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« The saddest story I've read this week | Main | Weekly Roundup -- Week ending 11/16/08 »

November 15, 2008

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Robert Garnett

All breeders should have to spay/neuter their animals prior to selling to non breeders(ie the public).If not they in my books cannot be considered responsible breeders!RG.

MichelleD

That is impossible...I personally don't want an animal that has been altered at 8 weeks. NUMEROUS health problems have been found in dogs with pediatric spay/neuter. And what if I want to show my dog? - they can't be altered. And how are you going to define a breeder?

We have to consider the differences between what we *think* is a good idea and what actually makes effective legislation.

Right now, the most effective law we could pass are harsh penalties for failing to license you're breeding operation. Unlicensed and therefore unINSPECTED kennels are the biggest offenders and from what we have heard from Rep Beth Low is there are virtually no penalties for non-compliance.

Selma

I think the members of authorized kennel clubs, such as AKC, UKC and ADBA should have some sort of breeder accreditation process. So it would be policing of breeders by breeders - not the KCs themselves because there's conflict of interest. The AKC makes a lot of money from large breeders.

You are right, they should be proactive because otherwise the AR gang (which wants to eliminate breeders and labels all breeders 'puppy millers') will gain ground.

There are laws in place with respect to cruelty and neglect. I would think a voluntary program, where breeders would actually invite inspection and would receive some kind of certificate would work best. Then, educate people to look for that certificate, keep records so people could check to see if there had been complaints, etc - kind of like a BBB for dog breeders.

The reason a lot of hobby breeders would oppose this is due to stupid regulations about kennel licences, pet limits, etc.

Those regulations are counter-productive. Since the dedicated hobbyist will breed and show dogs whether local regulations allow it or not, they will hide (as will someone who is 'over the limit', petwise). It seems to me that a district that was thinking straight would want to openly welcome any and all breeders (and owners), large or small. Obviously, you can't keep 50 dogs on a tiny lot in an urban area comfortably, so you need some property standards for the larger operations.

However, if somebody has a couple of show dogs, breeds a few litters a year, or has three dogs instead of two, why is that a big deal? Why not collect the licence fees?

Then you know how many dogs you have, who is doing what, collect more money.

What happens is that these breeders are always worried about being found out. That gives camera hogs like the HSUS the opportunity to encourage raids, seizure of dogs, etc, and subsequently paint them as either dog-fighters, puppy millers, etc - and nobody but their friends will know the truth.

Any reputable breeder sells pups on a non-breeding contract if they are pets. Any good owner usually gets their pet neutered at the appropriate age.

I only know one breeder who sends pups out neutered, because it's a Toy breed and he's paranoid. I don't agree with him because of the health problems that can cause, but it's his call. Most breeders I know thoroughly screen buyers and trust them - just as the buyers are trusting the breeder.

People who get pups from shops, etc, should also be able to trust that their pet came from a good kennel, which is why I like Brent's suggestions.

S Kennedy

i agree with most of what everyone has said, and i have been contacted by one of the main comml kennel subscription magazine editors. i think we can do both things, help raise the awareness of those in this line that are doing a good job, and that there are always bad apples in every group of anything. if no one has any objections i will bring up some of the suggestions cited by all of you. my concerns are that the ARs are going to convince people that pets cannot be purchased bec they are not property. and that has been started years ago, but they are pitching it more widely now. thanks to all.

Barb

One problem I can think of with regulations is that in many areas breeder requirements preclude raising puppies in a home environment. Obviously, a large scale commercial kennel that produces hundreds of puppies a year can't raise them all in the house - and shouldn't try, as keeping things clean would be virtually impossible. But a small scale breeder who has 2 or even 3 or more litters a year (especially if you have a small breed that routinely has litters of just 2 or 3 pups) can raise them all in the house, if you're willing to work at it.
I think we all would agree that a home is normally the BEST place for a puppy to be raised. So as a hobby breeder, I would be concerned that if I lived in a city where I had to get a breeders license I would have to build a kennel to meet the requirements. It's not the cost of building a kennel that concerns me, or the cost of a license. It's the fear that I would be told I'd have to keep my dogs in a kennel. They would be SO pissed!! LOL But seriously, that is the way many of these things are worded. If they include small scale breeders - and 2 litters a year is still "small scale" although the thought of raising that many pups makes me feel faint - then the regs have to allow keeping dogs in the home.

Barb

Oh, and I think we need to come up with a better term than "hobby breeder". The animal-rights types are starting to jump on that: "how can breeding dogs be a 'hobby'?"
Of course, it's not breeding dogs that is the hobby, it's what we DO with those dogs. For us, it's agility and obedience and other types of competition. For others it might be hunting, or herding trials, or S&R, or water sports or whatever. We just breed so we'll have the best possible dogs to share our hobby with us.

