We Are The Dog Fancy!
Here's why, if we want to preserve our hobby of working with and enjoying our dogs, we can no longer be known as "dog breeders".
Dog Breeders Obsolete in 10 Years
Every week there are warnings about dog limit legislation, BSL (Breed Specific Legislation), and animal programs on TV are beating up the horrible dog breeders.
IN MY OPINION if we continue to call ourselves dog breeders, rather than exhibitors, breed fanciers, dog lovers, or some other term, we are playing into the hands of the Animal Rights and Animal Control people.
As long as we are wearing the "Breeder" label, we can’t explain what makes us OK but the puppy producers or puppy millers the bad guys. In the eyes of the general public “dog breeder” means puppy miller. Somewhat like a large flock of white ducks, they are all white, they all have feathers, they all quack, but one is different. He is a pet duck. However no one could point out the pet duck and say “He’s the good duck”.
It is the same with breeders. The worst puppy miller is a dog breeder. Every back yard producer is a dog breeder; so there needs to be some distinction. First, we need a name change and a new image.
We need to get off of our collective duffs and get involved locally. Get known as the good guys. If Animal Control is going to go out and check out a "dog breeder" who has been reported it would behoove us to have a person who knows something about keeping dogs along on that raid. Most volunteers at the local shelter don’t know good dog care from bad in the main. To a “Mary housewife” type, who owns one dog and a cat, the normal look of a kennel at 7AM is appalling. The same kennel at 8 AM might well be immaculate.
If rankings, points, ribbons, slick advertising, and endless shows are more important than preserving our hobby and lifestyle maybe we should be obsolete.
Can you visualize Mrs. Dodge, Mrs. Farrell, Steve Field, or Mrs. Kuska just letting people take their dogs away without a fight? All over the country dogs are being confiscated by local authorities and people don’t fight them, they just sign over the dogs to avoid trouble.
There is another side to this story. Many dog breeders are older, some are ill, and we all have dogs. We need to help our fellow fanciers. It might be just to let the dogs out while someone is away for the day, maybe to intercede and help with a lifestyle change. As we age or have health challenges it is sometimes a problem to take care of ourselves, let alone take care of the dogs. Our dogs will be fed and usually let out but regular grooming and house care may be “left for later”. And later never comes.
It happens and we all know it. Let’s not just shake our heads and cluck about “poor Joe Blow, he fell ill and the authorities came and took his dogs.”
As fellow dog fanciers, how can we stand by idly as Joe's self respect is in ruins and he’s lost decades of possibly great breeding stock? When we see a fellow dog breeder beginning to slide it is time to intercede. At the very least offer understanding help. Sometimes all it takes is the offer of keeping a few dogs for a time until he or she is stronger. Sometimes it takes an effort of going to the house daily and keeping cleanliness and feeding under control during a crisis.
If we, as responsible members of the dog community, don’t help these fanciers, then the authorities will. It is our duty to help our friends. It is also our responsibility to keep real dog people out of this type of situation. These are just a few things we can do to change our image from bad dog breeder to dog lover, dog friend, dog expert, or dog fancier but most of all, upstanding member of the community.
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