Archive for the ‘petfinder’ Category

Lies Dog Breeders Tell

November 27, 2015

I’ve worked in the  pet industry over 40 years, and the reason I am a hobbyist/fancier is that  for the most part, there is integrity in the sport of people showing dogs. The fact is that many breeders are proud that their dogs can do what they were originally bred to do, as well as being physically beautiful.  They are proud that their dogs don’t carry genetic structural defects…or if they do,  want you to know what they are doing to eliminate them, and will ask you to participate.

However, not everyone breeding dogs is honest or ethical.  Unfortunately, ‘due to the economy’,more and more  breeders are breeding to sell a product, not to improve their line or for the betterment of the breed.  Actually,  dog breeders, as I’ve described them, are becoming pretty rare.

The reason is…in the USA, our economy is pretty much based on speculation on land.  We like to  convince ourselves that  it’s high wages that make everything expensive, but no, it’s the cost we pay to live where we live.  I know some people who live in less urban areas don’t believe this, but people who live in high rise condos pay $100–400 extra a month for a parking space.

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.

When I was growing up, in the 1950s and ’60s, land was not yet wildly speculated on, and a good portion of the population (black and Latino people, as well as women) were bared from certain educational opportunities, jobs, and  even owning a home in  many locations.    A certain per centage of people could keep  five or six breeding bitches (and possibly a male) and afford to go to dog shows and pay for veterinary care, and have a litter every so often.

Real estate started to heat up in the early 1970s.  In fact, I convinced my then husband that we should marry (easier for ME to get a mortgage that way) so we wouldn’t be forced out of th neighborhood we lived in.  This was at the end of the Nixon era, when inflation was starting to get out of control…and then OPEC  decided the price of energy for us.  Also, many white people might not remember this, but anti-discrimination laws were passed.  Still, we had a vibrant middle class, and anyone not  paying off student loans or medical bills was ok…but we were all starting to slide if we didn’t have rich parents.

When it comes to purebred dogs, the American Kennel Club sure hasn’t helped by talking out of both sides of its collective mouth. The old white male field trial guys who control th AKC want everyone to know that AKC  guarantees ‘purebred’…though they  whisper to buy from a breeder as though all breeders are the same.  On the AKC registration  certificate you get, it says that  a ‘third party transfer’ (that would be a pet shop or broker selling you a dog someone else bred) is illegal, but that is never enforced, and the AKC delegates—the inspectors that make sure dogs shows are fair, who also inspect puppy mills, tell us that the AKC doesn’t  do business with anyone purposely mixing breeds, but we know the same people breeding English Bulldogs are breeding LabraDoodles and Cavashons

So…now we have a  group of people—‘backyard breeders’— who may or may not know each other, taking advantage of this confusion. They are breeding dogs, and claiming they are not breeders. They own the mommy dogs, and whelp the litters, but they will try to convince you they are not breeders.  It might be because  the humane activists will try to convince you that all breeders are evil and adding to pet  over population, and by these people declaring they are not breeders, they are not responsible for pet over population.   Following me?  Because it is these very people who  are the exact people  adding to the problem.  They do not take any responsibility for the dogs they breed.  Once the sale is made…you are on your own.

What else do they say?  If you  ask about genetic defects, they will tell you the parent dogs are healthy, and even give you a health certificate that  states the health of the pup is guaranteed for  30 days.  This begs the question, because  many blind, deaf, and/or crippled dogs are otherwise ‘healthy’, and these types of handicaps often don’t show up until the dog is at least a year old.

Another one:  These dogs come from champion bloodlines.  Unless you  know pedigrees, and  all the dogs for at least  three generations on that pedigree have the same word in their names, there is no bloodline.   Also, we now know that many people who established a bloodline in their breed had their hearts broken when  the type of testing for genetic defects became available, and they found that many of their breeding dogs were afflicted.  But more—you can’t have it both ways and say you ‘just want a pet’ but be  impressed by champion bloodlines.  My first Afghan Hound had the most impressive pedigree anyone would want to see, but I don’t think his parents were show quality, and he certainly wasn’t.  Even show dogs   produce dogs that  won’t become champions due to structural issues.  When it comes to designer dogs—dogs that don’t breed true, all the champion bs means NOTHING.  You want to see OFA (hips, knees, elbows), CERF (eyes), and BAER tests for  both parent dogs.

Another one:  You can’t see either parent dog….often, the sire of the litter is off being shown. The dam (the mommy) is probably  a wreck, but be very cautious .  Often times, mommy is not friendly with strangers…which also means the pups may not be.

So, here’s the deal.  If the person  who offers puppies doesn’t start asking you a bunch of questions about how you were referred to her, where you live, if you own  or rent, who all you live with, if you’ve had any experience with her breed, and how you plan to take car of and train this pup if you work outside your home all day…this means they are breeding and/or selling pets like livestock. They  can’t be trusted to say anything remotely truthful.  And, yeah, it’s harder and harder to find an ethical hobby breeder of any breed, but you can ask groomers and trainers for referrals, contact a (breed) club of America, and be a little skeptical using the internet.  You want a companion who will be with you for 12 years or more.  Don’t fall for the marketing.  use some sense.

 

Neglect of Owners Duties

October 16, 2015
 I have friends who believe I play with dogs all day.  What follows is  a draft of an article I wanted to  get published in a pet industry magazine, but the editors of several felt it was to controversial:

This is a section of the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act. You see there is a lengthy section on tethering. What I am going to address is section (3).

(510 ILCS 70/3) (from Ch. 8, par. 703)
Sec. 3. Owner’s duties.
(a) Each owner shall provide for each of his or her animals:
(1) a sufficient quantity of good quality, wholesome

food and water;
(2) adequate shelter and protection from the weather;
(3) veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering;

and
(4) humane care and treatment.
(b) To lawfully tether a dog outdoors, an owner must ensure that the dog:
(1) does not suffer from a condition that is known,

by that person, to be exacerbated by tethering;
(2) is tethered in a manner that will prevent it from

becoming entangled with other tethered dogs;
(3) is not tethered with a lead that (i) exceeds

one-eighth of the dog’s body weight or (ii) is a tow chain or a log chain;
(4) is tethered with a lead that measures, when

rounded to the nearest whole foot, at least 10 feet in length;
(5) is tethered with a properly fitting harness or

collar other than the lead or a pinch, prong, or choke-type collar; and
(6) is not tethered in a manner that will allow it

to reach within the property of another person, a public walkway, or a road.
(c) Subsection (b) of this Section shall not be construed to prohibit:
(1) a person from walking a dog with a hand-held