Cait

I think I see some good points here, but I have problems with others. I am involved in three breeds, including one rare breed with a gene pool of less than 30 dogs in the US. Two litters could mean two puppies in toy breeds which are prone to singletons (Chihuahua and papillon people, I am looking at you!)- or 20+ puppies in the case of large or medium-sized dogs who tend to produce very large litters like many of the hound breeds.

There's also the problem of incrimentalism. For example, in CO, initially you had to be licensed if you had more than 25 dogs total (including rescues/fosters/altered pets.) which most everyone agreed was pretty reasonable. Then the number got revised downwards, year after year. It's currently at 10. It's projected to go to SIX! This is problematic. I don't know anyone who can maintain a breeding program that has any sort of systematic vision for improving their breed that can stay at those numbers. That doesn't allow you to grow out prospects, or keep pets that you know darn well aren't breeding quality. It means you must make the choice - do I love my breed or my individual dog more? Is this a fair choice to ask people to make? Because frankly? Good breeders MUST love their breed enough to say "My beloved dog is wonderful and has many great qualities but breeding her is NOT in the best interest of the breed."

Dog limits have contributed heavily to popular sire syndrome, IMO. Almost no one maintains stud dogs anymore unless they have a kennel situation and/or is rich enough that the dog is campaigned. One is looked down upon for breeding to a non-champion male, but sometimes the choice is breed to a male who isn't finished before he's neutered and placed in a pet (or working!) home because he's got good qualities but isn't a 'star quality' dog. And this just perpetuates the mess of breeding only to champion dogs, which isn't the only - or the most important- measure of quality at all.

Brent

Cait,

I am very open in this proposal to the exact wording. Obviously there will be specifics that only people who are involved with particular breeds will be more aware of. The point is to differentiate between the high volume commercial breeders (who are running this as a business) vs the people who are "hobby" breeders -- most of whom lose money on their hobby.

So I don't know what the exact numbers need to be. 20-25 sounds about right. 6 sounds ridiculously low. The point is for the folks that are running good businesses to pay a license fee, and those dollars go back into the state for monitoring the industry. That way we can clean up "puppy millers" so that it creates a better reputation for the entire industry, provides better dogs for buyers, and provides a better life for dogs.

The numbers are less important to me than cleaning up the whole industry so that everyone benefits...and so the animal rights groups who seem to want to push everything to the extreme don't get the final say in where the lines are drawn.

Cait

I think the problem is that no one agrees on numbers. :P Personally, I think 25-30 puppies per year is the upper end of reasonable- but as to adult dogs? I don't know. I think that tying it to puppies produced would help as far as NOT affecting retirees and non-breeding dogs towards overall numbers- but ideally, I'd like to see standardized minimums of care for non-breeding dogs too once it gets over a certain scale (I think I'd say 20 there, to be honest - but I think that would be a separate rubric than the puppy one - so you couldn't slip by by producing 24 puppies and housing 19 non-breeding dogs (I'd include intact puppies under the age of health testing and intact old dogs (especially boys! longevity is a really important trait in a stud dog! under 'non-breeding'.)

I also think standards of care need to be looked at. The laboratory/food standard is a bizaare thing to apply to a companion animal. Especially given the "Good breeders only ever have dogs in their homes, not in kennels." standard that a lot of people seem to like to apply. And it's darn hard to legislate common sense. There needs to be an appeals process that does NOT just appeal to employees of the first person making the determination, and we need to make sure that breeders (including the ones I don't like ;P) get a say in determining standards and hiring and firing inspectors, because corruption (in both directions) is a scary thing. We also need to make sure the standard is reasonable. My bedroom (where the dogs sleep) is a MESS irght now. :P I am re-organizing my closet so there are clothes ALL OVER, there's collie hair tumbleweeds, and I suspect there's a dead choohoof under the bookshelf where I can't get to it, because that corner of the room is stinky. My mother would be horrified. :P But it's NOT unsanitary or dangerous- just messy. :P The USDA standards cite people on silly things "Leaves found in enclosure." "Unsanitized bedding in cage" and miss the whole point of NOT keeping dogs in cages. It's such a complicated issue that I just don't see how we can solve it legislatively. I think the best, fastest, cheapest, simplest way is to eliminate the market for substandard dogs.

MichelleD

Who is this Cait person and why is she making so much sense!

I have a feeling the inspectors for kennels do the same types of things all inspectors do - apply the law based on which way the wind blows. Or even more likely, apply it more harshly to those they think will most easily comply so it looks good on the books.

ARs have made an enemy out of all breeders and in their efforts are just contributing to the increased demand for commercially bred dogs/cats.

D4dogs

The ARs are trying to push small "hobby" breeders out incrementally so that all that will be left are the puppy/kitten millers - and who can support that? So, once they put all the little guys out of business, they'll have only the big fat target of commercial breeders and then they'll be gone due to public outcry. Then that's everyone and they'll have achieved their goal of eliminating the source for all companion animals and no one will be able to own let alone breed a companion animal. It doesn't take a genius to see that far down the road.

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