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Old 11-20-2008, 10:33 AM   #1
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Default [News] Buying a dog? Beware of breeder

If you're looking to get a new dog, recent headlines no doubt have warned you against buying an animal from illegal "puppy mills" run by unlicensed breeders. But don't be fooled into thinking that legal, licensed breeders and those with registration papers are a guarantee of a healthy puppy either.

When the Humane Society of the United States released a video last month charging that a Los Angeles pet store, Pets of Bel Air, purchased its pricey puppies from puppy mills, the store responded on its Web site with a statement that its dogs were purchased from pet breeders approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and that it relied on the USDA to inspect breeders and their premises.

But just because a breeder has a license from the USDA doesn’t mean much. USDA minimum standards for housing and exercise are bare bones. The agency requirement for cage size — the primary enclosure in which breeding dogs live their lives — is just six inches taller, wider and longer than the dog inside. That is, a miniature Dachshund measuring 20 inches from nose to base of tail and standing nine inches high might be housed in a cage only 26 inches wide by 26 inches deep by 15 inches high. The USDA waives the exercise requirement of 30 minutes per day for at least five days a week if the dog is housed in a cage with twice the floor space called for by the above formula.

In addition, USDA regulations don’t address socialization — the handling and exposure a puppy needs during its first weeks of life to develop properly — or the health, temperament and quality of the parents.

American Kennel Club (AKC) or other registration papers also may not mean much. All they certify is that both parents were of the same breed. No dog registry or government agency requires breeders to socialize puppies or health-test their parents for orthopedic, eye or heart problems, or even to be knowledgeable about the breed or dogs in general.

Best of breeders
So how do you know whether a puppy’s had a good start in life? Plan on doing some footwork. Purchasing a purebred puppy should entail at least the same amount of thought and research you’d put into buying a new appliance or car, if not more. After all, you’ll likely spend anywhere from $500 to $3,000 for a companion that will spend the next 10 or more years with you.

Your best bet is a breeder who belongs to national and local breed clubs and has signed the club’s code of ethics. But even that’s not foolproof, says French Bulldog breeder James Dalton in Portsmouth, Ohio.

“The French Bulldog Club of America does have a code of ethics that breeders are expected to abide by, but they do not always and the FBDCA has no way of enforcing that code of ethics,” he says.

That’s true for any breed club. A code of ethics is only as good as the people who sign it, so look for red flags.

Visiting a breeder’s home gives you a chance to meet a puppy’s mother and the breeder’s other dogs. If they have nice temperaments, your puppy probably will too. If they’re shy or aggressive, there’s a good chance the puppy has inherited those undesirable traits.

Rule out breeders who sell dogs at flea markets or in parking lots or don’t want you to come to their home, a sign that the breeder doesn't want you to see the conditions in which the dogs live. If you do see the home, heed the advice of Bloodhound breeder Susan LaCroix Hamil of Laguna Beach, Calif.: “Never buy a puppy from a place where you wouldn’t want to eat dinner or use the bathroom.”

How breeders raise puppies before they go to their new families or are shipped to pet stores has a strong influence on their temperament. Breeders whose puppies live in the backyard, don’t meet other people and animals and aren’t handled much can have more behavior issues. They can also have more difficulty adapting to new homes than puppies raised in the home and exposed to different people, sights, sounds and experiences, says veterinarian Lore Haug, a board-certified behaviorist with South Texas Veterinary Behavior Services in Sugar Land.

Pet stores may charge as much as or more than breeders for puppies, but you don’t get the benefits of buying directly from a breeder: meeting the parents and seeing the conditions in which the puppies are raised. Without that context, it’s difficult to judge a puppy’s temperament and potential health.

Can't pass up that doggie in the window?
If your heart is taken by that doggie in the window, though, ask the pet store for the breeder's name, address and phone number, copies of the breeder's USDA inspection reports, pictures of the parents, and photos of the kennel where the dogs live. If you’re not satisfied with the response, don’t buy the puppy. You can also check the USDA inspection record of a pet store puppy’s breeders at petshoppuppies.org.

While sophisticated Web sites that accept credit cards and offer next-day shipping are quick and easy sources for finding puppies, they’re not the best way to ensure that you acquire a healthy, well-socialized puppy.