leash;
(2) conduct that is directly related to the

cultivating of agricultural products, including shepherding or herding cattle or livestock, if the restraint is reasonably necessary for the safety of the dog;
(3) the tethering of a dog while at an organized and

lawful animal function, such as hunting, obedience training, performance and conformance events, or law enforcement training, or while in the pursuit of working or competing in those endeavors; or
(4) a dog restrained in compliance with the

requirements of a camping or recreational area as defined by a federal, State, or local authority or jurisdiction.
(d) A person convicted of violating subsection (a) of this Section is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of subsection (a) of this Section is a Class 4 felony with every day that a violation continues constituting a separate offense. In addition to any other penalty provided by law, upon conviction for violating subsection (a) of this Section, the court may order the convicted person to undergo a psychological or psychiatric evaluation and to undergo any treatment at the convicted person’s expense that the court determines to be appropriate after due consideration of the evaluation. If the convicted person is a juvenile or a companion animal hoarder, the court must order the convicted person to undergo a psychological or psychiatric evaluation and to undergo treatment that the court determines to be appropriate after due consideration of the evaluation.
(e) A person convicted of violating subsection (b) of this Section is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
(f) As used in this Section, “tether” means to restrain by tying to an object or structure, including, without limitation, a house, tree, fence, post, garage, shed, or clothes line at a person’s residence or business, by any means, including, without limitation, a chain, rope, cord, leash, or running line.
(Source: P.A. 98-101, eff. 1-1-14.)

I think most of us wonder what we can do about the violation of section (3): veterinary care to prevent suffering.

When I first started my grooming career in the early 1970s, I worked for a dog groomer who would give her clients an ‘ultimatum’ after she told them twice the dog needed veterinary attention: no new appointment until the dog’s medical issue had been dealt with. Twice I remember, it was dogs with bad teeth. Once it was a runny eye (related to teeth).   After veterinary treatment (teeth being pulled), the dogs immediately gained weight and seemed livelier. THEY WERE NO LONGER IN PAIN.

We were not the only game in town. These clients could have gone elsewhere. They didn’t.

Unfortunately, I know too many groomers who will tell a client once, then ignore the issue because they are afraid they are going to lose the client (as though no other groomer is going to mention that the dog has an ear infection so bad that pus is coming out and the skin had necrosis. Disgusting, aggravating, infuriating.

I am a volunteer for a wonderful organization founded by a couple of dog trainers. The organization is SafeHumaneChicago.org . It was founded to address animal cruelty and its effects on our community. We provide dog training classes in under-served communities, work with kids (and adults) in the justice system, and we volunteer as advocates for animals in the court system.

Setting this program up took years. We had to find friendly police, judges, and prosecutors who could understand that cruelty and violence towards humans often starts with animal cruelty.
We had to explain the laws, and how to interpret and enforce the laws. We had to get prosecutors to take animal crime seriously…and we continue having problems with police not gathering adequate evidence.

However, we do get people charged, and prosecuted.   We do get people to show up in court on behalf of the animals. We wear court advocate badges, and we make sure the judges know we are there.

Generally, the charge of ‘neglect of owners duties’ is an added charge, to dog fighting, other cruelty, or hoarding.  Recently, however, a veterinarian had a client charged. An older couple brought a dog into his animal hospital in a buggy. Not sure why they brought the dog in, but the dog was wearing a diaper which hadn’t been changed in….nobody knows how long, The dog, of course, had feces burning his skin.

My gut reaction to hearing this was, ARE THEY STUPID? But how many clients do we see with feces stuck to the dog, or eyes sealed shut, or necrotic ears? Dogs with rotting teeth? It’s not just puppy mills, and we know it. I’ve had dogs come in with maggots.

We are afraid to turn these people in to local humane officers, aren’t we? I have told clients that there dog is in pain. I’ve suggested they contact local animal shelters which I know will treat dogs at a very reduced cost if money is the issue. You know there has to be a psychological problem on the part of the owner when, six months later, they bring the dog back to you, and the dog is still in horrendous condition.

Because I keep a reminder calendar, I’ve started noting on my calendar when I hope to see the dog again. If the dog doesn’t come in, I contact humane officers to do a well-being check. I am nearing retirement and don’t really care if I anger someone who doesn’t have the integrity to euthanize a dog in pain if they won’t have a veterinarian treat the dog. I’d like to know if any groomers have had any other solutions.

 

 

So…it Boils Down to This: Who is a pet

January 15, 2015

 

Bred by backyard breeder. This is a  Shih Tzu---Pit Bull cross. Why should the rest of us have to pay to euthanize unwanted dogs?

Bred by backyard breeder. This is a
Shih Tzu—Pit Bull cross. Why should the rest of us have to pay to euthanize unwanted dogs?

I have been active in my semi retirement on  trying to address  pet over population and  the view of what is humane,  and one of the things I do is flag animal sales on Craigslist. Bottom line is, the people selling puppies  on CL don’t think they are breeders.   But  it’s not just a Craigslist thing.  The ‘conventional wisdom is that   the backyard breeders don’t think of themselves as ‘breeders’ contributing to pet over population.

In addition,  irresponsible  stories like the feature National Public Radio recently ran on the ‘shortage’ in some area of adoptable dogs, is just appalling.  Granted,  in some  enclaves,  pet owners are more responsible and fewer dogs are dumped, but if you regard the country as a whole,  we will have too many areas where  people are uneducated,and have a totally different mindset about being socially responsible.  Hell, when a well educated (she had a Ph. D.) woman can cart around an unlocked  gun in her purse, and go shopping with a toddler, and think that is perfectly OK…and her community  regards this  accidental shooting by the toddler as  an unavoidable tragedy, we are not on the same page about anything.

This is a sample of a Craigslist post :

“I’m looking to rehome my puppy to a loving family. Jax is a 12 week old Chihuahua/Shih Tzu mix. He loves to snuggle and play and is as cute as can be. He will come with his carrier, jacket, puppy food, food/water bowl, training pads, new harness, leash, and collar. It’s heartbreaking to see him go but I just don’t have time in my schedule to care for this sweet little pup. Asking 370 OBO. Please only contact me if you are very interested as he needs to find a loving home soon. Thank you!”

