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Puppy mills leave lasting psychological scars on animals

It is easy enough for humans to be horrified by the conditions of many puppy mills - dirty facilities and inhumane practices are likely to emotionally scar those who see them. According to a recent study, the same is true of the dogs who were raised under these circumstances, USA Today reports.

The study examined owner-reported psychological and behavioral characteristics of 1,169 dogs recovered from puppy mills and and those of 332 dogs that did not come from a mill. In comparing the two groups, the researchers found that dogs from puppy mills showed significantly higher level of fears and phobias, repetitive and compulsive behaviors, and a heightened sensitivity to being touched.

"This study gives us strong evidence that the dogs kept in these large-scale breeding facilities don't just suffer while they're confined there, but carry the emotional scars out with them for years, even when they're placed in loving homes," Frank McMillan told the news source. McMillan, of Best Friends Animal Society, conducted the research with James Serpell and Deborah Duffy of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

This information comes as more states seek stricter laws regarding animal breeders. The Humane Society of the United States recently created a petition that asks President Barack Obama and the federal government to crack down on puppy mill operations.  
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