|Barked: Tue May 6, '14 6:41pm PST |
|Its funny that you've chosen to harp on the ONE point someone made about loving their dogs enough to be willing to do without in life if it would help their ailing pet.
That's not the point of all this.
The point is, you're basically saying its pointless to spend more money on a dog from a reputable breeder, when you could just get a cheaper one from a puppy mill.
Do you have any idea how much goes into breeding a dog responsibility? Forget about all the smoke and BS from BOTH sides, lets talk about this "reality" you're so set on beating into everyone's heads.
The REALITY is, taking care of an animal properly is NOT cheap. Breeding an animal even less so. Lets look at the cost breakdown, assuming you're meeting the very MINIMUM definition of what all us crazy delusionists here would consider a fairly reputable breeder.
For starters, you health test your stock for known genetic disorders. This can vary by breed, but lets pick on GSDs because they are a focal point of this thread and a common breed. To have a full set of X-rays taken, to screen for hip/elbow dysplasia, is going to cost aprox. $300-$500 in vet fees alone. To have them graded professionally through organizations like the OFA, PennHip, or the SV is an additional charge. On top of that, many vets are not well trained in the positioning and procedure for making these films grade-worthy, so many travel quite a ways to find good vets to take good films. In Birmingham (AL), I was buddies with a Rottie breeder who took his dogs all the way to Atlanta (GA) to get his dogs PennHip certified, incurring who knows how many additional fees to do so. The test for degenerative myelopathy runs about $65-75 minus vet fees, which probably make it about $100. GSDs can also suffer from diseases like vWD, heart and bone issues, and thyroid problems. All of which cost money to properly test for.
Second, you need some sort of proof your dog has a temperament worth passing on genetically. Not everyone believes in showing dogs as a means to justify breeding them, but some BASIC test needs to be administered to prove the dog has at least passable temperament. This most often is expressed through training and titling in some venue. Not every dog who is titled is breed worthy, but those that are should have SOMETHING behind their name to prove it, and this is the least objective way. Depending on what you title in, your level of training knowledge, your access to good clubs and equipment, so on, you're talking hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in training, titling, and travel fees. I know for fact I've spent well over a thousand in my own dog's personal training (agility, schutzhund, personal protection, tracking, herding, formal OB), and I'm not even a breeder OR a serious competitor... but that's what it took to reach the level I'm at with them now, a degree of intimacy about my dog's physical and mental characteristics that ANY breeder who sets out to breed their dog absolutely NEEDS to have before they can make a single damn claim as to what their dogs are like. As a consumer, you should expect no less... being good with the family's kids or playing nicely with the family's dogs means a who lot of NOTHING when you find out your dog is incapable of handling anything beyond the minimal amount of pressure experienced living in a typical home environment (or WORSE, locked in a barn with the absolute minimal possible contact and socialization). Worse yet, its going to mean a whole lot of SOMETHING when that same dog bites a strange child who runs up unexpectedly from behind and spooks your nervy dog. And before anyone ventures to claim otherwise, oh yes, temperament very much IS genetic, IS passed down, and no amount of what the lay person considers "socialization" will "fix" a dog with poor nerves, low bite thresholds, and a generally poor genetic temperament. So, congratulations buyer, the onus is totally on you! Aren't you glad?
Another point is unexpected complications. Pregnant dogs are like pregnant people, in that sometimes things just go wrong. C-sections, emergency life support for preemie puppies, dogs going into shock, dogs catching diseases like pyometra, bitches refusing to or unable to lactate, all things that are complicated, expensive, and NOT something that should be taken lightly. These things happen all the time- probably more than most realize, and if one isn't ready and able to deal with them when or if they should occur, they shouldn't be breeding dogs.
