in loving memory of Dan and Barbara Jessup
Basic Puppy Buying Info - A Survivor's Guide!
How To Recognize Ethical Breeders Or Rescues:
Breeders not only love dogs, as individuals, but they have a deep love and commitment for specific breeds of dogs. Here are the pretty universally accepted minimum standards of care for ethical breeders:
1) MICROCHIPS ALL DOGS AND PUPS AND MAINTAIN THEMSELVES AS A CONTACT FOR LIFE OF THE DOG.
2) DOES ALL HEALTH TESTING RECOMMENDED BY PARENT CLUB OR OFA - OR MORE
3) TRAINS AND TITLES BREEDING STOCK IN PERFORMANCE OR WORK TITLES APPLICAPABLE TO THE BREED
4) NEVER SELLS PUPS OR DOGS TO PET STORES OR OTHER THIRD PARTIES.
5) DISCOURAGES IMPULSE BUYING - MAKES SURE BUYER DOES THEIR RESEARCH INTO BREED TRAITS
6) MENTORS BUYERS IN THE UNIQUE HEALTH AND TEMPERAMENT CHARACTERISTICS OF THEIR BREED
7) REQUIRES APPROPRIATE HOUSING SITUATION FOR THE SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS OF THEIR BREED; REQUIRES PROOF OF FENCING OR OTHER RESTRICTIONS FOR THE SAFETY OF THE ANIMAL
I have been involved in rescue since 1985. It is disappointing what "rescue" has become in the past few decades. If you think a rescued dog is the right choice for you, please make sure the rescue you choose to buy your dog from meets these minimum standards:
1) SPECIALIZES IN A SINGLE BREED - "ALL BREED" RESCUES ARE A POOR CHOICE DUE TO LACK OF SPECIFIC KNOWLEDGE AND ABILITY TO MENTOR ON HEALTH AND TEMPERAMENT CHARACTERISTICS.
2) SO CALLED 'NO KILL' SHELTERS WOULD QUICKLY FILL UP WITH UNSOUND AND DANGEROUS DOGS (SINCE THEY DON'T EUTHANIZE THEM) SO THEY ARE NOTORIOUS FOR SELLING AN UNSUSPECTING PUBLIC TROUBLE DOGS.
3) MICROCHIP ALL ANIMALS THEY PLACE AND KEEP THEMSELVES AS CONTACT FOR LIFE.
4) ALTER ALL ANIMALS BEFORE THEY PLACE THEM.
5) ABSOLUTELY DO HOME CHECKS IF POSSIBLE AND REQUIRE FENCED YARDS AND LANDLORD CHECKS.
6) HAVE STAFF THAT ARE KNOWLEDGABLE WITH THE BREED THEY SPECIALIZE IN WHICH CAN OFFER MENTORING AFTER THE SALE.
7) NEVER RESORT TO SCARE TACTICS OR ENCOURAGING IMPULSE BUYING BY USING STATEMENTS ABOUT A DOG'S EUTHANASIA STATUS.
So what is a so called "puppy mill"? Some think it means a farm with hundreds of dogs. Yet a puppy mill can be a single bitch that is bred over and over; bottom line, a person qualifies as a puppy mill if they do the following:
1) DO NOT MICROCHIP THEIR PUPS - DONT OFFER TO TAKE PUPS BACK FOR LIFE
2) DOES LITTLE OR NO HEALTH TESTING AND MAKES EXCUSES WHY THEY DON'T
3) DO NOT HAVE AN INTEREST IN IIMPROVING THE BREED - NEVER TITLE THEIR DOGS IN ANYTHING
4) ADVERTISE THEIR DOGS ON "IMPULSE PUCHASE" SITES LIKE "NEXT DAY PUPPY" and "CRAIG'S LIST"
5) DO NOT REQUIRE ANY HOUSING RESTRICTIONS - WILL SELL TO ANYONE WITH THE MONEY
The counterpart of the "puppy mill" in rescue is what is termed a "Retail Rescue". These are so called rescues which move huge quantities of dogs and puppies due to the fact they have little or no restrictions on who buys their animals. They often charge hundreds of dollars for the dogs even though they do not health test or have other expenses that would justify the price. It is simply a cash business, and sadly, many stolen dogs end up in these "rescues".
The practices of today's "rescues" are often those which put a premium of "moving stock" rather than finding an appropriate home for each dog. One such practice is trucking in "street dogs" from third world countries, or moving dogs from state to state in trucks; a practice which makes it very difficult for owners of lost dogs to locate them.
I find it highly unethical to promote practices which encourage "impulse buying". These include taking animals to shopping malls and other high traffic areas to try and sell dogs out of trucks. Can you imagine if a dog breeder did this?!
Do ethical breeder's dogs end up in shelters? Rarely, here's why:
Ethical breeders practice extensive screening and education of puppy buyers, don't encourage impulse buying. They make sure the right pup goes into the right home, which is possible because they know the genetics behind the pup - something not possible with rescued dogs.
Ethical breeders ALWAYS microchip all their pups and remain as a contact; should a dog end up in a shelter it will be scanned and ethical breeders ALWAYS take their dogs back.
Ethical breeders have a "take back" or "buy back" clause in their contracts.
"Most famous bloodlines in the universe!" "Shelter dogs are your best choice!"
"Top working AND show lines"! "Don't breed or buy while shelter dogs die!"
Adding a dog to the family today can run you up against wild claims, heap shame upon you for your choices, and in some cases result in outright fraud.
The truth is a solid, reputable kennel doesn't need to talk in superlatives, and a responsible rescue organization won't flay you alive for considering a well bred pup from a breeder. Breeder or rescue, they will let their ethics, their health records, their dogs and their customers do the talking for them.
During my 20 years in animal control I have done a lot of rescue. I understand the pros and cons of both "worlds". For some, a rescue dog is a good choice - and for others a well bred purebred is the best choice.
Dogs in "no kill" facilities face months, even, unbelievably, years in stressful long-term boarding situations. If something happened to you, would you want YOUR beloved dog to lie like this? Please don't support this.
It is never ethical for a breeder or rescue to encourage "impulse buying". Selling puppies or dogs out of the back of a van on the street is not acceptable behavior and should not be encouraged.
The following information will help you pick a rescue or breeder that has the ETHICS to "do it right".