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My Neighbor Bought a Puppy Off the Internet

Dr. Emily Weiss shares trends in shelter data that point to an overall decrease in puppy intake. What does this mean for potential pet owners who want puppies?

My neighbor bought a puppy off the Internet. Her husband stopped me the other day to update me on their progress in getting a pet, as he had since they had began their search visiting shelters. He was so very excited, and the puppy was on his way to them as we spoke. His joy was palpable, and my admonishing him for this choice would have done nothing but damage a relationship… the puppy was on his way.

Over the course of the past few days I have been confronted with the question I had asked you a few months ago – where are the puppies going to come from? I recently had the honor to speak at the Business of Saving Lives conference at the beautiful Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation in Walnut Creek, CA, and while there I met several puppies who had been transported in from the central valley. I watched as puppy after puppy (and adult dog and cat) left in the loving arms of a new adopted family. But in many places, there are simply very few puppies entering the sheltering system. This is great news – and, to me, it is profoundly concerning news… 

Transport is absolutely a great solution until we run out of most puppies in shelters. As staff and volunteers in organizations in the central valley of California are working hard to save more lives, transports in to organizations like ARF help get more pets into homes. While we still do not know all the overall positive impacts of transport, one thing is very clear – if you want a puppy and you live outside of an area where puppies are still coming into shelters, transport is sure one way to assure that people can get the pet they want from us – instead of buying one online or from a pet store. (ASPCA’s MAP is a great way to find those that need to transport or have the capacity to receive animals.)

And while you may live in one of those places where the puppies are still abundant and it may feel like intake of puppies will never go down, the trends all point to the very real likelihood (assuming the community pulls together at least at some levels) that your community, too, will not have many puppies some day soon. Look at the following graphs showing puppy intake in 10 different communities that we partner with. You will see that in almost all, puppy intake is down.  (Note, we broke out the graphs into two as the intake scales are quite different in 2 communities.) 

People I know are having trouble finding puppies in their local shelters. These are people who love dogs and want to do the right thing – they want to rescue, and even more than rescuing they want to hold, care for, pamper and love a pup. So when finding a puppy nearby is hard, they find a puppy another way.  

Puppy mills are the things of nightmares. Responsible breeders are expensive, and as I have said before, I personally do not think having a dog in the family should be an elite activity. The benefits of having a dog, both physically and psychologically, are too powerful to leave just to the ‘Haves.’

And... some people (I think they are crazy personally) want puppies. And even if they all wanted adult dogs, the adults start out as puppies… 

If we wait to continue the discussion, it will be too late. The source that is growing now is the source that keeps us up at night…mills churning out puppies…  So I ask you once again… Where will the puppies come from? 


Related links:
“Where Will the Puppies Come From?” 
Interactive Tool: The ASPCA’s MAP 

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Great post, I admit I'm a bit shocked.  Coming from Phoenix AZ I can't imagine not being innundated with puppies (and kittens of course) at our shelter every Spring & Summer.  You raise a great point, if people can't get puppies at shelters and rescues they'll turn to other sources.  Transport is a great alternative, but it may impact dogs that are already at the new shelter, possibly causing them to be "displaced" by puppies transported in, costing those dogs a home.  What's the solution?


There's nothing wrong with getting a puppy from "other sources".  Not everyone wants a shelter pet, many want to know their puppy comes from healthy, happy, long-lived lines.  Shelters and rescues have been importing dogs from both out of state and out of country, add that to this shortage of puppies and it pretty much blows the "overpopulation" myth to bits.  These animals come from unknown sources, have no health screening, no history.  Dogs imported to Canada from Mexico and southern states(SoCal), have tested positive for Brucellosis.  Shelters and rescues are quickly taking over the pet trade, and make no mistake, it IS a business.


I have been in rescue for almost 10 years, and even looking at these graphs- the intake of puppies has NOT decreased significantly enough to warrant concern over where puppies are going to come from.

Dealing with local governments, they are not prone to enacting mandatory spay/neuter laws (and the necessary enforcement) to curb the intake.

As for the health of puppies- long term mixed breed puppies have less health complications and live longer if cared for properly. Our rescue has dealt with hundreds of litters, many dumped by breeders.

