The decision to add a new pet to the family is a significant one, yet many people tend to take in animals on impulse with little research. Consider that a pet can be up to a 20 year commitment, both time-wise and financially! That is longer than you will have your car, so why not research it more?
With the number of homeless animal in shelters and rescue groups, why would any animal lover buy a dog from a “breeder,” or even worse, a pet shop? (Here’s a good article about the tales pet shop employees are trained to tell.)
With the Internet becoming a large part of the average household, most people find puppies or kittens on various websites, look at a few pictures, read a supposed pedigree, and think they have researched their new family member sufficiently. (Here’s a great article by HSUS and one by the ASPCA about this very subject.) The truth is, anyone can make a website, stage a picture, or have a “friend” serve as the dealer, preventing people from meeting the parents in the conditions they routinely live. This trend has become very common with “back yard breeders”. Here’s a report ABC News did recently on this topic.
Most people love their pet, and consider them a member of the family. Why then support a “breeder” who has the parents living in cages with little human interaction? Would you want that for your pet? No way!
Breeding dogs and cats should not be an occupation, but a hobby. One should do it out of love of one breed (not four or five!) to strengthen the breed, not make a nice buck on the side. Producing, let alone charging exhorbitent fees for mutts now called “designer” breeds (ie-shih-poos and puggles) is not only unethical, but actively contributes to the problem of homeless pets. ABC news aired a story about the reality of designer breeds. National Geographic ran an article as well, showing both pros and cons.
What makes a golden retriever mix with no health problems who happens to wind up in a shelter undesirable, while a golden-doodle from some breeder is worth over a thousand dollars? Are we as a society really that gullible? These breeders are collecting high prices, while healthy, loving dogs are being put to sleep in shelters, simply because well-meaning, but misdirected pet owners are missing out.
Not all breeders have purely greedy intentions. Many are well-meaning people who think having puppies to sell will supplement their income, teach the kids a lesson, or just be cute. They need to step back and look at the big picture. They are perpetuating many inherited diseases in these dogs, and taking homes away from homeless dogs who are literally dying for lack of an owner. These are not at all evil people, they just need to think about the consequences of their actions. The truly responsible breeders also participate in rescue for their breed; these are the true ethical breeders but, sadly, are the small minority. A person who has such a love for a certain breed that they are willing to help out the homeless purebreds and mixes of that breed is a breeder who deserves your support.
As pet owners, we need to not support the vast and growing number of irresponsible breeders and do the right thing: rescue a homeless animal from a shelter or rescue group and literally save a life. People who save the life of another human being are heroes. Shouldn’t people who adopt homeless dogs be hailed as heroes as well? Yes!