Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan takes on Puppy Mills, Friday May 8

Tonight sees National Geographic channel star Cesar Millan take on the animal abuse scourge of the United States: Puppy Mills.  These unlawful and inhumane breeding camps are the primary source of puppies to all retail establishments that showcase the pups in American malls and shopping centers.

National Geographic channel has a soft spot for the doggies, with their revealing series “Dogtown” that features the good work of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary of Utah, as well as network star Cesar Millan’s ongoing dog rehabilitiation series, “Dog Whisperer.”

Each episode of Millan’s Dog Whisperer follows dog behavior specialist Millan as he goes directly into the homes of dog owners — without any prior information about the dog’s case — and documents the transformations that take place under his trademark calm, assertive guidance.

All photos courtesy of Nat Geo

All photos courtesy of Nat Geo

This show tonight will reveal that every year, more than one million purebred and expensive “designer” dogs are born and bred into puppy mills — often packed in tiny wire cages, neglected, dehydrated, dirty and chronically sick, with little or no human interaction or affection.

These puppies are then sold legally to pet stores throughout the country.

Now, in a powerful new Dog Whisperer episode, Cesar Millan goes undercover to witness the horrors of puppy mills firsthand and works to rehabilitate dogs who have never known a world outside their overcrowded cages, or learned how to interact with humans.

From Nat Geo:

Premiering Friday, May 8, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel, Dog Whisperer: Inside Puppy Mills exposes inhumane conditions at these factory-like breeding operations, as Cesar joins an undercover mission with the animal welfare organization Last Chance for Animals (LCA).

Last Chance for Animals is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations and legislation. 

With hidden cameras, LCA operatives spot-check several Los Angeles County kennels — essentially dog-breeding facilities that may be exceeding legal capacity limits. After negotiating with the owners of one of these kennels, the team, including Cesar, is able to rescue 11 dogs considered worthless by breeders — a small start in their hope to save as many dogs as possible from these conditions. 

The team members then learn from Cesar as he teaches them how to rehabilitate the traumatized dogs from the moment they are taken out of their cages.  “We are from two different points of rescuing,” Cesar says of LCA. “They do the physical rescue, I do the psychological rescue. So together it’s a team, it’s a good pack.” 

Even notorious animal lover Sharon Osbourne adopts one of the rescued pups instead of buying a pricey pooch in the store.   

Dogs bred at puppy mills can typically exhibit hyper or nervous behavior, acting fearful, obsessive or aggressive.  Cesar has seen this behavior frequently during his career, but he has never seen the factory-style breeding grounds and caged conditions that cause it. For the first time, he’ll find out what it’s like inside the kennel facilities, how these dogs are living and who’s running the operations.

“It takes of a lot of concentration not to judge [puppy mill owners] when you know they’re doing something wrong.  But in order for me to help and influence them, I have to see what they’re doing,” he says.  “I saw a dog that was blind.  I saw many dogs in one kennel.  I felt a lot of frustration; I felt a lot of confusion … definitely aggression … a lot of anxiety.”  

All photos courtesy of Nat Geo

All photos courtesy of Nat Geo

LCA has done amazing work investigating and uncovering overcrowding and deplorable conditions at local breeding kennels.  Earlier in the year, after one of LCA’s investigations, World Kennels in Lancaster, Calif., was ordered to release 75 dogs and puppies to local shelters. 

The following day, World Kennels agreed to discreetly release another 40 dogs to LCA.  Among these dogs were Sophie, a 5-year-old Pekingese, and Lovey, a 6-year-old Yorkshire terrier.  LCA volunteer Kim Sill offered to foster the two dogs but was unprepared for the problems they displayed. Kim believed she was the first human outside the kennels to have contact with Sophie. 

From day one, Sophie has been aggressive to every person she comes in contact with, except for Kim, to whom she is very attached.  Lovey, on the other hand, has no problems with people, except that she obsessively licks them.  

Cesar quickly identifies Sophie’s aggression issues and corrects Kim’s response to them, showing her how to improve Sophie’s behavior around strangers. Within minutes, Sophie is calmer than Kim has ever seen. Then, Cesar works with Lovey to teach her to calm her nonstop affection. Lovey’s obsession might seem sweet at first, but it quickly becomes burdensome. With Cesar’s help, LCA learns how they can go one step further in their puppy mill rescue efforts and give the dogs a normal, happy life.

“When you bring a dog into your life, please do your homework and don’t buy a dog from a puppy mill.  Visit a local shelter or rescue group instead,” Cesar says.


Puppy mills thrive because they exist out of the public eye. Though they are legal, it’s a breeding factory for puppies that has been the cause of many behavior and medical problems. Learn more about the undercover world of puppy mills.

    * Puppy mills are factory-like facilities that produce large numbers of purebred puppies.

    * Puppy mills use the internet and newspaper ads to sell directly to the public, as well as selling their puppies through pet stores.

    * According to The Humane Society of the United States, exhaustive documentation on the problems surrounding puppy mills include the following: “overbreeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor quality of food and shelter, lack of human socialization, overcrowded cages and the killing of unwanted animals.

    * Buying a dog from a puppy mill, either directly of indirectly, may likely lead to having an animal that will need urgent veterinary care or caring for whatever genetic diseases the animal may be carrying. These symptoms may not surface for several years into the animal’s life.

All photos courtesy of Nat Geo

All photos courtesy of Nat Geo

    * The greatest victims in the puppy mill problem are the breeding parents, because they will live their life in that cage and it generally ends fairly brutally.

    * There are about one to two hundred thousand dogs in puppy mills at any given time in the United States.

    * All breeds of dogs are at risk of being bred in a puppy mill; even larger ones like Saint Bernards.

    * It’s common to see chronic infection in puppy mills, such as chronic eye infections, chronic ear infections that lead to blindness and deafness. Dental disease is a also huge problem.  

The hugely popular series has grown into a pop culture phenomenon, including parodies on “South Park” and “Saturday Night Live”; references on popular shows including “Jeopardy!” and Bravo’s hit series “Work Out”; appearances on “Oprah,” “Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Martha Stewart,” “Today Show,” “The View” and “Live with Regis and Kelly”; and a guest star role for Cesar on the hit series “Ghost Whisperer.”

The series celebrated its landmark 100th episode in September 2008 with a grand reunion of many of the past guests — and their dogs.  The second and third seasons of Dog Whisperer each received nominations for the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Reality Program.  

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.