Directors of Pet Killing Facilities Keep Puppy Mills in Business

There are not nearly enough shelter pets for everyone in the U.S. who plans to get a pet this year.  This is ok because some owners, about 1.5 million, are already set on an alternate source (a breeder usually) for the new pet they plan to get within the next year.  Of course many, about 5 million, are determined to adopt the pet they will be getting this year.  Since we have an estimated 8 million pets entering shelters in this country every year, we have plenty of animals for these 5 million owners to choose from.  But there is a third group of people, about 17 million,  who are planning to add a pet to the family within the next year and are open to the possibility of adopting from a shelter as a source for that animal.  We have only about 3 million shelter pets left in the total estimated population who are healthy/treatable and available for adoption.  As is plain, if we were to convince even half of these 17 million homes to adopt from a shelter, we would be coming up short by millions of animals.  Even if we adjust our estimates (to allow for a tough economic situation) and suppose that there are a million more pets being taken in by shelters this year and a million less homes intending to add a new pet, we still wouldn’t have enough shelter pets for even half of those open to adoption.

So why are an estimated 3 million healthy/treatable shelter pets being killed each year?  Obviously there are more than enough homes for them so that is not the answer.  Are we failing to get the message out to enough of the target market that shelter pets are good and adoption is a positive experience?  I don’t think so.  While marketing is an ongoing effort, I believe we’ve done well in this area – definitely well enough to convince at least 3 million people who were already open to the idea of adoption anyway.

The short answer is this:  The reason 3 million healthy/treatable shelter pets are going into the dumpster each year instead of home with people who want them is because shelter directors are killing them instead of doing their jobs.

The longer explanation is multifaceted and involves the entire community:

1.  Shelter staff and volunteers drive the public away by blaming them for various mythical crimes such as failure to neuter and pet overpopulation.  People are further driven away when they know the facility kills animals and every pet they look at might be taken to the kill room if they don’t adopt him.  It’s too overwhelming for compassionate people to enter this kind of environment.  And of course no establishment is going to attract customers if the service is lousy, the place stinks and/or the merchandise is displayed in the equivalent of a dungeon.

2.  Shelters and rescue groups turn down applicants they deem unfit for pet ownership.  While I support having adopters providing a picture ID and a completed adoption application so they can be checked for prior animal cruelty convictions, I find it objectionable to deny adopters for such reasons as having a job, not having a fence, having children, or being unable to pay a $350 adoption fee.  It is not possible to determine the quality of life a pet will have by using an arbitrary list of criteria such as is commonly used by many shelters and rescues.  There are responsible pet owners who will never lose a pet regardless of fence quality, type or lack thereof just as there are responsible pet owners who will lose a pet regardless of fence status.  Similarly, there are irresponsible pet owners who work outside the home just as there are irresponsible pet owners who work at home or are unemployed.  By refusing to let pets go home with the people who want them, shelters and rescues are keeping cages occupied that could otherwise be freed up to save the next pet in need.

Recently I heard a teenage girl being interviewed on a TV show.  She said she practiced Satanism.  When asked why, she responded, “Because it’s the only religion that accepts everyone.”  Setting aside my own religious views, I have to admit she makes a good point.  No one wants to be harshly judged or rejected.  And as with religion, pet owners have the freedom to choose where they will get their pets.  You know what groups in the pet world “accept everyone”?  Pet stores.  Irresponsible breeders.  People giving away dogs and cats online or in parking lots.  The people being turned away by shelters and rescues will get pets from somewhere, probably a source that does not provide continuing education and assistance, and they will likely move into the group who will never be open to pet adoption.  Win?  For whom?

3.  Shelters don’t allow adopters to see, touch and fall in love with their pets.  Some shelters are never open to the public for adoptions, others are only open when most people work.  Some facilities only allow visitors to see a portion of the animals there and/or don’t allow adopters to touch the pets.  All, some or none of the animals may be posted online for adopters to see using good, adequate, or horrible photos.  Every shelter, especially those in low traffic locations, should be bringing animals to daily offsite adoption events in high traffic areas but many hold no offsite adoptions whatsoever.  The bottom line:  If people can’t see the animals, how will anyone be able to save them?

4.  Shelters are killing animals based upon arbitrary criteria such as breed, coat color, heartworm status, age, weight and number of days spent in the facility.  By assuming for example that people don’t want Pitbulls, or that there are too many tuxedo cats on the adoption floor already and therefore marking these pets for killing, they are unavailable to be adopted by people who want them.  It sounds obvious, I know.

Somewhere out there right now, I imagine there is an adopter looking for a tuxedo cat because he wants to adopt a kitty and he happens to fancy tuxedo cats.  There are plenty available in shelters so no problem, right?  Let’s say this adopter only wants to adopt a pet he meets in person and feels a special connection with.  So he visits his local municipal shelter.  They do in fact have two tuxedo cats but he doesn’t make that connection with either.  In the kill room however, they have just killed a tuxedo cat (for being one too many) who happened to be a very vocal pet.  The adopter’s last cat was also a talker and in fact, had he met this one, he would have likely felt that special connection he was hoping for and adopted him.

My point being that shelter directors have no way of knowing which particular animal will cause an adopter to fall in love.  By operating on the assumption that they do know, they are preventing pets from being matched up with the people who want them.  Contrary to the belief of shelter directors who kill based upon arbitrary criteria such as coat color, adopters are not looking for any pet whose fur is of a particular color – they are looking for an individual pet that appeals to them in a unique way.  The more pets available for adopters to meet, the greater the likelihood they will find that special animal they want to take home.

You know how this owner will be able to meet lots of tuxedo cats?  By visiting every pet store in the county.  And the more he meets, the greater the chance he will fall in love with one.

5.  Shelter directors see killing as an option for controlling the population.  If a compassionate director committed to saving animals’ lives was put into place at every pet killing facility, killing healthy/treatable pets would not be an option.  Instead, the director, staff and volunteers would have to work their tails off to get animals out the door alive by any responsible means.  This is what the directors, staff and volunteers at open admission no kill shelters do every day.  It’s hard work that requires dedication, creativity and flexibility but it is the only ethical approach toward shelter population control.

By killing the approximately 3 million healthy/treatable shelter pets that an estimated 17 million people planning to get a new pet are open to adopting, shelter directors are driving those 17 million people to other sources.  Pet stores (supplied primarily by puppy mills) and profit driven breeders stay in business because there is a reliable market for their products.  As long as there is a profit to be made, these undesirable sources for pets will remain plentiful.  Killing healthy/treatable shelter pets ensures that puppy mills will continue to meet the demand for pets that shelters are not.  If shelter directors would do their jobs and start getting every healthy/treatable pet in their care out alive, the demand for pets from alternative sources would be reduced.  Put into simple terms, if shelters really want people to adopt, they need to let them.

Remind me again how the so-called irresponsible public is to blame for shelter pet killing?

133 thoughts on “Directors of Pet Killing Facilities Keep Puppy Mills in Business

  1. This article makes a lot of good points. Mostly there are a lot of perfectly fine animals killed and there are a lot of perfectly fine homes they could go to.
    But this line does no one any justice.
    “Pet stores (supplied primarily by puppy mills) and profit driven breeders stay in business because there is a reliable market for their products. As long as there is a profit to be made, these undesirable sources for pets will remain plentiful. Killing ”

    There is nothing wrong with making a profit doing something you love. Pet stores are supplied by puppy mills, but where would city people buy a pet whithout pet stores? There are puppy mills that do a respectable job of breeding.

    Then yu really blew it on the “profit driven breeders”. As I said there is nothing wrong with making a profit doing something you love. Without breeders all we would have is mixed breed mutss and not all breeders are in it just for profit. I breed a litter looking for a replacement comepetition dog. Not all dogs are suitable for competition (or further breeding). These get sold to the pet market. Would you prefer I kill them?

    Do you believe I could get a dog to compete with from a shelter?
    I don’t think so, usually shelter dogs are damaged too much to be used for any serious work. They might be okay for ‘trick’ dogs.

    Point being, not all dogs are pets, some dogs actually work for a living and provide valuable services for us humans. Those dogs don’t usually come out of shelters.

    1. Ah, alot of service animals are coming out of shelters-how wrong you are. There is a local place that trains dogs for brain damaged people & autistic children. They do not go to breeders, they go to shelters to evaluate and pick the suitable ones for training. They do amazing things. My daughter volunteered for them. Wow-many shelter dogs are too damaged to be used for any serious work? Wow. Also-our local shelters drive transports to the cities up north to supply pets. Have you ever watched Animal Planet? There are plenty of places in the city to adopt an animal. Most transports are met with a whole line of people waiting to adopt their next friend, rather than buy from a horrid puppy store being supplied by puppy mils.

