Animal Welfare Groups Investigate Illegal Puppy Mills

It is difficult to tell if the above scene is an illegal puppy mill or a shelter for retired service dogs, because no pregnant or feeding female dogs were found. No investigation could be carried out. (Source: Taiwan Dog Lovers Organisation)

On 22 October 2021, Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office finished its investigation on the case of 154 smuggled cats. 9 people were prosecuted. The public was surprised by the fact that one of the suspects owns a registered puppy mill. Concerns have been raised on the illegal industry using registration as a cover-up. A follow-up investigation was made by animal welfare groups and more details were revealed.

Apart from the registered puppy mill, investigators found out that the suspect often visited another dog shelter. Law enforcement agencies took action and found nearly 200 dogs at the shelter, including French Bulldogs, Corgis, Pomeranians and Malteses. Agencies did not find any pregnant or feeding female dogs, which made investigators difficult to prove it was an illegal puppy mill. The owner claimed that the dogs were only retired service dogs. When he was asked to desex all dogs, he immediately gave them up. All dogs were taken over by Taiwan Dog Lovers Organisation later.

Taiwan Dog Lovers Organisation pointed out that the most illegal puppy mills use registration as a cover-up. There was a clear division of labour. Pregnant dogs were sent to secret places to avoid investigations.

Indeed, there are laws to regulate animal breeders in Taiwan. Breeders are required to obtain a license and accept regular assessments. All dogs must be breeded and desexed under regulations.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, there are 1190 registered breeders in Taiwan. Thanks to the efforts of Taiwan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (TSPCA), a number of illegal puppy mills have been cracked down since 2015, saving many dogs.

According to TSPCA, many illegal dog shelters are located in remote area. The public tends to report to animal welfare groups because they do not trust official agencies. TSPCA is currently investigating a case in the South of Taiwan. Hopefully, illegal breeders can be arrested and prosecuted.

Readers may determine if this is an illegal puppy mill from the video.