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One thing pretty much everyone can agree on is that puppy mills(and kitten mills) are horrific places and they need to be put out of business immediately. Most puppy mill puppies are sold in pet stores, which means buying dogs from pet stores puts money directly into the pockets of puppy millers. In order to stop this horrendous animal abuse,many advocate for adopting homeless animals from animal shelters and rescues, rather than buying from a pet store or breeder.

Many are quick to argue, however, that buying from “responsible breeders” does not contribute to this problem, and that it’s much better than buying a “puppy mill” dog from a pet store. While, yes, it is definitely better than contributing to puppy mills, breeding is not “responsible,” regardless of how well the animals are cared for. Not only does buying from a breeder contribute to the problem of pet overpopulation, but purebred dogs face a host of health problems that mixed breeds are far less likely to develop.

Pet Overpopulation

Right now we have far too many cats and dogs living in shelters who need homes and not enough people willing to adopt them. Buying a dog, no matter the seller, is still a part of the problem.

Why? Because when one buys a dog, they’re paying for them to be born. We’re telling the seller to continue breeding more and more animals for our benefit and their profit. For every dog that is bought, there is another dog at the shelter who will not be adopted.

Animals have made it abundantly clear that they are capable of making babies without our help. We’re told to spay and neuter our dogs so that they don’t bring more puppies into the world, but breeders are bringing more puppies into the world every day.

Purebreds Are Prone to Health Problems

Did you know that English Bulldogs don’t usually deliver their puppies vaginally, nor are they likely to breed without assistance?

Labrador Retrievers also are prone to diseases such as hip dysplasia and bloat, a disease in which the stomach becomes too full of water, food and air, leading to the stomach to twist. This easily leads to death.

Skin problems, cataracts, spinal disc issues and a whole host of other conditions ail many purebred dogs. Dogs who are inbred are particularly susceptible to health problems, but this issue isn’t unique to inbred dogs. Purebred dogs who are not inbred face them too.

At the end of the day, the continuos overbreeding of purebred dogs is leading to the proliferation of sick animals. There is a lot of debate on whether mixed dogs are actually healthier than purebreds, but the fact of the matter is a dog who is mixed is far less likely to develop breed specific diseases.

Tail-Docking and Ear-Cropping

Because we’re so used to specific breeds looking a certain way, a docked tail and cropped ears are rarely given a second thought. The practice of cutting of body parts really shouldn’t be taken so lightly. In most other countries, tail-docking and ear-cropping are either illegal or restricted.Not so, here in the United States.

Not only is it common, but it’s usually done without any form of anesthesia. While some claim that tail-docking prevents tail injury, there really seems to be little reason to perform such a procedure. Not only is it largely a cosmetic surgery, but it’s a painful one at that.

In addition, the American Veterinary Medical Association does not support the practice, saying, “Performing a surgical procedure for cosmetic purposes…implies the procedure is not medically indicated. Because dogs have not been shown to derive self-esteem or pride in appearance from having their tails docked … there is no obvious benefit to our patients in performing this procedure.”

Mixed breed shelter puppies rarely if ever have their ears cropped or tails docked because they don’t have breed specific standards by which they are measured.

Time for a Change

While most breeders treat their dogs far better than puppy millers do, we can’t continue to claim that breeding doesn’t come with its own set of problems because it’s just not true.  For those who still really want a purebred dog, there are breed specific rescues you can check out. Or, if a puppy is what you’re looking for, there are plenty of puppies in shelters who need homes too.

Even if we could disregard the other offenses that take place in these breeding facilities, the fact that 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized every year is enough reason to refrain from purchasing a companion animal. If we really want to protect dogs and reduce the number of homeless animals living in shelters, buying from a breeder isn’t now and never will be a part of the solution. Regardless of whether you go for a purebred or mixed breed, adopting is really the best way to go. Remember, adopt, don’t shop!

Image source:Kshitij Shah/Flickr

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422 comments on “Why Breeding Pets Is Irresponsible. Period.”

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Frank
2 Months Ago

There is nothing wrong with people who want a pure breed dog. There is something wrong with the painfully misinformed virtue signaling in this article.


Reply
Annie
3 Months Ago

1) I used to work in a municipal shelter. Wanna know the difference between purebred and mixed breed when it comes to health problems?

When a purebred develops a problem, the owner is far more likely to KEEP THE DOG and take care of it because they paid a hefty sum for them and probably raised them from a pup.

Mixes on the other hand are traded around on classifieds, picked up from friends, backyard breeders, shelters, and other questionable sources for fairly cheap. When those dogs have a problem, physical or behavioral, know where they often end up more often than not? At my shelter. Then they end up dead because no one wants a something-doodle with hip problems that require a $2000 surgery.

A purebred with a heath problem might STILL get picked up by a family or a breed specific rescue because they are such fans of the breed that they will try to save every one.

That is the only difference; demand. Hybrid vigor is a myth. Mixed breeds can develop the same problems as purebreds - it\'s down to the genetic problems the dog\'s parents did or didn\'t have.