      1. No, I am not wrong. Service animals are more like glorified pets than serious working dogs. I am well aware of the transporting of shelter pets “up north”. Some of those up north shelters are even bringing dogs in from foreign countries. I don’t much approve of that either. We have put over 40 years of diligent rabies vaccinations into our dogs and the United States is now free of canine strain rabies. The risk of importing rabies and other diseases is just too great. We need to be like Australia, Great Britain and Hawaii and just not allow any imports…….especially not from countries where rabies is endemic. Which is where most of these imports are coming from! In the United States there is no risk of getting a rabid dog from even one of those horrid puppy mill puppies.

    2. Kaylor…by your post here you are ignorant when it comes to the puppy industry. First you want to know where city people would “buy” their pets? The don’t need to “buy” but should be adopting. Second, you say there are puppy mills doing a “respectable” job of breeding. Using puppy mill and respectable breeding is a contradiction. You need to do your homework before posting. There is no such thing as a “respectable puppy mill”. Third, you do not know the difference between a “responsible breeder” and one who “breeds for profit”. Again, you need to educate yourself. A truley responsible breeder breeds for the love and betterment of the breed and rarely makes a living or even a profit. They do testing, certifications, and take pride in the breed. The puppies are given the best care with multiple vet checks, high quality food, time and socializing the puppies. All this costs money that a responsible breeder knows will not be recouped. Responsible breeders require those purchasing a puppy to complete a contract because these breeders really care about the puppies. Now fourthly and the dumbest statement of all from you….that shelter dogs are “damaged too much”. Right now there are thousands of dogs/puppies that came from a shelter/rescue that compete in ALL forms of dog competitions. There also thousands upon thousands of dogs that are service/therapy dogs, K9 dogs in law enforcement, drug/bomb sniffing and as search and rescue dogs. And these dogs all came from a shelter/rescue! It is ignorant and narrow minded people like you that will ensure the needless killing of dogs and cats in our society.

      1. Boy they got you brainwashed. Careful who you call ignorant. First People are free to buy or adopt,whatever suits their fancy and not everyone even wants to adopt – for any reason. Second – you need to do your homework there are respectable breeders that supply puppies to wholesalers,who supply pet shops. Third there is nothing wrong with profiting from doing something you love (you know, like raising puppies). You don’t really expect me to believe your definition of a “responsible breeder” is the final word on the subject, do you? Oh yes, that would be a truly responsible breeder. lol “for the love and betterment of the breed” “rarely makes a profit” lol that may be true. They certainly don’t make as much profit as pet supply stores, pet food companies, veterinarians rescue groups and shelters that adopt dogs for outrageous adoption fees. All of those not only expect to recoup their costs, but they expect to make a tidy profit. Fourth, yes, indeed a lot of shelter dogs are damaged too much for many ‘jobs’, uses, competitions. Whether you want t admit it or not.
        I don’t think you can back up your statements about thousands and thousands of dogs tat came from shelters doing this or that. I’ve know thousands and thousands of dogs in those fields and I only know of a very few that came from a shelter. Those very few presented extra training challenges not everyone wants to deal with.

      2. regurgitate the animal rights stance.. it is horrid horrible people who “breed for profit”.. hmm do you work for nothing? there are many many respectable commercial breeders.. anytime someone says things like “thousands and thousands” and toes the AR party line you know they do not want people to have a choice where they BUY ( not ‘adopt” ) their pets.. pets are purchased.. when you pay for a pet.. it is bought and sold Why should breeders NOT make a profit.. what is wrong with profit.. Rolls Royce makes much more money on their cars than Hundi but not everyone can afford a RR.. why should a good breeder lose money? as for “industry: the “shelter industry” does pretty well.. distributing their “products” throughout the USA tax free one ting you said is correct.. the killing is needless.. but they continue to do it but I do not see how kaylor is contributing to it at all.

      3. When it comes to defining who is a responsible/reputable breeder, I take the definition from the different breed clubs of America (for each specific breed). They set the standards for responsible breeding. They have bi-laws and code of ethics that include the spay/neuter of their companion animals they sell and forbids them to sell to brokers and/or pet stores. So this does not come from any AR propaganda. As far as the AKC goes, they are only a registry and the only guideline/standard for breeding is that the female dog must be over 8 months of age.And they do not have any standards/requirements/guidelines for puppies. They even state on their website/handbook that Having papers/affiliation with the AKC on a puppy only means that the parent dogs are a recognized breed of the AKC only and that they do not have any standard guidelines for how or under what conditions a puppy is born/raised. So what qualifies you as a “responsible breeder” except that you breed and sell dogs. So why don’t you tell us what qualifies someone as a responsible breeder.

    3. Do you really believe that it is ok for dogs to die so that you can have fun competing? You will help flood the over-saturated market with your rejects so you can “compete”? Why don’t you take up a sport yourself and really compete? This is a heartless attitude considering the tragedy of killing millions of healthy dogs and cats. There IS something wrong with making a profit from the suffering of others.

      1. If the market is flooded with excess animals, why are shelters driving their ‘rejects’ up north’? Apparently the market is only flooded in some areas and other areas have a shortage. hmmm wonder why that is?
        I don’t quite understand how dogs die so I can have fun competing. Am I not allowed to do what I enjoy?

      2. I like how breeding a dog is wrong if you make a profit off it, no matter how well you care for it, yet breeding animals such as pigs, which are smarter than dogs, for profit is okay. Poor pigs, if only they were as cute as dogs and has senses that were easier to exploit for our use.

        No wonder PETA and other animal rights groups are doing such a good job convincing the public that all dog breeders are irresponsible, selfish people.

        If large commercial breeders not following the regulations proves they’re all bad, then the modern English bulldog, a brachycephalic animal so deformed it cannot even mate without human intervention, all so the breeder can win some ribbons for following some arbitrary standards, must prove all show and hobby breeders are bad and don’t care about animal welfare. I also believe dalmatians have some serious health problems, yet dog shows look down on cross-breeding them to prevent them from suffering.

        I don’t breed dogs, but this is why a lot of the public thinks all dog breeding is bad and buys into the “all breeders are greedy” rhetoric. To say Joe Blow is a horrible person for breeding a litter of pups to give to family members, since he’s taking away “potential” the homes of shelter animals, yet saying it’s okay for *you* to bring a litter of puppies into the world so you can get a few that can prance around in a ring for your own amusement just seems hypocritical to a lot of people. Wouldn’t the excess puppies you sell off also be “potentially” taking away homes from shelter dogs? Why is it okay for your puppies to possibly take away a shelter animal’s home, but not Joe’s or the pet store down the street?

        As for the topic of the post, I have noticed a lot of posts on CL from shelters stating you cannot adopt a dog from them unless you live in the same county, which seemed a bit odd to me. Then some require you to take multiple mandatory dog training classes before you can adopt, which I can see putting off a potential adopter who already has experience owning dogs or works during the class times.

      3. Sorry, kaylor, my post wasn’t directed towards you, I replied to the wrong post. /derp

      4. I’m torn between several sites. We really don’t need the Puppy Mills that are producing hundreds of puppies every month. Luckily, some Mall’s across the country don’t allow puppies being sold in the pet store’s anymore. We also don’t need the back yard breeders who want to make a quick $ and if they can’t sell the puppies they will be dumped somewhere. I don’t even want to start talking about Amish people. Don’t get me wrong, they are good people but some of their views are just questionable at best. There are good and responsible breeders and they do serve a purpose. However, on the other side I questioning the ethics from some of this breeders. Dog breeds like Pugs now have enormous health problems because breeders tried to breed in a certain “look”. You can get a puppy from a breeder of from your local shelter. Personally, I select dogs from my shelter. Your mileage may vary.

      5. As a Progressive Shelter Drirector I have to say that responsible breeding for health and temperament isn’t the problem with shelter population. A responsible breeder will retrieve there dog from a shelter, reguardless of age or condition when they are chipped back to them. It is wonderful!

        When reviewing the numbers of dogs euthanized it is painful, especially vs. those looking for a new pet which are abundant. But please do not discount the type of pet that makes up the majority euthanized which I believe to be pitbulls and pit mixes. I believe in the human animal bond and that it is possible for an adopter to be adopted by a pet they never thought in a million years they would bond with on the spot. With that said not all dogs are for every household. Pitbulls and pit mixes are not for everyone.

        I wish I had greater ties to all the variety of pitbull type dog breeders and could convince them to remove gameness and work on dog to dog aggression issues too through breeding programs I would love for this to be a proactive approach by our responsible breeders instead of shelters and rescues working reactively after they arrive at the shelter doors.

