THoughts on article about puppy producers???

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dog-sitter in- charge.
Barked: Sat Jun 9, '12 9:31pm PST 
Just wondering, thoughts smile

I have my thoughts but I reserve them for now. smile

If They Can Do it Why Can't We?

The view from the other side

Betsy Cummings wrote:
Hi all,

I got in late last nite from Springfield, MO. What is there to interest me? Well, the 18th Spring Educational Seminar and Meeting of the Missouri Pet Breeders Association. Yeah, the puppy mill folks. They prefer Professional Breeders. And after what I saw this weekend, I'm quite willing to cut them some slack.

On Friday were 4 seminars, although one was cancelled because the State Veterinarian had been bitten by a dog and the rabies vaxx was questionable, so the poor guy has to take the shots and wasn't feeling well. So another guy came and spoke on something else. On Saturday was Pat Hasting's Puppy Puzzle Seminar - which was FREE. To anybody. How many have paid $150 or more to a kennel club to see this seminar?

I'm now going to propose a viewpoint that I know full well isn't going to be popular, nor is it going to win me friends. Many of you will scoff and criticize. It's ingrained in "us" to do so. Say the words Puppy Mill, or Commercial Breeder and most of us have a knee jerk reaction of total horror. We picture "bubba's" on Walmart parking lots and highway corners selling puppies to anybody who comes along. Not that that doesn't happen. However, those folks tend to be wannabe's and illegal puppy mills. There were only a few people there I'd call "Bubba's" this weekend. MOST of the people were people just like you and me. You couldn't have told by dress or manner what these folks did for a living. Most even spoke "educated beyond the 1st grade" english. And it was obvious from the gal with the poodle died pink to the gal who came in with a sheltie she'd rescued off an 8 lane highway and wanted her put somewhere safe, that these folks live and breathe DOGS. In that respect, they aren't that much different from you and me.

Friday's program included one that has me shaking my head and asking where "we" ("we" being the show dog fancy) are. The MPBA has no less than 3 professional lobbyists. One in Washington DC, and 2 in our state capital. Even more, the State Representative from Salem, MO is one of "them." These 4 folks stood before a room of about 300 people and gave us a list of the legislation they've had a part in killing altogether, or getting changed to something reasonable. My question is...where the hell are WE??? If the MPBA can have THREE full time professional lobbyists...what's OUR problem??? My next question is...Why the HELL aren't we working with these people???? They know how to do it. They aren't starting from scratch. They've been working in the trenches for quite awhile. And all supported by the puppy millers! These folks are fighting for OUR rights as much as for their own, but the end results are the same - I can still own dogs in the state of Missouri, and they don't have to be spayed or neutered either.

Saturday's program was Pat Hasting's seminar. It was not quite as well attended as some of the Friday seminars since it was a 'voluntary' program. (I'll explain that in a minute.) However, the room was probably over half full - call it 200 people give or take. She played the angle toward "If you're breeding better dogs structurally, you make more money." It was a good call. She went over 7 lab puppies - some were from show bred lines, and some from a commercial kennel. She wouldn't say which were which. And based on the strengths and faults she found I certainly couldn't tell. One had an ewe neck which she demonstrated by flipping that puppy's head over onto its spine - no distress to the puppy! One had no muscling on the inside of it's legs so when she stacked it and pushed just a teensy bit from the side the puppy fell over. 3 had slipped hocks. One had a herring gut. The gasps when each of these faults were demonstrated were...quite loud. And she flat out asked why they weren't breeding away from these faults - they'd make more money providing a quality, well bred dog than ones with health and structural issues. There were some good questions from the audience, and some questions that are so basic as to be laughable...except nobody laughed. These folks are putting forth good effort, and I for one am willing to give them some credit for that. (And btw - Pat commented that each puppy was in it's own crate and that when she does show litters they usually come in ONE crate. And those crates were scrupulously clean, with food and water. *G*)

Having said this, I'll also state I'm not willing to sell to them, or breed with them. But there are show folks I can say the same about, so that's nothing different. These folks are however, policing themselves. They don't tolerate sub-standard kennels and they turn them in immediately. That's better than "we" can say when we tolerate folks we KNOW have starving animals, or worse. And just who is it on most of the news when a rescue makes the news? More often than not it's a "rescuer" or show breeder turned in by a neighbor...NOT by US.

Anyway, these folks are working to improve their industry. For 18 years they have continually raised the bar for their members. They provide seminars on everything from puppy nutrition to health in their kennels to structure - FREE. Not just for their members, but to ANYBODY. It was a very strange feeling to be in a building full of people I have always thought of as the "enemy." So much so I was very reluctant to admit I'm a show breeder. But when I did once or twice, these folks never blinked. And just who was there? The AKC. Bil-Jac. Eukanuba. Royal Canin. Hunte Corp - who btw, had fully 1/5th of the room for their booth.

And let me detour on Hunte Corp a minute. They were handing out information on their standards for buying puppies. IE, the breeders must meet some minimum requirements before Hunte will purchase their dogs. On top of those minimum requirements they pay a bonus for such things as health tested parents, Ch parents, and something else that escapes me at the moment. So they too are not only raising the bar, but leading the way in doing so.

