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Westminster ‘Win’ Means Certain Death for Mutts

Written by PETA | February 17, 2010

Most of us here at PETA adore sweets, but we’ve got zero tolerance for sugarcoating—the truth, that is. That’s why we’re planning to run this public service announcement in Mackinac Island, Michigan, the hometown of Sadie, who was crowned “top dog” (after a slight interruption) at Westminster on Tuesday night.


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We want residents of Mackinac Island and beyond to wise up: A “win” at Westminster is no cause for celebration. In fact, a mass funeral might be more fitting.

Bottom line: Every person who purchases a puppy or kitten from a pimp breeder or pet shop (or obtains one from the “free” ads) is signing a death certificate for an animal in an open-admission shelter. I think PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk said it best: “[P]eople don’t see themselves as signing some animal’s death warrant when they sign their credit card receipt, but that’s what they are doing.” That’s not a half-baked notion cooked up by animal protectionists—it’s simple math. There aren’t enough homes. And dog shows such as Westminster feed the myth that a French bulldog puppy is somehow “superior” to a lop-eared, one-of-a-kind mutt.

Au contraire!

Remember Uno, the beagle who bayed his way into first place at Westminster two years ago? Just months after Uno’s win, I was searching for a new friend in animal shelters in New York City, and I was struck by the number of barely housetrained beagle babies who were pawing at the cage walls. Apparently, a lot of fickle viewers who watched Uno at Westminster scrambled to buy their own beagles—and then realized that they didn’t want to deal with the ear-piercing baying, crack-of-dawn walks, or chewed-up Manolo’s. (BTW—I, too, am a sucker for big, brown eyes. It’s why a lumpy old furry gal named Lucy, who spent her first seven or so years sleeping on the streets, now snores beside me every night.)

True love can come in all shapes and sizes—with floppy ears, crooked teeth, and mismatched eyes. And true love can be easy to find at the local animal shelter. PETA is determined to save lives by sending this message to all would-be animal parents: Always adopt from animal shelters, never buy from pet stores or breeders, and always spay or neuter your four-legged friends. Will you help?

Written by Karin Bennett

Commenting is closed.
  • Nikki says:

    The issue here is not the breeders. Stop trying to blame them. It is all of the irresponsible pet owners out there who view dogs as objects, not family members. I recently sent a deposit to a Bluetick Coonhound breeder for a spring puppy. I could not be more excited. When my family and I decided to get a Bluetick, we knew what we were getting into. We know what the temperament will be like, we know the size and longevity of our family member. I also didn’t find out that they were added to the AKC until after all of the paperwork was finished. With a mutt, that is not possible. For example, a few years ago, my dad adopted a dog from a shelter. He was dubbed Hondo. This is the most mixed up pup you have ever seen. Now that he is fullgrown, we can distinctly see Rottweiler, Sharpei, and Rhodesian Ridgeback. He has the head and coloring of a Rottie with slight brindling, something distinctly Sharpei-ish about him, and a very clear perfect Rodesian ridge. He is a sweetheart, but as he started getting bigger, we started noticing how weak his back end was. We had noticed it when we brought him home, but as he was only 6 weeks old and still should have been with his momma, we dismissed it as an ungainly puppy gait. Within 2 months, we realized that Hondo had hip displaysia. At 4 months old, he had to be put on medication for his hips. My dad is not a huge fan of dogs, but my sisters really wanted one and Hondo is my youngest sister’s best friend. My dad did not want a dog who was unhealthy enough to need medication from 4 months old. Here is another issue I have. The shelter withheld this information. They knew that the whole litter was surrendered because of bad hips, but they adopted him out to us with a clean bill of health. I told my dad to get a dependable purebred, but he didn’t listen and now he will be paying for expensive medication for the (now) next 8-10 years. Jay, you are absolutely incorrect. I have a Smooth Collie who is tougher than any other dog I have ever met. He is PUREBRED. I swear, this dog would take down a bull if he got the chance! Fortunately, he will probably never meet one. Being a mutt does not make it tougher. As well as no dog is thankful longer than any other. Dogs do not think about the past. Dogs do not think about the future. Dogs live in the moment. Another point of fact. Saying that mutts don’t need to be trimmed is a fallacy. We get just as many mutts coming in to get groomed as we do purebreds. John, you are also incorrect. Not all AKC breeders profit off of puppy mills. Please talk to a good, responsible, caring breeder before you make that assumption. Those of you who look down on us who buy purebreds, I apologize for wanting predictability and confidence in the dog that is going to be a part of my family and my life for the next 15 years.

