More Misguided Pet Breeding Legislation

The IL Senate has passed a bill that is supposed to protect consumers with regard to pets sold in pet stores:

In Illinois, the legislation requires pet shops to post information on or near the cages of dogs and cats that includes: the name and address of each animal’s breeder; a record of all veterinary conditions and treatments; and any known information regarding congenital or hereditary defects of the animals’ parents.

Is this really going to help protect consumers?  Let me fill out the information for one of the 47 puppies I’m selling to a broker this afternoon:

Name and Address:  Mary Bad-Breeder, PuppySunshineville, USA

Veterinary conditions and treatments:  Veterinary health certificate issued today.

(That is to say, my Vet gave this puppy a health certificate declaring he showed no signs of communicable disease and was too young for a Rabies shot at the age of 5 weeks when I prematurely removed him from the dam to turn over to the broker.  The puppy may have had some other condition before that but I won’t be listing that here because I didn’t want to pay the Vet to come out and look at him.  Therefore, no record.)

Known info on hereditary defects of parents:  N/A

(That is, the parents may be defect free or may have every defect listed in the vet school textbooks – I don’t know because I don’t pay for those kinds of screenings.)

So the consumer sees a puppy from Mary Bad-Breeder who was issued a health certificate by a Vet a few weeks ago (which probably misleads the buyer into believing the puppy is therefore healthy) and the parents have no known congenital defects.  Sounds like a winner!

Again, we don’t need new legislation for pet breeding.  We have laws already on the books and the framework in place to enforce those laws.  What we need is to fill in that framework with solid material and get the job done.  Maybe, after we’ve been doing a good job at it for awhile, we might find a need for legislative changes.  But how can we possibly know that now, when we’re failing to even pretend to have a handle on licensed pet breeders in this country?

USDA Inspections – Not

Warning – There are extremely graphic photos of animal cruelty at both of the links below.

As many of us have been saying for years, the USDA has been falling down on the job with regard to licensed dog breeder inspections.  Raised by Wolves has a first look at a report (pdf) the USDA has released in which they audit their own inspection practices.  They basically give themselves an F.  Minus.

Excerpts:

  • AC’s [Animal Care’s] Enforcement Process Was Ineffective Against Problematic Dealers.
  • AC Inspectors Did Not Cite or Document Violations Properly To Support Enforcement Actions.
  • Although APHIS [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] previously agreed to revise its penalty worksheet to produce “significantly higher” penalties for violators of AWA [Animal Welfare Act], the agency continued to assess minimal penalties that did not deter violators.
  • APHIS Misused Guidelines to Lower Penalties for AWA Violators.

You get the idea.  And while this isn’t news to many of us who have recognized the results of the deficiencies in the USDA inspection process for years, I for one have often blamed the lack of funding which results in too few inspectors, lack of follow up, etc.  Now I’m seeing that there appears to be rampant corruption within the agency, whether that be intentional or due to ignorance I neither know nor care.

The failings here are not simply a lack of funding.  They are a systemic rot within the agency characterized by negligence – criminal negligence in this layman’s opinion.  As a taxpayer, I expect far better from my government.  The rot needs to be gutted from the USDA inspections process and replaced with solid material.  For starters, any inspectors who saw the suffering dogs depicted in the cruelty photos and did not take appropriate action as per their job descriptions need to be 86’d.  And I’m betting there are more that need to go.

This report reinforces my thought that there is no point – and indeed it would be counterproductive – to add new breeder laws to the books.  We are not getting the job done as things stand.  Let’s correct that before we talk about piling on more laws regarding pet breeding.  We have the framework in place to get these tasks done but we are severely lacking in execution.  I would think that’s a fixable problem.  It’s called accountability.  USDA inspectors need to do their jobs, not just cash the paychecks we provide for them every week.

Food Animal Cruelty – Standard Fare or No?

Editorial:  Is HSUS trying to guilt us into going vegan?