 

So here we are—a puppy just into the teething stage.  My guess is she went to a pet shop/puppy mill outlet, and bought the pup and all the  junk (harness!  Ugh!!!), and  now is bored with the dog.  & why would this pup need a jacket?  So all the crap alone is probably over $300.  Or did she get the dog for free, had the stuff (or got it  deeply discounted), and is actually a puppy broker?  No matter.  There is way too much of   these idiots  buying and attempting to flip puppies  on Craigslist, as well as the backyard breeders.

Using Malcolm Gladwell’s ideas he  discussed in his book, The Tipping Point, we need respected change agents to address that this behavior is unacceptable. The people these idiots respect are veterinarians.

I have stated that all the activists who are currently railing against breeders—and they include the ethical hobby breeders who DO screen puppy buyers, do refuse to sell, and do take back dogs they sell, are not the problem.  Since the idiots are  dealing with  livestock breeders and brokers that they believe love animals, it is up to us to get to the next professional they will see—the veterinarian—and demand they address genetic issues, breed problems, not  spew out the hybrid vigor bs  regarding the designer dogs,and  promote spay/neuter at a mature age, and  being responsible for the pet.

While I am horrified that so many pet dogs become incontinent  due to  sloppy spay/neuters (which is why  they should really be done by shelter veterinarians who have lots of experience), I am more horrified by the many ‘accidental’ breeders who make excuses &  have convinced themselves they should not be responsible.

How would I address this? Several ways:

1.  pass a state law that mandates that anyone posting puppies, kittens, or rabbits for sale in Illinois (my state) have to  have their  litters individually microchipped before offering them for sale… if they did end up in a shelter, we’d know who to fine (yes—the breeders should have to pay—but pet owners  could have the chip changed to their contact information );

2. This would be enforced by  humane societies being licensed to train  volunteer investigators to contact people posting ads in newspapers and on Craigslist—and informing every licensed veterinarian in the state to make sure their clients  know the law;

3.People would also have to  ‘register’ every litter they bred with the state department of agriculture—pay a $50 fee. this is not a lot of money in relation to what hobby breeders spend on doing genetic testing, and paying for  showing their animals.

I believe that within  two years of such a law being enacted, we cut the number of dumped pets significantly.  I feel this way because most backyard breeders would either do a better job of screening  buyers, or they’d just  say the hell with it and stop breeding.

We would need all the humane societies and rescues on board, and we’d probably have to convince the  hobby breeders who breed for the betterment of their breed, but I don’t think this would be difficult.

 

Changes in Local pet Businesses, for Better or Worse

October 10, 2014
These are our pets!

These are our pets!

I originally published remarks about some businesses  in 2009–, because I was so outraged by how several local businesses treated dogs.  Some things have changed, and  since  people Google businesses, I  felt  everyone  was owed an update.

You just can’t assume that people in the pet industry really love pets and really care for them.  I get so many hits on this particular blog, which I posted in 2009, that I decided to re-edit and update it.   It has to do with people  who are active in the pet industry.  Believe me, they are not all pet lovers. They are not pet haters…but because they make their livings from either breeding or caring for pets, the public  thinks they do love pets more then the pet owners love their pets.  Some of the ‘integrity challenged’ seems to have a lot of time on their hands to just be evil.

There is now a  Facebook site called  Flagging Animal Sales on Craigslist.    We have a network of people around the country. Some may even be dog breeders…but they are not selling on CL, which prohibits animal sales.We repost the links (to the animal selling posts)on our feeds, and ask people to flag.  I am not sure how effective we are, but  we may be.  I get fewer emails from  animal sellers, but  people seem to be joining our ranks.  For those who do not know, California prohibits internet sales of pets. That’s where Craigslist is housed.  Craig and  the  founders felt that the site should be for older pets, so they wouldn’t have to compete with baby animals for homes.  Unfortunately, the ‘law of the commons’ relies on integrity—and  animal sellers generally have none, You will rarely find ethical hobby breeders posts. yes, sometimes, some hobby breeder  doesn’t read the rules,  but  most would be horrified to use a free website—as it attracts the wrong kind of potential owner.

I had reported people leaving fake reviews on a PETFINDER site, and the response from Jamie Cook at Discovery Channel/www.petfinder.com  I had asked them to  either remove the negative comments on my  site, “Robyn’s Groom Room”—as they are libelous—because  the people who posted them are not my clients & never have been—they are irresponsible breeders libeling me, & this is how  Cook responded:

“Unfortunately, we will not be able to remove the ratings posted for your grooming service.  One of the many features that our directory offers is the opportunity for users to post ratings, both good and bad, about the businesses with which they have had experiences. We don’t censor these ratings as that negates the purpose of offering them. If we remove negative ratings for businesses then we are not portraying an objective and well rounded service for Petfinder.com visitors.

“We highly encourage you to have clients who are happy with your office and the services they received  post their own positive ratings. Simply have them click the following link, then click on the Rate it! link and enter their comments: http://resources.petfinder.com/listing/robyns_groom_room.html.

“The other option would be to remove your listing completely from the Petfinder.com Local Services & Supplies Directory. This would remove all information about your business, including any ratings that have been submitted, so any users who are looking for a groomer in your area would not see your information. If you would like to go with this option please let me know and I will remove your listing immediately.”

That’s right.  He totally ignored what I told him.  I told him to ask the people who libeled me for veterinary receipts.  Yes—several claimed I injured their dogs!  I told him, since I  don’t take new clients who live over  5 miles from me, unless they mail me a deposit  (because they tend to not show up), to ask these people where they lived.  I asked him to  ask them what colors my grooming room  are (people have commented on my color choices—so they don’t forget it).  But nothing—no response.  Petfinder is going about happily believing  every  poster has a bit of integrity.  I shudder to think how many rescues that post are actually  puppy mill outlets—but I guess we’ll never know.  They clearly don’t do any ‘due diligence’—relying on the integrity of any poster.  The update on this is that we keep finding  ‘fake’ dog rescues…where people get  dogs to rehome, often doing no health check, and not screening adopters.  Neither PETFINDER nor  http://www.adoptapet.com do any due diligence. that’s the way it is,  let the buyer (or adoptor) beware….  As of 2014, no more businesses can post, They’ve closed this part of Petfinder.  I guess they realized what I said was true..

I had taken a grooming job for a  business, because I saw the potential….  and  the location was somewhat close to  some of my former grooming clients, and  the owners of the business lied to me.  Of course, I was able to determine that they lied to me right away.  The business is Yuppy Puppy, Inc., in Lake Bluff, Illinois.  They  originally set it up to do dog daycare, but realizing they could not make  enough money doing that, they also do overnight boarding. They are licensed to keep up to 85 dogs overnight.  Licensed?  By The Illinois Department of Agriculture, of course.  The laws pertaining to dog boarding, dog daycare—indeed, even puppy mills—-are so poorly written, that unless the building is dangerous for humans to occupy—you get a license.  That’s how it is in Illinois.

