More and more communities are beginning to crack down on dog breeders who may be abusing their animals. The good news is that advocacy groups have advice for prospective puppy purchasers, to help them avoid supporting unscrupulous breeders.
In Valparaiso, IN, five Shar Peis were removed from a home after animal control officers saw the abused dogs on the breeder’s website. The dogs were shown in kennels filled with waste, and some were malnourished and had eye infections.
The dogs were taken to a local shelter, but their owners weren’t immediately charged with any crimes.
Meanwhile, families in Charlotte, NC, were buying sick dogs from breeders. One family was told their dog had such a bad case of canine parvovirus that he might not make it, but he survived; other families, unfortunately, weren’t quite so lucky.
That neglect doesn’t just harm dogs physically, but it can affect them mentally, as well. They may not get along with humans, and they could even become aggressive depending upon how they were treated.
Fortunately, many dogs taken into custody by animal control are able to be re-homed after some TLC. In fact, just 20 minutes of social interaction with a walker or other people can help lonely dogs improve their moods.
Of course, not all dog breeders mistreat their dogs. Many need their dogs to be healthy not just to attract buyers but to compete in kennel club competitions.
At the Okaloosa Kennel Club dog show in Florida, dog owners showed off their best purebreds in the hopes of taking top prize for top dog.
Owner Nekolia Burke of Chattanooga, TN, referred to her Shetland sheepdogs as her “furkids.” Win or lose, Burke said, they would get some filet mignon the evening after the show as a treat.
Finding a reputable breeder doesn’t mean that the dogs are fed a steady diet of quality steaks, but there are other signs that some breeders may be more reputable than others.
The Humane Society recommends adopting over selecting a breeder if possible, but if families are looking for a particular type of dog, they should do their research first. Some breeds can be more susceptible to diseases or genetic conditions than others and may need extra care.
Once they contact a breeder, the prospective pet owner should ask to see the mama and papa dogs. Up-to-date veterinary records should be provided for adult dogs and puppies, especially as puppies need vaccinations when they are six or seven weeks old.
As for the Charlotte family who bought a sick dog from a questionable breeder, they had met up with the breeder at a gas station. Not having the opportunity to see where the dogs are kept can be a warning sign that something isn’t right with the breeder.
Finally, puppies shouldn’t be any younger than eight weeks old when they are sold.
But how do these breeders get away with it? Sadly, many breeders are not subject to penalties for selling sick or neglected dogs because some states don’t have laws on the books prohibiting it.
In North Carolina, there may be hope for those who have bought dogs sick with canine parvovirus or other conditions. Rep. Jason Saine of Kings Mountain has proposed a law that would fine breeders $1,000 if animal control finds dogs living in poor conditions without necessary food, water and physical activity.