Puppy Mill Bred Dogs versus Shelter/Rescue Dogs, and the Marketing Battle.

puli side (Small)

The dog in the photo is not a puppy mill dog, He is a Puli (Hungarian Sheepdog) in full corded coat.  One of the breeds you will NOT find in a puppy mill, or a shelter.  People just don’t know what they are.  Since there is no demand for them, the commercial & backyard breeders haven’t exploited them, The newest exploit is the Cane Corso…a large, Mastiff type, used as a guard dog just for their size. They tend to be very shy, but look impressive—so every  failed backyard Pit Bull breeder is now trying his hand at them—soon to be in a pet shop near you….and then every animal shelter.  All it took was  one  hobby CC breeder to let out a bitch with registration  papers (OR MAYBE NO PAPERS, & THEY GET  CONTINENTAL KENNEL CLUB or APRI—not real registries), thinking getting the numbers up was a good idea.

Having worked with many types of dogs, I  know what I want  for a pet.  Not having the  expendable income to show a dog, a ‘rescue'(the jargon used for  discarded dogs that need homes) dog  of the breeds I am interested is fine with me.  However, the breeds I am interested are  ‘closely held’ by their breeders & fanciers. The  last Whippet I  got via breed rescue,his owner had died, and someone in the family knew of rescue, and that was how he was placed.  I had learned, via a chance meeting, that the breeder would have gladly taken him back, but , she had not been in touch with the buyer, & the family did not know how to contact the breeder.  The most recent ‘acquisition’ came from his breeder. There were no  Whippets in rescue in the Midwest at the time, and the breeder had bought  Dash back because the owner she had sold him to no longer wanted him:  he chased the cat.  Big shock, eh?  He came housebroken and obedience trained, and is avid for squirrels s and mice.

This is what  good breeders  who live the dogs they breed, do: they buy back the dogs they sell. They may use their breed rescues for ‘private placement’, but they don’t want the dogs they sell discarded and languishing in animal shelters.  This is why  you don’t see many ‘rare’ breeds in shelters.  In fact,  ‘due to the economy’.   fewer ethical hobby breeders are breeding litters unless they have a waiting list of people wanting puppies.   The  irony is, the AKC, realizing this, and —though they are a  non-profit— still having to keep their income up—–has been bending over backwards to help the commercial puppy mills, helping them screen for hereditary defects, and promoting AKC registration.

People, for some reason, think  that registration–particularly AKC registration, but any registration, means quality and integrity, It does not. More, they want dogs that will stay a certain size and not shed, or act cute, and their friends and pet store employees have more influence in  how they get a dog than veterinarians, groomers, or dog trainers.

A survey by the Best Friends Animal Society (bestfriends.org), cited in the Chicago Tribune August 18, 2013 by William Hageman, has found  that, among the 18 to 34 age demographic, “…the pro shelter/adoption message is being lost…”  The article goes on to  mention that this demographic is going to ‘breeders’, but it doesn’t say if they are backyard breeders, commercial breeders, or ethical hobby breeders— ad we know they are going to mostly  backyard breeders and  commercial breeders. It’s a fact.

Why?  Well, first of all, bad breeders are EASY TO FIND.  You can violate the Craigslist posting rules and be very visible, and look like you have integrity  and are raising  dogs because you love  dogs…when you do NOT.  Also, pet shops look like nice, fun places, where shelters look  institutional—like kennels.  But more:  people want puppies. they want the fantasy of a puppy, and the pet store won’t be asking a bunch of questions, like…if you are gone  over 8 hours a day at a stretch, how will you get this puppy housebroken?  when will you have time to obedience train  the puppy?  Do you own your own home, or rent?  If you rent, what if you have to move?  This non shed dog MUST BE BRUSHED, and you will have to pay for professional grooming every  six to eight weeks. Can you afford this?  Who else do you live with?  What about other pets?  Why do you want this type of dog? Those are the kinds of questions the shelters, rescues, and hobby breeders ask—but the pet shops do NOT.

Working at an animal hospital, every day I see  puppies that come from  puppy mill outlets. In my area, it’s Petland and Happiness Is Pets.  Nobody asked the buyers for anything but a credit card. Since these are established businesses, the buyers trusted the sellers to steer them right. They all bought a ton of stuff with their puppies, including the wrong brush—but no matter—the pet shop  people didn’t show the buyers how to brush the dogs.  They didn’t know how!

When I was a teenager, I worked briefly for Fred Alderman of Dynasty Afghan Hounds.  You did not get a dog from Fred until you had spent a day grooming with him.
This was pretty well known.  He didn’t want to hear any excuses that you had no idea how much work was involved.   He also  co-owned the dogs he sold until you proved you were trustworthy. Many breeders are like Fred.

So here we have it:  the backyard breeders , also not asking questions that might sabotage a sale, selling  puppies (particularly Pit bulls, but Chihuahuas,  designer  dogs, Puggles, Boxers),  whatever.  And  everyone knows that if you can’t  find a home for the pup you got without thinking, the animal shelters will keep them forever, so you don’t even have to think you are party to a murder.

You also have the very visible  NO KILL shelters, that pick & choose  who they save from the HIGH KILL (that’s what THEY  call them—what they are is OPEN ADMISSIONS) SHELTERS, claiming there is no need to euthanize dogs, even  if there is a surplus, or they are temperamentally unsound, trying to make ME feel guilty for not taking any random dog.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again:  i don’t want the  low life backyard breeders choosing the dog I should have.  As long as they believe that SOMEONE will save the dogs they breed, why should they stop when they can make money?

The message we really need to get out is that people who  own the mommy dogs are the breeders, and if they don’t want  to meet you, they really don’t care what happens to the dogs they breed as long as they make money.   Also, if they don’t tell you right off they want you  to sign a contract that yu will return the  pup to them if you can’t keep it, they are breeding for cash—not because they love dogs.  That cute, fluffy  puppy may end up costing  a lot if it had genetic defects. Also, people selling puppies that don’t ask to meet everyone in your household, ask why you are choosing this type of dogs,  how you will manage to  housebreak and train the dog if you work a regular  8 hour a day job, or if you own or rent, are rip-off artists and not dog lovers.  It is legal for them to do this, but they are not animal lovers, and  you need to know this. They are business people  who want to make money, and are do better than pimps or dope dealers, and that’s a fact.


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