The business is  (was) owned by the Whitakers:  Peter, the father, & Lucy & Simon, the son & daughter. Thing is—Lucy got married & moved out of state, & Simon is about to do so.  This leaves Peter, who clearly  isn’t  really a dog enthusiast. He is a businessman.

Update—very important!  This business was sold several months ago  (early 2014)to Walter Puterbaugh, and he has made phenomenal changes!  I stopped by the business as I  check Yelp! reviews, and  a change of ownership was indicated.  Walter and his fiance, Janae,  obviously know way more about dogs that the Whitakers ever cared to learn.  They have done an amazing build out that will alleviate a lot of stress on the dogs.  If you are looking for dog daycare  in the northern suburbs of Chicago, I urge you to check them out. Granted, they are still totally indoors, but the set-up is so much  better!  Only the name is the same.

I’ve never been overly fond of  the concept of dog daycare, but  having worked in some  outstanding kennels (check out Pawsatively Heaven Pet Resort in Chicago Ridge, Ill., or Paradise for Paws, in Schiller Park, ILL), I’ve softened.  Some dogs  have a lot of energy, and love being part of a pack.  I see dogs playing together all the time.

I have been working for the same employer for  about three years.  We recently moved the  operations to a new building.  There are some very nice aspects to  this, and in some ways it is better (for the humans, at least), but I am not sure it is better for the dogs.  Our indoor floors are shiny and slippery, and our outdoor play area is mush smaller.  We no longer have a huge pool, which was a big selling point in the old building.  The fact is that most of the large dogs don’t really  run around that much—but they might if their footing was more solid and they had more space.

One guy I had worked for briefly and blogged about, Vaughan Neita, “A Doggie Business,” is OUT OF BUSINESS.  He was charged with ‘neglect of owners duties’  ( animal cruelty) and word spread.  You can Google him, the links are still up.

Plus, a bit of unhappiness….a business I worked for on contract for several years, recently suffered very bad local attention. They were “The Hungry Pup,” and changed their name several years ago to “Follow Your Nose.”  They offer natural dog foods, dog walking, and overnight pet sitting.  I had trouble working for them because they  would not address their web marketing, nor procedures so I would know  several days in advance what I was doing—or even if I had any work (grooming), but I had to give Dave Gulyas credit for being able to schedule so many dog walkers.  I mostly did over night pet sitting.  Problems started to arise when  more and more people  started asking for ‘vacation care’ rather than overnight pet sitting—because they didn’t want to pay extra to have someone stay in the house.  I didn’t think the Gulyas’ should allow this, because there was no way the last walk would  occur after 9 p.m.  and the first walk would be before 8 a.m.—and that is too long an interval for most dogs. But also, what kept the dog walkers honest changed:  When the Gulyas’ started the business, everyone had a landline at home. so, when you arrived to walk a dog, you’d call in to  Dave (a computer would take the call), and 20 minutes later, after the walk, you’d call in to say you were leaving, You had to wait 20 minutes  for the interval, you may as well walk the dog.  I don’t want to get into the complications of getting a dog suited up, the keys, possibly cleaning up, or the dog not eliminating on the walk. The point is, you called in from the client’s phone.   As people  got rid of their land lines, you’d supposedly call in from your cell, but I knew the Gulyas’ were not keeping track, and often, I’d be the next walker and see the previous walker hadn’t shown up!  Well, it came to a head, recently.    A dog walking client didn’t want to pay for overnight pet sitting.  He set up a ‘nanny-cam‘ that was  set to alert him (on his cell phone) to movement in his home—and he discovered  the interval was 18 hours.  A walker  had not shown up.    Worse, when he did, he  dismantled the nanny cam!  The Gulyas definitely know who did this, and I would sue the evil eunuch for  sabotaging my small business if this was my employee.     Frankly, several friends and I wondered why he didn’t keep the dogs in exercise pets, which  would have given the dogs a bit more room, but that’s another issue.   I am sure he  alerted the Gulyas’, but what can they do?  That’s the problem with running a dog walking business:  you rely on the integrity of the employees….and, unfortunately, the people who are doing this often are doing this because they can’t get other work.  What this client DID was contact local news media…and this was definitely not good for a business that was already marginal.  I often referred people looking for dog walkers to  this business, as I really trust Dave & Ramie…but the fact of the matter is, unless you can learn from the business owner how you can be assured your dog will be walked….look for as many options as you can, including friends and neighbors who live close by.  or, if it is  a occaisional thing,  get your dog used to dog daycare…or at least day-boarding.  For those who own dog walking businesses—if you change the walker’s routes every day, the statistical odds of all your walkers being  immature, self-centered assholes are  slimmer.   Labor intensive?  Overkill?  These are peoples’ pets.  They may be spoiled, out of control, hard to handle, but  I know hiring a dog walker may be a last resort before abandoning a pet. Actually spot checking the walkers you hire helps.  I understand people wanting the same walker, and  dogs being familiar with who is coming in (believe me—none of these dogs is a watch dog), but  face it—-most people have less integrity than you have, not more.

 

Groomers: Good intentions are not enough

July 4, 2014
This is a mix of a Pit bull and a Shih Tzu--- can you guess what they call it?

This is a mix of a Pit bull and a Shih Tzu— can you guess what they call it?

 

 

I work for a kennel that offers  dog daycare and grooming.  The owner  often asks me how I get information.  I network.  I train my dog. I attend performance events.  I also  volunteer.

You would think that all groomers love dogs and  I believe that most of us do.  However, for a lot of us, there’s a limit to how much we can love.  some do not want to know any more than what they’ve already learned.  They do  other things—non-dog related things on their time off.  When I started grooming over 40 years ago, it was not this way. Everyone who groomed  either showed a dog in conformation or obedience, or  did tracking of field trialing.  There was no internet. It was the only way to learn.

I try to volunteer  for shelter dog washing events.  I usually cut toenails since I can do it quickly without hurting a dog.  I’ve volunteered  for animal shelters that have physical facilities.  Shelters where  I know  the boards of directors and people involved in the actual care of the animals. I know their policies.

