There have been many posts lately about puppymills and what can be done so that they go out of business. Well, I for one don't think that will EVER happen.
Here is why: Alright- I am a reputable breeder, my friends are reputable breeders. We take good care of our dogs and we love them, so we carefully screen potential homes. We WON'T sell to certain people. There will always be homes that don't have a snowball's chance in he-lllllllll of getting a dog from us.
So- where will those people get that dog they want- because you can bet that they WILL get a dog- ? Well, they will find someplace that won't ask them any questions! Like - aha! the petstore! Or a puppymill website (and there are lots of those out there).
So, there will always be a market for the puppymiller's product, which is puppies on demand for Billy's birthday tomorrow or one to match the new couch, or to replace the one that DIED because its owners were irresponsible and did any of a zillion things that resulted in the death of the first dog. And as long as there is a market for puppymiller dogs, there will always be puppymillers.
And that is the sad truth of the matter. I'd love to hear a real solution, other than education, because I don't care how much you tell people about how the dogs in the pet store come from a mill, if someone wants a dog and people like me won't sell them one, there is no real end of demand for puppymill dogs.
In most European countries pet stores selling dogs and cats have been made illegal, therefore mill numbers were lowered dramatically. IF it were illegal to sell animals in such a way it would help. Sadly the mentality in NA is that it's ones right to do as they please with thier animals. The laws here are pathetic and protect nothing IMO.
In Germany they barely have a pet over population problem and it's very strict who can be a breeder, they inspect all breeding stock and it's very regulated which I happen to agree with.
It can change IF it were the priority of politicians and dog clubs.
In Germany, the government actually goes so far as to tell you who you can breed your dog to. As one that considers breeding to be both art and science, I do not need big brother telling me I cannot breed to this one or that one if I so choose. I stringently disagree with puppymills but I also vehemently disagree with Germany's system!
This is not an attack on you, incidentally- it is just - well, imagine the reaction you might get from artists if you told them the government was going to now issue approvals on what they could or could not paint from now on.
***Edited By: HopeSheltie on 10/7/2005 12:56:30 PM*** Reason: Trying to be polite
i am not completely familiar with all of germanys regulations regarding breeding but i do know that with the gsd...they have to have certain titles on the dogs before they are allowed to breed. which i agree with as it shows the dogs really are breed type and temperament.
i second making pet stores selling animals illegal.....unfortunately the name of the game in this country is MONEY.......it rules all here. wave a dollar bill in front of someone face and morals and ethics fly out the window.......quite SAD and PATHETIC.
"I do not need big brother telling me I cannot breed to this one or that one if I so choose. "
and this is why BYBs, mills etc won't be stopped. You may find Germany's regulations too strict BUT at least they aren't killing MILLIONS of dogs each year..... There are ways to stop BYB's and Mills but until people see beyond thier noses they won't. People in NA feel they have a RIGHT to exploit animals and it's not a priority, we are stupid over here, we ban breeds that have been ruined by bad breeding instead of stopping irresponsible breeding, which would in turn lower the amount of unsound dogs out there.
I always wondered about puppy mills in other countries. I grew up in Mexico and although there was alot of "street dogs" it was hard to find good registered pure bred dogs. So I really dont think they have puppymills down there...I could be wrong but thats how I remember it. Even this past summer while visiting my dad I was looking at the classifieds and they only had like 20 dogs listed thats nothing for a city of 8 million people. The ones they do have are pretty pricey..like $1000 for a toy poodle etc. and they dont have much variety mainly GSD, poodles and the more common breeds.
Germany's system has a dark side. First- the way it works is that each breed has a board that controls who gets to breed to whom. That is good and great except- when the board gets upset with someone and blacklists them or begins to steer the breed in a bad direction. Because what you can end up with is a breed in dire trouble.
I can even provide an example. I know of one lady that is known in my breed as "difficult". She does, however, breed her own dogs her own way, and is brilliant. My breed is currently facing something of a pigment problem. Had she been forced to breed her dogs the way some board decreed (and I guarantee you, due to her "difficult" nature they would have interfered with her breedings), her dogs would not be what they are today- and that is a safety net for my breed. I know one thing- I can cross something of hers into almost any line of dogs in this country and free myself from pigment problems.
Does this help explain why I am so diabolically opposed to such a system?
i can understand your point hopesheltie but something has to be done and i dont see them enforcing the existing rules....and it is out of control right now. so even if it meant stricter policies and some getting black balled.....may it would be fro the greater good. because right now.......those getting kicked out of their clubs....are finding alternative means.....and those alt. means are not good ones.
“And that is the sad truth of the matter. I'd love to hear a real solution, other than education, because I don't care how much you tell people about how the dogs in the pet store come from a mill, if someone wants a dog and people like me won't sell them one, there is no real end of demand for puppymill dogs.”
Well, that is part of the problem. Even though well meaning breeders like you are trying to do the right thing, you are actually contributing to the success of and the demand for puppy mills. By your actions you are also contributing to the degradation of your breed as well. If people could get a high quality dogs for a price they can afford with out getting interrogated and with out restrictions from responsible reputable breeders, they wouldn’t have to resort to defective sick dogs from pet stores, bybs and millers. Unfortunately, when crap is all that is available for them, than crap is what they’ll get and breed. I know this is not something many here like to hear but it is true.
