I should also clarify the backend of my stance. I think it's borderline unethical to perpetuate the puppymill industry by purchasing dogs from breeders. I would like people to adopt a homeless dog first before buying from a breeder. Some people want breed specific dogs and see breed specific rescues as a viable option, but then run into a brick wall during the application process. In my particular case, with Russel Rescue, Inc.
After a rescue puts someone through all this frustration, they're likely to go to a breeder who will sell to anybody instead of checking out a real shelter or two. Luckily with the rise of the internet it is easier to find breed specific animals online in shelters, I found mine on Petfinder.com about an hour and a half away. She was worth the ride.
We encountered a puppy mill when we were looking for our first dog. Truly, and I mean this in all seriousness, it was one of the saddest days of my life. We approached the facility and all the male dogs were outside, in individual pens of about 200 sq ft behind electrified fencing. Stagnant water in the bowls. Go inside, whereupon the operator immediately hands you a 6-week old puppy (which is far too young to be interacting with people bringing in germs and whatnot) - "Here! Love this animal!" - while you look around awkwardly at the other people in the room with equally young pups in their arms. Then you hear the barking from the next room. It's about 10' x 12', and around the perimeter there are pens. They are about three feet long and maybe a foot and a half high. They are stacked three or four deep on top of each other, and they rim the room in a horseshoe pattern. That's where all the females are kept. All the pregnant females. No joke, this operation was working with no less than a dozen litters simultaneously. The guy couldn't identify which dogs where the dam and sire of any of the puppies in the room, or even if they were from different litters. And according to the guy, the actual owner of the facility was recognized by the AKC as a champion breeder.
We left immediately, both of us pretty much wrecked.
Contrast that with the experience we had a month later when we met the breeder from who our friends got their beagle. We were in his living room, surrounded by his off-leash family pets, including the dam and sire of the litter. He breeds two litters a year, from different dams. But the sire of the litter we got our dog from was the same as the one our friends got their dog from six months earlier.... so our dogs are half-brother and -sister. Anyway, we picked our dog (or rather I should say she picked us) and made arrangements to come back the next week to bring her home. When we came back, he gave her a few quick brush ups and her final deworming, then held her up to his face and kissed her on the forehead and - through tears - told her to be a good girl. He looked up and chuckled and said, "I've been doing this for ten years, and that part always gets me." (And as I sit here typing this, I'm getting all teary remembering the moment) So he very much regards his pups as family pets for the 10-12 weeks before they're adopted, not commodities. I can't imagine anyone involved with that first place crying over one of their pups like that.