Why should breeders not pay income tax, and be responsible for their unwanted dogs and puppies, especially when they profit and rescues do not. For you to say reputable rescue groups are a business is yet another insanely uneducated comment. We were $17k in debt 2 years ago, and help all ages, sizes, breeds with discrimination. We want our dogs to find good homes, not just any home and we always take our dogs back regardless- not many breeders can say the same.



Apparently you have not kept up to date on your readings. UC Davis is one of several areas that have looked at the supposed "mix-breed" vigor argument, that being mix-breeds are healthier than purebreds, and they have found that this is a myth. Mix-breed dogs suffer from not only the diseases of one breed, they tend to suffer from multiple diseases from the breeds they are bred from. Please do not perpetuate the mix-breed vigor belief, and do do your research. Buying from a reputable breeder is an investment in the research and knowledge of how a breed will behave and look when full grown. I personally will never have anything but purebred dogs, but I have no issue with what other people want to have in their lives. It is their choice, not mine. Why should I not be able to have they type of dog that I want? By the way, I have a bird hunting dog which I do hunt in the field. She has been my constant companion for the last 4 years, and I am content and happy to have her in my life.


Why would you think it is a business?? It is NOT a money maker By any means.


If it's not a money maker and you don't think it's a business, then why would anyone be concerned with having puppies to adopt out?  So the goal is to get every animal in our shelters a home.  Great!  But at the same time that we're saying that, we aren't adopting out older dogs or having campaigns for adult dog adoption, and are actually considering breeding our dogs.  How does that make us not a business?  How is even considering breeding our own dogs so that we can have the right product to "adopt" (read: sell) our customers something a non-forprofit business would do?  This concern proves that, while not everyone in the field is this way, many people are treating shelters as pet stores and have completely lost sight of the mission.  If this field was still mission centered (and by that, I don't mean the mission of making money), we would not be concerned with where the puppies were coming from.  We would not be so afraid of international dogs joining our shelters.  We are here to help our companion animals have a long, happy, and healthy life in a home with a family, or so I thought.  We need to stop being so threatened by breeders for taking customers away from us, and so worried that we'll lose profit without puppies, and focus on helping the homeless, stray, and surrendered pets we already have.


Where will the puppies come from?

A great question, because the "spay everythng, don't buy-adopt" movement will eventually have to come to terms with pet ownership being a choice in which the consumer says what, when and how they will choose their dog. Trying to limit that choice by trying to ban or shame all forms of intended reproduction ("breeding") out of existance is thus bound to fail. Think Volstead Act.

And who is this "us"? A subset of superior animal loving people somehow different from those "others" who engage in commerce, and that for the "haves" no less? [one thing is very clear – if you want a puppy and you live outside of an area where puppies are still coming into shelters, transport is sure one way to assure that people can get the pet they want from us – instead of buying one ]

Is animal ownership and commerce now defined as some sort of arena of class warfare by other means, in which the "have nots" adopt and the "haves" buy? ASPCA rhetoric certainly makes that inference.

Transporting animals will never solve the unintended (and sometimes intended) reproduction occurring at export locations, and therefore will not resolve the tragic euthanasia. Instead "adopting" the animal welfare policies of thos eplaces with puppy "shortages" will lead to reduced euthanasia. It is a people problem, and the people involved are not the intentional breeders.

A concerted focus on animal welfare and community values upstream ought to make transport obsolete. If the same effort and energy was applied to those export locations as is spent in transport great things could soon happen. But then, export is far too profitable (and enjoyable) for far too many to be easily given up. And its also way easier than dealing with unintended reproduction.