        Pitties are now being indiscriminantly bred and flooding our shelter system. I stand on the belief that if you are prepared and know what you own all dogs can be managed, but don’t deny any quality seen or unseen at the time of adoption. Be prepared, do your homework and consider all your options. Adoption or Responsible breeders are great places to start.

        To note: I am saddened that a local pitbull rescue of mine is getting out of rescue arena after 17 years due to trying to manage pitties and their dog to dog aggression issues. She cried and cried telling me that just when she believed she could trust the training and love she poured into the dogs, they would revert to their heritage and attack each other. Before you slam me, the attacks I speak of are not pack related, but instead what was unfortunately bred into them over generations and that is “fight or gameness” and they don’t let go regardless of whether or not the other dog submit’s. This does make them different. I am not against the breed, but please, please, know what you own and be a trusted guardian of all their traits that may arise.

      6. Pitbulls are not alone in being dog aggressive. Just about any breed can be and most males of any breed are subject to being “male dog aggessive”.

      7. I have a problem with the NYC shelters testing same sex dogs together and then labeling them dog aggressive!

      8. Yeah, I would have a problem with that, too. Shelters seem to adopt the attitude that they know everything there is to know about dogs. Some of them are just idiots.

    4. Most of the dogs in the shelter system are not damaged. And lots of them come with zero training, practically a blank slate. Many of the dogs in the shelters come with tons of drive and motivation- that’s a big part of why they’re there. If they were easy-to-live-with couch potatoes, they’d still be at home on the couch.

      I don’t have any problem with buying from responsible breeders. I have two dogs from breeders. (And one from a shelter and one from rescue.) But it is never good to propagate destructive myths.

      1. WELL, part of the damage is that they are adult dogs with absolutely no training. THAT

        Well, part of the damage is that they are adult dogs with absolutely no training of any significance. That’s how it is with 90% of shelter dogs. ZERO trainng hardly a blank slate. Most of these take a lot of time to ‘recover’ enough to get to a point where you can start training, then what are you going to train them for and what are you going to do with them?

        There are a lot of people trying to figure out just what a “responsible breeder” is. According to one above, it is one who doesn’t expect to recoup the expenses involved in raising a puppy. I don’t agree with that. Everyone deserves to be paid for their time and effort.


    5. “Do you believe I could get a dog to compete with from a shelter?
      I don’t think so, usually shelter dogs are damaged too much to be used for any serious work. They might be okay for ‘trick’ dogs.”

      “Pet stores are supplied by puppy mills, but where would city people buy a pet whithout pet stores? There are puppy mills that do a respectable job of breeding.”

      Kaylor, your statements are either trolling or ignorant.

      1. I don’t believe either one. I’m certainly not ignorant on dog/cat/shelter issues and I’m not real sure exactly what trolling is. I am tired of hearig preposterous statements and the general shelter/rescue repetoire of badmouthing breeders. Nobody breeds an animal and dumps it in a shelter. That just doesn’t happen. Why shouldn’t breeders recoup their expenses AND make a profit? Everybody else does in this pet business. People who work at shelters get paid, but breeders should do it solely for the “betterment of the breed”? Naw, ain’t buyin’ it.

      2. Kaylor –

        1. You need to look up “trolling”.
        2. I AM A BREEDER. I don’t lump all breeders into the same category or blame them all for anything. Like most people, I am intelligent enough to make distinctions. Drunk drivers are bad, texting drivers are bad, but that doesn’t mean all drivers are bad and certainly there are some very good and safe drivers on the road.

      3. “Pet stores (supplied primarily by puppy mills) and profit driven breeders stay in business because there is a reliable market for their products. As long as there is a profit to be made, these undesirable sources for pets will remain plentiful. Killing healthy/treatable shelter pets ensures that puppy mills will continue to meet the demand for pets that shelters are not.”
        Those were your words from the last paragraph of your article. Why shouldn’t a breeder make a profit? Why is a breeder an undesirable source for a puppy? You are a breeder. What makes you any better than any other breeder? Are you paid to write these articles?

      4. Good news kaylor – You no longer need to look up the definition of “trolling”. You can find it right here, in your own words:

        “Why shouldn’t a breeder make a profit? Why is a breeder an undesirable source for a puppy? You are a breeder. What makes you any better than any other breeder? Are you paid to write these articles?”

        The bad news is that trolling is not allowed here, as previously warned, and you have been banned.

      5. “Nobody breeds an animal and dumps it in a shelter. That just doesn’t happen.”

        Then you truly do not know how the real world works. Just last night I was talking with someone who adopted a Mastiff from her local shelter. The shelter has had a flood of Mastiffs lately because a few of the locals are breeding them and when they get too old to be “cute” and they can’t sell them, they dump them at the shelter.

        This happens all the time – the moment you cannot make a profit on what you bred, it’s out, one way or another. They aren’t going to keep feeding an animal that they cannot profit from.

      6. Does anyone know if these were planned breedings?
        Does anyone know if this was an actual “breeder” or
        someone who called themself a “breeder”.
        This isn’t a puppymiller, not even an irresponsible breeder, not even a backyard breeder. Somehow somebody had puppies and dumped them at a shelter, but you can’t call that person any kind of a breeder. Don’t think I can explain the difference well enough to suit you. But there is a difference.
        I’ve known people who had accidental litters or negligent litters.
        This sees more like that and yes it could be more than one litter born about the same time. Bitches who live together come into season about the same time.

      1. yes “shelter dogs can “win big” but so can “pet store” dogs.. look.. where you buy your pet is not the issue.. many many people look for pets ( dogs ) every year .. that is shown by this post.they should have the choice of where to put their money down.. if they are paying “big bucks” then ok.. so much for them. Caveat Emptor is still OK with me..the BUYER has a responsibility to research as much as the Seller has to disclose.. Consumer Reports tells you what washing machine to buy and yer people do more research on that than on a new puppy. so who is to blame fort that??.. would I love for every family to have a “pit bull” yes i would.. imagine all the dogs that would not be killed ‘just because of the way they look” because my main focus is breed specific legislation and how WRONG it is.. I am a breeder so I produce a few litters every couple of years.. so shoot me.. I do my part.. and so do many of my breeder friends.. we do not put pets in shelters.. and we support no kill and yet I have to read the crap ( excuse my language) that I see on these posts about breeders and how terrible they are..

      2. I think a lot of people have this negative connotation when they think of the word ‘breeder’ in the same way that they think of puppy mills, just not in a large scale operation. I don’t, though. I’m thankful for breeders because without them we would be out of certain breeds, or at least diminishing the number of certain breeds quickly (i.e. pitbulls). I do have an issue with puppy mills though, but who doesn’t except for those who run them. And if you aren’t one of those people who have the negative connotation because of association, then you are probably one who still believes in the overpopulation myth. So basically what I’m saying is don’t take it personally and the people who think that are probably uneducated or something.

      3. Alice, I sent in those links because the claim was made in the post upthread that shelter dogs could not be trained to compete or work, which is arrant nonsense. I never made, nor do I intend to ever make, the claim that dogs acquired by other means cannot.

    6. You won’t get a competition dog from a pet store, either, not a solud, reliable one. Best shot is a resposible breeder who is breeding for the traits you want–and those people are not selling to pet stores, or over the internet to anyone with a credit card, either. Second bestvshot? A shelter! Check out the adolescent dogs surrendered for bring too high-energy and uncontrllable. Often they’re nice dogs who need jobs.

      Guide dogs are purpose bred, but many other kinds of service dogs are recruited from shelters. It depends in what job they need to do and what traits are needed.

      Oh, and as a city girl myself–I have never gotten a pet from a pet store. All my pets have come either fromvshelters, or from responsible breeders who provide lifetime support and a return clause guaranteeing the pets I get from them a safe home to goto if I die or for any reason I can’t care for them anymore.

      1. Liz……thank you….I never even thought of looking for a competition dog at a pet store. Just never occurred to me.
        Directly from a breeder is all I’ve ever gotten on purpose. A few lovable ones have wandered through my life, totally un-announced, but could not be denied.

