The ability to offer puppies and other animals for sale via the Internet has multiplied the concerns associated with puppy mills. Because of the ease of offering animals for sale online without any official oversight, many embrace the technology as a way to minimize the costs of operating a clean, healthy, and humane facility for the care of animals.
With virtual transactions, it is difficult to determine how well the animal is being cared for and the health and genetic history of the animal’s parents. Although adoption sites often require reference checks as a way to ensure animals are healthy and that living conditions are humane, this is not the case with most for-sale interactions on the Web. Once the animal is sold via the Internet, concerns include the method and safety of transportation to the buyer and the lack of regulation regarding the use of the animal after it is purchased. Moreover, by making more animals available for sale online, animals already awaiting adoption in shelters are put at increased risk of euthanasia.
Without the same safeguards used for online animal adoptions, the Internet allows buyers and sellers to anonymously acquire animals as pieces of property rather than the living, breathing creatures they are. The responsible purchase, or better yet adoption, of a companion animal involves a great deal of personal interaction between the existing owner and the animal’s potential new home. Physical adoption sites offer this opportunity to new owners, plus support and additional resources in case the animal has behavioral or socialization issues.
The federal Animal Welfare Act instructs the Secretary of the USDA to regulate any entity that purchases or transports live animals in interstate commerce in order “(1) to insure that animals intended for use… as pets are provided humane care and treatment; (2) to assure humane treatment of animals during transportation in commerce; and (3) to protect the owners of animals from the theft of their animals by preventing the sale or use of animals which have been stolen.” The Act also states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly sell, buy, transport, or deliver to another person or receive from another person for purposes of transportation, in interstate or foreign commerce, any dog or other animal for purposes of having the dog or other animal participate in an animal fighting venture.”
American Humane opposes the sale of animals via the Internet because of the potential for the animal to suffer at the hands of unregulated breeders or guardians who may not provide minimum standards of care, the risks inherent in interstate commerce involving animals, and the lack of standards for how the animal will be cared for or used once it has been purchased.
They have a good point. I often wonder how Riley's breeder can just let go of her pups to people she's never met in person. What if I abused Riley? What could she do living on the other side of the country? I'd be worried sick if I couldn't physically check up on the pups.
A breeder can make errors even when the person comes to pick them up and meet them too. People can be tricky. If you are using the internet to make contact, not simply click a button to purchase and drop in your credit card # into pay pal, I don't think it is bad at all-just another contact tool. I personally don't like the idea of on-line pet stores like that. I honestly bet that in an ad that I've placed once on a site that sells puppies that I have refused 90% of the 'intersested parties' and the other 10% were put on the waiting list so that I did have time to get to know them.
So I guess, it can be good or bad, depending on what type of contact and relationship, if any are being developed. As a tool or resource it is good, as an online pick a puppy and ship, I personally don't think those are a good idea.
***Edited By: myshadow on 6/14/2005 5:30:20 PM*** Reason: spelling
BTW, we did discuss this earlier, but I do not think that this legislation will neccessarily catch all the puppymills and just a few reasons why... 1) I've read many of TP members posts and many of you already believe that USDA is not enough. 2) The ones that step up-and get USDA licensed are not the ones that we need to watch for. 3) The ones that are 7 or more litters and are truly a puppymill and do not care, will continue to operate until caught. How will they get caught or monitored and will probably operate as long as they can until they are caught, and wouldn't care if the government seized their dogs. Then move on to something else or under another name. 4) The ones that fall under the limit do not mean they are a good breeder ot take care of their dogs or puppies by any means.
I know many that think this is a step in the right direction including the AKC, but I personally do not think it is, for these reasons and also for reasons that have to do with government crossing over into private business. I favor more state regulations-yes, they can be the same as USDA and even better with more state control to get something done faster and the problems dealt with faster. They could also coincide with state puppy lemon laws-making care and sales-both retail and wholesale go hand in hand. JMO.
***Edited By: myshadow on 6/14/2005 5:31:06 PM*** Reason: edit
thank you icyhound. i totally agree. i did alot of research on french bulldogs and researched breeders. only two reputable ones in my state and both had two year waiting lists.so i didnt have a choice but through the internet. i got my pups from different breeders and remain in contact with both to this day. also both are healthy and have excellent temperments.
I live in the midwest which is famous for it's puppy mills. Good quality breeders are few and far between and for me, to find another sheltie breeder of my quality (or better as I will admit I mainly breed pet quality dogs not ones that would excel in the show ring) it would involved at least 8-10 hours driving for me - and this is if I could first FIND the breeder.