What’s happened in the last  30 years or so is that  small rescue groups have sprung up.  The people who form these organizations either don’t like the policies of the animal shelters (particularly that they will euthanize  animals found unsuitable to be pets) and think they can either do a better job, or can save more animals.  This is what has  gone down in the metro Chicago area in the  last couple of years:

1.  Purrs From the Heart was a cat rescue.  They actually set themselves up as a  non-profit registered in the state of Illinois, I   made a donation-in-kind to them. Upon a random audit (by a state agency connected with the Illinois Department of Agriculture) it was found that they took  90 cats from Chicago Animal Care & Control (this is an open admissions pound which cooperates with  private shelters & rescues) which they could not account for.  No records? Trapped/neutered/released?   Given in bunches to kitten killers?  used as bait  for dog fighters? Were any spayed or neutered? No information is available;

2.ROMP—Rescue Our Mill Pups.  This is a private rescue run by Italian Greyhound breeder Liz Dobryzinski.  She says right on her web page that  she is NOT nonprofit. She will take in IGs, but she  will also buy  puppy mill  dogs to ‘rehome’.  She really does a very good job of this, and screens carefully….but is it rescue when you  pay for  a dog & don’t put the breeder  out of business?  One of our mutual friends defended her, stating not everyone could pay $1200 for an IG. Did they not deserve a dog? My response  was, “When that pup develops luxated patellas, and the operation to fix them costs  $2500 per knee, that  $1200 dog from OFA parents  seems like a bargain. Does she tell  buyers that  there is a good chance that the pup will turn out to have luxated patellas?  Or—that if they don’t crate the dog and use operant conditioning to get the dog housebroken, that it will never be housebroken?”

3.  Christine Poyner a/k/a Poyner Pet Rescue & Steppingstones for Pets is still in business, and licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture as not just a breeder, but a shelter.   A private shelter.  She’s a great business woman, buying low and selling high, but she is in violation of Ill. Dept of Ag laws about rescues including shots & NEUTERING in their fees.

4.  Wright-Way, in Morton Grove, Illinois, continues to  buy  pups( and rarely adult dogs), from  out of state, from dog pounds known to take surplus commercially bred dogs from puppy mills, ignoring the many locally  available dogs.  They rarely do any screening, any follow up on spay/neuter, and lie about the soundness of their dogs.  Although volunteers tell me they ALWAYS take dogs back, we know they tell  BUYERS (you can hardly call them adopters) to bring their dogs to OPEN ADMISSIONS  shelters if they don’t want them.    I thought it was my  skeptical imagination, but ah, no.  I learned from someone who volunteered with them, and also from a client who had no idea that they were not OPEN ADMISSIONS.

5.  Unnamed Rescues.  We have several that go by ‘adopt-a-pet and ‘save-a-pet’ but completely rely on volunteers to foster.  They have web sites.  They often have crippled or paralyzed dogs, and this means they need their bladders expressed manually.  They will tell adoptors they will pay all medical expenses for the lives of the dogs—and then they do not.

6. PAWS Chicago.  The largest ‘no-kill’ shelter in the city.  Will take an owner surrender if they have room—and charge your $200.  Hard to tell from  an annual report how many owner surrenders they have taken in. What we do know is, although they will pull dogs from the OPEN ADMISSIONS  shelter/pounds in our area…they do NOT take all adoptable dogs, If they did, over 60% of the dogs in the shelter would be Pit Bull or Pit mix dogs. They go out of state  often to get purebred dogs, or designer mixes (remember, this is the  shelter that Oprah Winfrey put in an  order for 2  brown cocker spaniel puppies, and later, 2 springer spaniel pups).

These ‘rescues’ deride breeders.  You see all over Facebook that they say, “Don’t shop, adopt!”    Or, another  guilt causer—the photos of dogs in shelters  with the caption, “Which one do you think should die because you bought a dog from a breeder?”  They do nothing to  stop the problem.  These dogs are not coming from ‘breeders’ who are breeding for the betterment of the breed. They are coming from the many backyard breeders who don’t think if themselves as breeders.  The veterinarians love these imbeciles as much as they love the puppy mills.  If they didn’t the veterinary community would  do all they could to stop them.

Google the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America and check out their code of ethics.  Notice, you NEVER see Scottish Deerhounds, Briards, English Setters….so many breeds—-in shelters or anything but breed specific rescues. In fact,  many of the  breed rescues don’t even have a list of ‘private placement’ dogs.  The breeders take them back.  Via networking, they manage to find good homes for dogs. So, the argument that hobby breeders ar the problem is specious.

I don’t want the ignorant idiots of the world deciding what kind of dog I should live with.  I refuse to  help a  shelter or rescue that pro0motes this  ignorant way of thinking.

How do you ‘vet’ a shelter or rescue?

1.  Ask to see a copy of their nonprofit status.  If they aren’t answerable to anyone, they make their rules up as they go along.  They might be dog brokers, as the groups I’ve listed above actually are;

2.  Ask for a list of their board of directors and their contact information.  If you check around, you see some of the groups actually have  puppy mill breeders on their boards. WTF?

3.  Ask for volunteers to contact you m so you can ask them about  their experiences;

4. Ask them for their adoption guidelines.

I am always happy to  groom a dog to make it more adoptable.  It just makes no sense for  a group to pander to a hoarder or a backyard breeder who disrespects my interest in planned breeding.

What the Ban on pet shop Sales of pets means for pet lovers & consumers

April 4, 2014
Purebred Bedlington. another breed with such a small gene pool, with  genetic health issues, that the puppy mills have generally ignored.

Purebred Bedlington. another breed with such a small gene pool, with genetic health issues, that the puppy mills have generally ignored.

In Chicago, we (  in this case,meaning 49 of 50 aldermen— unheard of cooperation NOT led by a mayor) recently voted to ban the sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits that do not come from bona fide shelters and rescues, in pet shops. That means  pet shop sales of commercially bred animals–-pets bred as livestock—  will no longer be legal. ( See: https://disparateinterests.wordpress.com/2011/12/21/why-you-shouldnt-buy-a-dog-or-cat-from-a-pet-shop-buy-directly-from-the-breeder/ ).

Will this make a difference in the number of  pets that wind up abandoned in shelters, or abused? Probably not, As  Kathy Mordini pointed out in  one of her Raining Cats & Dogs/Chicago Now blog… you even have to look at shelters & rescues with some skepticism.    We have several in the Chicagoland area adopting out unhealthy  pets & feigning ignorance.  As I’ve said many times, good intentions are not enough.

What we do know is that it starts the discussion on why it is unethical to raise pets as livestock, for profit, when so many are abandoned.  However—is a problem being solved?