    7. Once again Kaylor, your ignorance shines bright! Oh….where do I start? I’ll start by telling you that rescues/shelters DO NOT MAKE A PROFIT! As far as the pet supply stores, pet food companies and vets…they are a service industry business and that is what businesses do…make money. The difference is the pet stores selling puppies/kittens and the puppy millers are feeding their greed off the backs of the dogs and puppies they have. The pet service industries you mention do not use live, feeling, breathing animals to make money. I have a challenge for you Kaylor…go find the definition of “puppy mill” where the definition includes “respectable or responsible breeder” in it. Hate to burst your bubble but it doesn’t exist! Now for your reasoning that respectable breeders sell puppies to the whole sellers that in turn sell the puppies to the pets store….again you are WRONG! Respectable/responsible breeders affiliate themselves with their local, regional, state and/or national breed clubs for their specific breed(s). These clubs have a code of ethics that all members must abide by which includes breeding/testing guidelines and standards. Furthermore, it is strictly forbidden to sell the puppies to whole sellers and/or pet is also forbidden to raffle, auction off or offer a puppy as a door prize. Respectable/responsible breeders will not offer their puppies to whoever shows up with cash/credit card in hand. They interview perspective families, have contracts and most require all companion pets must be spayed/neutered. These are the people that indeed breed for the betterment and quality of the breed and to allow puppies that don’t meet the standard to go out and breed only produces more puppies that are even further from breed standards. I have done my homework on both puppy mills and CBO’s. I have been very active with the “dog show circuit” and I can tell you that no puppy from a pet store is “show quality”. All your posting has done was show your true ignorance as well as confirm you ARE NOT or have never been a respectable/responsible breeder! Now go out and get a real job instead trying to profit from the misery and suffering of the true victims of greed…..the dogs and puppies!

      1. wow now who is trolling.”victims of greed”.. MY MY. you are incorrect some puppies from pet stores make fine show dogs.. and some have been the sires and dams incredible future show dogs. I am a “respectable breeder” and I do not require any my dogs to be castrated in fact I ask that they are not.. it is not healthy for them.. your litany of what is a “responsible breeder ” is taken straight from the animal rights mantra
        meanwhile I want some of what you are smoking when you say rescues/shelters do not make a profit.. have you seen the bottom line at the HSUS? ASPCA? Best Friends? even my local shelter has over 5 million in the bank..
        Pet service industries certainly do use “live breathing feeling animals.. what do you think dog food companies test their foods on.. plastic dogs? Drug companies that make medicine for dogs?? they test them on dogs.. wow.. what a concept..flea medication..heart worm meds.. vet supplies.. etc.. all use “living, feeling, breathing animals” to mostly help other “living breathing feeling animals..
        meanwhile I agree I loved this article until I got tot eh”PM ” part.. i agree that shelters often have a “holier than thou” attitude toward potential purchasers of their products ( dogs , cats and others animals..and I agree that many more dogs/ etc could be sold at shelters if they actually worked on it instead of blaming the public and killing with abandon as they do in many places.. old habits die ( excuse the pun)hard. I often imagine a shelter worked killing a dog and saying.. hey not MY fault so I will take the parts this 99.9% excellent article that I agree with and pass it around..
        ps.. your insults and common rudeness are without merit and do not show you in a very “respectable” light bt I did get a chuckle out of your name “Bingosmonnie” I hope you did
        win him/her in a fast game of Bingo

      2. ya really hit the nail on the head and I certainly appreciate that there are a few people willing to speak up.
        This was a very good article, it just didn’t need to end by bad-mouthing breeders.

      3. the h$us and a$pca are hardly animal welfare organizations – and if you believe they are, then I believe you are mistaken

      4. HSUS and ASPCA are not actual rescues. Local rescues/shelters DO NOT MAKE A PROFIT!

      5. local shelter workers make a living working in shelters

        the shelter directors usually make a very good living

        It isn’t all volunteers doing the work.

        Some rescues may be hurting for funding.
        Some rescues also turn around and sell their “rescued” pets for tidy sums
        They call it “adoption fees”, rescues and shelters both do the same thing.

    8. US Customs Service gets all of their sniffer dogs from shelters and rescues. I tried to get one of my fosters in but he failed the evaluation (not toy-motivated enough).

      1. Shelter dogs can work out nicely for service animals that work mostly on leash and without much stress.

      2. Tell that to people who have trained shelter dogs for search & rescue. Oh, wait, you don’t know anyone who’s trained any dogs for search and rescue, do you.

      3. Sorry, but this is not correct. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (the new, post 9-11 name for Customs) gets the vast majority of its drug dogs from breeders, mostly ones in Europe. There are a few ex-shelter dogs, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

    9. Your information is incomplete. I live near San Francisco, CA, where pet stores may not legally sell dogs or cats. City people here get pets just fine from shelters as well as breeders, (both responsible and irresponsible.) The San Francisco SPCA, where I worked, had a long-running Hearing Dog program using rescued shelter dogs who were systematically vetted for the right qualities for the job.

      The post was not anti-breeder. In fact, many of us in the no-kill movement specifically take issue with the distraction that comes with lumping together people who breed their own pets (and find homes for them) and people who breed working dogs or particular breeds with puppy mills and “backyard breeders” who reproduce unhealthy dogs.

      1. Of course my (and everybody else’s) information is incomplete. None of us have written anything the volume of an encycloepedia – yet.
        I did not know San Francisco had outlawed selling dogs in pet stores. I always thought that wouldn’t make much difference. from what you say, maybe I was right. You still getting your dogs.

      2. There was only one pet shop in SF that still sold puppies & kittens – and this had been the case for a very long time – so of course the law wasn’t going to make much of a difference. For that matter, there aren’t a lot of pet shops outside SF in the area that sell puppies & kittens. Offhand I can think of one, in Richmond, and it never looked prosperous.

      3. kaylor, it does, though, rather refute your claim that city people don’t have anyplace but pet shops to get pets.

      4. kaylor made no such claim, she asked where city people would get their dogs. She also asked other questions of the author and was banned. Apparently one should not ask questons.

  2. I love this article-very well put. We tried, when we moved to a new area, to adopt a kitten from a humane society next county over(I do not believe any of the organizations now in operation in our then-small county was in operation). They made us jump through hoops-we had to call our former vet in the last city we lived in. We had a dog that had literally moved with us THREE times(my husband’s job had us moved quite alot back in the day) and was sitting in the garage one day at our last home(may I mention this dog showed up at our first home, a stray, pregnant and we took her in, found homes for all puppies and had her spayed and vetted?? Note: she had NINE puppies) just laying there-while he worked on the lawnmower, and all of a sudden-she dashed out of the garage(unlike her) and ran into the road, getting hit by car. We rushed her to the vet where she passed-it was a horrible event for our family. Fast forward to that day, standing there, trying to give a homeless pet a home, and we were drilled like we were criminals. We were up front with what happened to Murphy. We ended up walking out and not adopting-they made us relive that horrible day where we lost our dear friend-a faithful friend who we had moved with three times, put up 3 fences for to keep safe, loved and cared for. My husband finally said, you can let us take a cat or not but we are not going through any more interrogation. We then went to the local pound-where we we told “They had no cats”. Which I thought odd-turns out they killed every animal in 3 days. Where did we go? We ended up going to a pet store to adopt the kitten-who we still have today-13 1/2 yrs later. One friend tried to adopt a dog, a certain organization would not let them because they were going to keep the dog outside most of the time-they had a dog house and a fenced yard. There is alot of good, but there is also alot of bad, like you speak of, that keep people from adopting a shelter pet or from a rescue.

    1. It is such a shame that you had to be grilled like that… I attended the Western States No Kill Conference in Albuquerque this past March and Nathan Winograd told the sotry about how HE was turned down adopting a dog or would’ve had to put up a non-refundable fee to even be considered for adoptions… We do have to be cautious when adopting out but I learn more from talking with potential families than I would from any application that wouldn’t get read…

    2. I have found that no matter how many hoops you make people jump through, there is absolutely no way to be 100% certain those people will provide a good home – for as long as the animal lives. Ya might as well be playing roulette. People I have thought would be excellant, have turned out to be horrid. Likelwise, people I had my doubts about have turned out to be absolutely wonderful. Sorry you had that experience with that shelter. Some of them just get overfull of themselves.

      1. have to agree.. I sold a dog to a man with a “tattoo shirt” ( is that what you call them? ) anyway he had many tattoos.. he lived in the city with no fenced yard.. but near a park.. he had a roommate that looked like the Hulk and rented a flat.. no one would sell him a dog.. i did.. and 13 1/2 years later.. he is one of the BEST owners i could have ever sold to and the dog is still thriving.. NO shleter would give him a dog..NONE.. well guess what they missed out..and I thin it happens all of the time.. and again i see the shelter workers killing the dog and saying Not my fault no one wanted you when the truth is no one saw the animal or was rejected by the shelter as “unfit for pet ownership?