Speaking to the 'Have' vs the 'Have Nots' ;  I have been trying to adopt a puppy from a rescue for a year and a half now.  The shelters around here are inundated with Pits and Pit mixes, which I am not looking for. I have nothing against Pitties.  I love all dogs!  I just want a big fluffy, furry one this time around.  I want a puppy because I have a tiny, elderly Yorkie and I want to make sure he will be safe.  I feel that if I bring in a puppy, I can at least be fairly sure that may be the case.  In my search, I am looking for a very large or giant breed or mix.  My purpose for getting another dog is to be a playmate/buddy to my Neo Mastiff/Boxer boy.  He's four years old and about 130 lbs.  He's too much for me to play with, and he looks so sad when I've had enough (arms falling out of their sockets! LOL!) tug of war games.  I told him I'd get him a buddy.  I need it to be big and strong in order for it to play and not get hurt.  So that being said, I can buy a dog from a breeder by saving my money for a pup, but I thought I'd rescue one and help 'the cause'.  Turns out that because I'm a holistic health practitioner and treat my horses, dogs and cat more holistically, I'm turned down a lot because my dogs and cat are not 'up to date' on their vaccinations.  Little guy is 14 1/2 and doing fine on holistic measures.  Big guy gets heartworm, and rabies because he likes to be outside a lot hanging with the horses.  Cat is a barn cat that likes to sleep in my bed at night for a while.  Barn cats are pretty much on their own and not vaccinated each year.  All my animals are neutered.  They all get kitten and puppy shots and boosters.  But I don't believe that the yearly vaccines are necessary or good for the animals.  There's a lot of controversy over it, and I choose a less toxic path.  So getting back to the Have Nots..... To adopt a puppy from most rescues these days costs anywhere from $300.00 to $600.00!!!  Plus they won't consider me unless ALL my animals are 'up to date'!  There's another $500.00.  So for a few more dollars, I am being steered to breeders.  I'll know exactly how big my pup will become.  That's important to me because the sole reason for getting another dog is to play with my big one.  Health checks forbreed specific problems are done by breeders if they are reputable, so I don't have to worry about inherent issues that a rescue or shelter dog may have. 

The prices of these rescue puppies is off the charts making it difficult for an average family to rescue a dog.  Neutering a puppy that's only a few weeks or months old is wrong.  I know for a fact that giant and large breeds need to wait until they are at LEAST 8 or 9 months old or they are prone to cancers and bone problems.  They need those hormones for their healthy growth.  Typically the giant breeds should wait until they are   2 years old!!  Not 2 months old.  I think the rescues are off the rails on a lot of levels.  It's not an easy gig.  Medical costs add up, but the average person that I know have a difficult time with some of the adoption fees and they would have given a puppy or a dog a wonderful, loving, healthy, happy life.  Instead so may dogs sit in foster homes or in kennels waiting, and waiting.



A bizzare post,as people breed litters of mutts here to make money as they post them as rescue dogs!!!

Meanwhile, there aren't enough puppies for all the people that want one,and so the for profit people (of all stripes) are out there...

What is so bizarre is that you think that purchasing a puppy from a RESPONSIBLE breeder hurts anyone, or is too expensive! I was 13 years old and saved my money to pay for a  keeshond puppy that way. There were no shortcuts to knowing where my dog came from,as I studied the breed,joined a breed club,and put in a reservation for a dog that would be a good pet AND show dog. It wasn't SO expensive really. Something that important in my life was worth paying for. I got a break in the price by agreeing to show my puppy. I did,and earned his championship.

 It is a smart thing to do! I also volunteered to help any puppies that grow up and need to be rehomed for any reason. The whole club still bails out any and all purebred keeshonden that needs them to.



Great article but it would have helped to keep the  same color scheme between the two figures (i.e. 2010= blue and 2013= red/orange. I also have a question. Do you have any idea what the source of these puppies is and whether they came from people who had accidental litters or were they from people who intentionally bred their dogs to make money but then couldn't get rid of them? I think it is pretty clear that there are individuals (more akin to backyard breeders than a full blown puppy mill) in both rural and urban areas who see their animals as money makers and breed their dogs with the sole purpose of making money. A dog I just adopted is in fact such a dog and was a breeding female until she stopped producing and the guy wanted to get rid of her. Her puppies, I am told, brought in as much as $ 900! He probably wouldn't qualify as a puppy mill but he is pumping out puppies as fast as he can using as many dogs as he can afford to keep.


This is an extremely bizarre post.  As someone deeply involved in both the dog and rescue community for going on 30 years, it has always been my impression that organizations like yours ~wanted~ to see a drastic decline in puppy production and dog ownership.  One would've thought you would be jubilant to see such a decrease. 