2) Not every country or place in the world has a pet overpopulation problem. Oh yes, the places where it\'s bad, it\'s really bad, but places like my own city stray dogs are nonexistent. We have to ship dogs from other cities to us to keep up with demand, especially for small dogs.

Even then there aren\'t enough healthy, mentally sound dogs (never mind puppies) to go around. Breed specific rescues are even more short of healthy, mentally sound dogs. You might not care, but the cold hard truth is that the average new dog owner does not have the experience, time, or patience to retrain a rescue with fear aggression, or to live with a former mill dog that has no bladder control and needs a diaper 24/7. Rescues can doll up a cute rescue all they want to get them in a home, but I\'ve seen those dogs bounce back because the organization wasn\'t honest with the adoptive family.

Owner education and spaying/neutering before adopting out pets is the solution. Responsible breeders did not cause this problem, the average joe looking to make a buck did.

3) I disagree with you very strongly that EVERY dog breeder is irresponsible on principle. If we did not have dog breeders maintaining healthy lines, we would eventually not have pet dogs (this is what PETA wants). Domestic dogs are not a natural species - we made them and we have to keep raising them if we want non-feral dogs in our homes!

The good breeders are doing genetic testing to keep disorders and diseases out of their lines. They raise them from day one to be mentally stable, socialized pets that can live in the average household. When you pay a breeder you are paying to ensure the next generation of dogs isn\'t going to have bad hips, or develop blindness, or have neurological diseases, etc. You\'re paying to ensure that your future dog gets the best possible start and is easy to train and live with.

Mixed breeds are lucky if they are born in a shelter and receive early socialization and appropriate training during their critical development stages.

4) Cropping and docking is (THANKFULLY) becoming illegal in more and more countries. I\'ve noticed more and more that people after those types of purebreds are more likely to want the natural look these days anyway.


So much misinformation in this article that it makes me sick. You\'re doing a disservice to everyone.


Reply
Kelly Plaas
9 Months Ago

It is irresponsible pet owners, who cause much of the overpopulation by not having their pets spayed or neutered. I am not defending breeders because many of them are irresponsible too. A good quality dog breeder actually requires you to sign a statement saying you will have your dog fixed by a certain time..and they follow through... Of course, it is always best to rescue, but some breeds are needed for the specialty of their breed. Stupid people are the biggest threat to the animals in the world. You can't blame all the breeders.


Reply
Kelly Xexchron
9 Months Ago

Some breeders are needed, obviously, or we wouldn't have "pets".


Reply
Kim Sides Lakin
9 Months Ago

Tweet, email, contact any way that you can, President Elect Donald Trump. If all animal lovers and rescues do this he will have to listen. There is a heart breaking epidemic of homeless pets in this country. Please make it illegal for people to senselessly breed animals, to sell, throw away and torture. We would love to see a hefty tax imposed on anyone in possession of a dog or cat that is not neutered or spayed. Use the money collected from the tax to enforce the laws and provide free spay, neuter clinics and funding for legitimate rescues. Also please make the laws more forceful and enforced for animal abuse. Something needs to be done for people over breeding horses too, please Sir. So many are being abused and needlessly slaughtered.


Reply
Kim Sides Lakin
9 Months Ago

Tweet, email, contact any way that you can, President Elect Donald Trump. If all animal lovers and rescues do this he will have to listen. There is a heart breaking epidemic of homeless pets in this country. Please make it illegal for people to senselessly breed animals, to sell, throw away and torture. We would love to see a hefty tax imposed on anyone in possession of a dog or cat that is not neutered or spayed. Use the money collected from the tax to enforce the laws and provide free spay, neuter clinics and funding for legitimate rescues. Also please make the laws more forceful and enforced for animal abuse. Something needs to be done for people over breeding horses too, please Sir. So many are being abused and needlessly slaughtered.


Reply
Melissa Robles
9 Months Ago

Every fool with a dog think they can be a breeder.. UUGGG Leave this to actual breeders that do this for a living.. There are enough dog in the pound without homes. Go to the pound and adopt!!! Neuter and spay your dogs!!!


Reply
Irina Srebot
9 Months Ago

We so Not have puppi Mills in Germany and it is forbidden to sell animals in zooshops. Unfortunatly we have idiots who do not breed correctly but animal lovers will always check the breeder where they buy their new Family member.


Reply
Irina Srebot
9 Months Ago

We so Not have puppi Mills in Germany and it is forbidden to sell animals in zooshops. Unfortunatly we have idiots who do not breed correctly but animal lovers will always check the breeder where they buy their new Family member.


Reply
Donna Johnson
9 Months Ago

I always get my dogs from the local shelter. My little Jack Russell was 2 years old when I got him, sitting in a cage day after day. It's like putting a hyperactive child in solitary. I say adopt out the dogs in shelters first, then we can talk about breeding dogs. With all the killing do we really give a crap about dog shows and such?


Reply


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