  3. This fact requires shelter directors to take ownership of their actions (or inactions) and that’s not a comfortable place to be…

    It’s easier to keep killing, keep blaming, and throw up your hands and say, “There’s no other choice! Nothing else can work in my state, county, city, etc.”

    Beyond ownership, it requires organization, transformational leadership, engagement with the community, and the will to MAKE IT WORK. But directors still cling to the old catch and kill model because that requires no ownership, no leadership, and you can make the community your adversary. Also, the staff and volunteers (if you can keep any) become demoralized, apathetic, and some become monsters (see: MAS).

    A shelter director is a community leader – for good or ill, what the director chooses *affects* the surrounding community. Too many people think it’s “just an animal issue” when it’s not – it’s a people issue and needs to be seen as such.

    1. Excellent point! I have seen an incredible change in my own community. The city shelter I spoke of(We have no cats) is now working with the local humane society and another rescue to get these pets adopted or reclaimed and the amount of lives saved has been nothing short of incredible, But it has become a COMMUNITY issue-involving all who care. Our county shelter opened by partnering with a not for profit organization, now has spay/neuter clinics, an incredibly welcoming and homey adoption center, community outreach-all people people got involved and cared-you are totally correct-it takes the directors letting people help, letting them in to get involved. It makes all the difference. People who cannot go down and volunteer do things like donate food/sponsor pets for adoption/share photos of available pets/donate other good needed. It has truly turned around the situation of homeless pets in this community.

      1. that’s the way to do it…. yes excellent points.. also as a breeder I find comments like “bingos'” insulting and down right despicable. I have no problem with shelters.. and in fact work hand in hand with mine to place dogs ( mostly “pit bulls’ ) whenever I can.. in turn they have referred people to me when they were set on my breed.. it is a two way street.. room for everyone ..insults and rudeness are not compatible with working together for the betterment of all

      2. Like I posted before I choose to adopt but also I support RESPONSIBLE breeders. I don’t lump all breeders as puppy millers or irresponsible. As far as getting a “show quality” puppy from a pet store, it does not happen. Those in the show ring that breed DEFINITELY DO NOT SELL their “show quality” puppies to pet stores. Those who are truley involved in show or competition know that when they breed, they are lucky if one of the puppies actually meets the show/competition standard and that puppy is sold/kept within the showing/competition circuit. I have been involved in show/competition for many years.

    2. Hi Mikken

      Please do remember when you say that the Shelter Director is a community leader that not all communities demand the same thing and they represent the community as a whole not just the animal loving public. Some areas need bridges built between animal lovers and non-animal lovers. (I love this part of my job :)

      Some of the adoption restrictions many complain against are actual mandates written representing the people. Please look at each community like you look at each animal as an ” individual “.

      1. dogedog, I disagree. A shelter director is a community LEADER, not representative. The director’s goal should be to move the community in a positive and constructive direction for the good of all.

        So just because a community sucks, animal-care-wise, doesn’t mean that the director should allow that to justify running a high kill shelter of the catch and kill style.

        And while I understand that there may be concerns about adopting certain animals out in certain areas, a good director will not allow that to excuse the wholesale killings of those animals.

  4. Many of the problems mentioned regarding the shelters being depressing places to go to, with little opportunity to engage with the animals, would be solved by getting rid of the animal prisons in favor of this…
    Who will step up? Daycares have been doing something similar for a decade, as have some rescues and sanctuaries both here and abroad.

  5. It is crazy-making to me that shelters (and rescues) put so many restrictions on potential adopters. I could likely never adopt from a shelter at this point because I intend to keep my young dog intact unless he gives me cause to neuter him. He won’t be bred. But I believe it’s healthier for him to keep his hormones.

    But no shelter would adopt an altered dog to me. It doesn’t matter that the adopted dog is sterile and could not be bred. It doesn’t matter that my intact dog will not be bred. I am clearly irresponsible because my dog has cajones. End of story. Sorry. Get your next dog elsewhere.

    Stupid stupid stupid. And I know so many people who are affected by these types of things. No fence? Sorry. Doesn’t matter that you already have an athletic, well-trained dog that you’ve managed to exercise appropriately. You can’t have one of our dogs. Kids? Doesn’t matter if there’s a kid-friendly, appropriate dog in our shelter. You can’t have him.

    So often, the complaints that there are not enough adopters. If you’re not willing to vet each adopter on his own merits and instead dismiss them out of hand for xyz reason without even speaking to them, then you don’t get to complain that there isn’t anybody to take these dogs home.

    1. I just need to convey a personal anecdote. When I first decided I needed my own dog (after I moved into my own first studio apartment in New York City), I sought out dogs from local rescues. I completed applications from five different rescues, and each one interviewed me extensively and three brought over a dog However, each one came up with a different excuse to not give me a dog. Too small a house, no fence, single (yes, single), and I was even denied for being a smoker. My cousin’s dog was bred by a wonderful woman who said she’d be thrilled if one of her dogs came to live with me. So I went down to Maryland and she handed me Zuzu, who went on to be my constant companion for the next fourteen years. I’d like to thank those rescues for moulding my future opinions about the realities of adoptions and how important it is to keep an open mind and give adopters the benefit of the doubt.

    1. Well, I was only speaking to the one line of the entire article. So it would make sense that my comment was limited to that one “narrow” subject.. I did say the article made a lot of good points. So, I don’t think I was so “narrow-minded”. I’m real tired of dog breeders being blamed for all problems dog.

  6. What a wonderful article!!! I so agree! 4 years ago, was turned down by a couple of maltese rescues because my three foot high fence was not good enough. AND i could not give them neighbor references – I am one of the few homeowners left in a very transient neighborhood, that is very unfortunately of drug infested and transient nature….which drug dealer do you want to talk to about me? And will they be even live there in a week when you call…obviously it makes me bad that i have owned this home for over 10 years, but the neighborhood has gone down hill due to people moving and selling their property quickly to slum lords…did not matter that I worked at an animal shelter, have much time at home, have 2 fenced in (not the proper height at that time for tiny Maltese) city lots, big enough house, 20 years experience with Maltese, 2 vet references, personal references that should have been impressive (like the director of the local medical division of the Homeland security department and the then county prosecuting attorney, you know people like that….) But since there were no neighbors i could give as references….we were denied….

    We ended up getting a “breeder reject”

    We did adopt from a wonderful rescue a few months ago, no issues at all, talked to the dog’s foster mom – approved, and have a wonderful little Shih Tzu boy

    The problem too that I see is, there are very few shelter workers who would be able to pass some of the rigid screening and arbitrary crap that they dump on the public – let’s start with “working outside of the home for how many hours????” how many shelter workers are gone from the home more than 2-3 hours a day.

    Adoption questions should be for screening only. In other words, people often will tell you things that maybe should put flags up, but then you discuss with them. for example, the people above whose dog was run over….you should find out what happened – and know it was a HORRIBLE ACCIDENT!! Not a way of life, but something that broke their hearts and was accidental…I would have adopted to them in a heart beat! you can tell so much from even the telling of the incident! Accidents happened, but I gurantee that the pet they tried to adopt, if killed, it was no accident.

    1. Thank you so much for saying that. It was horrible. I should add that we did go on to adopt two dogs and a cat from a shelter/rescue and adopted another kitty who was dumped in our neighborhood.(our furry family now totals 5) I also agree that wanting to know how many hours worked out of the home is ridiculous-in today’s economy, how many can afford to stay home all day? I have seen all kinds of requirements-like no children under 8 even. I can understand that for a dog who maybe does not do well with children but for ALL of your available pets? I cannot believe that rescue would not let you adopt, it sounds as if you would have given that pup a wonderful home.

  7. This article is important and makes good points. I need to add something that was overlooked. Approximately half of the animals in most shelters are simply lost. Kill shelters are notorious for not being proactive in making attempts to reunite pets with their families. In fact in their death and defeatist driven attitude they also often overlook micro chips. In many No Kill shelters finding the pets lost humans are a priority, with reuniting upwards of 30% of their intake. This is the easiest way to empty a cage AND create a happy ending for an already loving family. My other comment is that a good portion of those killed are feral cats and progressive shelters have stopped impounding cats period. If we eliminate those two portions of the shelter population we probably only have about a million to 1.5 million to place!!

    1. And if you do come to reclaim your pet, some shelters charge ridiculous fees that many folks simply cannot afford.

      1. Depends on whether it is a “local private shelter” or a government (usually county) owned shelter. All have their ‘rules’ but counties are usually driven by laws.

      2. and if your pet has the fortune “cajones” mentioned above.. he will likely have to be neutered before you an reclaim him.. your bitch will have to be spayed as well.. no matter if you do not desire that surgery to be forced upon your “property” after all every loose dog caused another litter of unwanted puppies..NOT..

