Fighting the Puppy Mills

I was just talking with a friend and she has a few good ideas as far as pet shops and puppy mills go. What if as a group, the registries (ABC, AIBC, ISDS, etc..) were approached, and asked if they would help with the puppy mills and pet shop problems. Do they have the ability to rescind the papers on any of the sire's and dam's of these puppies? It won't eliminate the problem, but if there were no papers, there would not be such an abundance of Border Collies in these stores. With the open registration of Border Collies with AKC now the window is closing fast.

Actually, there are several problems with this. First and foremost is - who is to define who or what a puppymill is? What would the definition be? Someone who breeds more than 3 litters a year? Someone who houses more than 10 dogs? Someone who doesn't care for the puppies produced? Someone who sells pups to just about anyone with the money? Or what? One person's puppymill is another person's prominent breeder. There are many folks that have pups from a very reputable breeder that I and many other people would consider to be a puppymill. It's a very good quality and care puppymill, but I would consider it a puppymill nonetheless.

The second problem is a legal one - restraint of trade. Rescinding papers or denying papers based purely on the completely legal and legitimate conduct of the people owning the dogs would just be asking for a lawsuit. There's technically nothing wrong with puppymills or pet shops - they are USDA approved and operating in completely legitimate forums - it's just that you (and I) don't approve of how they conduct their business. But they have every legal right to conduct business in this fashion and it is a very strong legal argument that they have every right to register these dogs as well. What if the ABC decided to rescind the papers of everyone that competed with their Border Collie in a non-working event such as Frisbee, agility, flyball, etc. - just because they didn't like the manner in which the dogs were used? I'm not defending puppymills or pet shops - I'm just saying that this isn't the way to go at them.

The only efficacious means of reducing puppymills and pet shop puppies I know of are :

1) Buyer education. If the buyer's don't get their puppies via these sources, they won't be able to stay in business. Most people are frightfully ignorant when it comes to buying a puppy - in what breed is right for them (i.e. our massive problem in rescue), what to look for (hips, eyes, vaccines, etc.), and who to buy from. If you want to buy a flower, you go to the flower shop, not out to the farmer growing the stuff. If you want to buy a pet, you go to a pet shop, not to the person breeding them out in the country. Makes sense (to most folks).

2) Attack the illegal practices of puppymills and pet shops. Investigate their activities and practices and file reports with the BBB, sue for damages on purchased dogs that turn out bad, report illegal practices to the USDA to help rescind permits, file lawsuits for animal cruelty or health/safety/public welfare trangressions.

The only language that these people speak is the language of money and if you want them to hear you, you have to speak through their pocketbooks.

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