Chicago Tribune Story, Animal Activists Target Big Breeders, Puppy Mills


Kudos to Tribune reporters Lisa Black and Jeff Long for their coverage of the movement to do away with corporate breeders and puppy mills. Of course, doing away with puppy mills would be a very good thing. It boggles my mind as to how some puppy mills are now allowed to operate – it seems we have laws on the books at this very moment which could put them out of business.

Ralphie, a Miniature Poodle purchased at Petland actually might have had the canine flu, no matter, this was one sick pup

Truth is that dogs (and cats) are real, living beings – and purchasing or adopting one is like going to Vegas; even under the most ‘pristine’ of circumstances, you can wind up with a dog suffering from separation anxiety or a cat with heart disease. But you can weigh the odds in your favor by NOT visiting a pet store, and not making an impulsive purchase.

Of course, I want to see pet stores stop selling dogs and cats. Or at least for there to be ‘disclosure’ laws so consumers know more about where these animals came from. And I would like to see the some of these idiotic ‘designer breeds’ go away tomorrow – I am most of all, talking about the dwarf-sized ‘teacup’ dogs which inherently seem riddled with health issues.

I even agree with the quote from Jordan Matyas, Illinois director for the Humane Society of the United States that appears in the Tribune story (lately I don’t agree so much with HSUS, as many reasonable people don’t), “A good breeder breeds dogs in homes. When you are talking about someone who has 100 or 200 dogs, that is a massive endeavor and there is no way to socialize the dogs.”

So, how many is too many? I don’t honestly know…100, I’m thinking, is way too many.

My problem with some of the laws is that they are so far reaching they unintentionally or intentionally include the quality breeders. Did I make a point of saying intentionally?

Some blame quality breeders, and all pure bred dogs and cats, for homeless pets. Not true. The responsible breeders are actually a part of the solution:

  • They contractually include spay/neuter in contracts to pet owners
  • Contracts explicitly indicate if the pet has to be given up for any reason – the breeder will take it back at no charge, even many years later
  • They work on improving breed health, and often pay real money to do it.

It’s breeders who provide for rescue. Every breed now has a pure bred
rescue, which pulls animals from shelters delivering them into Foster homes. Not only
is a home environment better for them, and improve their chance of
adoption, rescue frees up shelter cage space.

Good breeders are beginning to be targeted as ‘bad guys,’ they are NOT.

What I was attempting to communicate in the Tribune story is that legislation wouldn’t be quite nearly as important is people didn’t buy these dogs in the first place. But that is actually very hard to do. All puppies – especially those designer ‘teacup designer dogs’ have big eyes, large foreheads, features shared
with human babies.

And, yes, there’s that smile. We’re hard-wired to respond
to these human baby features, All of this combined stimulates
the nurturing hormone oxytocin which makes us feel warm and fuzzy all over.

However, if we could just exhibit some self-control, and we no longer supported these places that sell these dogs – it’s all supply and demand, they would simply go out of business without picketing and without more laws – they would merely go away. And I’m all for that!