  8. Great post. To your #3, I would add that if there’s low traffic at a shelter, it’s probably not just because of the location. Many shelters seem happy not just to avoid offsite adoptions, but to remain invisible to the community altogether. Being invisible means less traffic, and low traffic (“nobody’s here to adopt”) becomes an excuse to kill pets (“nobody wants these animals”).

    I’m a pet-owner, interested in pet issues, and read widely both online and off-, yet I lived in my community for 16 years before I learned that there was a county shelter not far from me. I only found out because I looked up the shelters in my area. I’m pretty sure most pet-owners are like me and couldn’t name their shelters . . . if these facilities don’t make themselves visible, how are we supposed to know about them and adopt from them?

  9. My sister found a little kitten last Sunday night. She was very friendly but tended to nip and, it turns out, was already spayed. We called the shelter but no one had reported her missing.

    Today my daughter and I walked door to door looking for the owner. It took us about an hour of walking the neighborhood before we found the owners. Little Cleo is now home with her family of four humans (including two little girls that adore her), another kitten, a dog, a bearded dragon, some fish, and two hamsters.

    If I’d turned her into the shelter, I highly doubt she would have made her way home. The way most shelters are run, she probably would have been killed for lack of space or for being “too aggressive” with her love nips.

    1. Vania, you’ve touched on an important issue; most communities could do a MUCH better job at returning lost pets to their homes. There are several surprising barriers to be aware of if we are to overcome them. A guy once told me “People help stray dogs, not stray cats”, after I was able to bring his lost cat back to him. That was his mindset why he didn’t look at the found cat ads online or post any himself.

      When we increase the return to owner rate and proactive redemptions, we reduce the number of pets killed or taking up room in shelters and rescues that should be occupied by truly homeless pets.

      This presentation, below, discusses several barriers and solutions:

      “Best Friends Animal Society and present …
      “Think Lost, Not Stray”
      Kat Albrecht, Founder of Missing Pet Partnership

      “Think Lost, NOT Stray” info on the MPP website,

      This looks interesting…

      NEW – Webinar training series coming, fall of 2012,

      “Starting in the fall of 2012, Missing Pet Partnership will offer a 6-week Missing Animal Response (MAR) webinar training series. Led by MPP founder Kat Albrecht, this course is designed for rescue group volunteers, shelter workers, animal industry professionals, and anyone interested in offering lost pet recovery services in their community. It includes training in the analysis of lost pet behaviors, instruction in how to creatively capture skittish dogs and skittish cats, the use of search dogs to find lost pets, lost pet forensics, search theory, and lost pet scenarios. Students will learn hands on rescue techniques plus how to implement a lost pet recovery program in their own community. This course will be offered through live, weekly webinars starting in the fall of 2012. Pre-register now and MPP will reserve your space and contact you once we’re accepting registrations.”

  10. What is ironic is that many shelters accept commercial breeders rejects and older breeding dogs. I doubt many of these dogs are considered adoptable except for the older pups. Some of these breeders will sell them at the dog auctions or release the older dogs to rescue.

    1. I’ve heard of breed specific rescues who go after breeders to release their dogs to them. I think that results in older dogs (over the hill and no longer breeding well) and ‘rejects’. I doubt that. Rejects get sent out with the wholesalers to go to pet shops – somebody will buy them and pay big money for them. Sorry, I don’t like puppy mills any better than anybody else. We just need to understand what a “puppymill” is. To me, that is a commercial breeder(licensed under the USDA) that sells to a wholesaler that sells to a pet store. And yes, there are some of them that try to do a good job of breeding.
      Many states have laws prohibiting auctioning dogs or raffling dogs. The main dog auctions are not open to the public. They are breeders only auctions. A breeder goes out of business and sells all of his stock to another breeder. I’m not 100% sure on all of that. I do know of a rescue that sends buyers in incognito to these auctions. Some breeders have relationships with some breed specific rescue groups and do release the older dogs to them. Not even good pet prospects, but usuallynot aggressive.

      1. Kaylor….you really don’t know the in’s and out’s of CBO’s;aka puppy mills. The USDA requires anyone who has more than 3 breeding females and are selling the puppies to either whole sellers or pet stores MUST be licensed by USDA. And 98% of these breeders have multiple violations when it comes to the minimum standards of care for the dogs/puppies. So only 2% can meet the minimum standards of care. With over 3,700 puppy mills in the U.S. your odds of getting a puppy at a pet store that came from a “respectable breeder” (your words) is almost nil. The older dogs (or rejects as call them) do not go to the whole seller/pet stores. They only want puppies! Cute, fluffy little puppies bring in the money. At least you admit that you don’t know much about the breeder auctions. So I will tell you my experiences with them. These auctions are held in the “puppy mill states” with Missouri and Pennsylvania being at the top of the list. Some of the dogs being auctioned off are from puppy mills going out of business, but that is a very small percentage. The majority of the dogs being auctioned off are due to not producing viable litters. These puppy millers literally breed the dogs until they can no longer produce. These breeding dogs are kept in cruel and inhumane confinement, given no vet care, are fed a mixture of sawdust with a little dry dog food and must live in their own feces/urine. These breeders are only out to make money and give no care to the dogs/puppies. They turn around and sell the puppies to the whole seller for $20 – $40 a puppy depending on the breed. The whole seller then sells the puppy to the pet store for $60 – $100 a puppy. So the breeder concentrates on mass quanity with very little to no overhead. The dogs and puppies in these mills are inbred, malnourished and unsocialized, yet the pet stores lies to you and tells you all their puppies come from the highest quality breeders. Once a breeding dog is of no use, the breeder takes the dog to an auction where the dogs is auctioned off. The average auction price is around $25 but a lot of these dogs go for as little as $5. These dogs are not worth much because of the conditions these dogs are forced to live in. These breeders are so greedy they want every last penny from the dog. And what happens to the dogs that are not bought….after the auction is over the breeders bring the dogs around to the back of the buildings and beat them to death with baseball bats.They are not going to waste time, money and gas to transport them back home because it eats into their profits. they are so greedy that they won’t even pays for the cost of the bullets to shoot them. Some of the dogs are badly beated but not dead. Then they fill the dumpsters with the dead and dieing dogs and go about their merry way. I know this because I have been there and witnessed it myself. Responsible/respectable breeders never associate themselves with this repugnant business and that is why the do not sell to brokers, whole sellers or pet stores.

      2. Bingosmommie commented on Directors of Pet Killing Facilities Keep Puppy Mills in Business.

        in response to kaylor:

        I’ve heard of breed specific rescues who go after breeders to release their dogs to them. I think that results in older dogs (over the hill and no longer breeding well) and ‘rejects’. I doubt that. Rejects get sent out with the wholesalers to go to pet shops – somebody will buy them and pay […]

        Kaylor….you really don’t know the in’s and out’s of CBO’s;aka puppy mills. The USDA requires anyone who has more than 3 breeding females and are selling the puppies to either whole sellers or pet stores MUST be licensed by USDA.”………..


        You don’t know everything yourself. I might be of a better mind to believe you if you even knew how to spell “Wholesalers” correctly.
        1. USDA LICENSED breeders sell to “brokers” (wholesalers)
        2. BROKERS are also licensed by the USDA
        3. BROKERS sell to pet stores.
        4. Pet stores are required by AWA to acquire most of their puppies from brokers.
        5. USDA licensed breeders are required to sell through brokers, they may not sell directly to the public.

        All of these people are trying to make a living. Just like you, me or anybody else. To keep saying they are nothing but greedy is not very accurate. They need to make a profit so they can feed their families. It isn’t as if anyone is rolling in money from all these puppy sales. They just are not.

        To say all puppy millers do all these terrible things is just wrong. It isn’t true and it is wrong. It is just like everything else in this world. Some good and some bad – mostly we hear about the bad. There most definitely are some good ones and there are more that are trying to become better.

      3. Once again, you are incorrect. AWA (Animal Welfare Act) is what the USDA uses as standards for the care of dogs/puppies in CBO’s and have nothing to do with the pet stores. Pet stores are regulated by local municipalities. USDA licensed breeders can and do sell to brokers, pet stores directly and to the public. and thanks to the Freedom of Information Act all USDA breeders and brokers information is available on the USDA website for anyone to see that includes breeder’s name, address, number of violations and details on each of the violations and number of dogs/puppies on the property. As far as following the money trail, the USDA requires records on all puppies sold to brokers and pet stores. Depending on the number of breeding dogs, it is not unusual for these CBO’s to make $500,000 or more a year. Follow the paper trail….it is all there and open for anyone to see. And when a CBO is audited, they must submit all financials including detailed receipts/paperwork of what they spent for the care of the dogs/puppies. And what they spent/overhead equates to only a small fraction of what they made. Again, it is available for anyone to see. The USDA calls their CBO’s puppy mills. It is the USDA’s own figures that show 98% of the CBO’s have violations for not meeting the minimum standards of care and only 2% meet minimum standards. The figures don’t lie.