I am glad to see that the original mission of the humane movement regarding changes to what we used to call "the pound" is alive and well - if un-sung, and frankly it seems like no one in the rescue biz wants to say it. Thank YOU for realizing this, nice to know we didn't work so hard for nothing. Our mantra back in the old days was "we want to work ourselves out of a job." Statistics now prove that we should be able to claim "mission accomplished" soon, if not now. With the reduction from 1 in 4 dogs finding their way to the pound back in the early 70s, to today's 2-3% . . . wow!  Life being what it is, I don't see this percentage going much lower, there will always be a need for animal control and public and private shelters and rescue, but what do you think is the reason this is just not talked about? Today, national breed club rescue committees take in approx. 30% of dogs in crisis, but they are discreet, don't fund raise publicly, in spite of saving so many dogs, so the public is largely unaware of this.  I am sorry to find so much reluctance to deal with the issue you have raised, it is incredibly important!

Full disclosure - I am fed up with the system today. I volunteer for AKC breed club rescue. I no longer volunteer at my area's largest shelter, they are nothing more than a Retail Rescue pet store that is not contributing to our community in the way they did many years ago. They eliminated all animal services, don't accept ANY animals from the public, they get their merchandise by choosing the most adoptable dogs from Animal Control, and importing puppies and young dogs from southern states to sell for as much money as a decent purebred breeder would sell a high demand common breed. They do offer training classes and animal care seminars, etc., but not for free, and they are great at fund raising. They recently built a new campus for $6 million dollars from donations. They are non-profit retail sellers, do they really contribute to the community?

Now, the next county over has a REAL shelter system, where I send donations and volunteer - an open admission shelter that never kills animals for space or time. They don't import, and the price they charge for the local dogs and cats and other pets they have available is reasonable. Community outreach is fantastic. And we wonder why so many long time volunteers - those of us who have watched this movement evolve - are suspicious of the motives of today's so-called "rescue" movement. Above, "Lisa" and "Dr. Julie Pallais" have made profound and important observations.
Based on what I have seen over the past 25-30 years, I believe that much of the sheltering community has changed into another version of retail pet stores, but is uninspected, without even the most basic regulations. For example, who knows how many private rescues there are, and how many "transport" groups? Thousands? Many thousands? Is anyone counting? Playing Whack-a-Mole? We are fighting on the wrong front, the wrong enemy. The enemy is the animal rights movement that has an underlying foundation agenda of reducing all animal ownership through legislation and litigation, and is funded by enormous wealth (HSUS). On the one hand the humane groups all join hands in demonizing ALL breeders - HSUS, for example, admits privately to insiders that they see no distinction whatsoever between conscientious hobby and show breeders or dedicated top quality wholesale breeders  - and the dreaded "puppy mills". Dr. Julie's example of the back yard breeder - is he really so terrible that he needs to be so vilified? This is a free country, and in the big picture, he isn't doing anywhere near as much harm as the shadowy and unscrupulous high volume private rescue and rescue transport folks. THEIR dogs always displace local homeless dogs, and puppies are almost certaily bred specifically for the rescue market, that is no longer a myth.

Instead of moving so many dogs from south to north, why not focus on the source, the real problem, and put our resources to work to make a positive impact for dogs AND . . . the people who love them. A shelter dog isn't for everyone. There is nothing at all immoral about choosing a temperamentally sound, predictable purebred puppy for a family, there are excellent, sound reasons to do so! I'm quite tired of the guilt trip. 

I have done legislative work in my state and now nationally for my breed club for about 12 years, and I have seen the Law of Unintended Consequences hard at work - except the consequences ARE intended, by the leaders of the animal rights movement. Example - pet limits. My community limits me to 3 "pets" - one cat and two dogs; three cats; three dogs, etc. We have 3 pets, what would happen to my elderly mother's equally elderly dog if she passed away, or had to go to assisted living?

Well, off soap box for now. I do want to thank you profusely for speaking so courageously about this very real situation. How about celebrating it? And PLEASE consider educating the public that breeders aren't all puppy mills, or monsters, and use your bully pulpit to lead a big clean-up of your own industry. Yes, rescue is now an industry, big business.  Food for thought from Dr. Arnie Goldman, Connecticut State Veterinarian:




I am one of those "Expensive" private breeders....and guess what, I sell my puppies on the internet.

