Cat (Small Animal) Mills: The Awful Truth

Any animal can be milled!

That is a truth that not everyone realizes. Sugar Gliders, Rats, Chinchillas, rabbits,  foxes, Ferrets and kittens. Any animal that you see in a pet store has (more than likely) been milled. 

Thankfully, there has been some (not enough) media attention surrounding puppy  mills. Most everyone has at least heard the term or seen a picture and realizes that it isn’t a good thing. But sadly, any animal that is sold in pet stores is usually milled. Just think about it- pet stores are always able to have more than enough of the animals listed  to sell to anyone that walks in their door. And why is that?  Since there is a demand, there will be an industry.

There will always be  “farmers” that make sure there are more than enough rats, hamsters and chinchillas to keep the cages in the pet stores full. But because no rodentmillone is speaking out against these types of mills, breeders are able to switch which species they are breeding rather easily. Many former puppy mill breeders have switched, and now breed a multitude of cats to public (and private) organizations. Much like the puppy mill industry, the breeder has absolutely no concern for the health of the animals, the conditions they live in, or the fate of the animals leaving the property.

Kitty mills are just another example of humanity’s “supreme reign” over the animal kingdom. We have the power to torture for profit, so we do. Most people don’t even think that kitty mills are that prevalent in this day and age because of the high number of cats in shelters. However, it is a huge problem.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, most cats are adopted “casually”. About 48% of human owned cats are taken in as strays, or found by someone who gives the kitten or cat to a friend, or is adopted directly from a rescue league. A much smaller percentage, 14%, adopts their cats from shelters, especially kill shelters. The remaining percentage goes directly to either breeders or pet stores. However, with all this kitty purchasing going on, 71% of all cats or kittens that find themselves in the unfortunate position of being in a shelter are euthanized before forever homes can be found. Only one out of every five kittens and cats are destined to live in one home for their lifetime. Most cats find themselves abandoned or left on the shelter doorstep when they are either too much responsibility or lose their cute little kitten appeal.

But it’s not just dogs and cats…. Again, every animal can (and is) milled. There are thousands of small animal mills in the United States, with millions of rats, mice, chinchillas and rabbits who are suffering for their short lives. These pets are not only sold to pet stores, but they are sold to testing facilities and bred at colleges for “scientific purposes”. Where do we draw the line? 

According to the HSUS:
There are Shocking Conditions in Small Animal Mills

Commercial pet dealers who breed or sell most warm-blooded animals to pet stores are required to be licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But The HSUS’ review of USDA inspection reports reveals that many of these breeders are guilty of repeated violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act for crowded and dirty conditions.

Inspection reports from 2004-2006 reveal Animal Welfare Act violations that include:

  • a cattery full of expired medications, which could leave the kittens exposed to deadly diseases
  • a small-animal dealer with over 2,000 hamsters and other small pets inside cages that had reportedly not been cleaned in weeks; sick hamsters being treated without a veterinary consult; holes in the facility walls, and accumulation of dust, cobwebs, and rodent droppings throughout the facility
  • a small-animal breeder with “dead hamsters found in different enclosures housing other hamsters,” as well as “green algae” growing in some of the animals’ water bottles
  • 11 guinea pigs housed inside a small tub only large enough for four
  • a ferret and chinchillas without enough room in their cages to stand up
  • rabbits in overcrowded enclosures less than 9 inches tall

But what can we do? As a group that is actively fighting puppy mills, we have a hard enough time getting people to care about dogs living their entire lives in cages… Letalone  getting people to care about rats. But education is so important. Getting the word out about ALL types of animal mills and raising awareness about the conditions in which these beating hearts are forced to live. 

So, we already know that pet overpopulation is a big problem in this country, and many other countries. But are there  really small animals in shelters waiting to be adopted? YES! There are! Please check or . Any animal that can be purchased, is usually dumped on local shelters, rescues or craigslist. So please, the next time you are looking to add ANY pet to your family, consider adoption first! 


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“Don’t Shop, Adopt!”

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.