Because I have worked in the pet industry (as a dog groomer) for over 40 years, I have a lot of experience in what goes on.  People  who own or manage pet shops are retailers first and foremost. Pet lovers?  maybe—maybe not.  You have to wonder  how people who love pets can ship  baby animals, which are under so much stress, knowing that  a certain per centage will die of the stress, to sell to impulse buyers who either have not thought out what  taking care of a live animal means, or who probably have  WRONG CARE INFORMATION.

The wrong brush for most dogs is the top selling  brush style in America---thanks to the idiots who  manage pet shops!

The wrong brush for most dogs is the top selling brush style in America—thanks to the idiots who manage pet shops!

This is the right brush for most pet dogs—the ‘universal’ style curved slicker, with bent wire ‘pins’.

An eexample fo a curved slicker brush---generally, the right brush!

An example fo a curved slicker brush—generally, the right brush!

For over 50 years. pet shops have been selling the wrong brush.  I have posted  a photo —again—showing pins on 1 side, bristles on the other.  The right brush is a  slicker brush—particularly a  curved slicker—like the red one–( the Miller Forge offered by  http://www.petedge.com)   is the best, I feel, for most  dogs whose coats are over 1 inch long or are double coated or non-shed. They don’t even know it, and don’t care. Why don’t groomers tell them?  I have worked for some of these managers—who have told me to shut up and just do my job (See:  I got fired for wearing a scarf  https://disparateinterests.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/i-got-fired-for-wearing-a-scarf-why-the-corporate-pet-stores-are-always-looking-for-groomers/). That’s why. Well, now with the  Affordable Care Act, I bet  a lot of groomers will tell these  horrible bosses to take this job and shove it… but it won’t help any of these  bad pet shop  owners or managers gain any integrity.  Possibly—just possibly—their desperation to make up the lost profits might cause them to get information  on  how to find hobby breeders & refer  buyers to them for a commission  pets, but  it’s going to be tough. Why?

This is a Whippet. Chances are very slim you will find them  in a shelter, but they do get loose.  Most likely, you will either have to be on a waiting list  (WRAP---Whippet Rescue and Placement) or network to find breeders.  Whippet breeders are NOT the cause of pet over population.

This is a Whippet. Chances are very slim you will find them in a shelter, but they do get loose. Most likely, you will either have to be on a waiting list (WRAP—Whippet Rescue and Placement) or network to find breeders. Whippet breeders are NOT the cause of pet over population.

     The bottom line is that people who breed pets for the betterment of their breed or to improve their line want to meet the buyers. They do not sell to third parties & trust that they will do a good job of screening—making sure you know what is involved in taking care of the dog or cat you want.  I’ve mentioned in previous posts how Fred Alderman of Dynasty Afghan Hounds had people wanting Afghan Hounds come out to the kennel and spend a day grooming…to make sure they  understood what was involved and wouldn’t make excuses.  As it is, the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America (and I am sure many other breed clubs) have like minded  breeders who  really ask you and your household a lot of questions.  You never see Briards or Scottish Deerhounds in pet shops—and they only end up in  shelters when they are lost or an owner dies.

This is the right brush for most pet dogs---the 'universal' style curved slicker, with  bent wire  'pins'.

This is the right brush for most pet dogs—the ‘universal’ style curved slicker, with bent wire ‘pins’.

So…when (in Illinois) shelter fees include shots and NEUTERING, how are the pet shops going to justify charging the same amount as a shelter when  all shots and neutering are NOT INCLUDED IN THE SALES PRICE?  How?   By counting on buyers  coming in for ‘a puppy’  not being too particular,  knowing they haven’t done any research.  When Dad (or a brother or  cousin) comes home with a dog for the kids that Mom doesn’t want…that’s the pup that will end up in a shelter along with all the Pit Bull pups that morons bred that  dishonest buyers who  tried to sneak past a landlord and the breeder won’t take back.  That’s how it is.

I attended a meet-up event for pet owners recently and we were talking about no-kill shelters—and the  pet owners had no idea that  the No-Kill shelters were not OPEN ACCESS-–meaning they did NOT take owner surrenders.

So, I think this starts the discussion.  When people looking for a dog of a particular breed, and in Chicago, the pet shop can no longer sell them unless they came from a shelter (keep in mind that the puppy mills have set up ‘shelters’ for their unsold pups—& I bet a lot of pet shops will learn who they are—soon!)…will the  retailers have done any research and referred  puppy seekers to dog clubs?  Or will they refer them to  retailers in the next town over and gain a commission?

Many of the breeders who sold to pet shops still sell on Craigslist. The city—and the state—could have  designated funding to  hire people to  pay a visit to all these  unethical breeders—& fine them.   This would pay for itself in a year! Really—-as so many people who post on Craigslist  are just in it for the money & barely making anything.  They  either don’t understand or don’t care  that  over half the dogs they breed will end up  dumped.  THAT would solve the surplus dog problem in less than a year…but that is not what they did.  It’s as though our elected officials  don’t know the internet exists —it’s a mystery—when it comes  to law enforcement of commerce.

I am including this link because this happened to a dog—bought as a puppy (who knows from where…enough blame to go around) that probably  was so cute as to not look like a real dog—needing grooming and training:   http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2014/03/abused_dog_found_alive_in_detr.html

So,  if the problem is  breeders breeding  pets as livestock not having outlets for the animals they breed (as more and more municipalities  outlaw sales of  commercially bred pets in pet shops), will  we have solved this problem?  No, and neither will we solve the problem of pets being  abused, neglected, or dumped.  This just starts the discussion, and it is an important discussion.

Do you want to end this horror?  Call or email your  elected officials.   Send them a link to  a post for puppies posted on Craigslist—and ask why they don’t  designate funds in the  state budget  for inspectors  to call  posters, pay them a visit, and fine them for  breeding  animals they don’t have deposits for.  Word will spread.   That’s the only way.

 

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

August 30, 2013

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.

Yorkies, Maltese, Shih Tzu, and Morkies…toy breed dogs

May 16, 2013
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 really love the toy breed dogs…the little purse dogs.  Old lady dogs.  Thing is, they are easy to spoil, and easy to injure. Because I have always had Sighthounds, and Whippets tend to be roughnecks,  I don’t have  a toy breed dog.  However, I love to groom them.  Most have a lot of personality.  They are perfect for  small living quarters, but very  affectionate and usually very smart and easy to train.  These are not dogs for toddler or young children.  You drop them,you break their legs. many just  fall (or jump off) off furniture and break legs.  the idea that people would get  such a fragile little being for a young child really annoys me.
These dog will get snippy if they fear being hurt.  Otherwise, they are  delightful companions.

