SHELTERS & RESCUE
When families to adopt a shelter dog, it is likely to be an imported "mutt" or a purebred purchased from a puppy mill supplier.
DO SHELTERS SUPPORT PUPPY MILLS?
by Laura Turner
When PETA convinces people to obtain a pet from the animal shelter, indeed, what does that do responsible breeders?
First we have to ask where the puppy came from? In most cases, it came from a puppy mill. It is rare for owners to turn a purebred dog in to a shelter, especially when it is still a puppy. So purebred puppies or designer dogs invariably come from puppy mills. Do you wonder how that happens?
With the trend of owning rescue dogs, shelter dogs, or designer breeds being popularized by PETA, HSUS, and movie stars, people out to earn a quick buck turn to breeding a vast array of “oodle” breeds and purebred dogs. Creating designer breeds or low quality purebreds is pretty easy money when you think about the fact that there is very little expense involved since you do not have to pay big bucks or sign an extensive agreement (that of good breeders would rival any adoption agency) and there’s no money invested in health testing, adhering to a code of ethics, no breed club or peers to answer to for any sort of breeding malpractices and absolutely no consequences for their actions.
When these commercially-bred pups do not sell right away, they become more expensive, time consuming, noisy, messy and inconvenient for the person to keep. No problem, they simply dump the unsold pups off at a shelter and begin again. Because they are not quality purebred dogs they are usually not tattooed or micro chipped so there is no way to trace the person who produced them. So the breeder of rescue or shelter dogs is unlikely to ever be held accountable. And even more distressing; when their breeding dogs stop producing, they also get dumped at a shelter.
Of course anyone obtaining a rescue or shelter dog is heralded as a hero of sorts for saving a life. That’s according to PeTA’s big campaign and everyone likes to feel they have done something “good.” However, what PeTA, HSUS and other such groups may really be doing is enabling puppy mills to continue providing ill-bred pups by freeing up more room in the shelter. Not only that, the demand is such that some shelters even purchase puppy mill stock and others import cute mutts from offshore! What the ads and commercials that create motivation to “adopt” a shelter dog really do is continue to build a market and encourage commercial breeders to sell to or use shelters as a dumping ground.
People who own mutts or designer breeds also create more of a market by inadvertently popularizing irresponsibly bred puppies and dogs. Owners can’t know what they are getting because there are no purebred traits such as non-shedding, size, and personality so many wind up at shelters to be recycled or put to death.
Reputable breeders producing purebred dogs as defined by the American Kennel Club, spend a fortune in testing the parent’s health, temperament, intelligence and conformation. As a result of all this testing, most reputable breeders have thousands of dollars invested in each breeding parent. The resulting pups are a product of long term goals of the breeder and are usually spoken for before they are even conceived.
Well-Bred Purebreds Too Costly To Shelter Dump:
Most Reputable Breeders include in their purchase contract that they will accept back pups or adults that they have bred any time during that dog’s lifetime, should the need arise. Thus well bred purebreds rarely end up in a shelter. Reputable Breeders also have non-breeding contracts, or they spay and neuter all their pups before they leave home, ensuring none of their puppies sold as pets will be bred.
Purebred breeds are sustained because humans want a companion that will fulfill a task or that they can enjoy a particular sport or activity with. Those with space limitations or allergy issues are also able to accommodate themselves from the myriad of purebred breeds available. When people obtain a rescue dog or puppy and they are not satisfied or happy with their new puppy or dog, well, it is back to the shelter for them as there is no breeder to turn to and the cycle continues.
I believe the need for shelters will never be eliminated but the public can greatly reduce those needs by purchasing purebreds from Reputable Breeders and by doing so, helping to eliminate the market for irresponsibly produced dogs and the resulting overflow of their pups going into shelters.
In other words, any family seeking a purebred pet would be well advised to ignore the animal rights rhetoric, the implied shame of buying what they want, and insure their satisfaction by contacting a reputable breeder. The “feel good” reward is that they have not supported a shelter that supports the production of poor quality purebreds and the throw-away concept.