Hey all! It’s been quite a while since we’ve posted anything other than our usual series but I recently read a post over at BlogPaws that prompted a writing spree. I started trying to write a comment but quickly realized I had a lot to say! I feel it would help to at least skim the post to see where I’m coming from.
I’ll start by saying I understand the very basic point the post is trying to make but it seems to be stretching to prove that point. We here at ILRA are certainly advocates for rescue but we have always recognized that there are some good breeders out there. On our site we say “We advocate always choosing adoption over buying an animal. (Note: We do not condemn responsible breeders but still feel you should consider adoption first.) We have no preferences for mixed breed or purebred animals as both can be found in shelters and rescues.” I once read an article about how truly responsible breeders practically lose money on it what with all the genetic testing, vet care, vaccines and hours of work they put into making sure each and every puppy is properly socialized. I wish I could find that post again because that was the one that finally cemented in my mind how I feel about responsible breeding. The problem is, responsible breeders as I define it probably only optimistically account for about 10% of the breeders out there, and probably something as ridiculously low as 1% of the dogs.
I will never understand why a responsible breeder would fight legislation regulating the breeding of dogs. If, as the post suggests, breeders love a dog so much because of its history and how much it meant to a nation or a people, or even if it’s based simply on the characteristics of the dog, then they should care that breed standards are kept up to par. Regulation should in NO WAY affect a responsible breeder because they would A. Be taking proper care of their dogs and thus B. Not be breeding a huge number of dogs at once. Regulation is almost always based on the number of breeding bitches or total number of breeding dogs a breeder can have at one point in time and set a minimum standard of care for the animals. If this regulation comes anywhere near affecting a breeding operation then I can’t help but posit that that operation may not be as responsible as they would like people to believe. In order for there to be proper time, care, and attention given to selecting the right animals to breed, to ensuring that their temperaments are taken into consideration, and that every puppy is properly raised and sold to the right people, there HAS to be a limit on the number of dogs any given breeder can have at one point in time. Anyone needing more animals to make more money is not in it for the breed but for profit. Dogs become a commodity at that point, not a beloved breed representing tradition and heritage. That is what a puppy mill is. If you are truly in it for the breed, then you should ALWAYS be against puppy mills and should support legislation meant to bring them to an end. You should want there to be licenses required for breeding dogs so there aren’t backyard breeders out there diluting the breed standards and having no regard for temperament – one of the MAJOR reasons pit bulls have such a bad rap right now.
I was particularly taken aback by the author’s nonchalant way of throwing out what is actually a very reprehensible attack. “I’ve always known what we as individual dog owners stand to lose if animal rights groups have their way…” Excuse me? You want us as animal rescuers to look at breeders individually and recognize that there are responsible ones but you just lump every single one of us together? Yes, that is what I rescue animals for and why I support animal rights. Because I want to take away everyone else’s rights. That is my ultimate goal. It’s about screwing people over, not helping animals in need. Come on now. If you want to be taken seriously, leave the insults at home. As I’ve said, I believe there really are good, respectable breeders out there who LOVE the breed and want to preserve what is good about it. They are animal lovers as well and I can’t see them being so brazenly hateful towards other animal lovers. Many truly responsible breeders set up or at least volunteer for breed rescues. They care about the dogs first and foremost, and they appreciate that animal rescuers are doing the same thing. If you want people to respect you, you first have to extend them respect. We may not always see eye to eye on everything but if we attack each other, we’ll get nowhere.
Assuming that slant was not thrown in there, the author has some valid points about why SOME people like purebred dogs. I, myself, am fascinated by the histories of different breeds. I certainly have my favorites and would love, at some point in my life, to share my life with some of them. But I’m not adamant about HAVING to have a purebred “just because” and I will only ever get those breeds if I happen upon them in a shelter or rescue. And that’s the real issue here. Most people don’t care about a breed’s history or even their characteristics. People get a purebred dog because they just saw the latest cool movie or some celebrity toting around their newest fashion accessory dog. It happened with Lady & the Tramp, 101 Dalmations, the Obama’s getting Bo, Paris Hilton carrying a chihuahua around in her purse. Most people do whatever is popular at the time and don’t even bother to look into what the breed is like. They just have to have a certain breed of dog but never even realize the special characteristics that dog has that might make them a bad match for their lifestyles. Most dogs do not have jobs anymore but, yes, they still have it in them to perform those jobs! Responsible breeders make sure that people have the correct lifestyle to let that breed be what they are meant to be.
The problem is there are too many irresponsible breeders and puppy mills out there, flooding the market with ill-bred dogs that people then dump at shelters because they didn’t know what they were getting into in the first place. And none of this is the dogs’ fault. I don’t think you could find an animal rescuer anywhere who would say they hated a purebred dog. Did the dog have any choice in that? No. So it’s ludicrous to suggest that anyone thinks the only animals worth saving are mixed breed. Again, sounds like author has a chip on their shoulder for one reason or another. Any responsible breeder, i.e. actual animal lover, should be glad that animal rights groups want to be rid of puppy mills. That would mean less dogs would die unnecessarily. See that? DOGS. Less mutts AND less purebreds. And THAT is what matters. And let’s be really, truly honest here: ALL dogs are mixed breed dogs. How do you think breeds are made? Ah yes, that’s right, by crossing different dogs together until you reach the desired outcome. All dogs are mutts, and ALL DOGS deserve to be saved.