AMERICAN DOG BREEDERS - THE CHALLENGES
Before reading the final article in our series on American Dog Breeders, we encourage everyone who has not previously done so to read the preceding three articles that can be found HERE.
We presume that if this article struck your interest, then you probably realize why dogs are important. They fulfill essential roles in the lives of humans; they serve utilitarian purposes, they’re our protectors, and they’re our friends. But if you can just stroll down to a shelter to pick up one of these animals, some might ask: why are breeders important?
In 2012, 46% of homes had pet dogs, 47% of which were purebred. There is a huge consumer market for purebred dogs not only because of the advantages in the dogs themselves, but because of the advantages you get when buying from a breeder instead of a shelter. Purebred dogs are also used as service dogs, including animal assisted therapy. Over 20,000 dogs in the U.S. are service dogs that are used to help the disabled. On top of that, over 3,000 military service dogs are on duty each year. Since purebreds are better inclined to serve these purposes, there is a substantial need for breeders.
Radical Animal Rights Activist Involvement
The reason that many people are so dead set against the breeding industry is because of the negative stigma surrounding it, something that is perpetuated by the false claims made by animal rights radicals. While the general public’s eyes are clouded by edited and outdated videos of puppy mills and the actions of a few immoral individuals that tug on their heartstrings, they overlook the corruptness in the ranks of the animal rights groups themselves. Just look to the words of one animal rights activist who said, “In my world, a responsible breeder is the same as a responsible drug dealer.” Or HSUS leader Wayne Pacelle, who famously said, “If I had my personal view perhaps that might take hold. In fact, I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.” Should we really support the goals of these individuals and their twisted ideologies?
The major claim by such organizations is that of overpopulation. They say that because there are so many homeless and abandoned animals, we need to limit the amount being produced. However, this fails to address the real problem. As recognized by many professionals and studies, the cause of animal overpopulation is irresponsible pet owners who let their animals run the streets breeding with anyone, causing unwanted mixed breed puppies that are more susceptible to disease because of a lack of genetic testing.
Animals that come from pet breeders are not the ones who end up on the streets. They find perfect homes that will keep them for their entire lives or find other good homes for them because of the predictability of a pure bred. From a pet store you can get the dog that you want in a breed that can fit your lifestyle. A mixed breed dog found in a shelter comes with no such predictability.
Radical animal rights organizations pose an enormous threat to an important industry and animal welfare. Over and over in the United States we are witnessing their power and a hindrance to capitalism and free market as more municipalities than ever are banning the retail sale of pets across our country. We have been following this issue since the ban in San Diego, the 32nd city to do so, in early 2013. Now, there are 80 cities across the country with similar bans. All of these bans have been pushed by corrupt organizations like PETA and HSUS, successfully gaining ground in their agendas to end pet ownership.
We’re sure that many of you agree with us that limiting the sale of pets for no tangible reason is an overreach of government power. Nevertheless, it continues to happen locally and radical animal rights groups are even moving pieces of legislation like those previously mentioned to the state level. This has continuously caused the loss of jobs, tax revenue, and good business.
Although the bill died in the house, animal rights activists tried to pass a statewide ban in Illinois back in 2014 through Amendment 1 to House Bill 4056. If passed, this would have been the first statewide breeding ban. Another state that considered similar legislation was Connecticut, but it decided not to move forward with the legislation. Most recently, Maine has been the first state to actually propose such a ban on its own, not as an amendment to a separate bill, this March.
In Maine’s fight, Maine Humane Society Director Katie Hansberry said, “The Majority of puppies that are sold in pet stores across the country, including here in Maine, come from puppy mills and they are kept in horrific condition.”
This is simply false. Ms. Hansberry is lumping all commercial operations together under the definition of the worst and most terribly mismanaged facility. Again, the organizations in Maine fighting pet retail sales do not understand or care about the true issues, and certainly close their eyes to the advantages of purebred dogs.
Back to San Diego, we can clearly see the negative effects of the legislation if passed. This one ordinance in one city caused the loss of two businesses, Pet Market and Sand Diego Puppy. The president of San Diego Puppy, David Salinas, questioned why the city was purposefully shutting down the local business which provided many jobs and generated over $68,407 annually in taxes alone. His statement on the issue really drove home the common sense argument against claims advocating the legislation. Animal rights activists said that puppies from stores are sicker than mixed breed or shelter puppies, and they have poor living conditions. Salinas replied, "I would never do anything to jeopardize the health of a puppy. We would be out of business if we were in the business to sell sick puppies."
Instead of being out of business for selling sick puppies, though, he is out of business just for selling any puppies at all. As similar legislation spreads throughout the country at an alarming rate, many businesses will fail like they have in San Diego and individuals across the country will be limited in their pet selection. So consider all of the benefits of the purebred or buying from a breeder, despite a supposed free market, those benefits will no longer be available.
Animal rights organizations are comprised of individuals with an intense mindset who are very good at manipulation. Their tactics to ban pet breeding include overblowing the negatives of ‘puppy mills’ to make emotional arguments. For example, the International Society for Animal Rights freely admits that, “While ISAR’s [Anti-Breeding] Statute applies to all breeders, it contains certain provisions aimed specifically at the horrors of mills”. They freely admit that they are targeting all breeders, responsible or not, while making it seem as if they are fighting mills specifically. The negative ramifications of such a method are tremendous. Although we recognize some care standards with certain commercial breeding facilities have not been upheld, this is most definitely not the norm, and should not be treated as such.
We have a misinformed public. If you want to buy a shelter dog, please go right ahead. But, society needs to have the same feelings about purebred animals and end these “Real Pet Lovers Adopt” campaigns that wrongly paint responsible breeders as the bad guys.
When it comes down to it, you should not get a say in the animal that someone else buys. They are purchasing their new friend for their own reasons, and should not have to face moral judgment because of it.
Put It All in Perspective
What we have is a problem, that’s undeniable. There are too many animals in America, and not enough homes. This is not, however, caused by pet breeders. Since the domestication of the Gray Wolf nearly 15,000 years ago, responsible breeders have bred dogs in high demand that serve purposes, are healthier, and more predictable than their mixed breed counterparts. The reason we are facing animal overpopulation is because of pet owners who mismanage their animals and allow them to run around creating unwanted litters of mixed breed animals that get stuck on the streets or in shelters and are virtually unadoptable because of the problems associated with being mixed breed. Since this has reached such catastrophic levels, animal rights organizations see it as an opportunity to advance their corrupt agendas. Falsely blaming pet breeders for the overpopulation and painting all breeders as the worst of their kind, these groups’ main goal is to end pet breeding and domesticated animals. So, the industry is facing two major hindrances: 1) overpopulation itself which is limiting the market, and 2) animal rights activists who want nothing less than all pet breeding jobs to end.
The solution to the problem? As to many things, it’s education. We have to teach people what the real cause is, and how to be responsible pet owners. In doing this, we also must protect breeders from false information. Breeders are essential to the pet industry and if we are to preserve tradition and all of the advantages that breeders provide, they need help.
With all of this in mind, we ask that next time you acquire an animal you ignore the media fluff and stigma around breeders. Give their advantages serious thought and make the choice that is best for your family, not your image.
Thank you for your involvement in this important issue. We encourage any input in the comment section below!