Don’t be sucked in by a pretty Web site that promises puppies now. Large numbers of puppies available, acceptance of credit cards and high-pressure sales tactics — “That puppy might be gone tomorrow” — are red flags. Often, these sites are fronts for brokers who purchase large litter lots of puppies from mills in the U.S., Eastern Europe or Ireland. When you buy a puppy sight unseen, there’s no way of knowing what its parents were like or the conditions in which it was raised.

That said, surfing the Web can lead you to good breeders. Sandy Ford of Monterey, Calif., used the Internet to find English Springer Spaniel breeder Linda Prouty of Stonewall, La. Before purchasing a pup, he spent time getting to know Prouty by e-mail and then flew to Louisiana to meet her dogs in person.

Not everyone can do that, but if you know someone who lives in the breeder’s area, ask him to visit and report back to you on the condition of the dogs and where they’re raised. You can also call the AKC’s customer service line at 919-233-9767 and ask if the breeder has ever been suspended for any reason.

A puppy is a big commitment, financially and emotionally. Choosing a breeder carefully will help you make the right decision. And if you really want to make a difference in a dog's life, check your local shelter. Puppy season is coming up.

Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning author who has written many articles and more than a dozen books about dogs and cats. She belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America and is past president of the Cat Writers Association. She shares her home in California with two Cavalier King Charles spaniels and one African ringneck parakeet.

10 signs of a good pet breeder:
— 1. Fully answers questions about the breed, including the downside of living with it
— 2. Is honest about the breed’s potential health problems, including any seen in his or her own dogs
— 3. Provides copies of health certifications performed by specialists on both parents of the puppies
— 4. Raises puppies in the home, not in pens in the backyard, and doesn’t live in filthy surroundings
— 5. Has puppies that are friendly and healthy, with bright eyes, shiny coats and no discharge from eyes or nose
— 6. Doesn’t breed more than one or two litters per year and limits each female to no more than three litters in a lifetime
— 7. Helps you choose the right puppy for your personality and lifestyle
— 8. Helps you find another breeder if he or she doesn’t have what you’re looking for
— 9. Has a sales contract that includes a minimum one-year health guarantee against life-threatening or crippling conditions caused by heritable defects
— 10. Willing to take the dog back at any time in its life if you’re unable to keep it

Buying a dog? Beware of breeder - Health- msnbc.com
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:25 AM   #2
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Excellent article for people who aren't aware and searching for that new puppy to bring home.

I cringe over the cage info...just cringe. Poor babies...

Good job FE.
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:50 AM   #3
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Yes, great article, I especially like the tip about going to see for yourself, the conditions in which the dogs are being raised, or have someone you can trust go to the home. Too many breeders and brokers seem awfully nice over the phone.
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:21 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for that article! It confirmed a lot of my puppy buying beliefs. Mainly, if I'm going to treat my puppy like a member of my family and keep him/her in my home, why would I accept anything less from a breeder. I would never buy a puppy from someone who keeps their dogs in any sort of shed/barn/outdoor building. I don't care how clean it is or how many staff members there are.
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:27 PM   #5
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That was excellent and great info.

I too cringed about the cages, and outside kennels ~ USDA
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:45 AM   #6
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this should be a sticky
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Purchasing from backyard breeders, pet shops, and puppymills perpetuates the suffering of other dogs.
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Old 11-22-2008, 03:44 PM   #7
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Smile Thanks for article; bought my first Yorkie today!

Hi,
I'm new to the list and typing this with my new puppy sleeping on my lap. He is such a confident puppy; am very impressed by my first Yorkie. We named him Maverick; the "mav" (though a long call name) sound sure perks him up! I am looking forward to listening to other people's experiences. Sincerely, BCJ477
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Old 11-22-2008, 03:51 PM   #8
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Hi and congratulations on your new yorkie!! Lots of information here...

You'll get more replies if you post on this forum

General Yorkshire Terrier Discussion - YorkieTalk.com Forums - Yorkshire Terrier Community
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Old 11-23-2008, 02:07 AM   #9
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Thanks for posting! Great information.
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:33 AM   #10
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Animal Smiley 036 Puppy Mills

I know this is a sensitive subject but I have to make a statement here.

