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According to Canis Major publications, puppy mills originated in the post-World War II era. Midwestern farmers looking for an alternative crop reacted to a growing demand for puppies, resulting in the development of the first commercial puppy business. As the business grew, both small and large retail outlets began to sell puppies through pet departments. At around the same time, the first pet store chains were born.
Through a result of indifference or ignorance, many puppies were left unsocialized or exposed in existing chicken coops or rabbit hutches. In addition, veterinary care for these puppies was often overlooked because of an inability to pay. As a result, organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States began to investigate breeding kennels, leading to the passage of the Animal Welfare Act of August 24, 1966.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, thousands of puppy mills are located around the country. The highest concentration of both puppy mills and breeders has been reported to be in the states of Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.
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