That piece got me thinking.  When I see the HSUS commercials showing images of cows being treated cruelly at a slaughterhouse, I think of that in terms of something unusual.  Similarly, when I see images of filthy dogs in dank cages, I think, “That’s not how most breeders take care of their dogs”.  Of course I’ve known a lot of dog breeders so I feel confident in my assessment there.  But I really don’t know any slaughterhouse operators.  I just sort of assume that most people in animal agriculture are normal, compassionate folks doing a job.  Am I wrong?  Could I walk into just about any slaughterhouse and secretly film hours and hours of cows being treated inhumanely because that’s the norm, not the exception?  Or do I have the context right – that this kind of thing is an aberration?  What’s your take?

More on 98 Dogs Seized in NC

Background here.

Some specifics on the seized dogs have emerged:

  • Two Chihuahuas will require surgery. One has a busted left eye socket, which has left the dog blind. The other has a puncture to her side that allows air to leak from her lungs.
  • A 10- to 12-year-old greyhound is missing much of her lower jaw and nearly all of her teeth from poor dental care. The dog is pregnant. A shelter veterinarian said the dog shouldn’t have been bred after age 2 or 3.
  • An adult Weimaraner is malnourished to the point where the outline of his ribs and hip bones could be seen through his skin. Officials said the dog weighs about 40 pounds, but should weigh about 75 pounds.
  • Other dogs have dozens of ticks — more than 30 on one greyhound; mammary tumors; bloody diarrhea; heartworms; missing teeth; bruising; and open wounds.

This in contrast to the kennel’s web site claims:

On its Web site, Rush Kennel bills itself as “North Carolina’s No. 1 dog kennel,” a place where Weimaraners, Labrador retrievers and other breeds frolic in a fenced play yard before the day ends with a massage, pool bath and pedicure.

18 complaints against the kennel are on file with various agencies.  Among the complaints:

  • A Winston-Salem woman who purchased two poodles last May. One died from worms two days after purchase. The other was diagnosed with glaucoma.
  • A South Carolina woman who said she went to purchase a Weimaraner puppy from the kennel. She asked to see the dog’s parents and but was told “that it wasn’t allowed,” and also told she could not see where the dogs were kept.
  • A man who reported the puppy he picked up from the kennel in January was infected with worms and parasites, and very underweight. The man said he called the kennel to request copies of X-rays and veterinary records, but an employee refused and became defensive before hanging up on him.
  • A woman who purchased a Weimaraner puppy in 2003. At 22 months the dog developed a “terrible cough, began to appear thin and began to tire easily.” The dog was diagnosed with “multiple heart defects and congestive heart failure.” The dog had to be euthanized. The woman wrote that a cardiologist told her the dog’s conditions were hereditary and “a breeder should not have bred a dog with the defect.”
  • A New York woman who said the Yorkshire terrier puppy she bought in June 2008 arrived at her residence “obviously sick, urinating on itself, lethargic, and “it smelled bad” and “it was not moving.” The woman said she received no medical records with the dog and took it to a veterinarian, where the puppy died.

Apparently local AC officers would regularly ferry discarded dogs from the kennel to the local shelter – 40 – 50 of them in the last 8 – 9 years.  The shelter director, Marsha Williams:

“We would have to treat them for whatever illness or other problems they had,” she  said. “They were not in very good shape when they were brought in to us. She said they were tired, like they were too old or she didn’t want to breed them anymore.”

So apparently local animal control, the shelter, the Better Business Bureau and the State Department of Agriculture were all aware of potential problems at this kennel but nobody ever did anything.  NC does have animal cruelty laws on the books but it looks like in this situation, nobody could be bothered to enforce the law.

And now, the HSUS is using the opportunity to again push to get their “puppy mill bill” passed in NC.  Authorities are not enforcing the laws already on the books, why would we add more and where will the funding for enforcement of this new law come from?  It makes no sense to me.  Failure to enforce existing animal welfare laws is not a logical stepping stone to creating new laws.

