Sunday, November 16, 2008

Backyard Breeders & Puppy Mills = Disabled Dogs

What's wrong with this picture? This dachshund is a double dapple. Although he may look cute, he is both deaf and blind - the result of irresponsible breeding. When dapple doxies are bred together, their double dapple offspring often have numerous birth defects including underdeveloped eyes (or no eyes), blindness, deafness, and missing limbs. So why are they bred at all? In a word: money. The more "exotic" the dog, the more a breeder can charge customers. Of course, the eyeless, blind, deaf, deformed dogs are not usually sold. These puppies are described as "flaw dogs" and are routinely killed (or "culled" in breeder parlance). The lucky ones might be abandoned or dropped at animal shelters, which gives them their only chance at finding loving homes.

Puppy mills are particularly notorious for creating disabled dogs. The adult dogs are kept in horribly cramped cages, often wire rabbit hutches without blankets. The wire can easily create skin sores and the overcrowded conditions can lead to fights that leave dogs maimed. Since females are relentlessly bred over and over and over again, they develop mammary tumors. Veterinary care is virtually nonexistent, so puppy mill dogs have a host of ailments from mange to broken limbs.

Puppy mill puppies are typically not much healthier than their parents. Inbreeding leads to numerous genetic defects that result in all kinds of maladies; some are visible, others do not come to light until the dog is older.

Although Rebounds Hounds is committed to supporting disabled dogs of all stripes, it's heartbreaking to think that dogs are harmed, injured, and deformed almost intentionally by reckless backyard breeders and puppy millers. Together we can take a stand to help reduce and eventually eliminate these outfits so that they stop producing crippled animals. Here's how you can help:

1) Never purchase a pooch from a pet shop! Virtually all of the puppies that are sold in retail stores originated in a puppy mill. Even though it's hard to resist that cute doggie in the window, consider the cruel environment that it came from. Along these lines, don't patronize stores that sell puppies. A reputable pet supply shop will not sell live dogs!

2) Don't be suckered into buying a "rare" or exotically patterned dog from a breeder. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Breeding for unusual color patterns like the double dapple often results in deformed, deaf, or blind puppies. Even if the dog you're looking at seems perfectly healthy and hopelessly cute, consider that it may have had "defective" litter mates that were destroyed or abandoned. Just as reputable pet stores don't sell dogs, legitimate breeders don't try to combine color patterns for the sake of profit.

3) Visit to get the scoop. This is a very informative site with lots of tips and pointers. Even if this is all old news to you, help spread the word! Send an email to friends, family, and colleagues and share the stop puppy mills website. It's truly astonishing how many people still don't know about the pet store / puppy mill connection. If we all work to inform folks, the dogs will be the ones who benefit...