The ASPCA and the Humane Society want everyone to believe that ANY Person male or female that has more than X amount of dogs, X being an unknown number, are running unlicensed puppy mills. NOT TRUE AT ALL. Not everyone that has dogs for sale is required to be licensed.

Let's face it. There are going to be those people in this world that are in the breeding of large amounts of dogs that are in it just for the money. They are to lazy to take care of there dogs and don't care if the breeding dog gets sick and dies or not. They don't care if the puppy is heathy, they just want to sell them. This is NOT ACCEPTABLE under any circumstances.

There are many good people that have small kennels on there property that take care of there dogs in every way they can and meticously clean up after them, give them their shots, worm them, clean them, etc.

These same people take care of new born puppies as if they were their children. They clean up after them, worm the puppies, give them their shots and play with them so they will make someone a nice and enjoyable pet.

I myself am a breeder of certain breeds of small dogs. Both registered and unregistered. I love dogs and when I see the ASPCA and the Humane Society lumping all breeders together as running unlicensed, illegal puppy mills, it just burns me up.

I'm disabled and have a fifteen year old son living at home. I depend on the extra money I make selling puppies to have a halfway decent life.

Please don't believe everyone that has a kennel is running an illegal nasty puppy mill. It's just NOT TRUE.
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:39 AM   #11
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There are numerous threads on this forum that address how to find a good breeder. I don't think that article was anti breeder at all. In fact it was warning people that the liscensed breeders can still be puppymills. It was informing people that puppymills are legal and not as rare as they may think. It also mentioned that buying of the internet is at best risky. It encouraged people to find a good breeder. For the record, I don't think a breeder that makes money off their dogs, breeds several different breeds or keeps small dogs anywhere but their home are good breeders. There is no great conspiracy to get rid of all breeders. There is however a conspiracy to convince the public that petstores buy from small, home breeders, USDA liscenced is a good thing, and if it's clean, it's not a puppymill. Commercial breeders are puppymillers. Anyone who breeds for profit, will at some time cut corners. Registering, health testing and showing all cut into profits, so they are the first that get neglected. Then goes the vet care and quality food.
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:45 AM   #12
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Omg

I depend on the extra money I make selling puppies to have a halfway decent life.

seems like a lot of pressure on the dogs to perform. i would not keep my dogs outside in a kennel as part of my breeding. my dogs live in my home.
doing it for extra money is not possible.. they deserve the good food and the family life.. they are not just dogs.. to be used for income.. time to find a new job.. its not fair to the dogs..when the only reason they exist is to provide income.. jmo
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:01 PM   #13
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WOW, thank you for this. I sure hope my pup is good to go I bought him from this store Puppy Petite Puppies For Sale anyone know of this place? sure seemed for real. Thanks in advance if someone can get back to me.
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Old 12-01-2008, 08:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xplics View Post
WOW, thank you for this. I sure hope my pup is good to go I bought him from this store Puppy Petite Puppies For Sale anyone know of this place? sure seemed for real. Thanks in advance if someone can get back to me.
Puppy Petite in Brooklyn? It used to be known as Puppy Boutique. They changed their name because they had such a terrible reputation. There are many, many complaints about them:

Consumer complaints about The Puppy Boutique, Brooklyn, NY

They have an unsatisfactory rating from the Better Business Bureau:

Consumer complaints about The Puppy Boutique, Brooklyn, NY

Rip-off Report: PUPPY BOUTIQUE - PUPPY PETITE STORE OPERATING UNDER FALSE ADVERTISEMENT AND POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE-RIPP OFF STORE NEEDS TO BE PUT OUT OF BUSINESS BROOKLYN New York

xstraplay : New York City.com : People

Their puppies come from puppy mills.
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:32 PM   #15
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Thank you fasteddie for posting this very helpful info! This should definitely be a sticky.


Quote:
Originally Posted by xplics View Post
WOW, thank you for this. I sure hope my pup is good to go I bought him from this store Puppy Petite Puppies For Sale anyone know of this place? sure seemed for real. Thanks in advance if someone can get back to me.
Hi and welcome to YT! Anytime you purchase a dog in the pet store, it comes either from puppymill or backyard breeder. I know that store. Go to Regional Forum and click on NY area. Then just type in search puppy petite and you will be shocked what you gonna find.
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