      4. The rejects I am talking about are the puppies that are rejected by the dealer/broker after a vet does a quick check and will not buy them from a breeder because of medical conditions such as a luxating patellas, heart murmurs, eye problems, etc. The largest dealer/broker in the country has a grading system for health problems. I rescued a pup at a dog auction that was returned from the pet store and she had 5 AKC transfers in 5 months as that was how old she was!

        The dog auctions are definitely open to the public because I have been attending them since 2000. Just research MO dog auctions as they are located in Wheaton and Cabool. There was also one recently held in OH. They sell all ages of dogs but usually the dogs are younger. Many breeders are just selling to get out of a specific breed. There are many consignment auctions held.

        The commercial breeders who test their dogs for any genetic disorders are few and far between. How many do you know have OFA tests or CERF eye exams done on their dogs?

      5. I think it’s safe to say that Kaylor vastly underestimates the mercenary nature of puppy millers. These are not good people who are doing what they love, these are greedy people who are out to make profit and that’s all.

      6. These people are doing what USDA taught them to do.
        Even so, not all are like this.

      7. No, I don’t think I underestimate any of them. Not the worst of them and not the best of them.
        What is highly overrated is the USDA’S involvement.

      8. Yes there is a grading system for the puppies. Grade A puppies are shipped to pet stores throughout the U.S. Grade B puppies are the sicklier ones that are sold in Canada, on the Internet and at auction houses. Mid America is one of the more known puppy brokers that specifically use the Internet and auction houses. These types of auctions are open to the public. The specific “breeder auctions” are closed and you must have certain “credentials” to get into these. Grade C puppies are the dead and dying puppies that are thrown into ditches.

        Sadly, most of the puppies deemed healthy/Grade A puppies have illnesses/hereditary issues that don’t show up until days, weeks, months or years later.

        While adoption is my only option, there are responsible breeders. Do your homework. All the information is out there and available. But there are a few red flags/ways to tell if they are responsible.
        1. Responsible breeders do not sell/advertise in newspapers, on the Internet, on a street corner or on Craigslist.
        2. They will require you to come to their home so you can see the parent dog(s) and to see how you interact with the puppies.
        3. Will have a contract that outlines you responsibilities as well as theirs. They make themselves available to assist you and can give you advice when needed.
        4. At any time during that puppy’s life you can no longer care for the dog, they will rehome the dog or take it back.

  11. But shelters are not the only source for adoption! There are so many rescues that specialize in everything from mix breeds to pure breads that there has to be enough for them all. It takes as much effort to locate local shelters AND rescues as is does to locate a breeder. We need to get the word out about rescues as well as shelters!

  12. But there are a few red flags/ways to tell if they are responsible.
    1. Responsible breeders do not sell/advertise in newspapers, on the Internet, on a street corner or on Craigslist.

    of course they do.. most breeders have websites.. many advertise in dog magazines.. and newspapers..and many sell happy healthy puppies. Shelters should take a hint…and do the same

    2. They will require you to come to their home so you can see the parent dog(s) and to see how you interact with the puppies.

    no they don’t.. and in many cases it is impossible. many breeders of rare breeds cannot have people coming from across country to pick up their puppy.. many ship puppies to people they interview by phone or have references from.. or even just get to know long distance..the internet has been a big PLUS for this.. you can “skype” see the pups.. etc.. internet videos, photos etc make it easier to get a good puppy not more difficult..Each puppy shipped has to have a health certificate signed by a licensed vet before they can be shipped.. if every puppy was “local” we would see many breeds disappear and less healthy animals as genetic material would be much more inbred if animals were not shipped to other breeders…

    3. Will have a contract that outlines you responsibilities as well as theirs. They make themselves available to assist you and can give you advice when needed.

    Do shelters do this.. I would guess not as 20% of dogs purchased from shelter are returned to the shelter ( ASPCA stats)

    4. At any time during that puppy’s life you can no longer care for the dog, they will rehome the dog or take it back.

    yup shelters do do this.. in the most part but if you return your dog to a breeder chances are it WIILL be “rehomed”,.. chances at the shelter???? not so good.

  13. Well our problem here in western N.Y. is the maintence of our ASPCA’s not that its so hard to adopt from there .I did come across a major problem a few months ago when adopting my last dog,there is someone who comes and gets all the small young dogs from the shelter and takes them home calls it a rescue group and charges 4-500.00 dallors but she doesnt even give them a day to see if they would be adopted at the shelter,I totally belive its for profit,100% If anyone has ideas of what you think I can do ,I’ll take them! Thanks

  14. Could not agree more with this post. I think this is a great ‘summary’ of all the main points regarding being No-Kill to all the naysayers out there who dont think it will ever work. I also agree with the main point about how if people dont ever realize these things, puppy mills will remain in business, sadly. I really hope to see an end to them in my lifetime, but who knows. Thanks Shirley!

  15. WOW. As a former shelter director, I’m dumbfounded and I take extreme offense to this post. As a person who has worked for 15 years in the animal welfare industry in pretty all aspects, it is pretty apparent that you haven’t. I wasn’t a director that hid in my office; I was a shelter worker from cleaning to adoptions to euthanasia.

    100% not kill is not possible until people, all people, take responsibility for their pets and until animals have a higher value in our legal system than a washing machine. We have become a disposable society, an irresponsible society, a society with no impulse control. When people want something, they want it NOW.

    Shame on you for piling ALL shelter directors into your narrow-minded view.

    1. Not ALL shelter directors, just the ones supporting the senseless mass killing of companion animals. We already disputed the “blame the public” argument some time ago. Nobody ever talked about a 100% life release rate but countless examples have shown that a life release rate around 90% is achievable.

    2. I don’t see how I could have been clearer – even in the title, I make the distinction that I am not lumping all shelter directors together.

    3. Redheadboxermomma, by your definition, no kill will never be achieved. You cannot get “all people” to value their own children, let alone their pets.

      If you stop blaming the public and start embracing them as the solution, you will find that it can be done – it has been done and is being done every day in communities around the country.

    4. really we have “become a disposable society” when it comes to pets.. wow that must be why the kill rates at shelters have PLUMMETED in the last 20 years.. yes some SD’s still “blame the public” but what is so great is than many many more are not like you and prefer to use the positive approach when it comes to placing animals..
      glad to know you are “former”

  16. The public is responsible for NOT spaying/neutering roaming pets and just abandoning them when they’re tired of them! Have you been living under a rock?

      1. under the same rock?? ASPCA and other AR groups who report .. report that 85% of owned cats are ALREADY neutered and 75% of owned dogs.. I do think these people will not be happy until the rate is 100% .. and then?????

  17. Thank you, Shirley, this is a brilliant post, and beautifully sums up the situation. I have had to quit protesting pet stores that sell puppy mill puppies, even though it is a cause that is dear to my heart, because I can’t bring myself to stand next to a sign that says, “pet overpopulation is NOT a myth!” and listen to people next to me telling the public that puppy mills are responsible for shelter killing. How refreshing to see a post that tells the truth – that is it actually the other way around, and they are going about it backwards.

    And in response to Frances Hayward, yes, there are members of the public who are responsible for “not spaying/neutering roaming pets and just abandong them when thy’re tired of them.” These people will always be with us. What they are NOT responsible for, however, is the killing of those pets in so-called “shelters.”

  18. Good news kaylor – You no longer need to look up the definition of “trolling”. You can find it right here, in your own words:

    “Why shouldn’t a breeder make a profit? Why is a breeder an undesirable source for a puppy? You are a breeder. What makes you any better than any other breeder? Are you paid to write these articles?”

    The bad news is that trolling is not allowed here, as previously warned, and you have been banned.
    Those are just questions

  19. As I read thru the comments I have only my opinion to add-
    Any “reputable” breeder – breeding for the highest quality of a breed does several things.
    1. They raise these babies in a home environment with love -as a family member- not stuck out in a kennel without socialization/intergration to humans.
    2. They cull out the pick – the best of the breed representation.
    3. They are all given the necessary health care for optimum health.
    4. They have all the others spayed/neutered either prior to sale or have a follow up program to ensure those that do not represent the top qualities of the breed are spayed/neutered. And that is in a contract for sale.