Toy breed dogs  are generally not genetically healthy.  They have been ‘bred down’ from larger dogs, and  often, soundness has been compromised.  It’s only the last  20  years or so that the ethical hobby breeders have been having  their breeding dogs  OFA (patellas) & CERF (eyes) certified, but  so often, the stud owners still breed to untested bitches.  In fact, most of the genetic defects we see are now in the  ‘pet bred’ dogs. These are people who don’t consider themselves breeders, yet they signed the AKC (CKC, UKC) papers as the owner of the dam..the mother dog…as the breeder.  Is it because they don’t have a separate building to house their dogs?  Or only have 1 or 2 bitches?  Or are their veterinarians pandering to their naiveté?  No matter. These people are breeders, and it is not inbreeding that is threatening the genetic vitality of these dogs, but the  naive pet owners breeding their pets without a thought to  genetic soundness that is destroying  these breeds.

There are a few breeders in the Yorkshire Terrier Club of America and the American Maltese Association that DO have major breeding businesses, with  30 (or more) breedable dogs, but most of the club members have feweer than 5  breedable bitches, and they do all the genetic testing.  This is why a well bred toy dog is so expensive:  they generally have litters of 5 pups or fewer, and after paying for the genetic tests, possibly selling as a spayed pet the  dog with juvenile cataracts,  luxated patellas, or liver shunt, probably a C section, each individual pup  probably has a debt of over $500 on their heads. Add in showing the parent dogs (so your peers can  judge the quality of the dogs you plan to breed) , no wonder the pet dogs are now  over $2500.  However, that doesn’t ensure a good home.  While I know, from volunteering with them, that most of the  Maltese and Yorkies in rescue do NOT come from hobby breeders, but backyard breeders and puppy mills….this is how the puppy mills got their original breeding dogs:   the ethical breeders sold dogs as pets, not to be bred, but  either didn’t make it clear, didn’t with hold registration until proof of spay/neuter, or  didn’t follow up.  Owners  lost job, got job, had an allergic kid, got divorced, moved…or just got bored with the dog… & RESOLD THE BREEDABLE DOG, and that’s how all the puppy mills start.  They don’t go to hobby breeders necessarily…or maybe they do, and start out with good intentions, but see there is a market for the puppies, so they breed a litter, keep all the bitches, and just assume that anyone who pays $2500 for a dog will take care of it.  Or, face it:  they are breeding dogs as livestock & just don’t care.  Well, the rescues always have plenty of  purebred dogs needing homes.

A  puppy buyer  (grooming client)asked me recently if he should get pet health insurance.  I had felt the pup’s patellas and they felt ok, so I advised not, but  generally, I’d have to say that if you didn’t meet the breeder of your dog, and  she didn’t tell you  she was breeding for the betterment of the breed, I’d have to say: BUY PET HEALTH INSURANCE.  In fact, I’d have to say that, before  buying a toy breed dog, call several animal hospitals and ask what they charge to fix a luxated patella or liver shunt, and ask how often the animal hospital  does this in the  toy breeds.

I tip my hat to the many pet owners who manage to keep a toy dog in ‘specials’ coat, as they are quite magnificent…but face it…all these dogs are walking dust mops. IF you can bathe a dog once a week and  put up the topknot at least every other day, you will have a real piece of walking art in one of these dogs….but if you can’t, do a ‘puppy’ trim.

I just have to say something about Morkies…as I find people looking for them.  Stupid, stupid people who believe the marketing, and I blame the  veterinarians as well. The ‘Morkie’ is a Maltese–Yorkies cross.  If you breed one dog with luxated patllas & liver shunt to another with the same genetic defects, your pups will be afflicted. Being of different breeds does not cancel this out.  This.  the only people breeding designer ‘hybrid’s as they are called, are people breeding dogs like livestock…not animal lovers. Not dog lovers. people who want to make money off dogs.

Dumping of Senior Dogs

August 16, 2012

I try to help out the organizations that  help animals in shelters. In Chicago, one great organization is the Trio Animal Foundation. They pay the medical bills of dogs  dumped in open admissions shelters.

What is an open admission shelter?  They take any  pet that the owners surrender or is brought in as a stray—& that is the difference between the no-kill (such as PAWS Chicago) &  a real animal shelter. They do not pick & choose, They take all comers. That doesn’t mean they can all be saved, but it is supposed to mean a humane, painless death if they can not be saved or there is no home.

In 1987, a few weeks after I  euthanized  a 14-year-old Afghan Hound, who had become blind, deaf, and incontinent in a matter of weeks(thus I knew her quality of life was  very bad) ,  I was working at a grooming shop when a customer brought in a toy Poodle, and actually said to us, “I don’t know whether to have him groomed or put him to sleep.”  There was nothing wrong with the dog except for his teeth.  I just blurted out, “I’ll take him.”  Chuck was 15 years old. He lived to be almost 18.  His last few months he was crabby, but after I had most of his teeth pulled, he livened up and was a real character.  You wonder why nobody in the family (4 grown kids) wanted the dog.  They were finished playing with him, grown up, and never bonded. Sick?  Yes, and  these are our neighbors, or friends, your fellow church members. Thinking of a live animal as a toy to be discarded.

Happens all the time. I was working at a kennel, where  we got a memo from a manager at another kennel. They had a 12 year old Labrador Retriever that the owners had abandoned. The owners actually told the kennel manager that they  no longer wanted the dog because she wasn’t playful, and they were going to get a puppy.  So matter-of-fact.

You have to wonder how people can not be embarrassed.  This all came back to me, because  one of the  leaders or Trio posted on their Facebook page that  she was at one of the shelters they work with & a couple brought in an old Poodle they no longer wanted. Said nothing about not being able to afford veterinary care or grooming.  Just dumping a now inconvenient dog.  The dog had abcessed teeth, which caused other health issues.  His veterinary care would cost  over a thousand dollars, & the person who posted  wondered how  we could afford to care for so many old dogs, and who would foster them or adopt them.  The answer is:

We can’t.  For every dog we try to save that will possibly live a few more weeks in stress & discomfort, we can’t  do the teeth  on a younger dog, or treat mange, or eyelid entropy. or—name it.  We have a larger problem here that these do-gooders don’t want to address:  as Malcolm Gladwell addressed in his book, we have not reached The Tipping Point.

