Integrity, Dog Hobby Breeders, Puppy Mill Rescue, and Fake Rescues…..


This is a Maltese I groomed in a puppy trim. They do not  grow like this .naturally. they need haircuts.

This is a Maltese I groomed in a puppy trim. They do not grow like this .naturally. they need haircuts.

I was at an event several weeks ago, an event to promote dog rescue, ethical pet business, and dog training. Two local rescues, each with excellent reputations, had  dogs there, on display,  that needed homes.  One volunteer for a No Kill Group (PAWS Chicago) told me the purebred Labrador Retriever he was fostering for PAWS came from Omaha.  Huh?  Why is PAWS not taking every adoptable dog at the open access Chicago Animal Care & Control—our OPEN ACCESS dog pound? Especially when volunteers for other groups know that PAWS have put ‘holds’ on dogs?

The other group had, among their  animals, 3 old Chihuahuas.  The owner had to go  into a nursing home.  We were chatting and I said I had gotten  a dog from rescue, but in this breed (Whippets), the breeders take dogs back, & the volunteer  retorted, “Probably resells them…”  And? So what? What’s the difference between what you’re doing and what she is doing? She is responsible for the dogs she breeds, and pets go with shots and neutering,  housebroken, and  some obedience trained.  She will always take them back.  Meanwhile, your group is in the same league with all the fake rescues that  look for anf wide, and still go out of state to get the dogs they know people want:  the designer dogs and toy breeds.  If Pit Bulls are the most  often seen dog in shelters, why is it that none of you  brought Pit Bulls to this event?  Huh?  These responsible  hobby breeders are not the cause of purebred dogs in rescues.  Chances, are, the three  Chihuahuas were  all breeding dogs, and the breeder was the owner.

I’m on a roll.  When I was a teenager, I got the opportunity to work for a very well known hobby breeder of Afghan Hounds.  She was a founder  of the Afghan Hound Club of Greater Chicago. We mt by chance. She came to a garage sale my family held and saw a painting of an Afghan Hound (my own dog, from her bloodline that I had made, and we got to talking.  I really respected her.  I told her I wanted to groom dogs, and she invited me to  help her.  What I found  when I got to her  rented home was over 50 dogs, most in crates that were too small for the dogs to stand up and turn around in.   How did this happen?  Another  hobby breeder died, and instead of having dogs euthanized, she took them, planning on  placing them with other fanciers.  Unfortunately,  due to lack of a Will and AKC rules, as well as her own bad record keeping,  they could not be placed with AKC registration, which  bogged down placing those dogs,  Some were dogs she took back. A few were dogs she took that were bred by other people, sold  for show or breeding, and no longer wanted.  Some were dogs she had shown, and planned on breeding, but  stuff happened.  She wasn’t a puppy mill. She just had too many dogs for  her family to care for humanely.  But who do you inform?  it was not illegal.  She actually had good intentions, but good intentions are not enough.

In Chicago and Cook County, laws were passed to prohibit the selling of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores unless they  come from BONA FIDE shelters and rescues.  Unfortunately, the laws are poorly written and  there is no money for enforcement.  The slick puppy mills, many run better than my friend’s hobby breeding kennel, may register themselves  with the state as a ‘rescue’, and like Christine Poyner, trade dogs and puppies with other puppy mills.

We also have  many breed specific rescues that BUY  dogs from puppy m ills and claim this is rescue—when they’ve done nothing to shut the puppy mills down.  We have THE PUPPY MILL PROJECT, which  helped pass the laws to prohibit selling commercially bred pets in pet stores, and that will  help go to solve the problem of poorly or inhumanely cared for  commercial breeding  dogs, but it will not make a dent in the number of dogs  in OPEN ACCESS pounds and  shelters, as most of those dogs were bred by BACKYARD BREEDERS, and nothing is being  done to  license them—most of whom post for free on Kijiji or Craigslist.  It would be simple enough to  pass a law that says that if you advertise  puppies/kittens/bunnies, you  pay to register for every breedable animal you have, every year.  That, however, is not as dramatic as passing the laws we have passed.

It’s just common sense, i think, that if you are looking for a puppy, you either  check out local animal shelters—that have facilities, or you  research the breed you want, and breeders—and be skeptical. We see  breeders posting on Craigslist say they are FOSTERING a litter—but they don’t say  for whom they are fostering.  If the rescues does not have a website that that’s they are licensed with a government entity, it is not a rescue.  You will not be rescuing.  If you can’t feel the dam—the mommy dog—you want to know why, and be skeptical.

You don’t pay for a dog because you feel sorry for it.  You pay for a dog because you have the time to  work with it, bond with it, and  want to change your life.    Don’t keep unethical people in business.

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