  20. Anything “less” and you are in it for the $$$$$ and I hope you are SHUT down for being the scum of the earth making a buck on the backs of innocent animals. Nothing more than a slave trader. A POS!!

  21. Excellent point. Of course, this is the exact opposite of what the kill shelter directors have been telling the public (in between blaming that public for their high kill rates as well). Unfortunately, many people have bought into it. Seems like every day I hear “if we just shut down the puppymills” or “if we just passed a law to ban breeders” — that would fix everything and shelters would no longer “have” to kill.

    Even when you tell people that communities have stopped killing without doing what they propose, they won’t believe. They are too vested in blaming the public.

  22. Sounds wonderful. In a perfect world that should work. In reality, not so easy. Those contracts are a real pain to enforce.

    1. Only a pain if you are not having them put up a high enough deposit to ensure compliance with S/N requirements. And do a follow up. I know one breeder who is so rigorous about keeping the standards high that in her contract if you don’t show proof at 6mos she charges another $500 – at 9 mos a grand. Only noncompliance she ever got was a case where the buyer died and she got it straighten out with the kids- they got the dog fixed and she returned all the $$- which she doesn’t have to do according to her contract. As she said since she will take back all her pups- no questions asked for the rest of their lives- she doesn’t want to take back a pup that has been breed to death.

      1. You still living in that perfect world. This only works if such people are willing to cooperate. If they are not, the only choice is to take them to court. That is a pain. That doesn’t always work, either.

      2. I always make it part of the deal that if, for any reason at any time, an adopter cannot keep the cat or kitten,s/he comes back to me. And I’m not a rescue – just someone who “rescues” the ones who happen to come into my life. And I ask for donations to rescues/humane society in lieu of an adoption fee. So, one size fits all . . . doesn’t.

      3. I don’t think anyone said “one size fits all”. I’m not going back and rereading this whole thing. There are rescues that do a fine job, but you have to admit there are so-called rescues that do not.

        You, putting so much into it are on the verge of becoming a “hoarder”. That’s how it starts, trying to rescue and rehome everything you possibly can, then that doesn’t work so well and all of a sudden you are overrun with dogs with no place to go.

        Be careful…………..

      4. There are a lot of responsible breeders like the friend of Kittypurr. These are REAL breeders that put in their own blood, sweat and tears for doing what they love. And yes, the real breeders do it for the love and betterment of the breed. It’s not about the almighty dollar. While I only adopt, I fully support the responsible breeders.

        And for those who feel the adoption application from a rescue is too invasive, the app is only a tool. If you are uncomfortable giving out certain information then put in the app you would like to discuss it in detail with them. Being involved in rescue, over the years you can look at an app and what looks like a perfect home on paper is not and what looks like a poor applicant on paper turns out to be perfect. Small talk, observing and asking the right questions is what works for me. I never rely on an app as my basis for adopting or denying anyone.

      5. Thank you for your concern, but I have 4 of my own cats (9 and 16) and know my limits. I won’t take on anything I can’t handle (although I do sometimes spend more money on treating cats than some would, but that’s my choice). There are times when I have to get “my” rescues to the local humane society (which is limited admission, but does not kill for space). And sometimes I am able to financially support those special needs cats who end up at the humane society. I do what I can.

        I do understand that there are good rescues and bad rescues, good breeders and bad breeders, good shelters and others that have no business being called “shelters”.

        My point was that different things work for different people in different situations. Many of us are out there doing what we can to help animals, even though we might not be doing it in the same way.

  23. To whoever it was that posted that we rescues are just in it to make a profit – let me be. Ery clear- those of us working to save as many as we can spend our OWN money to save lives. I personally put in over 60% of my personal income every month to keep the rescue operating and supplying vet care aNd shelter care. We take a loss on every Animal adopted just to make it affordable for more people to adopt. So we can save more.
    That is the difference between a rescue and the “slave traders” who only have profit in their myopic -it’s all about me and what I WANT- so why shouldn’t I make money.
    I would imagine its the same loss for true breeders- those that care about the babies they bring into this world.
    Glad breeding children is illegal.

  24. db……..I think I messed up……..I meant to answer Kittypurr with that last post……………well, I kinda ran the two together.

    Kittypurr is the one putting 60% of her earnings into rescue. That could lead to problems.

    1. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get where you come up with hoarding from putting 60% of one’s earnings into rescue (as per your previous comment). How much money one puts into rescue has absolutely nothing to do with whether one becomes a “hoarder.” You have no idea how many animals Kittypurr has at one time. ln fact, Kittypurr makes reference to making it affordable for more people to adopt, so she/he can rescue more. Certainly doesn’t sound like hoarding to me.

      1. Doesn’t to me either. But I do know of one young lady that started out that way, then went way beyond that and nearly ended up in prison for animal neglect. Maybe you think all is well and maybe it is. I just know it can get out of hand, an become completely overwhelming all too easyily. I think that has happened to a lot of the so-called hoarders. I don’t KNOW that to be fact, but I strongly suspect a lot of hoarders started out with good intentions.

  25. Hi dg,
    Sorry if I came off like only our pitties and pit mixes are dog aggressive. I was simply addressing that we see more of those in shelter population than any other breed or breed mix and I would love to work on the root of the issue. I do realize that if I was taking in that many Akita’s, Chows, or Jack Russels the same problem would exist. It saddens me to see a wonderful breed of dog created in overabundance the way our pitties are being created. So, while we manage to adopt out these wonderful dogs, only some guardians are prepared to manage them. This goes for our other dog aggressive dogs, but we are not seeing an overabundance of them currently. Note: I had always believed the trendy dog syndrome and the backlash of an overabundance that follows, but our pittie explosion is 25 years and going…..I don’t have the answers, but sure do want to work with all involved to work on it.

    1. Seems like a lot try to gloss over the dog aggressiveness in many breeds. lol I’ve see a male chiquaqua thinking he could take on a male Great Dane. That didn’t work and the Dane so mellow.

      I’m mostly convinced dogs without training tend to act like dogs and most dogs in shelters are severely lacking in training.

      I also don’t believe all these “pit bulls” are actually pit bulls. There are so many crosses that can come out looking like a pit bull.

      Years ago I had German Shepherds. Any black and tan dog was called a “shepherd mix”. That was in the day when German Shepherds were the bad guys.

      Getting away from some of this breed specific bad stuff is a good idea. A dog is a dog is a dog, first, last and always.

  26. I love the public and their ability to rise to
    the occasion of lifesaving. I also believe
    at times a special pet you would have never
    considers adopts you.

    One glaring piece that is missing from this
    article is that not everyone wants a tuxedo
    cat. What if 3/4 of those adopting do not
    nor are they equipped to manage the
    Sylvester type cats. Fill in whatever type
    of dog or cat you wish, if 3/4 of the shelters
    have only that type of pet, how does it
    change the statistics ?

    1. I am not trying to troll or be confrontational. I am actually hoping for some help thinking outside the box. I am creative, but this one really has me stumped. Please no lists that already exist. I am sincerely asking for new ideas.

    2. I’m not sure if I’m fully understanding your question here but of the 17 million people in the potential adopter pool, there should be no problem getting all our 3 million shelter pets in need into homes while still allowing for breed, size and other preferences. There will be some people in the pool who want Pet X but can’t find Pet X at their local shelter, don’t want to look outside the area and don’t want to wait. That’s ok. We’re not expecting to convince even half of the pool to adopt shelter pets. Does that answer your question?

      1. Exactly. My mother’s cat came from Alaska (she stopped into the shelter to leave a donation while she was vacationing there and fell in love with this big, yellow doofus through the window). She lives in Ohio. The shelter in Homer, Alaska was thrilled to be able to adopt a cat to her and worked to get that cat to Ohio. A small plane pilot donated his services to get the cat to the airport because “he was going that way, anyway, and a cat doesn’t weigh much”.

        With a progressive shelter director whose goal is Getting Animals Into Homes and a willingness to think outside the box as far as networking, transportation, and marketing, you see a big difference in how things get done.

  27. Why aren’t the numbers separated for cat & dogs that enter the shelters & are killed. I think it would give a better understanding of what’s happening in the shelters. Most people don’t buy a pure bred cat and I do think that makes up most of the 6,000 shelter animals but it’s hard to tell when you lump the numbers. I think when people want a cat as a pet they turn to the shelter. Now dogs are a different story people are still buying their pure-breed dog from a breeder or pet store.

  28. Most states do require those numbers be reported seperately. Sometimes it’s just easier to lump them together when writing or speaking about them. You may have to dig a little deeper to find the individual numbers.

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