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Pet Shops & Puppy Mills

August 3, 2009

momnpupps

Many reputable breeders will not sell their dogs to pet shops. Why? Because breeders take pride in their work and absolutely care where the puppies are placed (homed).  Breeders want to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into, they don’t want their dogs offspring to end up being abandoned or given to a shelter or worst?  Many Pet shops only care if you have the money to pay for the over- inflated priced dogs. I’ve read up to 95% of Pet shops in the U.S. get their puppies from puppy mill type operations and big corporations are backing puppy mills. The sad fact is these operations care more about the money and not about the living conditions of the dogs.  Big Corporations are getting into the action and making lots of money because people don’t think things through before buying a puppy and mostly buy on impulse. Some of the pet shops show what appears to be legitimate paper work from a reputable breeder but you can trace it back to a puppy mill operation. Many new regulations have made it more difficult for pet shops to buy puppies from puppy mills but like everything, they find a way around it.  So unless you have time to do the research I would stay clear purchasing a puppy from a pet shop.  Here’s some advice on what to do and what not to do if you want a puppy.

Don’t be spontaneous! I know that puppy in the window is cute, but all puppies are cute and you dont know without research where that puppy in the window came from.

Do your homework. Getting a dog is a big responsibility and you need the right breed to fit your lifestyle.

Take the family and go to a dog show. There you will learn about the breed you are interested in. Talk to the breeders who know the breed the best. They may even tell you about a litter of puppies that are due in a week or so.

Here are some more reasons to buy directly from a reputable breeder:

1. Puppies are in better living and health conditions.

2. Puppies stay with the mother and litter-mates through the crucial imprint period 6-8 weeks.

3. Most Breeders make sure the puppies are handled by adults and children. They also become familiar with household sounds.

4. Breeders introduce the puppy to the concept of housebreaking; they may have been introduced to a crate. This will make housebreaking much easier for you.

5.  Breeders have a health history of the puppy’s parents. Good sound and healthy parents produce good sound healthy puppies!

Problems that could arise when buying from a pet shop:

1. Puppies may be taken too early from the mother and litter-mates, this can have an affect on their temperament latter in life.

2. In pet shops, puppies can be confined for sometimes weeks. Eating, playing and going to the bathroom all in the same small area, can make it extremely difficult to housebreak them.

3. If the pet shop is getting dogs from puppy mills, those dogs are not the best of that breed. Health risks are usually inherited by parents. The puppy may look healthy, but problems can arise later in the dog’s life. Sick, genetically defective or ill tempered dogs reproduce the same.

Another option instead of a breeder or pet shop, you can always adopt a dog from a shelter. When I trained animal actors we would rescue dogs from the shelter and make them working actors. Adopting a pure or mix breed from a shelter is a good thing.  Mix breeds tend to be more intelligent and have less health issues than pure breeds.

My experiences about this subject is primarily directed to the U.S.A. I am not aware of other countries practices, although I’ve heard from one pet shop owner, that Australia has strict guidelines for pet shops who sell puppies. Let’s hope they all adhere to the rules. (oopps I guess they dont either, read comments below)

Here is a group that works very hard to get the word out about puppymills http://www.dogs-r-us.org/news.shtml

Comments

5 Responses to “Pet Shops & Puppy Mills”

  1. Karen on August 5th, 2009 4:24 am

    How disappointing to read what you have said about pet shops. As a pet shop owner, I took great pride in getting to know breeders, and never ever took puppies under 8 weeks of age. There are now so many rules governing pet shops, via the the Department of Primary Industries, RSPCA and the Pet Industry Association of Australia, that a pet shop owner would be mad to do the wrong thing. All pet shops are encouraged to screen all potential new owners, to ensure they are able to provide quality care, companionship, afford the on going cost of pet ownership etc. How dare you assume that one is out for a quick buck. I purchased puppies (we no longer have puppies in our store) for around the $500 from reputable breeders. I would then get them vet checked, vaccinated and microchipped. They were not permitted to separate from the litter until they were completely settled away from their mum, so that separation was a two step process, so they were usually with us for an extra week before being sold. We then would sell them for between $600 and $700. Each sale of an animal was a monetary loss, but as pet shop owners, we guaranteed a healthy, worm free, vaccinated, mircochipped pet. I have also been a registered breeder, registered with the Canine Council (now dogs australia). I never had anyone check my records, my breeding conditions, my screening techniques, so please don’t tell me a registered breeder is perfect and reputable, as no one checks. Why do breeders breed puppies, if it’s not for the money. Do they really breed for the better of the breed? I think not. I am so disappointed in your uninformed comments. I thought you were a reputable dog trainer. Shame on you.

  2. Robert on August 5th, 2009 7:48 am

    Karen,

    You’ve reminded me of where I live now and who my audience is. My mind and experiences are still in the states, so I apologies for lumping Australia into my story, I will change my story to reflect that. I do want to point out however I did say “Most” not “All”. It wasn’t directed at “All” breeders and pet shops and It certainly wasn’t directed at you, as your comment leads me to believe you think it was. Since there are more pet shops and breeders in the rest of the world than here in Australia, I think “most” would be about right. BTW I am a reputable trainer, one of the best. You don’t’ know my experience with pet shops or breeders, and my opinion about them has nothing to do with my ability as a trainer. You of all people should know that. I’m just trying to be a voice for the many dogs that don’t have one.
    I’ll try to choose my words more carefully as the people that make comments should.

  3. Robert on August 6th, 2009 5:16 am

    This was just sent to me:
    An undercover investigation yesterday exposed the abhorrent cruelty occurring at some of Britain’s puppy breeding farms.
    Footage showed the dogs in their small pens with little or no access to natural lights. The dogs were seen to be suffering from physical and psychological problems as a result of the environments.
    Politicians and celebrities have expressed outrage at the appalling conditions revealed by the SKY News investigation.
    The three breeding farms involved supply one of the UK’s largest pet stores, Dogs4Us.
    In response to the public outcry the store has made an abrupt u-turn by distancing itself from the breeders. Local councils have allowed the breeders to retain their licences.

    If you would like to see the whole story: http://www.3news.co.nz/Cruel-puppy-breeding-farms-Outrage-grows-in-UK/tabid/209/articleID/115521/cat/61/Default.aspx?ArticleID=115521

  4. Karen on August 6th, 2009 6:33 pm

    I am the first to acknowledge that there are puppy farms, and they keep animals under the most disgusting conditions, but I just get so irritated when people blame pet shops for their being around. I have personally reported two puppy farms, yet they continue to practice. One such puppy farm, sells up to 80 puppies in one weekend in Brisbane, yet claims to be a hobbyist! Where are the authorities that so closely govern the pet shop world. So please, continue to lobby and yell loudly against puppy farms, but please don’t hold pet shops resposnible for their existence. They survive quite happily without us.
    My comment about reputable is that I believe as voices in the pet industry, we must make our comments wisely and be well informed, because as a quality pet shop or dog trainer, people will take notice of what we say.

  5. Karen on August 11th, 2009 2:41 am

    Can you clarify for me when you say “I am not aware of other countries practices, although I’ve heard from one pet shop owner, that Australia has strict guidelines for pet shops who sell puppies. Let’s hope they all adhere to the rules. (oopps I guess they dont either, read comments below)” particualrly the comment Oopps I guess they don’t either…referring to comments below” I have checked comments between us, and I’m not sure what has been said that you have interpretted as pet shops in Australia not doing the right thing.

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