Many people know to avoid puppy mills and "backyard" breeders. But many kind individuals fall prey to the picket-fence appeal of so-called "responsible" breeders and fail to recognize that no matter how kindly a breeder treats his or her animals, as long as dogs and cats are dying in animal shelters and pounds because of a lack of homes, no breeding can be considered "responsible."
All breeders fuel the animal overpopulation crisis, and every time someone purchases a puppy or a kitten instead of adopting from an animal shelter, homeless animals lose their chance of finding a home—and will be euthanized. Many breeders don't require every puppy or kitten to be spayed or neutered prior to purchase, so the animals they sell can soon have litters of their own, creating even more animals to fill homes that could have gone to animals from shelters—or who will end up in animal shelters or so-called "no-kill" animal warehouses themselves.
Simply put, for every puppy or kitten who is deliberately produced by any breeder, an animal in an animal shelter dies. Producing animals for sale is a greedy and callous business in a world in which there is a critical and chronic shortage of good homes for dogs, cats, and other animals, and the only "responsible breeders" are those who, upon learning about how they contribute to the overpopulation crisis, spay or neuter their animals and get out of the business altogether.
Producing more animals—either to make money or to obtain a certain "look" or characteristic—is also harmful to the animals who are produced by breeding. Dogs and cats don't care whether their physical appearance conforms to a judge's standards, yet they are the ones who suffer the consequences of humans' manipulation. Inbreeding causes painful and life-threatening genetic defects in "purebred" dogs and cats, including crippling hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, heart defects, skin problems, and epilepsy. Distorting animals for specific physical features also causes severe health problems. The short, pushed-up noses of bulldogs and pugs, for example, can make exercise and even normal breathing difficult for these animals. Dachshunds' long spinal columns often cause back problems, including disc disease.
Adoption: The Only Compassionate Option
There is no excuse for breeding animals or for supporting breeders. If you love animals and are ready to care for a cat or a dog for the rest of the animal's life, please adopt from your local animal shelter, where there are dogs and cats galore—tails wagging and hearts filled with hope, looking out through the cage bars, just waiting to find someone to love. Shelters receive new animals every day, so if you don't find the perfect companion to match your lifestyle on your first visit, keep checking back. When you find your new animal companion, you'll be glad that you chose to save a life—and made a new best friend as well.
If you know anyone who is considering purchasing an animal instead of adopting from an animal shelter, please share this article with them, and please consider making a donation today to support PETA's vital work to save lives.
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