February 2, 2009

Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. So many animals - not just dogs and cats, but also birds, horses, sheep and so on - are the products of poor breeding. Often, the breeders will have their pets produce offsprings because they:
A. want to make money off them.
B. think the babies are so cute, want their kids to see miracle of life or some variation of this.
C. think their pets are breeding quality.
D. some combination of above.
Or the superrare - E. are true legit breeders.

E. The true legit breeders - the ones that charge thousands of dollars for their animals - are the ones who deserves that sum. They are the ones who do the work, show their animals so that they can get their points or whatever the breed/showing system requires in order to produce more quality animals. This is an expensive venture - showing, training, vetting, and testing. Any animals that are not show quality are usually spayed (or in large animals' case, gelded) and good homes are found.

There are other breeders who fall in the categories A through D are the ones who invariably dupe many people, myself included, into purchasing pets for ridiculous sums. They are the ones who contribute to the pet overpopulation problem. They're why we have so many animals in need of homes, so many ferals and strays and so many poorly bred animals.

Take a hard look at Apollo. He is most definitely not a show quality golden retriever. I love him dearly, but I'm honest. His body type is "field" golden retriever - slender, darker colored, and have shorter coats. That, in itself, is acceptable for showing. However, Apollo is much too large/tall for his standard, his snout is a tad too long. He will have hip problems when he's older. His shoulders are bad, so his gait is a bit rough - which will also contribute to hip issues and arthritis when he's older. These problems are genetic and if Apollo weren't speutered, he would've passed it down onto his ofsprings. His parents should never have had offsprings.

Take a look at this fellow. A "Tennessee Walker" horse

I know most of you are not horse people. It's been a long time - almost 15 years - since I've been around horses regularly. But even to me, this horse looks so poorly put together. Walkers are typically 15 hands and up. This guy is 14. He's got a thick, short squat neck, wide chest, straddled stance - looks pigeon-toed, no withers and a big butt. His knees look fucked up, too, but it's hard to tell from this picture. He looks more like a mix of a quarter horse and...I don't know. Probably a Heinz 57 horse. The only good thing about this guy is that he's gelded and obviously cared for, judging by his coat. And he's going for a bargain price of $2200! You can find much better horses for far less than that. Geez.

Here's my message. If you want to buy a dog, cat, horse, whatever, instead of adopting one, find a quality breeder and be prepared to pay the big bucks. Go to legit shows, talk to the people there and find out who's got decent breeding lines - and see if they have any that will go to pet-only homes. Or if you've the time and money, consider showing the dog. If you're not...For Pete's sake, go adopt a poor animal that's looking for a good home instead of supporting backyard breeders and puppy mills!

Keep an eye out for specific info on backyard breeders and puppy mills in the future.

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