98 “Healthy” Dogs Seized in NC

I don’t care if you have 1 dog or 98 dogs – you gotta do it right.  Now nobody’s perfect and I think it’s reasonable to allow for some variations in quality of care so long as the basics are consistently met – sufficient food, clean shelter, affection, exercise and discipline.

In Pleasant Garden, NC, authorities were receiving complaints from people who had bought puppies from a local breeder operating under the name Rush Kennels.  Buyers reported their dogs had multiple health problems sometimes resulting in death.  So the sheriff’s office conducted an undercover investigation and bought a puppy from Rush Kennels.  That puppy was diagnosed with multiple health problems and ended up dying.  This week, authorities seized 98 dogs from Rush Kennels.  Two of the dogs required emergency surgery:

“There were some that had been over utilized as breeders and actually had parts of their internal organs that were hanging out.” [Sheriff BJ] Barnes said.

Here is a photo of one of the seized dogs (more photos here):

The owner of Rush Kennels, Sheila Rush, [Note:  Check out Sheila Rush on “Wife Swap”] and a dog caretaker, Robert Landreth, have not yet been charged because the sheriff’s office is still gathering evidence, but they say animal cruelty and fraud charges are likely.

Landreth, who works at Rush Kennel, told FOX8 that the seized dogs were healthy and that Rush is working with her attorney to get her dogs back.

That Weimaraner is not “healthy”.  For starters, he is emaciated.  Compare to a side view of a random Weim I found online who is in normal, healthy weight:

Oh and any dogs with guts hanging out – they do not fall under the “healthy” category either.

Update:  Both Rush and Landreth have now been charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.  Read more and see another “healthy” dog’s photo here.

This Seems Wrong

Regarding a MN puppy mill investigated by a Boston TV station and others:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its final decision and order, stated that [Kathy] Bauck is “unfit” to be licensed because she operated her kennel in a criminally improper manner.

And by “criminally improper” they mean:

[…] emaciated dogs, sick dogs and others being dunked in a tub of diluted but toxic insecticide that is only supposed to be used on swine.
[…]
The government is revoking Bauck’s license to deal dogs based on her conviction of animal cruelty and torture in March 2009. The year before, she pleaded guilty to practicing veterinary medicine without a license. Both times Bauck spent time in jail.

OK so this all sounds pretty bad. And my first reaction was “Thank goodness the government finally did something to help these dogs!” But:

Bauck will still be allowed to keep her animals because they’re considered her personal property.

And she can continue selling dogs online since the USDA doesn’t regulate that. But she has to wait 2 years before re-applying for a USDA license so I guess that’ll learn her. As for the dogs, well we can always hope the Boston TV station, the animal activists, the U.S. justice system and the USDA are all wrong and Ms. Bauck really takes great care of her pets.

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men

How an elaborate plan to prosecute animal cruelty in PA fell victim to politics:

On Oct. 7, a group of animal-welfare advocates and a veterinarian flew to the auction in southeast Ohio on a jet owned by a friend of a board member of Main Line Animal Rescue, based in Chester Springs. Their goal: Find sick animals among the nearly 400 purebred dogs from Pennsylvania that were to be sold by kennels downsizing or going out of business as a result of the state’s more stringent kennel law.

After a veterinarian picked out 12 dogs she believed to be in the poorest health, the animals were purchased and brought back.

[…]

Cari Thomson, the vet who went to the auction, said that she had later examined eight dogs and that six had severe periodontal disease and several had serious skin and ear infections.

She said their conditions had constituted “gross neglect.”

Main Line Animal Rescue racked up $30,000 in vet bills treating the 12 dogs, founder Bill Smith said.

The attorney for the dogs’ breeders denies any allegations of cruelty and states the dogs were given a clean bill of health by a Veterinarian prior to auction.

Enter the political posturing:

The Pennsylvania SPCA charged six, all in Lancaster County, with animal cruelty.

Now those charges have been dropped, in a spat between the Lancaster County prosecutor and a PSPCA lawyer.

