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question: CAN WE MEET THE mother and see where the PUPPies/KITTENs are housed?

Reputable breeders will welcome prospective families for their puppies/kittens to visit and meet the mother of the litter. The father may not be on site, but the breeder should be able to tell you about him. By visiting, this will ensure that in meeting an adult of the breed, the new family’s expectations are accurate, and the breeder can be sure that the family is ready to welcome that pet into their home.

There are a few red flags common to puppy mills and irresponsible sellers to keep in mind:

  • If a seller is only willing to meet you in a neutral location or deliver the pet.

  • The seller cannot/will not tell you anything about the parents of the litter.

  • The mother of the litter is not available to meet.

  • The puppy or kitten is younger than 7 weeks of age when going to its new home. Even though it may be eating on it's own, staying with the mother and siblings longer is crucial for your pet’s social and behavioural development.

  • The seller does not provide any information about the animal’s medical or behavioural history.

  • The seller does not provide a Veterinary Certificate of Health for the animal.

  • If you witness animals kept in crowded, inadequate and/or unsanitary conditions or notice a strong odor of ammonia or feces.

For more information on how you can avoid puppy mills, please visit Humane Canada’s site.

With rescues or shelters, the parents may be unknown, but you should still inquire what is known about the animal’s history.  If the mother is known, reputable rescues or shelters will ensure that the mother is spayed and assist the owners with this as a condition of helping to re-home the puppies/kittens or perhaps have taken the mother into their care for re-homing as well.


If you do go somewhere to see potential pets and notice that the animals are not properly cared for, please do not buy this animal. We know that it can be heart wrenching to think of leaving an animal there, but in purchasing one you are only contributing to the problem. Puppy mills and irresponsible sellers prioritize profits above the health and welfare of their animals. Please report the situation as soon as possible. If you wait, the animals may all be gone and the authorities may not be able to take preventative action. If you suspect that someone is mistreating their animals, please contact the Nova Scotia SPCA, your local police/RCMP detachment or Crime Stoppers.