My puppies go home knowing sit/down/come/loose leash walking/play retrieve and are not only nursed by momma, but also bottle fed by me twice per day---not so much because they "need" it, but because they "NEED" it---it needs to be done so that the puppies are very much accustomed to the human touch.  I literally sleep with them.  They are "litter box trained"(Kiddy pool with cedar shavings) by the time they are 4 weeks of age. 

Are they "cheap"?  No, I have at least 300.00 in each puppy(food, health certificates, wormings, vaccines, cleaning supplies, toys, equipment, etc---I keep all reciepts and then divide the total by how many puppies there are).  I spend at least 3-4 hours per day with a litter of puppies.  Some days it's more likle 5 to 6 hours. 

As a dog trainer, I am focused on dogs that are trainable, teachable---and all my pups that are sold locally go home with free lifetime group classes at my location(or anywhere I am teaching).  Puppies sold to others, are offered board/training for 50% of my normal rate, and they pay all expenses with regards to shipping, or delivery. 

I will always take my dogs back.  Period. 

So, no my puppies are not cheap.  At least 1-4 puppies in each litter go on to become assistance dog candidates for people with disabilities.

The funds that are brought in by way of these puppies, is used to train assistance dogs for people with disabilities.

All of the parents have hip/elbow clearances, thyroid testing, and cardiac testing.  I also CERF my dogs.  All parents are WORKING ASSISTANCE DOGS.

BTW, my puppy prices range from $500.00 to $2000.00, depending on the puppy---I have Rottweilers and Labradoodles.


What saddens me is, many times (and I see it every single day) the puppies grow up and are turned in once they are no longer cute little puppies. We take in owner surrenders at our shelter (limited intake) and I hear story after story about I've had this dog since it was a puppy and now I can't keep it...It's heartbreaking. Yet, most likely they will get another puppy in the future...Dogs are seen as "throwaway" replaceable animals. 


That's exactly right! Ditto your comment, Tracey.


This is actually a question I wonder about and think that the first step needs to be a more efficient relocation solution while we work out the long term resolution. How do puppy mills transport large volumes of puppies to pet stores around the country? (I am actually asking this because I do not know and cannot find an answer that is not from an anti-puppy mill source.)

I know of shelters that transport in dogs/pups from areas with more serious population problems and charge a higher adoption fee for those dogs. The additional fee goes back to the source shelter for HVHQ SN programs and I think that is great on both sides. But, the challenge is primarily quarantine and transport. The dogs cannot get to the northern shelters fast enough. And while there are some programs that offer a place for pregnant females to go, they are generally limited. Most receiving shelters want puppies that are ready for placement, and do not want to take the time/cost/risk of taking in a pregnant female for up to 4 months (if early in pregnancy until pups are weaned). To me, that is the bigger question. Thousands of dogs are having pregnancies terminated each day in southern shelters (if my shelter is any example of volume). Thousands of people are wanting puppies each day in northern shelters. How can we create a safe, healthy and humane quarantine and transport system that fills the need while addressing the cause in the sending shelters? 

I think that large scale transport management (including quarantine) is what is needed. Eventually, programs like this can expand to include Mexico and Central America. Between our own country and our southern neighbor countries, we will have many puppies for many years, but it will be a labor and cost intensive process.


you must be joking?? let shelter dogs have puppies to "fill the need" for someone elses desire..   what part of sales and business do you not understand..? You just want what you want while denigrating breeders who do the same thing..


Are there statistics on the number of puppies that are returned to shelters (for various reasons) when the dog is grown? How many dogs live their lives in the same home that adopted them?

The basic problem is that there are way more animals needing homes than there are homes to take them. As a volunteer in a city shelter where the population is almost 100% pit bull-type dogs, most of whom would make great family dogs, it is hard to see the upside of transport—puppies or otherwise. In my opinion, the mission should be to broaden aggressive neutering programs and develop innovative public education and animal welfare programs (such as  or  – I'm not affiliated with these groups).

My neighbors too adopted a puppy "for the kids" from a local rescue. It was an active lab-mix puppy and within 3 weeks they returned it to the rescue group. They then went to a pet shop and bought a Yorkie puppy. Within a year they had given the puppy away to a friend. That's the way it goes for many many puppies until they eventually end up in a shelter.