That is the point where the conventional wisdom—-what everyone believes—is that  you really have to put some thought  into owning a pet, and not impulsively get a puppy as a plaything.  Due to the economy, due to the libertarians who think fracking for fuel at the expense of  our drinking water—- is the way to go, due to the people who think sending people to die in Afghanistan is a cost effective way to protect our freedom,  we are of the national mindset that the humane thing to do with an unwanted pet is to  dump it at an animal shelter (as the alternative is, of course, just abandoning it in a dumpster or park—so they are at least giving the pet & someone else the choice!) and no more thought need be given.

What kind of thinking do we need changed? We need to  get the word out that there IS a pet surplus, that shopping at pet shops that buy from  commercial livestock breeders  & sell pets is wrong, that people really have to think more carefully about why they want a pet. We have to get more people who care about this to demand that not so many  livestock pet breeders be licensed, and that the laws inspecting them be tightened up, and more fines be  enacted & collected to support shelters  and humane education.

I notice  on Craigslist that many people looking for a pet (the site is not a pet wanted site…shows you that peoples’  reading comprehension is atrocious) want cheap pets, and we have to  get the word out that if you want a cheap pet, you can’t afford a pet, and don’t really understand the responsibilities of pet ownership.

It’s shocking and demoralizing to me the  many people who think they are getting Lassie, or Eddie from Frazier, or Beethoven, or a cartoon dog, and even with the internet, can’t find books on dog training,  or on how to find a dog and not get ripped off.

It is even sadder that we euthanize so many dogs that could be wonderful pets because so many idiots keep bad breeders —& that’s mostly the ‘backyard breeders’—- in business.

The ironic  thing that  people don’t understand is—just because you see something for sale, it doesn’t mean it gets sold.  All those people who bred their Pit Bulls for fun & profit, & has so much fun with those puppies—it’s them. They should be made responsible for those dogs.

I point out to people that you rarely, if ever, see Scottish Deerhounds, Gordon Setters,  Salukis , Portuguese Water Dogs, or English Toy Spaniels in rescue. The breeders keep close tabs on who buys their pups, and make it very clear that they want those dogs back if the buyers  change their minds—no matter how old the dog is.

Yes, of course, they do euthanize dogs.  But  they don’t leave the decisions to others. They take responsibility. What a concept.

Why Mandatory Spay/Neuter will not Solve the Problem

April 25, 2012

There is statistical evidence that  the animal shelters andf humane groups  had gotten the message out in a ‘good economy’ (1980s—2000): it is NOT a good idea to breed your pet dog for fun and/or profit.  hveing your pet fixed is a good idea for the health of your dog as well as the well being of your community.

In fact, most of the  dogs & cats in animal shelters are not from either commercial (puppy mill) breeders, or ethical hobby breeders—but the idiots breeding for fun & profit;  the backyard breeders:  witness the number of Pit Bulls in shelters—more than any other breed.

Well known story among Chicago pet enthusiasts:  a banker & family go to Greece for the summer, & play with stray dogs on the beach, and  someone tells the banker’s wife that all the strays will be killed at the end of the tourist season.  She is horrified by this. Does she start an animal shelter in Greece?  No—-too difficult.  She starts an animal shelter in Chicago. A NO-KILL SHELTER.  But the thing is, she does not take in stray dogs or owner surrenders:  she sends out PICKERS to the  pounds & shelters that are OPEN ADMISSION & TAKE ALL  ABANDONED PETS & she has the pickers choose which ones get to be saved & not killed.  Yes, she does take the  occasional crippled dog, but most of what the pickers bring in are young dogs that will move quickly.

Her Public Relations efforts are excellent. Through vagaries, she has the public thinking  her shelter is an OPEN ADMISSIONS shelter.  Whenever they have a fund raising event, the photos of attendees (mostly with purebred dogs) are always featured.

Now…wait a doggone minute. I am a fancier of purebred dogs, and I also support shelters and rescues!  But here’s the thing:  I don’t delude myself & others into thinking this  animal welfare model is better than open admissions—& this is EXACTLY what this shelter does.

I wouldn’t even bother addressing this. She saves  dogs  and cats, and saves many that would be euthanized due to overcrowding, but she has the audacity to promote mandatory spay neuter.

Here’s the problem:  the law can not be enforced.  I don’t know about YOUR STATE, or municipality (  Michael Lewis, “California  and Bust” http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2011/11/michael-lewis-201111), but mine is broke.  It does not, as a state, enforce animal cruelty or animal housing laws, and our  anti-cruelty laws, locally, are only enforced when there is a police action.

I keep referring to Craigslist. Even though the rules are clearly posted:  NO ANIMAL SALES OR BREEDING…rehoming fee ok…& most of the community understands this as meaning trying to place a single, or maybe 2 or 3 older pets, not selling animals you bred….because CRAIGSLIST does not enforce its own rules, but instead relies on the community to enforce the rules…backyard breeders & sellers post every day.

From the end of Janurary until the end of April 2012, I flagged over 120 posts for Pit Bull puppy litters alone. This did not include the single 5, 6, 7, and 8 week old puppies, or litters of other breeds. It was only in Chicago. But clearly, these breeders will not be stopped by mandatory spay/neuter.

I have an older, champion Saluki. I never planned to breed him, but I do show him.  I am the target.  It is the responsible hobbyists & fanciers who will be forced to comply—as we will be turned in to authorities by the backyard breeders. It will look like they—the enforcers—- are doing something, enforcing the law—but the funny (not) irony is, they could go on Craigslist, pay these breeders a visit, confiscate the puppies, fine the breeders.  Problem ends in 6 months, I venture a guess.

The shelters…like the  elite one I mentioned above, could have volunteers  respond to the posts, pay a visit, turn the info into enforcement authorities.  It won’t happen.  Instead, the enforcers will request veterinary records, and contact us that way.  The veterinarian making any bit of money off the bad breeders will be turning in hobbyists & protecting their commercial clients.  The commercial clients, breeding pets as livestock, will cry out a loss of livlihood and be defended by PIJAC a(the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council lobby group).

A better idea (because, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem), is to have the breeders/SELLERS ( now, we have the pet shops that buy whole litters)  collect a neutering tax—to be refunded in part when the  puppy buyer spays/neuters his pet.  Again–easy enough to find these people: they post their puppies for sale.  You don’t collect a tax, & turn it in, YOU are fined.

O am positive the ethical hobby breeders would do this, & their buyers would not object to paying the tax….but I would bet anything  we would end the  backyard breeders income generating projects in less than 2 years.  Remeber, this has to be done on a state level.  Comments?