It breaks my heart when I hear of those who want a pet, as opposed to a show dog, buying dogs from breeders or pet shops, who are usually selling puppy-mill dogs at show dog prices. Many of these folks pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for their dogs, and then seek to recoup their investment by breeding. Then we have those well-meaning folks who want their children to experience the "miracle of birth" by allowing their cat or dog to have "just one litter." Some folks still believe the myth that allowing the pet to have that one litter will make for a better pet. Others believe that their pet is SO special that her pups will be just as special in the same way; also, not necessarily so. I have even heard people say, "We always find homes for the puppies. If not, we just hang out by the local grocery store and give them away."

Let us reason together.

Let's say Fido has 8 puppies. Are you willing to go to the local pound and choose 8 puppies to die to make room for homes for your 8? How about for the offspring of your un-neutered pups? Are you willing to take any or all of them back at any time if the adoptive family ever decides to give them up?

What is your experience in breeding? What do you know about genetics? Are you breeding dogs you have shown that are champions to other champions? What are you doing to improve the breed? Do you operate or participate in the operation of a breed rescue of your breed?

Let's say you are in front of the grocery store with your basket of 8 pups. In Los Angeles, this is what you can expect to happen.

1. At least one of the pups will be thrown from a speeding car within minutes of receiving it from you.

2. One will be released in its neighborhood because the parent or spouse of the person will object. Then it will be hit by a car.

3. Another will be dumped in the foothills, where it will (a)starve (b)be hit by a car or (c) be eaten by a coyote.

4. One will be turned into the pound, where it will be euthanaised along with 5000 others who didn't find homes this week.

5. One will be taken home, put into the back yard, perhaps chained to a tree, and if lucky, fed on a regular basis.

6. One will be used as bait for a dog fighting ring.

7. Another will be used as a moving target for future gunslingers.

8. And the guy who comes up and offers to take all the rest of them off of your hands for life on his ranch is actually a butcher who will sell them for animal research.

If you think I am making this up, please feel free to contact any of the many rescue organizations in this area. You will find that these are some of the milder scenarios.

Please, DON'T LITTER. Spay and neuter your pets. And make your next pet a recycled one. If your heart is set on a purebred, you should know that at least 25% of the shelter animals here in Los Angeles are purebreds. In addition, there are breed rescues for every breed. These rescues are also wonderful sources of information about breeds as well as about individual dogs for adoption.

© Copyright 1999-2011 Stephanie Lacy, i-dog digest #111

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