APRI was there. With videos of their events. I always thought they were just a paper registry. Well, they're not. And lemme tell ya, the shutzhund and agility events looked pretty tuff. And not only that, but APRI alone gave $10,000 to the legislative fund - IE, the fund that pays for the lobbyists. Our little fledgling groups, PetPAC, etc would KILL for that kind of money right now.

And in all of this, I have to wonder...where are we? What are WE doing? If we choose to attend such a thing, it's voluntary. These folks are requiring it of their members. You want to be considered a top breeder...then you MUST have continuing education. Not when I feel like it, but MUST, every year, have so many credits of education. Not even our JUDGES have to do that beyond what they do to earn more breeds. We watched folks spend THOUSANDS on equipment, food, meds, and by god TREATS. Just who gives treats to their dogs? Those who LOVE them. That's who.

I had a conversation with a guy this weekend about his kennel. He proudly told me he is a "Blue Ribbon Kennel" - meaning he's met the standards for the MPBA to earn that. He gets his education credits, etc, and I assume, has met some standards of health and cleanliness in his kennels. He said he's *never* had an outbreak of anything in his kennel. Not even kennel cough. His "bio standards" are set so high that even his family must follow them in the house not just in the kennel. So I asked him what happens when the dogs leave his kennel. Their immune systems have never been challenged and suddenly they're out in the big bad world being hit with everything all at once. He went, Oh. I never thought of that. Hm. He said "What do you do?" And I had to admit I'm a show breeder, so I breed once every few years and I do take extra precautions while the bitch is pregnant and when the pups are less than 9 weeks old, but that after that I have those puppies out and about every week or two so that not only do I immunize but I give their immune systems exposure to things outside of home so that when we do go on the road to shows and such they aren't suddenly overwhelmed and have a chance to fight. I'm not sure I changed his mind exactly, but I did give him something to think about.

I admit, I went for the chance to see Pat Hasting's seminar for free. Beyond that I was prepared to keep my mouth shut. Instead, I found myself going...wow. Just how many of us would goto this level of effort to keep our dogs? These people put their money where their mouth is. And I am quite willing to allow them the title Professional Breeder and to stop having a knee jerk reaction and give them some credit for things even "we" don't do. That doesn't mean there aren't "Bubba's" in this world, or that I include those folks in the term Professional Breeder. A professional of any kind be it lawyer, doctor, handler, veterinarian, engineer, architect, etc has professional standards to meet. These folks do too. And since *I* don't care to provide puppies for every home that wants a dog I'm willing to allow the professionals to do so. It keeps MY dogs safe in the hands of those I feel will have respect for the dog, treat it the way I want my dogs treated, and HOPEFULLY they never end up in a shelter or dumped on the side of the road or as bait for a dog fight.

And I refuse to slam or denigrate these folks further. They are providing a service not ONE of us wants to do. And they have been working for at least the last 18 years to improve what they do - both in what they produce and the conditions under which they produce it. That JQP tends to treat dogs as a throw away commodity isn't entirely their fault. It's not ours either. It's a societal thing and ALL of us must work to change that. Somewhere between dogs in shelters and puppymills lies the answer. I don't know what it is. But JQP wants dogs - that much is obvious. And right now, even our basic rights to HAVE dogs is under attack. I for one am willing to work with the folks who have the experience and the know how to fight these things. And I'm willing to give credit where credit is due - here in Missouri at least, we have come under LESS attack than other areas and I recognize that a good part of that is because of the professional breeders and their lobbyists efforts.


Betsy & Kevin Cummings
Tribute Salukis

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Sat Jun 9, '12 10:34pm PST 
And since *I* don't care to provide puppies for every home that wants a dog I'm willing to allow the professionals to do so. It keeps MY dogs safe in the hands of those I feel will have respect for the dog, treat it the way I want my dogs treated, and HOPEFULLY they never end up in a shelter or dumped on the side of the road or as bait for a dog fight.

So by her own admission her dogs are more deserving of a good home then others. I have a problem with that.

I don't care how much they want to play at being professionals. They are pumping out pups like Ipods and dumping the responsibility on others.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Sun Jun 10, '12 12:03am PST 
I'm with you Sabi. What a vile attitude. Mass producing dogs so people who no breeder would ever sell to can have their plaything.

I don't care how clean a kennel is, how well run, how disease free it is, they are still mass producing animals, concern for 'conformation' or not, filling shelters and pretty much just crapping in the gene pool of many unfortunate breeds.

Woman is an idiot.

Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Sun Jun 10, '12 4:33am PST 
I'm with Sabi and Jackson on this as well. As a groomer, I am grooming all these poor dogs with their horrific conformation and medical issues. At least they are keeping the vets working!

The Muddy- Princess
Barked: Sun Jun 10, '12 6:18am PST 
Some reputable breeders feel the need to side with commercial breeders in their attempts to battle extreme animal rights activists, believing that there is a natural alliance there.