I think the average person needs to get over their "impulse buying" urges and investigate a breeder a little more thoroughly before they send them big bucks. I talk to my adoptive families for hours before I agree to "sell" them a puppy. Most breeders know how to tell a bad home from a good one with a few questions. I talked to a lady on the phone last week and had an off feeling about her. She came to my home the next afternoon and I still had an off feeling about her. I could have saved myself some time and just told her that I wouldn't sell her a dog before she came to my home.
The problem isn't the internet - the problem is that too many buyers think that the term "breeder" means quality. You need to know the questions to ask. My biggest piece of advice - the breeder should make you feel excited about getting a puppy AND the breeder should come off as someone you would be friends with. They shouldn't hesitate, they shouldn't make excuses - AND ...
Here's the big trick to buying online....
ASK FOR REFERENCES!!!! A good breeder will have them from families they have shipped to, from families that have picked up from them, and from a good vet. I have 3 or 4 staple families that are always willing to write me a reference, or talk on the phone to someone interested in a puppy from me. One is a veterinarian that adopted a puppy from me, the other 2/3 people have more than one of my puppies. A couple of them have small children, at least one of them has other animals including horses, ect.... A good breeder chooses her reference people to reflect the people who will be looking at wanting a reference.
Even if you meet the breeder and puppy in person - GET REFERENCES!!! They are invaluable. I've been scr*wed over by a breeder I met in person. It happens just as often. You wouldn't just randomly pick a pediatrican by running your finger up and down the yellow pages with your eyes closed - would you? A breeder is the same way. If you get an unsettling feeling when speaking with the breeder (and please give them a call - good breeders LIKE talking with their adoptive families on the phone - I'm sure IcyHound would agree with me concerning that!) head for the hills. The perks of internet breeders being available is that you have access to more great breeders as well. Of course the shoddy ones will be in larger quantity as well. Honestly, there just are more bad breeders than good ones. You have to work to find the good ones!!!
I don't know what to think. There is both good and bad in Internet sales. It may not be for me, but I can see how it may be essential for many.
Personally, I would never buy or sell through the Internet. If I buy a dog, I want to see the pups, parents and breeder face to face. Pictures are just not an acceptable substitution for me. Same goes for selling. I can read people much better in person then over email and phone.
Havening said that, I live in a large metropolitan area with literally millions of potential costumers, and thousands of breeders of all breeds. For some one who live in a more sparsely populated area, they may not be able to find a breeder for the breed they want close by, or may not have enough buyers interested in their pups close by. In these cases, the internet comes very handy for both buyer and seller.
I apologize in advance for the length of my reply.
I can not be considered a "breeder". As most of you know, I had PLANS to breed my pair, but much further down the line. Since Beau was a bit more advanced than either MY breeder or I suspected, he moved things up by about 2 years.
The experience was wonderful and exacting at the same time. I discovered that unless I am retired or no longer work outside the home, careful breeding and puppy rearing is FAR too physically demanding on me. Once was more than enough!
Having said that....I sold my pups on-line. I sold 8 of the 10, keeping one myself and giving one as a gift to my grandchildren. I had the fruitcakes and nutcases contact me. I spent more hours than can be believed on the phone and in e-mailing.
Of my buyers, there were 3 that I never met in person (one in Colorado, one in New Hampshire and one in Alabama). We spoke on the phone almost daily, e-mail almost daily (sometimes several times a day) and checked one another out thoroughly (vet references, etc...) long before my pup ever left for his or her new home. My pups didn't leave the house until they were at least 12 weeks of age, which gave the prospective buyers and myself 2-3 months to get to know one another rather well.
The pups are more than a year old now and all are healthy, happy and very much loved. I speak to the owners on a regular basis and receive updates and photos of them as they grow.
I couldn't have asked for better homes than they each have. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I decided not to continue breeding, I had 10 pups all well placed and the work involved in that placement was not something I would want to have to go through again anytime soon. I can't imagine having to do that on a regular basis for multiple litters unless I had unlimited time in which to do it.
While it breaks my heart to see the puppymills and byb breeders have a resource to so many unsuspecting buyers worldwide and honest breeders risking a less than desirable buyer, I'm not so sure I'm able to support a law governing a ban on internet sales.
As in anything that you are going to invest not only your money, but a large part of yourself, check it out thoroughly first, buyer and seller. That should go without saying and should not require legislation.
If efforts were made to make the public REALLY aware of what puppymills and byb breeders are doing (that would include brokers and pet stores who support them as well) we might be able to remove their "market" and put them out of business.
I have to be terribly honest and say that at 53 I had NEVER heard of either before joining TP a year ago. Had no idea what they were, much less how they operated. That would include those darling pups in the pet store window! In other words, education not legislation is what I feel is really needed. I'm sure there as many opinions as there are posters on TP, but wanted to state my own opinion for what it's worth.