Finally, lets consider how the breeder actually takes care of their dogs- large breeders invest thousands into good kennels and runs, to ensure all of their dogs are contained properly. Smaller breeders also invest a lot into the personal care of their animals- in either situation, feeding diets that aren't absolute garbage is expensive (in large enough numbers, even the garbage is expensive), basic vet care is expensive, caring for, housing, feeding and vaccinating litters of puppies is EXPENSIVE.
WHY then, you must ask yourself, can some people get away with selling their dogs for dirt cheap?
Its NOT because they love and care and just want the best for those dogs. Not on the scale that we're talking about- we're talking about millers here. And millers only manage to turn a buck because they do NONE of the above, most do not even properly feed,shelter and routinely vet their animals in accordance with the MINIMAL STANDARD OF THE LAW. I believe multiple instances were already posted here of these millers being arrested and charged with animal cruelty... so lets forget about this imaginary "high horse" you keep pissing on about, lets talk about the REALITY of animal cruelty. Just because some are clever enough not to get caught, does NOT make what they do any less wrong, and in the eyes of the LAW, which you enjoyed mentioning earlier, they very much ARE committing crimes. Breeding dogs isn't illegal, no, not even in absurd numbers... but keeping them in cramped conditions, with inadequate food, water, shelter and vetting IS and THIS is the reality of basically every puppy mill in existence today. If you think otherwise, then all the pissing in the world will do you no good, because, plane and simple: YOU. ARE. WRONG.
Now lets bring this back around for a moment, for anyone who might read over this with half a brain or the slightest bit of conscious- sure, well bred dogs are expensive. What DOES one do when they cannot afford this mythical white stallion of legend sort of dog that gets brought up on forums like this?
Well lets talk about that. For starters, always for starters, there are rescues. In the vast majority of cases, excluding absurdly rare breeds, there ARE purebreds in shelters or the rescue system in need of homes. Many have their own national breed-specific rescues which can be contacted and which can almost always put you in touch with fosters or groups with animals in your area needing homes. The average cost to adopt a dog, pure bred or not, is STILL vastly less than what it costs to buy a puppy from a puppy mill or pet store (which for some reason you seem to be under the impression is so much vastly cheaper than the average breeder- I don't know what figures you're pulling up, but the last pet shop that I had contact with that was selling dogs, was selling them for between $800 and $1200... which you could easily find a reputable breeder selling for these prices).
Next, you do have the people on craigslist re-homing dogs or "oops" litters, the unfortunate neighbor down the street who's unfixed female got loose, or that one relative who just didn't realize that Fi-Fi would actually breed with his little sister. Now this may not be a popular opinoins... but frankly these are viable ways of getting dogs too. Personal experience again, but I was buddies with a lady who had a very nice GSD. Got him from a top flight breeder, loved him dearly and was working towards titling him in schutzhund. Well, one day her husband decided to bring her home a puppy as a gift, another GSD from someone who'd had a litter at his work. Long story short, when the female went into heat unexpectedly, her male broke out of his kennel and mated her. She was devastated... but at the same time knew she had to do the right thing by these puppies. Of course she gave a few to friends and family, but she also spread the word at some of the local training places she'd been with, and other doggy-related venues, where she sold the pups for a nominal fee. Now, she offered me one for free, which I declined, and never bothered to ask what she wanted for them... but I can guarantee you, with amount of time, energy, and money she put into those puppies (she kept them til 10 weeks, fed and vaccinated them UTD and put some training on each before they left), she didn't make a single dime of it back. And that's the reality for many people- they do love their pets, have an accident or sometimes don't and do it deliberately, but realize its a LOT more of an investment than they realized. I don't consider my friend a bad person- nor do I consider any of the people in similar situations bad, or that the dogs they bred bad. I don't consider them REPUTABLE breeders... but those puppies need homes too, and for what amounts to the price of shots and 10 weeks of care, I could see paying a hundred bucks for a well-loved "oops".
This, still, is not what is being described here. That is NOT a puppy mill situation, and while not necessarily ideal, is also not the shining face of cruelty that mills are.
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