As I read some of these comments  I am amazed and also angry.  I volunteer at our local shelter and we also have a rescue group. First and foremost, our shelter nor our rescue group does this for profit.  Because our shelter has limited funding for animal care, our group pays all medical expenses if an animal is injured or requires a vet.  We get the animals out that are HW+ and pay for their treatment and get them into loving homes.  When we adopt an animal out, we never make a profit.  I don't know of any rescue group that we work with that does this for money.   To those of you that are breeders, what was your reason for getting into this BUSINES?  Do you do it to breed the  perfect dog or are you doing it to keep the bloodlines going or to make money?  This is a practice that has been around for thousands of years, people making money off of breeding animals.  I think breeders and rescue groups will always be on a different page because we see the millions of animals that are put down from overpopulation.  We have many purebred dogs that come in the shelter who have medical and behavioral problems no different  than the mixed breed strays we take in.  As for training dogs to work with the disabled, many of our dogs have been put into these programs and they weren't purbred.  

As I've said, this is a conversation that everyone will be having years from now.  I would love to work myself out of a job.  I believe every rescue person I know feels this way.  We might all be able to sleep at night instead of worrying an animal will be put down tomorrow due to overcrowding.  We might actually have a life knowing we don't have to raise money tomorrow to save an animal in need.  Is this a business, YES it is the business of saving every life we can.


I agree wholeheartedly with Christina. No true rescue group or shelter makes money. Shelters need to be run more like a business in order to save even more lives. When 6 million animals are being euthanized in this country alone because of space, it's a little hard to justify any type of breeding or purchasing a pet from a pet store. More education continues to be needed until we put ourselves out of a job.


I agree wholeheartedly with Christina. No true rescue group or shelter makes money. Shelters need to be run more like a business in order to save even more lives. When 6 million animals are being euthanized in this country alone because of space, it's a little hard to justify any type of breeding or purchasing a pet from a pet store. More education continues to be needed until we put ourselves out of a job.


Some of the problem is consumers, selecting from a breeder, shelter.or rescue is irrelevant. People often buy a puppy from emotion not reality. Some don't educate themselves about what questions to ask the rescue. Breeder, or shelter before they commit to a new pup or dog nor learn the health concerns for any particular breed of interest. They don't ask about the pedigree, what were the health issues for dogs in the line, or even what the COI% of the puppys liter could mean for their pup's health. If their new pup has bad habits or behaviors they don't like..instead of working with him or attending obedience classes, or taking the time to search for a good placement, they rush to surrender. There are good and bad everything and many variations in between....breeders, shelters, rescues, pet owners. We all need to let our Love for animals, for dogs, rise above any finger pointing, blaming, judging, and hurtful words to find a way to pull those up who are down, guide those who get lost,embrace those who push away the hardest, and find the tolerance needed to accept we are different in the way we love but allow our Love for all animals be the guiding Light. Focus on what we share and not what divides us. That doesn't mean we want to hang out with the abrasive, believe their lies, ignore the war going on. Just remember, as General Patton said, I believe..."Divide and Conquer."


This is the first year since I've been working in a shelter that we haven't had puppies pouring through the door by this time of year. Kittens now, kittens we still have way too many of and more showing up every day. We are happy no to have so many puppies, but we do have patrons who come in ONLY wanting puppies. They will indeed look other places to get those puppies and there just isn't any way to talk them into an adult dog.

We do reach out to other shelters and will take puppies if they have more than they can place.

One comment already said this, but the problem still is we have too many adult dogs in our shelter system. So, even though there might not be as many puppies, the puppies that there are seem to be growing up and hitting shelters when they are no longer cute and fluffy (or the owner realizes how much work an adolscent dog is).

I work to educate people to get puppies from responsible sources which could be a shelter or a responsible breeder. I know some people are going to buy puppies so if I can steer them away from a puppy mill or irresponsible backyard breeder I will do my best to do that.




I was also a bit surprised when I first started seeing a decline in animal population in New England and yes I missed puppies! Honestly, I never thought it would happen in my lifetime.I am glad it has. Transporting is a great thing, but I think the longer range picture may be to get the adopting public's eye on the advantages of older animals too or no puppies being the beginning of the end of over population will blow up in our faces. As mentioned in other posts, people will create a supply for that demand. 

