While I would like to think that every pet in the shelter would be adopted, I know that not all people will go to the shelter to adopt. I have even met people who refuse to adopt from rescues because they feel their questions are too intrusive.
For me, in a perfect world breeding pets would be highly regulated. I've heard the statement over and over "Its my d*mn (fill in the blank with species), I have a right to breed if I want to as long as I find them good homes!!!" To which I usually reply "Then you also have the right to accompany me to the shelter to euthanize them when they get older and no one wants them."(Spoken by someone who has had to do the euthanizing and help manage a shelter, by the way. Sorry)
The purpose of this blog is to discuss a few things about acquiring a new pet that are not always considered.
Some simple things to begin with is making sure the puppy/kitten you are acquiring has been properly weened from the mother. The mother is ESSENTIAL to providing proper immunity. The immunity she gives a properly weened puppy lasts about the first 8 weeks of his/her life giving you time to begin vaccinations at 6 weeks as mom's immunity dissipates. Without that, the chances that you are paying for a puppy that will get parvo, distemper and all manner of other issues is very high.
To me, an indication that a breed should not be bred is when natural breeding or birth cannot occur. It sickens me to see a vet or breeder masturbate a male to collect his semen and then artificially inseminate the female. French and English bulldogs are both good examples of dogs that often must have this done in order to mate. In my time as an animal cruelty investigator, I received calls of animals being used sexually, and to be honest (and I realize I will make people angry), I don't see much difference between the two.
The females of these two can rarely give birth naturally so every single time they must have a painful C-section, then be expected to feed her pups. I don't know about you, but I find that cruel and don't think it needs to be supported. If we would stop buying these breeds or insist that they be bred back to the point that they are healthy, then breeders would change.
I would hope that by now, most people would know that most dogs sold in pet stores are from puppy mills. Puppy mills are horrid places where the breeding pets are kept, most often, in small cages, never really treated like a pet, but a breeding machine. Raids on puppy mills produce terrible images of neglect, feces covered cages, and worse. Yet by the time the puppies get to the store to sell, they have been cleaned up and made to look beautiful but often have underlying diseases. Not to mention the horror their parents are experiencing back home.
Puppy mills are now finding that pet stores will not buy their pets anymore, so they are resorting to the classifieds. A clue you are dealing with a puppy mill is that they advertise several different breeds for sale. Keep in mind, just because a dog comes with AKC papers does NOT mean it has been well taken care of. The only thing it means is that the sire and dam (dad and mom) are known and that the puppies were born on the property.
Tennessee and Virginia (my two local states) both passed legislation in the past few years. Tennessee''s legislation requires licensing, inspection and regulation of commercial dog and cat breeders, which is not enough in my opinion. They were finally forced to face the issue after a huge puppy mill facility was raided near Nashville. Read that story HERE
Virginia's reaction was to reduce the number of breeding females allowed on a property. That caused a ton of animals to be begrudgingly turned over to local rescues throughout Southwest Virginia and East TN. One kennel alone in Gate City, Springvale Kennels, owned by Theda Jennings, surrendered dozens of dogs to reduce her number to 29. For that story, click HERE
If you go to a home, where the individual refuses to let you in the home/facility, insists on meeting you somewhere else, will not even let you see the parents, then walk away. Its a very bad indication.
Next you have backyard breeders. A backyard breeder is described as someone with all or some of the following characteristics. Excessive breeding of a female to the detriment of her health. Poor veterinary care. Tail docking at home instead of under veterinary care. Not properly vaccinating or deworming the pets. Selling the pets on a first come, first serve basis, instead of concern for the pet's future. Lack of knowledge of selective breeding goals. Breeding for fighting, or as bait animals. Allowing breeding without the concern of finding good quality homes and simply adding to the over population problem. And my favorite pet peeve, not even knowing how to spell the name of your breed. She is a CHIHUAHUA not chiwawa. He is a SHIH TZU, not a shit zue.
I am of the firm belief that if you want to breed animals, you should be trained to do so, rescue your breed from shelters, and assist in euthanizing shelter pets at least once before you make the decision to breed. Too many breeders insist that their pets never make it to the shelter, but they do. There are tons of purebred dogs in shelters. As the saying goes "don't breed or buy while shelter pets die". So come see what its like to have to participate in euthanizing before you add more pets to the world.
A recent fad in puppy breeding is "designer dogs". Designer dogs are guess what? Mixed breeds that you will pay hundreds of dollars for. No matter how you phrase it, mix a chihuahua with a dachshund and you get a mixed breed dog, often called a mutt. Know where else you can get the biggest selection of awesome designer dogs? Your local shelter. Check them out first and save a life.