District Attorney Craig Stedman said the PSPCA had dropped the case after meeting Dec. 21 with one of his deputies.

Sue Cosby, executive director of the PSPCA, said Stedman had told her that, after a review, he decided he could not prosecute the cases and recommended that the PSPCA drop them.

Without his support, Cosby said, the organization had no choice, even though she believed the evidence supported the charges.

[…]

“They kept us out of the loop and surreptitiously filed charges,” Stedman said in an interview Wednesday. “Bill Lamb is not a member of law enforcement and not a special prosecutor. The best way to handle cases is to work with our office. We’re the legal experts.”

And so, one jet plane, several animal advocates, and $30,000 later, we have a plan to prosecute cruelty and no results. I’m glad 12 dogs were saved from auction – which is a terrible way to sell a dog to my mind – but I can’t help wondering if the extensive resources utilized in this failed scheme could have been used more wisely.

Pet Store Protesters Get Shot at in CA

Friday in Santa Monica, several people staged a protest in front of the Aquarium & Pet Center alleging the store purchased puppies from puppy mills:

Three protesters were hit with what was later determined to be brass pellets fired from a high-powered air rifle. The protesters suffered minor injuries, said Sgt. Jay Trisler with the Santa Monica Police Department, which is asking for the public’s help in identifying the shooter.
[…]
Davis [head of the protest group] said employees with the Aquarium & Pet Center threatened the protesters and were seen laughing after the shots were fired.

The store’s owner, Scott Lee, said his employees were not involved in the attack and does not purchase animals from mills.

“We get ours from local breeders … ,” Lee said. “[The accusations are] not true.”

There is a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.

What is a "Puppy Mill"? – Part 2

The following post was written in 2008 by Saluki breeder Betsy Cummings. I thought it would be perfect food for thought in my series on the subject of defining puppy mills. I’m most interested in your reactions, thoughts, and opinions on her points.

***

I got in late last nite from Springfield, MO. What is there to interest me? Well, the 18th Spring Educational Seminar and Meeting of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association. Yeah, the puppy mill folks. They prefer Professional Breeders. And after what I saw this weekend, I’m quite willing to cut them some slack.

On Friday were 4 seminars, although one was cancelled because the State Veterinarian had been bitten by a dog and the rabies vaxx was questionable, so the poor guy has to take the shots and wasn’t feeling well. So another guy came and spoke on something else. On Saturday was Pat Hasting’s Puppy Puzzle Seminar – which was FREE. To anybody. How many have paid $150 or more to a kennel club to see this seminar?

I’m now going to propose a viewpoint that I know full well isn’t going to be popular, nor is it going to win me friends. Many of you will scoff and criticize. It’s ingrained in “us” to do so. Say the words Puppy Mill, or Commercial Breeder and most of us have a knee jerk reaction of total horror. We picture “bubba’s” on Walmart parking lots and highway corners selling puppies to anybody who comes along. Not that that doesn’t happen. However, those folks tend to be wannabe’s and illegal puppy mills. There were only a few people there I’d call “Bubba’s” this weekend. MOST of the people were people just like you and me. You couldn’t have told by dress or manner what these folks did for a living. Most even spoke “educated beyond the 1st grade” english. And it was obvious from the gal with the poodle died pink to the gal who came in with a sheltie she’d rescued off an 8 lane highway and wanted her put somewhere safe, that these folks live and breathe DOGS. In that respect, they aren’t that much different from you and me.

Friday’s program included one that has me shaking my head and asking where “we” (“we” being the show dog fancy) are. The MPBA has no less than 3 professional lobbyists. One in Washington DC, and 2 in our state capital. Even more, the State Representative from Salem, MO is one of “them.” These 4 folks stood before a room of about 300 people and gave us a list of the legislation they’ve had a part in killing altogether, or getting changed to something reasonable. My question is…where the hell are WE??? If the MPBA can have THREE full time professional lobbyists…what’s OUR problem??? My next question is…Why the HELL aren’t we working with these people???? They know how to do it. They aren’t starting from scratch. They’ve been working in the trenches for quite awhile. And all supported by the puppy millers! These folks are fighting for OUR rights as much as for their own, but the end results are the same – I can still own dogs in the state of Missouri, and they don’t have to be spayed or neutered either.