Let me also be harsh and say that I am sick and tired of people wanting federal regulations for everything. I'm tired of people being lazy, not doing their research and getting burned. I'm tired of people wanting crap now and then getting mad that it turned out to be a bum deal.
I'm tired of being punished becuase I do the right things. If I lied and cheated, lied about registering my dogs names, gave out false names and addresses demanded cash payment and used a disposable cell phone people would be screwed.
All of these damn bans affect me. I show my dogs, I care for my dogs, I test my dogs, my puppeis have life time health guaranties, life time check back, and life time breeder support. I'm the one with a rare breed. I'm the one who wont be able to place puppies.
Don't tell me if you cant keep them all don't breed them becuase thats crap. No one should be falted for wanting a rare breed. I'm perfectly willing to keep them all but lets be rational here. There is NOTHING wrong with selling ones dogs, its how its sold and the BUYER has as much responsiblity as the seller to know what they are buying!
One little point most folks seem to overlook is that breeders had to start with a breeding "stock". I know that I spent MONTHS doing research on my chosen breed and researched breeders even longer before I brough Angel into my home.
I made phone calls, checked with the BBB in their area, checked their methods of puppy rearing and how frequently they their bred their bitches and at waht age. I asked for copies of guarantees, contracts and asked tons of quetstions before I found a breeder that felt like a perfect match. She and I have become friends as have most those who now have MY pupppies.
I don't see anyone making a major investment in other areas of their lives without thorough checking and comparisons. I would think a pup & breeder would be just a tad more important to thoroughly investigate than say, a dishwasher or fridge.
Buyer education is seriously lacking and sadly enough, most buyers aren't even AWARE they NEED an education. I think that THAT is where the ASPCA and gov't should be expending resources.
Using the "appliance" comparison (hate to, but it gets the idea acroos), how many people do you know who would go out of their way to buy a fridge if they KNOW ahead of time it's going to "expire" within 3 months?
There are plenty of resources informing the general public of how to check out manufacturers, why not breeders?
Juno- You know one thing that has come from me changing my target with my internet advertising is that I am getting many more local people-within driving distance as clients. So I am getting to meet more of my families and they are getting to come here and meet all of my dogs.
For me to advertise in a metro newspaper, it costs a fortune and I end up with bargainer calls or other people that I am not interested in selling to. Many find the newspaper to be incovience and prefer to look at more information online-like my website. With caller ID, I think people get a little nervous just calling out of the paper. I don't raise a popular breed(s) for my area, so by internet advertising I can find the regional people that are interested and most of them now come and meet us-which is great. I do occassionally have to work far away.
Another thing, is I don't usually advertise puppies, but for our waiting list. What's the difference? It allows me to be sure of the demand with my pairing, and most of the time have months to get to know the families and provide more info to them, and allows them to prepare.
So it really does matter, how, when, where and why in all apects of internet advertising.
Like "Shadow", I am in a rather rural, small populated area and Great Pyrenees are not what one could consider common around here. Internet advertsing allowed me a far larger number of people to screen as potential owners. I also did provide the three who could not visit in person with videos updated as often as they liked.
I can understand how it works, both ways, with preferring face to face meetings, but when it is not possible, tere are ways to check one another out pretty thoroughly.
Nothing in life is guranteed other than death and taxes, but if you do your homework as buyer or seller, you'll have as much assurance as if you had met in person.
There's nothing to say that the person you met and sold a puppy to because they were just wonderful won't turn out to be a complete loser.
Same goes for a breeder. It's easy enough to "spruce up" before a scheduled visit. Since my buyers knew I had digital equipment, they felt free to call or e-mail asking for video or pics on a pretty much spur of the moment basis.
I liked the fact that they had keen interest and constant concern over their growing pup. I was not in the least insulted and was more than happy to oblige. They might have had to wait an hour or so once or twice while I finished fixing dinner or something, but never more than that.
There just are way too many BYB's, Millers & Brokers advertizing on the internet. Then there are the ligit good breeders like Icy & such but the bad ones out way the good ones by far. That's why I always recommend petfinder or your local breed rescues, shelters etc 1st. Then if no luck go to AKC's website & just do your research!
I have talked to millers & they see nothing wrong with raising 100 plus ungroomed dogs or as they call "property" because they are meerly livestock to them & nothing more. They are treated as such too! They call normal people like us AR (Animal Rights) Wackos! Go figure!
***Edited By: rhondakbt on 6/15/2005 1:23:56 PM*** Reason: added