Posted by Pets Best on 2/16/2006 in General Articles
Before adopting or purchasing a new pet, make sure you and your families are prepared. Pets take a lot of time and work, they need daily exercise, routine feedings, create clean up duties and most require professional training. In addition a new pet is probably a ten to twenty year commitment, making this a big decision. Once you have thoroughly thought about and decided on a new pet, evaluate your lifestyle and try to pick breeds that would suit your lifestyle, always take into account your home environment; apartments are generally not suitable for large dogs and the majority of dogs need a roomy fully fenced yard. Keep in mind a certain breed is not a guarantee of behavior, all animals have unique personalities.
The best place to begin a search for that new companion is at your local animal shelter. One in four animals dropped off at the animal shelter are purebreds, and puppies can even be found. Adoption fees at the local animal shelter are generally quite reasonable and the majority of pets at the shelter are there for no fault of their own. If the local shelter does not have what you are looking for keep in mind pets enter on a daily basis, so it never hurts to keep checking in.
Good quality breeders are also an option for finding a new pet. A breeder with quality puppies typically does not make a profit off the puppies and cares very much for the dogs well being. A good breeder will not sell to just anyone with money and many times will require a home inspection. Furthermore a quality breeder has few puppies available and the majority of the litter is already spoken for. Many times a prospective buyer will need to get on a waiting list and at times it can even take a year to acquire that puppy, but it is well worth the wait. To find a breeder ask your local veterinarian, dog trainers, breed clubs or check with the American Kennel Club Association. Once you have found a breeder check out the puppy’s environment and meet the parents. Be cautious of the local pet store and newspaper ads, many times these pets were born in puppy mills, which can affect health and temperament. It is always best to obtain a pet from a professional; it can heartbreaking if the pet has serious defects.
When searching for the right pet be extremely cautious not to purchase from a puppy mill. Puppy mills are a business of substandard commercial breeding of dogs and selling the puppies for a profit. Unfortunately this is rarely done in a compassionate fashion and the dogs end up suffering. The goal of a puppy mill is to breed and sell as many purebred dogs as possible therefore very little affection or expense is given to the dogs. Many times puppy mill pets are available in the local pet store, off the internet and in the local newspaper. A mill will not label itself a puppy mill but if there is a large amount of animals being breed outside the home, and the parents or facilities are unavailable to meet or inspect then be suspicious that the breeder may actually be a puppy mill.
The condition of the typical puppy mill can be very concerning. Overcrowding, over breeding, inbreeding, lack of veterinary care, poor quality of food, insufficient shelters, lack of temperature controls, killing of unwanted dogs, and lack of socialization are all common problems. The quality of life for the breeder dogs is quite poor, they spend their entire life in a small cage, constantly are being breed until they can’t reproduce anymore and then are disposed of. The typical mill generally has sixty five to seventy five dogs, but some have thousands of dogs. The states known for having puppy mills are Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Most puppies that have been born in a mill are sold to a broker who then sells the puppies direct or to a pet store. Puppies are usually pulled from their mother at a very young age and shipped long distances in mediocre conditions to their destination for sale. Most have had to become accustom to sitting and sleeping in urine and feces making these pets extremely hard to potty train. It is common for puppy mill pets to be unhealthy, possess serious genetic defects, and major behavior issues. By purchasing a puppy mill victim a good home and quality of life may be provided for that pet but the money used to purchase that pet contributes to the ongoing crisis and opens up a slot for another puppy to fill.
There are organizations and government acts in place to help alleviate the massive problem, but the number of inspectors and enforcers is just too small to combat the large scale problem. Also, if a mill does get shut down it puts a lot of stress on the humane society in that area to provide care to all those animals. The best way the public can end this upsetting problem is to avoid purchasing puppy mill dogs, lowering the demand and thereby decreasing the amount of breeding.
Puppy auctions are another concern when searching for the perfect pet. Auctions generally take place close to puppy mills and are a way for mill owners to buy and sell breeding animals as well quickly rid the mill of any unwanted puppies. Intact adult breeders are typically unhealthy, have been over bred and the puppies found at these auctions are known for having serious defects making them undesirable for the general public. In addition when you purchase from an auction you are contributing to the overall problem allowing mill owners to continue and profit from the business.
Backyard breeders should also be avoided. A backyard breeder typically lacks the proper knowledge to breed healthy dogs with good temperaments. Many times these dogs have serious behavioral and medical problems that can wreck havoc on your home, heart and pocket book. The motive for most backyard breeders is profit, and the majority of puppies born will miss important early life experiences that a quality breeder can provide. Additionally, many backyard bred puppies have been mishandled by children at a very early age.
When beginning that search for the perfect companion take your time and do your research. There are experts around every corner that are more then happy to help an eager owner find the right pet for the right household. By purchasing a quality purebred or rescuing an animal in need can eliminate expensive veterinary bills, and save your heart from being broke by a young loving pet with genetic disorders. Once you have obtained the new companion remember to make regular visits to your local veterinarian and contact a professional trainer to get the pet off to the right start.
Sources: HSUS.org, ASPCA.org; prisonersofgreed.org; msnbc.com; gglrc.org; veterinarypartner.com