The adopt don't shop - debate
Are you thinking about buying a purebred puppy, but you aren’t quite sure you should because of all the animals in shelters? You may want to consider the pros and cons of both options before making that decision.
Adopting from a rescue or a shelter is a wonderful way to get a pet. You are taking a puppy or dog from a less than desirable home and giving it a family. There is no arguing that is an awesome thing to do, but you may feel guilted into doing it based on propaganda.
First, according to the No Kill Advocacy Center, the pet overpopulation problem is a myth. There are approximately 8,000,000 pets that enter animal shelters each year, but 23,500,000 animals are acquired by American families each year. 17,000,000 of those people are undecided about where they plan to get their pet, so they could easily adopt from a shelter or purchase from a breeder.
Why then are so many shelter pets still killed?
They are killed out of habit and convenience. They are killed rather than given to non-profits for rehoming. Motherless babies are often killed instead of finding foster homes. Surrendered animals are killed rather than working to find out if the problem was the pet or the owner. Basically, it is easier to kill them than to use the alternative solutions.
America’s two largest international animal rescue organizations kill for different reasons. PETA genuinely believes an animal is better off dead than in the home a person - which they equate to enslavement. According to The Washington Post, PETA euthanizes 80% of the animals it “rescues.” HSUS kills for profit and power. The largest animal welfare organization spends less than 1% of its budget on animals, according to Humane Watch. The other 99% of the budget is spent on salaries and lobbying. The HSUS CEO’s salary is ranked among the top 1% of CEO salaries in the United States, but HSUS spends even more on lobbying. Most of the HSUS budget is spent on controlling the law - not saving animals.
So what, then, are the benefits of buying a purebred pet from a hobby breeder? There are four main benefits - a known health history, a breed-specific temperament, a consistent appearance, and breed specific traits (herding, working, etc)
A responsible breeder will have dogs registered with an official registry association. Furthermore, they will know the health history behind the puppies they are producing and they will use all the tests available to them to produce the healthiest puppies possible. Bringing a pet into your home is welcoming a new member to the family. You don’t want to experience heartbreak a year or two down the line because of an invisible disease that hasn’t been discovered yet.
Furthermore, people have different needs and want different types of interactions with their dogs. Some people want a dog who can tolerate laying around the house while their owner works or does chores. Others want to throw a harness on their dog and walk through the woods. Some like to show or do trials. Purebred dogs have predictable, breed - specific temperaments, and you can select a breed that meets your needs.
Finally, purebred dogs have a specific standard that they, physically, should adhere to. Thus, you will know what your dog will look like. Again, people have different preferences here, and purebred dogs allow people to get the look, personality, and drive they desire.
Buying purebred animals, however, doesn’t come without its own set of risks. Some people breed animals out of passion. Others breed out of a love for money (remember there are 23,500,000 new homes for pets each year), and finally, there are fraudulent people who don’t ever technically sell a pet, but they collect money as if they do.
You want to avoid buying from a backyard or large-scale commercial breeder. Basically, these are people who are breeding for profit or out of negligence. These are breeders who do not offer a health history, and they do not keep up with modern medicine and health testing. In addition, these are people whose animals are not happy due to the conditions in which they live. Some people will purchase from a disreputable breeder because they feel sorry for the pet and want to save it. But when this happens, they are simply enabling this type of breeder to continue. If buyers demanded better conditions for breeding pets by not purchasing from breeders who keep animals in less than ideal conditions, then these types of breeders would go out of business as they wouldn’t be getting what they want - money.
Unfortunately, the pet industry is so large that it attracts the bottom of the barrel in terms of humanity - those willing to deceive others out of money. Over the years, we have had our pictures stolen over and over again to be used on fraudulent websites that are created to sell puppies - often at a very reasonable price - but there are no puppies to sell. If someone were to send money to these people, they would never get a puppy as these people do not actually have animals to sell. These people take deposits and payments and never send the pet. These types of scam are numerous, so be careful. Once you get one website closed down, they just start another. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Whether you are considering rescuing or purchasing your next pet, there are people on both sides who are looking out for themselves, not for you, and not for animals. Whichever way you decide, find the people who have a passion for pets and support them - that will keep the good guys going and, hopefully, weed out the self-serving if they are no longer getting what they want.