I do think that people  are becoming more open to alternative populations, maybe it's just me, but I don't seem to have so much difficulty adopting out an older animal as much anymore -admittedly this is one of my pet causes (pardon the pun). I hardly twitch when I take in an 8 year old super social orange tabby in good health now. 

Or a black dog. Once people become aware of these special groups needs or lack thereof, they do see their value just as much as a puppy. At least that is my hope!



Being the director of a rescue organization and living in OH in an area with a lot of puppy mills this article strikes a cord.  I think that rescue has been remiss in promoting that the only honorable way to get a dog/puppy is from rescue.  NOT SO.   First of all rescues are not all cut from the same cloth and some are no better than the very people we are steering the puppy buying public away from.  Have you seen some rescue prices??  WOW!  Not to mention that you can't always find what you want in rescue.  Try finding an Irish Wolfhound puppy in rescue!  Although I am WAY over wanting a puppy I do understand it and feel that the people who want a puppy should have a puppy.  There are options between rescue and puppy mills.  Not all good and caring breeders sell puppies at unreasonable prices.  Sometimes you can buy a puppy from someone that didn't think through getting a puppy. Some hobby breeders or back yard breeders can offer puppies at resonable prices and if the potential buyer does his or her homework and checks out the breeders', looks at their breeding stock (most often their pets)m checks out the environment, etc., they can come up with a great little puppy at a reasonable price.  Education is the key.  Understanding how to look for a good person to purchase a pupy from, understanding the commitment of owning a puppy not only now but in the future and spaying or neutering that puppy will go along way to continue to help the unwanted pet population in our country.  Working with people and other organizations to achieve all of our goals is a far better way then to just feel that one approach is the only way.  We are in this together and together we can solve it.  I help people to find good breeders if they are looking for someting that is rarely found in rescue.  Our rescue gets a supporter and the person gets the dog/puppy they want.  It's a win/win situation.   


One thing I have experienced is breeders not taking back their dogs/cats. Or refusing to take back their dogs/cats if they have been fixed. Therefore thesenow adult dogs/cats are dumped in taxpayer funded animal controls to be disposed of at taxpayer expense. While breeders pay no taxes on their income.

I am not opposed to breeders- just the lopsided system and costs to communities everywhere.


 I have a large circle of friends who are responsible breeders. Every single one, without exception, has a clause in their contract that if a puppy of theirs is no longer wanted, the puppy HAS to go back to the breeder, spayed, unspayed, sick, healthy, you name it. I have friends who have driven through several states to retrieve a puppy that lost its home. I have driven from Michigan to Missouri myself for the same reason. With that being said, I am not stupid enough to assume that just because everyone I know takes their puppies back, that ALL breeders must take their puppies back. There are irresponsible breeders and owners out there. There are also good responsible caring breeders out there. Just because impulsive buyers complain that their breeder doesn't want their altered dog back, does not mean that all breeders behave so reprehensibly.  

 While I don't pry into every other breeders affairs, I know my own and I have discussed taxes directly with several breeder friends. Every dollar we have ever taken in from a puppy sale has been reported to our tax people and included in our income when filing taxes. 



In my area- if we were not spending so much money on killing the adult "puppies" we might be able to afford a low cost S/N clinic - training classes, and a whole myriad of extra home rentention policies all of you in the wealthier places are talking about. Backyard breeders are epidemic here.


Pretty easy.. stop killing them


Many years ago I was asked to sit on the advisory committee for the American Humane Association.  I recall the new head man there commenting on how his mission would be to end "back yard" breeding and puppy mills for good.  I could empathize with his desire to lessen the burdon on shelters, which at that time were euthanizing at a horrific rate, as I was on the other end of the needle way too often.  Then I imagined what it would be like if his mission were truly fully successful.  I brought up the subject of where would people obtain pets?  Could responsible breeders be able to handle the demand for household pets?  Could the average home afford a pet from responsible breeders?  Would it become a luxury for only the wealthy to have companion animals in the home?  Yep, I was naive.  I was never asked back.  Some areas of the north are experiencing the success of our sheltering industry.  I never imagined that this could be a reality.


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