okay with everything he saw.  Here is the handout Dale was giving his customers when the protests began.


This is a direct excerpt from the Century Farm Puppies website. 


Below is the most recent dog count from the USDA . As you can see, Century Farm Puppies has 155 adult dogs and 48 puppies. In recent years, they have had as many as 560 dogs on their property. While their numbers are dwindling, they still have far too many dogs in their care.  It should be stated that Dale Dyvig still used and approved of these breeders when they had all of those dogs and numerous violations. 

cfp (1)

Below are a few of the violations that they have had in the past which include: a build up of days old feces, on all of the flat surfaces of their buildings there was severe buildup of hair, dirt and other debris (which affected approximately 532 dogs at the time!!) Again, see for yourself. These are screenshots of the USDA reports.




Century Farm Puppies has been downgrading in recent years due to public pressure and the fact that more people are “waking up” about puppy mills. In recent years they had over 500 adult dogs on their property, which is an insane amount of dogs to care for. Many people have criticized us for quoting previous USDA reports, please keep in mind that Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe has used this breeder for several years and has always known what is going on in the puppy mill. Here are some of their most recent numbers. 

DyvigsUSDAA local radio station decided to look into Century Farm Puppies, what they saw and heard there were very troubling. They were not only able to see inside of the “honeymoon suites”, but they confirmed that there were over 125 dogs living inside of the sundowner buildings within the metal barn, the barking was unbearable, and there was an overwhelming smell. Not only did this confirm to us that it is a puppy mill- but what the owner, Rex Meyers, said ON AIR about the puppies he sells to Dyvigs- “…we don’t sell Teddy Bears, so those I send to the pet store.  Because they’re a cheap dog. We’re known for Cavachons.  I’d rather sell Cavachons.” 

Straight from the breeder’s mouth. The dogs he sells to Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe are cheap. For more information on Century Farm Puppies, click here. 




Nancy and Tom Carlson of New Design Kennels are very deep in the puppy mill world. Not only do they have a huge puppy mill of their own, they run under TWO names so the public doesn’t see that they breed several breeds of dogs (New Design Kennel and Illusion Japanese Chin) but they sell their unwanted dogs at terrible dog auctions. Most recently, In May, Nancy and Tom helped out at another dog auction that I attended. These “reputable breeders” have no problem breeding dogs that aren’t healthy. If you read the article above, you will note that many of her dogs were missing teeth, eyes and had open wounds AT THE AUCTION! Below shows you an approximate number of dogs that she sells on her property and, below that, we highlight some of her violations. For more information on New Design Kennels, please click here. 




If the inspection reports aren’t bad enough. Look at how these dogs are forced to live. 

Please remember, that the owner of Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe has been to both of these places and approved of how these dogs are kept. I am not okay with how these animals are living… Are YOU? 


Sadly, Dyvig’s Pet Shoppe also buys their small animals from a large supplier of small animals.  Yes, there are small animal (and cat) mills too


How can you help?


Call or stop in!

(515)233-5625 If you feel strongly enough (and are brave enough), contact him this way. Ask him directly about the puppies and the welfare of the  parent dogs.  We do not want to see a local business close down, instead we want the owner to choose a more humane business model by  either not selling puppies at all, or choosing to help shelter dogs instead! 

Visit us on Saturdays! 

A small group of us stands in front of the store every Saturday morning (the time varies) and Sunday afternoons , educating the citizens of Ames about the pet store/puppy mill connection. Whether you join us for the full two hours or just stop by to show you support, we would love to see you! You can find out when we are at the store, through our facebook page! 


Don’t give your business to pet stores that sell puppies and kitties. Pet overpopulation is a terrible problem in our country and only the consumers can help change that. If you are looking for a new pet PLEASE visit your local shelter. Over 35% of dogs in shelters are purebred, they are just overlooked. If you can’t find what you are looking for at your local shelter, please try It is a tremendously helpful site! You can search for ANY BREED anywhere. Don’t breed or buy while homeless pets die! 



Don’t forget to like us on Facebook  and help spread the word! 

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead



Actual Dogs Sold from Dyvigs <—-> The “Sundowner Buildings” that the mill owners refer to as “honeymoon suites” There were three of these in one building at the mill.