Saturday’s program was Pat Hasting’s seminar. It was not quite as well attended as some of the Friday seminars since it was a ‘voluntary’ program. (I’ll explain that in a minute.) However, the room was probably over half full – call it 200 people give or take. She played the angle toward “If you’re breeding better dogs structurally, you make more money.” It was a good call. She went over 7 lab puppies – some were from show bred lines, and some from a commercial kennel. She wouldn’t say which were which. And based on the strengths and faults she found I certainly couldn’t tell. One had an ewe neck which she demonstrated by flipping that puppy’s head over onto its spine – no distress to the puppy! One had no muscling on the inside of it’s legs so when she stacked it and pushed just a teensy bit from the side the puppy fell over. 3 had slipped hocks. One had a herring gut. The gasps when each of these faults were demonstrated were…quite loud. And she flat out asked why they weren’t breeding away from these faults – they’d make more money providing a quality, well bred dog than ones with health and structural issues. There were some good questions from the audience, and some questions that are so basic as to be laughable…except nobody laughed. These folks are putting forth good effort, and I for one am willing to give them some credit for that. (And btw – Pat commented that each puppy was in it’s own crate and that when she does show litters they usually come in ONE crate. And those crates were scrupulously clean, with food and water. *G*)

Having said this, I’ll also state I’m not willing to sell to them, or breed with them. But there are show folks I can say the same about, so that’s nothing different. These folks are however, policing themselves. They don’t tolerate sub-standard kennels and they turn them in immediately. That’s better than “we” can say when we tolerate folks we KNOW have starving animals, or worse. And just who is it on most of the news when a rescue makes the news? More often than not it’s a “rescuer” or show breeder turned in by a neighbor…NOT by US.

Anyway, these folks are working to improve their industry. For 18 years they have continually raised the bar for their members. They provide seminars on everything from puppy nutrition to health in their kennels to structure – FREE. Not just for their members, but to ANYBODY. It was a very strange feeling to be in a building full of people I have always thought of as the “enemy.” So much so I was very reluctant to admit I’m a show breeder. But when I did once or twice, these folks never blinked. And just who was there? The AKC. Bil-Jac. Eukanuba. Royal Canin. Hunte Corp – who btw, had fully 1/5th of the room for their booth.

And let me detour on Hunte Corp a minute. They were handing out information on their standards for buying puppies. IE, the breeders must meet some minimum requirements before Hunte will purchase their dogs. On top of those minimum requirements they pay a bonus for such things as health tested parents, Ch parents, and something else that escapes me at the moment. So they too are not only raising the bar, but leading the way in doing so.

APRI was there. With videos of their events. I always thought they were just a paper registry. Well, they’re not. And lemme tell ya, the shutzhund and agility events looked pretty tuff. And not only that, but APRI alone gave $10,000 to the legislative fund – IE, the fund that pays for the lobbyists. Our little fledgling groups, PetPAC, etc would KILL for that kind of money right now.

And in all of this, I have to wonder…where are we? What are WE doing? If we choose to attend such a thing, it’s voluntary. These folks are requiring it of their members. You want to be considered a top breeder…then you MUST have continuing education. Not when I feel like it, but MUST, every year, have so many credits of education. Not even our JUDGES have to do that beyond what they do to earn more breeds. We watched folks spend THOUSANDS on equipment, food, meds, and by god TREATS. Just who gives treats to their dogs? Those who LOVE them. That’s who.

