Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Breeding Shelter Dogs - and Other Myths

A couple of my Facebook friends shared this, and I think it bears reading. So go ahead - read it.
Then come back and read the rest of my thoughts on the subject.

Who Killed These Dogs? - Dogstar Daily

Okay, so. Did you read?

The point here is that responsible and INFORMED dog ownership is the key to ending homeless and unwanted shelter dogs. I've seen so many absurd, misinformed and simply wrong things repeated by otherwise intelligent people that it frightens me how uneducated much of the dog-owning public really is.

Placing the blame for unwanted pets on breeders - ALL breeders - as a blanket accusation is not only erroneous, it's untrue.

Case in point. A woman I know bred a litter a couple years ago. She breeds only seldom and she screened each prospective owner to the very best of her ability, turning aside people whom she felt would not be a good fit for her dogs. One of her pups went to a young family with a nice home, a big yard, an active lifestyle - it seemed perfect.

And for two years, this breeder assumed all was well. Until one day someone called to tell her that this dog had been posted to Craigslist. These people didn't bother to call her, the breeder, per their agreement when she sold the pup. They didn't tell anyone at all. They just ... advertised on Craigslist. The next step undoubtedly would have been the local pound.

Fortunately, the breeder was able to persuade the people to return the dog to her, and so it escaped becoming another set of shelter statistics. But let's look at this.

IF the breeder had never learned of the dog's situation, it probably would have gone to some random home, where it would have overwhelmed its new owners with its complete lack of social skills or understanding of rules, or perhaps its snappishness around small children, and it would have wound up in the local pound or on the streets, to be snagged by animal control.

Nice Rescue Person then goes to the animal shelter and sees this beautiful dog, and they are horrified: how could ANYone abandon a beautiful young dog like this? What horrible, irresponsible person put this poor dog out there in the world where it could end up abandoned in a shelter, in the first place? All this dog needed was a little love and understanding!

But seriously ... how is this the breeder's fault? She did everything she could, short of having the FBI check out their record of pet ownership. She had no way of knowing the new owners would be unable to manage the dog's energy or intelligence and would end up shutting it up in the back yard.

But just suppose she never bred that litter. Just suppose that pup never was born and never wound up on Craig's List.

What would stop that SAME couple from adopting a shelter dog ... and doing the exact same thing? What would stop them from taking a shelter dog home, full of good intentions, and still being overwhelmed by the dog, finally shutting it up in the back yard until they decide to get rid of it, after all?

Just because someone adopts a dog from a shelter, that does NOT create them into a better, more informed, more responsible pet owner!

And just because someone breeds a litter of dogs, that does not mean their pups are either going to end up in a shelter, or take a home that could have gone to a shelter dog. An ignorant or irresponsible pet owner *remains* an irresponsible pet owner, regardless of where their dog(s) came from.

It is a fallacy to think that only by stopping breeding will homeless dogs cease to exist. Only when the American public becomes vastly more educated than it is now will abandoned, neglected and homeless dogs cease to be a problem in this country.

And that's all I've got to say about that.