  • R McCollum says:

    The problem is too many dogs and not enough homes. We cannot control the rate at which the homes for the dogs multiply so we must control the rate at which the dogs multiply. Great job PETA. I never considered any dog other than a pound dog. I never considered the consequences of purchasing a “breed”. Thanks for the enlightenment. Signed A very happy Mutt lover.

  • Jenn says:

    In my experience the average mutt and average purebred are equal in terms of health and temperament issues. So how about compassion for all castoff dogs whatever their exterior? They all deserve love. It’s bothering me to see this cast as “breedism” vs. “antibreedism”. The underlying problem is that life is a cheap throwaway commodity in our culture. And so animals including us suffer. Now how the heck we gonna make that better?

  • LULU says:

    I shouldn’t be surprised that breeders are chiming in on these comments but to say as MBS did that “The people that show purebred dogs are the most responsible group of dog owners” is RIDICULOUS. I almost laughed out when I read that. I didn’t because that kind of KKK mentality bought into by a naive public helps kill dogs in shelters. I am among “the most responsible dog owners” me proud mom of two beautiful NEUTERED ADOPTED mutts!

  • Rex's Mom says:

    I do have to say that the dog show was sponsered by Pedigree dog food and every commercial said to adopt dogs. I was recently at the vet’s to get my dog his annual heart worm test and met a woman who had an adorable golden retreiver puppy. She said she BOUGHT the puppy from a mall pet store. I told her that at least 90 of pet store dogs are from puppy mills. She said she was aware of that but bought this puppy anyway. I told her I hoped her puppy wouldn’t get sick. As she was leaving after the vet examined her puppy she told me that she lucked out and the puppy was fine. I just hope the puppy will stay fine and not get sick. But she is irresponsible for knowing that pet shops buy most of their puppies from puppy mills and still bought this puppy anyway. I was also glad that I spoke up about this matter. She wasn’t the least bit defensive toward me and was very nice but she still did something that she knew about and still bought the puppy.

  • Sonja Talboys says:

    Everybody that takes on a dog or a cat should be made by law to have them spayed or neutered. As far as breeders go most of them should be closed down and puppy farming should definately be sorted out and all involved heavy fines and prison sentences.There are so many dogs put down in the pounds it’s disgracefull.

  • J says:

    I think you guys are missing the point. What you should be doing is preaching and teaching responsible pet ownership. The problem comes from too many dogs both pure bred and mutt alike not being spayed or neutered andor going unsupervised. I recently lost my AKC American Cocker Spaniel after 16 long years. He was never neutered and never bred. It was not difficult to monitor this! Tell people to quit letting their dogs run wild or just get them snipped which I am against btw but leave the 523 residents of Mackinaw Island alone.

  • MBS says:

    It amazes me that people don’t really seem to understand that dogs that end up in shelters are the result of irresponsible people letting their animals get pregnant letting their unneutered males run loose and owners not knowing when their females are most likely to get pregnant. The people that show purebred dogs are the most responsible group of dog owners. They do not sell puppies to pet stores and they make sure puppies go to good homes. To get a quality purebred you might have to wait for a year or two…good breeders make sure that their puppies go to good homes they sell their dogs on contracts that state that the dog must be spayed or neutered and they take puppies back if the new owners are not able to care for them or if something is wrong with the puppies. Also breed clubs spend spend time and money rescuing purebreds that ended up in rescue situations usually by puppy mills or irresponsible breeders. Breed clubs also spend countless hours and dollars researching health problems in their breeds. Purebred dogs are not all of the same quality…People who show their dogs do so to produce the best that their breed has to offer…health temperament and appearance are top considerations. Puppy mills and backyard breeders Craigslist has a lot of these dogs listed do not breed for quality or health…You might be able to get a puppy tomorrow from them but you will not get quality health or temperament. Many of these socalled purebreds end up in rescue or shelters because they were not what their new owners expected…either sickly iltempered or not of breed appearance ugly. Good breeders the ones who show their dogs sometimes breed their best animals…others are neutered and not sold to be bred. Be careful where you get your puppy. Irresponsible people are responsible for dogs ending up in shelters and being euthanised. Good breeders do not sell dogs to backyard breeders or puppy mills. They will require the dogs be spayed or neutered if they are not top quality breeding stock. Now that a Scottie has won at Westminster they will become popular. People will want a cute Scottie now…and will not want to wait to get a good one. Craigslist breeders and puppy mills will breed more Scotties…more will end up in rescue…more dogs will have halfbreed puppies ending up in rescue and more dogs will suffer. Irresponsible people cause the needless suffering of dogs and all animals….not responsible people. If you look at dogs in shelters so many of them are pitbulllabshepherd crosses that should not have become pregnant in the first place. Think about taking care of animals not creating more that will not be taken care of. Shame on irresponsible people!