I had a conversation with a guy this weekend about his kennel. He proudly told me he is a “Blue Ribbon Kennel” – meaning he’s met the standards for the MPBA to earn that. He gets his education credits, etc, and I assume, has met some standards of health and cleanliness in his kennels. He said he’s *never* had an outbreak of anything in his kennel. Not even kennel cough. His “bio standards” are set so high that even his family must follow them in the house not just in the kennel. So I asked him what happens when the dogs leave his kennel. Their immune systems have never been challenged and suddenly they’re out in the big bad world being hit with everything all at once. He went, Oh. I never thought of that. Hm. He said “What do you do?” And I had to admit I’m a show breeder, so I breed once every few years and I do take extra precautions while the bitch is pregnant and when the pups are less than 9 weeks old, but that after that I have those puppies out and about every week or two so that not only do I immunize but I give their immune systems exposure to things outside of home so that when we do go on the road to shows and such they aren’t suddenly overwhelmed and have a chance to fight. I’m not sure I changed his mind exactly, but I did give him something to think about.

I admit, I went for the chance to see Pat Hasting’s seminar for free. Beyond that I was prepared to keep my mouth shut. Instead, I found myself going…wow. Just how many of us would goto this level of effort to keep our dogs? These people put their money where their mouth is. And I am quite willing to allow them the title Professional Breeder and to stop having a knee jerk reaction and give them some credit for things even “we” don’t do. That doesn’t mean there aren’t “Bubba’s” in this world, or that I include those folks in the term Professional Breeder. A professional of any kind be it lawyer, doctor, handler, veterinarian, engineer, architect, etc has professional standards to meet. These folks do too. And since *I* don’t care to provide puppies for every home that wants a dog I’m willing to allow the professionals to do so. It keeps MY dogs safe in the hands of those I feel will have respect for the dog, treat it the way I want my dogs treated, and HOPEFULLY they never end up in a shelter or dumped on the side of the road or as bait for a dog fight.

And I refuse to slam or denigrate these folks further. They are providing a service not ONE of us wants to do. And they have been working for at least the last 18 years to improve what they do – both in what they produce and the conditions under which they produce it. That JQP tends to treat dogs as a throw away commodity isn’t entirely their fault. It’s not ours either. It’s a societal thing and ALL of us must work to change that. Somewhere between dogs in shelters and puppymills lies the answer. I don’t know what it is. But JQP wants dogs – that much is obvious. And right now, even our basic rights to HAVE dogs is under attack. I for one am willing to work with the folks who have the experience and the know how to fight these things. And I’m willing to give credit where credit is due – here in Missouri at least, we have come under LESS attack than other areas and I recognize that a good part of that is because of the professional breeders and their lobbyists efforts.

Betsy

Betsy & Kevin Cummings
Tribute Salukis

Copyright © 2008 Betsy Cummings

Document may be reproduced in its entirety (not in sections), as long as the author is credited.

What is a "Puppy Mill"?

Although I’m not prepared to put as much thought into this post as would be required to answer such a question, I am ready to put down a few thoughts on the subject. I’m sure at some point I will add on to these and hopefully eventually come up with an answer, albeit a subjective one, to my own question. Perhaps this can be viewed as an installment series or some similarly lofty sounding endeavor.

To me, dogs are pets. What constitutes living a good quality life as a pet is interpreted differently by individual owners. For me, it means living in the house as part of the family, and receiving daily personal care, exercise, discipline, affection, and good food. I can however, understand how another owner, for example someone who keeps a dog to protect his sheep from predation, might specifically want his dog to live primarily outdoors. So long as adequate shelter is provided in conjunction with meeting the personal needs of the dog I mentioned previously, I can agree that this is good quality life for a pet, even though it’s different from my personal choice. Similarly, I can imagine other variations outside my individual choices where the dog is ultimately treated as a member of the family and as such, I would agree that the dog has a good quality of life.

There are some practices though that fall so far outside my comfort level, I view them not just as different but as cruelty. In a broad sense, that would include any dog who is not treated as a member of the family. Specifically, a dog who spends most of his day to day life unattended in a cage or kennel, on a chain or roaming the streets. Keeping the area of confinement clean, while a good practice, does not make up for the dog’s social deprivation. Nor does putting out a bowl of food for a dog allowed to roam the neighborhood – again, good practice to feed a dog regularly but that doesn’t make the dog a family pet to my mind.