Personally, and I am not a breeder, I am on the other side believing that people who are interested in the reputable side of pure bred dogs need to set themselves far apart from commercial breeders and hold fast to their main concern, the welfare of the puppies they produce.
Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
Barked: Sun Jun 10, '12 9:32am PST 
Well, I've read that article before, it's not new. I'm kind of in the middle... the truth is, there are not even CLOSE to enough dedicated hobby breeders to fill the need for dogs in America. There aren't enough shelter dogs, either. Dogs have to come from somewhere, and these guys wouldn't be making money if there wasn't huge demand. Since there is a need for them, and they're not going away, I would rather support efforts to educate commercial pet breeders, than ridicule them and wish they would go away. (Because it will never happen... and regulation tends to come around bite small hobby breeders harder than big commercial ones.)

I'm guessing the people at this conference the author attended were not the "lowest of the low" anyway... the backwoods "Bubbas" she mentions... they're ones who bother to join a professional organization, who take time to attend a seminar, who chose to follow the laws rather than fly by night. So they're probably mostly mid-tier breeders.

I myself would not chide people for buying from such if their breeding stock was kept in clean, species-appropriate housing, provided proper vet care, and passed all health clearances considered prudent in their breed.

Spooky Mulder
Barked: Sun Jun 10, '12 10:34am PST 
Sorry, but this is a joke to me.

Indiscriminate selling of puppies to whoever wants one is a horrible practice, if I'm allowed my opinion on the matter.

The "heath testing" is also somewhat of a joke. These kennels don't care about the genetic health of these animals. Maybe they do some x-rays on their primary stud or CERF a couple of dogs to throw off suspicion. X-rays and CERFs on a handful of dogs doesn't mean s#*^. Neither do those things matter if you don't know jack about the animals pedigree.

Fact of the matter people need to get over themselves and morons who want a dog just because they feel entitled to one don't need to have these bozos selling to them and justifying their stupidity.

But glad to know fine companies like Euk and RC show open support for puppy mills. I'll be sure to file that little tidbit away in the ol' memory banks.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Sun Jun 10, '12 10:50am PST 
Mulder applause

You want to see what these "commercial breeders" produce come on over.

I love my dogs, couldn't love them more, wouldn't love them less.
But neither can I ignore the fact that both Shadow and Sabi would be healthier and therefore happier had they come from decent breeding stock. Not to mention that a vast majority of these peoples buyers can't or won't make the finacial commitment to deal with the potential health and/or behavioral issues.

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Mon Jun 11, '12 5:59am PST 
That's all well and good if someone view puppies as livestock and livestock only. I have seen puppies and dogs cared for by high quality breeders committed to excellence in both health and temperament, and I've seen kennels mass produce pups as well. There is no question in my mind which group contributes more to the overall health of the population of dogs in the US.

Millers do the minimum of health testing if they do any. They don't sort their litters, they don't work hard to place their pups in appropriate homes for both the dog and people involved. They do not follow up after placement to see how genetically healthy the pup turns out to be, therefore there isn't any significant feedback in their breeding program. They rarely title their dogs in any level of conformation or dog sport. They are all about one thing only: the dollar. When I'm thinking about a living sentient being who will be a part of my family and reside in my home, the 'producer' better be about more than that.

Barked: Mon Jun 11, '12 7:03am PST 
And let me detour on Hunte Corp a minute. They were handing out information on their standards for buying puppies. IE, the breeders must meet some minimum requirements before Hunte will purchase their dogs. On top of those minimum requirements they pay a bonus for such things as health tested parents, Ch parents, and something else that escapes me at the moment. So they too are not only raising the bar, but leading the way in doing so.

In other words, health tested parents isn't among their "minimum requirements." Sorry, but it's among mine. And yeah, nice for her puppies that they're safe from unscreened, unfit owners, but she's happily willing to sacrifice the puppy mill puppies?

Also, on what she'd say is her more central point: Yeah, not all puppy mills are hell holes, and not all commercial breeders are scum. Some of them, maybe a growing percentage of them, have more than acceptable conditions if you accept the idea of raising puppies like livestock. But that's not how you raise a healthy, happy, well-adjusted pet. Her own point about inexperienced immune systems is a good one. Socialization and experience with the sights, sounds, smells, and objects of everyday life is another concern. Puppies that are raised in antiseptic conditions with no exposure to grass, cars, lawnmowers, etc., for "their own safety" aren't prepared to cope when they get out into the real world.

Hunte, btw, had a major outbreak of parvo a few years ago, and killed a lot of dogs and puppies to stop the spread. Leaving aside how they dealt with it, having a major outbreak at all means they were cutting expenses by not vaccinating any dogs they weren't getting ready to ship.

I do think that many of us would be startled by how many commercial breeders are basically decent people who are breeding their dogs in what they think is a good, responsible, healthy way, with visions of happy families loving their puppies. That doesn't mean they're right, or that we have to defend well-intentioned bad practices in order to to protect knowledgeable people with good practices.

In fact, I think the subset of show breeders who think they have to side with the commercial breeders are unintentionally fanning the flames of the AR extremists.

Oh, and Bravo, Lucille!

Edited by author Mon Jun 11, '12 7:05am PST

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