  • Louise says:

    Many need dogs as a fashion accessory. In the moment the fashion changes they have no use for their once beloved ones. Isn’t there any famous person who wants to set up the fashion to take a dog from a shelter and never lets it down? How is it with you Paris Hilton taking a cute dog from a shelter?

  • Jay says:

    Purebred often enough means overbred and less tough a real mutt defines beauty by herhimself. They are thankful a longer and more healthy lifetime in a loving home they don’t need to be trimmed and always look the best!

  • Elphaba says:

    Oh and what about the many wonderful dogs and cats who will never have a few minutes of anything good let alone fame? The many Scotties who will be purchased and abandoned as a result and the shelter dogs who will never get a chance will be lucky if they land in shelters with kind workers who will at least give them a few moments of compassion before they are forced to end their lives…..I seriously doubt fame is anywhere on the short list of things dogs concern themselves with.

  • RG says:

    I agree with Gail. I understand the passion for animals being an animal activist myself who owns 7 rescue dogs 5 mutts and 2 full breed. My experience has been that community education about spayneuter discount spayneuter programs for low income and enforcement of breeding laws helps control a lot of the overpopulation issues. Ferrell cat spayneuter programs are especially helpful. I think the biggest problem lies in lax breeding laws and lack of enforcement.

  • Gail Wiot says:

    Hi I support you on just about all the issues regarding animal treatment and cruelty. But I felt interuption of the dog show was not in the best interest of PETA. I am a big supporter but was supprised at the actions by the people. I understand the need to bring to light the issues but you did not make any substantial points thru this action. I hope that you will think about this more throughly. Believe it or not some of the dogs do enjoy being in the show ring. The Scotty should have been left to get his few minutes of fame. Gail Orland Park IL

  • Kathryn Flynn says:

    Not to mention the many other benifits of adopting a shelter dog! For example if you adopt a dog which is already an adult or an older puppy you don’t have to deal with so much teething.

  • Dog show supporter says:

    “Show results of AKC’s Registration income and why they will not allow a class for neutered animals.” That is not true the purpose of a dog show is to judge breeding stock not some dog who does nothing to improve the breed. Besides that you can enter neuteredspayed dogs into their shows in junior handling.

  • Kelley says:

    Janieyou are right about the tax issue. Most breeders pay no tax on their profits at all.

  • Paula says:

    I want to personally thank the PETA volunteers that stood up with the signs at the Westminister dog show. BRAVO! Well done!

  • Andre Inglis says:

    “Puppy mills are not even the problem. Too many dog indescrimiantly breeding their dogs are the problem.” And puppy mills add more puppies to that equation. Either way overpopulation is the problem. Mass production of dogscats is a problem. You can be sure that someone earning money for breeding will have little room left in there pockets for compassion.

  • Janie says:

    I would like to know if the breeder of this “winning” dog is licensed as a business in Mackinac? Are they declaring income? Do they have a sales tax id number? Many breeders do not report income and do not pay taxes as they should be. And many of these breeders make triple figures every year. The tax corruprtion is enormous.

  • John says:

    Here is a newspaper article on the facts and figures involved in AKC’s puppy mill business httpwww.newsleader.comarticle20100125OPINIONS021250323Missouri5CspuppymillindustryacashcowforAKC

  • John says:

    Here is one of the AKC’s board members who is responsible for the AKC puppy mill business httpwww.sourcewatch.orgindex.php?titlePattiStrand High Volume Breeder Committee. AKC has a COMMITTEE to get money and registrations from puppy mills and to support puppy mill cruelty and oppose laws. Do a google search for “akc puppy mills” Every AKC breeder profits off and benefits from the puppy mill abuse.

  • Dan Halderman says:

    Lets put the blame where it really belongs. The people who let there dogs breed to over produce all of the “mutts” you refer to. As a shelter worker the biggest problem is people that do not spayneuter their dogs registered or not! If owners of dogs did not let them have puppies then we would not have this problem. The registered breeders are not the problem. Puppy mills are not even the problem. Too many dog indescrimiantly breeding their dogs are the problem.

  • terry diane smith says:

    Show results of AKC’s Registration income and why they will not allow a class for neutered animals. Why they continue to Register Puppy Mill dogs when they are supposed to inspect Kennels and all breeder facilities. Talk more about inherited problems all AKC breeds can have and tell what they are and how “mutts” have a better chance not to inherit the problems. Show incomes of top Handlers and what people pay to have their dogs shown.Show how many pups are discared to make one good show dog. You can research Westminister BOB winners and how many breedings these people do. SHOW THIS IS A CHEAP GAME.

  • Andre Inglis says:

    The sad truth of the breeding industry.