This is not strictly a numbers issue for me. I can envision a family with plentiful resources being able to provide a good quality of life for a large number of pets just as I know that an owner of a single dog can be neglectful. Put another way, where numbers come in is anytime there is neglect. If a family is neglecting some or all of their dogs, there is a problem. If a breeder is neglecting some or all of his stock or pups, it doesn’t matter to me if that breeder produces 2 litters a year or 2 litters every 10 years – there is a problem.

What I think would be helpful:

Educate the public about responsible breeding and buying including the importance of having a personal relationship with the breeder and the benefits of getting a shelter dog.

Encourage more responsible breeding. The demand for responsibly bred dogs far exceeds the supply. This is the main reason people I know have turned to pet stores – they couldn’t find the pet they wanted in a shelter and/or were turned down by rescue and/or didn’t want to be placed on a lengthy waiting list with a responsible breeder with no guarantee of getting a pup ever. My vision is to increase the supply of responsibly bred pups while promoting the benefits of adopting shelter dogs. If we could convince the public that these are the two best ways to obtain pets, we could reduce (eventually eliminate?) the demand for pet store pups. It’s not like it’s a hard sell: going to a shelter saves a dog’s life in many cases and buying from a responsible breeder means having a personal relationship with someone who cares about what happens to their pups enough to screen buyers and provide support for the life of the dog.

I know lots of people hate these ideas. Some people are stuck on the “don’t breed or buy while shelter pets die” mantra. The reality is that, while we can and absolutely must do everything possible to promote shelter adoptions, some owners will not adopt from a shelter. Rather than ignore that fact or condemn those folks, I’d rather provide them with an alternative: buy a responsibly bred pup. Right now, there are not enough of those and so people turn to other sources. I’d like to increase the supply of responsibly bred pups.

Other people hate the idea of promoting breeding for pets. Breeders who compete with their dogs often consider the only justifiable purpose of breeding to be the production of more competition dogs with “pets” being a leftover effect. The reality is that most owners do not want competition dogs – they want couch snugglers, jogging partners, ball chasers, etc. Ignoring that fact or condemning those folks to wait indefinitely on your waiting list in case you have a “leftover” at some point in future drives people to other sources.

I often use a personal experience as an example. I once wanted a Papillon. In fact I’d still like to have a Papillon someday (in case you are reading Santa). I checked every shelter in my area for a Pap or even a Pap-ish mix – no luck. I applied to Pap rescue but the number of applicants far exceeded the number of available dogs and honestly, the process seemed humiliating to me. I am all for screening buyers but there has to be some reasonable limit on that. My experience turned into a competition – literally. I bowed out. I inquired to several responsible breeders but it was explained to me that Pap breeders are breeding to supply themselves with a new pup. Sometimes they make an agreement with the stud dog owner to give a pup in lieu of stud fee. As such, one or two pups from each litter were already spoken for. Since Paps have small litters and many breeders have just one or two litters per year, the best I could hope for was to be placed on a waiting list and perhaps in some future year, I might get a call about an available pup. I didn’t want a Pap in some future year, I wanted one at the time it was appropriate in my life. Should I be condemned for wanting a Pap within a reasonable time frame? Should I be condemned for not taking a shelter dog instead? I know some people would answer “yes”. For the record, I did end up adopting a shelter dog instead. But I know more than one person who has turned to alternate sources when faced with the situation I was in – they bought from pet stores or irresponsible breeders. Like me, they wanted to rescue a dog or buy from a responsible breeder but the supply fell short of the demand. I do not condemn them. Rather, I want to see the supply of responsibly bred pups increased in conjunction with education about the benefits of rescue.

OK obviously my random thoughts did not wind up answering my title question. Good thing I said that “installment” thing at the beginning. I’ll try to answer my question eventually and I hope if you have some answers, questions, or random thoughts, you’ll join in the discussion. I always enjoy hearing different views.