Restrictions like in Germany would never work in the USA. It goes against the mentality and the ideology of most Americans. No one likes to be told what they can and can not do. Many are already fed up with big brother interfering with their every day life. I can’t see it working here. I don’t think even the AKC and its member clubs will ever support something like that.
There are plenty of laws on the books right now that could put a huge dent in the BYBs and the puppymills if they were enforced. Unfortunately, enforcing them unilaterally will be very costly. In my area, you must have a breeding license and can only breed one litter per year per household. If you want more then that, then you must have a kennel license which most can’t even get because of strict zoning laws. You would think that with restrictions like these there wouldn’t be an over population problem, unfortunately this is not the case. People are either not aware of these laws or don’t care. The authorities do not have the man power and the budget to enforce them either. With out proper enforcement, more laws will only put a burden on the law abiding responsible breeders like you and will do nothing to the real problem.
Another problem is that there are no uniformed rules and regulations for all. Laws are very different between each state, county and city. Even if one area manages to halt all breeding, breeders will just move to a more “friendly” area with less strict laws and continue with business as usual. People who are looking for a dog will just drive a little farther or get one from the internet. The internet makes it possible for anyone any where to sell and buy whatever they want. That will never change unless uniformed national rules are in effect. And before someone says it, no, PAWS is not the answer either.
What Hope said was basically what I've been trying to say for a week. It stinks that some people feel dogs are livestock, it stinks that some pet owners feel that pets are toys, or objects of amusement for their children. It really stinks that dogs are "throw away" - but as we saw during Katrina, they will always be less than important to some who aren't dog lovers like many of us.
Do I agree with any of this? NO! My dogs are my life and I literally will buy a new toy for one of my dogs before I will buy a DVD or new shirt for myself. My dogs get treated better than some people's children.
But I live in the Midwest and more specifically in South Dakota where the cost of living is low, where pay rates and income are low, and where one of the biggest percentage of employments goes to farm and ranch work. People don't need good breeders in my area because it so much easier to get a much cheaper dog from someone who is doing a really half asked job.
And I understand what juno is saying as well - breeders screening their homes and asking what they need to in order to cover their costs (because they are doing things responsibly) tends to push the "average Joe" towards a breeder who will sell for less and ask no questions. It's one of the reasons I keep my prices lower, and try and initiate a give and take with my puppy families so that they understand I'm going to ask questions - but I want them to feel free to ask some as well.
When I started breeding, with my first 2-3 litters, I didn't ask many questions, my contract was simple and short, and I sold my pups for almost $200 less than I am now. I ended up placing puppies with families that loved them, but that weren't really wanting to be responsible dog owners and didn't want to listen to someone who was only interested in selling puppies. One person changed their AKC papers themself to give them full registration (they forged my initials and AKC took that as enough). One person ignored my contract and sold the puppy to someone else for double the price without letting me know. One puppy I ended up buying back for double the price to get her out of a bad home (sounded good when I talked to them - but they were deathly afraid of having a fat dog and drastically underfed her). I gave up being nice and started being responsible to the dog. Someone has to be their voice.
But Hope is right - it's not just scummy dog breeders that are the problem. It's scummy dog owners just as equally the problem. The breeder doesn't drop the dogs off at the shelter - it's the bad owner that does. And which one of us good breeders will sell to people willing to consider doing this? None. So where do they get their dogs from? People who sell cheap and ask no questions.
I don't know if inforcing Germany's laws would really fix things. I have met lots of breeders who would probably being willing to conform to these standards but they care very little about the individual dogs. Breeding is about prestige and trophy's to them. Their dogs don't get cuddled or loved. Their clean, and well groomed, and they are exemplary conformation - but that's it. I know of one big name breeder in Florida that she has a good number of her pet quality puppies/dogs end up in Sheltie rescues care becauce they have horrible temperament and their owners haven't been screened. She doesn't have a clause that says she'll take them back if the home doesn't work out. She has great conformation in her dogs, and knows what she's doing breeding - but her dogs are trophy's. How is that any better than breeding good conformation?
And consider if we did this how difficult it would be for a middle class family with good intentions to adopt a dog? I've heard so many people say that as it is, Shelters won't place in homes with small children. That's terrible. I grew up with a house full of dogs and it's made me the person I am today and it is the reason I respect them so much.
I was one of the people who said "educate people" - mainly because there really isn't anything you CAN do to stop ignorant, lazy people from getting a dog. I suppose you could make people have to take a test in order to get a dog - like getting a driver's license. But people feel that is an infringement on their civil liberties - and I kind of agree. There is only so much regulating the government can do. The education thing was more intended asa way to socially ostrasize people that buy from Puppy Mills so that it gets to the point in our country where it indicates you as pond scum if you buy from them. Even people with no morals don't want people to KNOW they have low morals.
I don't know if there is a soluction to the problem really...