It’s a sad fact that some people don’t care about dogs the way we do and merely see them as an opportunity for easy cash – making over breeding in unacceptable conditions a very real issue. The good news is, more and more people are catching on to these offensive practices and some cities have taken a step forward to avoid supporting these suppliers. If you’re looking to bring a purebred pup into your life, here are a few need-to-know facts and things to look for when it comes to puppy mills and backyard breeders.
Unfortunately, around 90% of the puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills – where multiple mother dogs are kept in cages with the sole purpose of churning out puppies for profit. While retailers should know exactly where the pups are housed before they get them, most of them take the wholesalers word that the animals are happy and healthy. The plus side: more and more cities are taking steps to ban pet stores or enforce stricter rules on where they obtain their animals, and you can get involved too. Tell your local officials that you support animal welfare laws like those limiting the amount of pets a person can own and breed and establishing standards of care for anyone intending to sell animals for profit.
Backyard breeders are a little easier to spot, as they will have an abundance of “designer” breeds available (usually around the 6-week mark, when 8-10 is recommended), and they’ll be very evasive when asked questions. If you are getting a dog from an independent breeder, make sure they:
- Don’t have multiple litters available at once; most breeders who care about the integrity of their dogs usually have a wait list.
- Let you see where the puppies are housed and ‘meet’ the parents.
- Can explain their medical background and care up until they become yours.
- Don’t pressure you in any way to purchase from them.
- Ask YOU questions, as that’s a clear indicator they care where the puppy is going.
The best way you can help is to be informed and share the information with anyone who may be considering bringing a pure breed into their life. And, of course, never forget about the amazing breed-specific rescues out there – not only will you get the dog of your dreams, you’ll be giving them a new lease on life!