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How Much Harm Do Breeders Do Dogs Every Year?

Written by Michelle Kretzer | January 18, 2013

How much does that doggie in the window cost? One shelter dog’s sad life.

Breeders and puppy mills churn out litter after litter of puppies, charging buyers hundreds of dollars per dog and raking in money hand over fist. The fact that they often cram dogs into filthy outdoor kennels and deny them veterinary care, while also forcing them to endure pregnancy after pregnancy, is bad enough.

But they also flood the market with puppies, exacerbating the animal homelessness crisis. In the U.S. alone, animal shelters must euthanize between 3 and 4 million animals every year. As long as there aren’t enough homes for existing animals, no dog breeder can be called “responsible”—only “greedy.”


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  • Celeste says:

    Breeders are not the problem. Did you hear about all of the stuff that was going on at the Toronto Humane Society in 2011? Animals who were left starving in their cages, animals who were sick and left to die. There were the mummified remains of a cat that was trapped inside the ceiling and nobody even so much as went into the ceiling to check the trap. 🙁 No I’m not knocking adoption of pets. I would adopt a pet if I could but never from someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. 🙁 The problem is underground breeding and puppy and kitten mills. I’m not a fan of your position on pitbulls. How can you support breed bans like the one here in Ontario which gives animal control the legal athority to come into your house without a warrant and scoop your dogs without even typing them. I’d love to see your data on effective breed bans actually are because OVA and the college of vetinary medicine say that breed bans are ineffective, they don’t reduce the number of dog bites and are a waste of Animal Protection Officer’s time, and tax payer money. With that I say you guys are anti-pitbull no matter what you say on the subject.

  • jurisgnostic says:

    I have adopted two dogs with no trouble…it’s worth a life to be persistent.

  • Janeeane says:

    Do a google search for “akc puppy mills” AKC MAKES MOST OF ITS MONEY REGISTERING PUPPY MILL DOGS! They support every abuse possible, they lobby with puppy mill breeders against legislation, they oppose anti-cruelty laws, they spend millions on lobbyists fgor puppy mills to protect the abuse. The puppy mill money pays for all their big salaries and dog shows. Most of them don’t pay taxes they owe either. Look up breeders near you. Do they have sale tax id numbers? You can check with your state. They are required to have them. Report them if they don’t. Shelters and rescue community has to clean up after a bunch of rich, greedy breeders.

  • Carolyn says:

    I am a pet groomer and love all animals, After 10 years of raising pomeranians I developed breast cancer (now cured) and feared leaving some behind so I stopped breeding and pledged to adopt my next pet. I applied at 2 shelters and was turned down.One would not give me a reason, the other because I don’t have a fenced in yard. I was forced to go to a breeder to buy. Shelters must want to keep their animals, as I am an excellent candidate to adopt, neither shelter even asked to meet me. They judged me by my application alone. I won’t try again. And I won’t donate to them again. That was a very cruel slap in the face to incinuate I’m not fit to adopt a dog that was from the pound and was going to die if not for the shelter. Too bad for the animals in their care.

  • Equibbly says:

    Shocking… does the number include puppy mills? Saved this post and be sharing it to my community then. We’re having a talk right now on having harsher penalties where animal abuse is concerned and revamping existing laws. It’s just that the problem is the very definition of animal cruelty itself. People have varying opinions about it, like the same abuse inflicted on dogs may be treated lightly when it involves animals people label as food, like chickens. Hope you can shed a light into this matter, thanks.

  • Andrew says:

    I work at a veterinary clinic in a town of about 10,000 in Oregon. Every time someone comes in with a new puppy, I always ask where they got him. About 80% of the time it is from a breeder. And worse, they feel there is nothing wrong with this. I remind them that the local shelter is overloaded with dogs, but they reply that they really wanted a specific breed. There needs to be a greater push to educate people not only on the sad lives that many of these shelter animals endure, but also what wonderful companions they make. I know it’s unlikely to ever occur, but I feel that dog breeds should be treated like races/ethnicity in humans. Namely, that the more you ignore a dog’s breed, the less people will have biases for and against certain ones. We are seeing that somewhat happening in cities where an emphasis is placed on adoption over buying, but in these smaller towns there is still the old-school idea that to get the best animal, you have to go to a breeder. It needs to stop.