AUSTIN, Texas -- If you're looking into getting a puppy, animal advocates encourage you to look into the pet's history.
Sunday, a group of animal welfare groups hosted "Puppy Mill Awareness Day” with the hopes to educate people about the living conditions dogs face if they're kept in that type of facility.
The Humane Society of the U.S. reports that there are about 10,000 licensed and unlicensed puppy mills nationwide—roughly 120 of them are in Texas. Advocates say, despite overcrowding and questionable breeding practices reported in these facilities, regulation is very lax.
"Unfortunately, a puppy mill is legal right now because they're meeting the bare minimum requirements and they're barely passing. So, the USDA regulates this and we need stricter laws,” said Courtney Leigh, with Puppy Mill Awareness Day of Texas.
The American Welfare Act requires licensed puppy mills to house dogs in a cage at least 6 inches larger than them.
Under this rule, up to 12 dogs can be housed in one cage, but there is no limit on how many animals a breeder can have on their property.