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Puppy Farming and Pet Shops

http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/item/208 - the UK Kennel Club explains why buying a puppy from a pet shop is a really bad idea for the puppy, the new owner, and the puppy's parents.

http://www.dogs-r-us.org/  - about the reality of the nightmarish breeding conditions behind a dog in a pet shop window.

http://www.puppywatch.org.uk/ - more about where pet shop puppies really come from.  Upsetting.

http://www.dogstrust.org.uk/az/b/batteryfarmeddogs/default.aspx - the Dogs Trust campaign against battery farmed dogs.

Arguably no animal should be sold in a pet shop: it's difficult for shops to provide appropriate care and the right environment.  But selling dogs - big animals with specific needs and lots of teeth - purely on the criteria of ' has this person got money' is insanely stupid.

I foster rescue dogs.  So far, I have not volunteered to foster an ex-puppy farm dog.  This is because puppy farm dogs are popularly reputed to be bloody difficult and I know my limits.  Buying a puppy farm dog - and don't fall for the line that dogs in pet shops are anything else -  it is wrong, encourages a horrible industry, and may well  leave you with a dog that is scarred emotionally or horribly ill.   Yes, they come with guarantees.  But who takes a living sick puppy back to the shop for a refund?

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( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
bunn
20th Sep, 2011 19:39 (UTC)
Recommending rescues is definitely a good idea.

I try to mention some of the costs that can result from buying a pet shop dog too : the 'Oh but he's so CUTE' crowd usually have no idea of the costs and stress resulting when you buy a dog with, say, hips that disintegrate by the time he's a year old, like the puppy farm labrador belonging to a friend of mine. :-(
lil_shepherd
20th Sep, 2011 12:07 (UTC)
If you are buying a puppy rather than adopting an adult dog always insist on seeing it with its mother. If possible, see the father.

This is also true of kittens - if possible, see the kitten before it is ready to go so you can see it with its mother.

bunn
20th Sep, 2011 19:42 (UTC)
Absolutely. This also goes for puppies from rescues : they may not be able to show you the father, but there are a lot of bitches come into rescue pregnant or from homes where suddenly the 'breeder' realised after 3 days that breeding was a lot more work than they thought: in these cases one should at least be able to see the mother to get some idea of what you are taking on.
bunn
20th Sep, 2011 19:47 (UTC)
... and kittens!
lil_shepherd
21st Sep, 2011 07:11 (UTC)
Also, a decent breeder and decent rescue centres are going to quiz you like crazy so they can be sure you are a decent person to take care of one of their animals. Many rescue centres inspect you - and I have known breeders ask to take a look too, though it is not so usual. I've been rung by other cat breeders asking me to vouch for people who bought a kitten from me in the past. If the breeder doesn't care - beware!

(Deleted comment)
bunn
20th Sep, 2011 19:46 (UTC)
There are still a few petshops in the UK that do it - there's one in Leeds, I know there are regular demos outside. Unfortunately the problem gets compounded by people who see the pups and buy them to 'rescue' them - and from the shop and puppy farms point of view, a sale is a sale :-/

But yes, the scale of the problem in the USA, for example, is orders of magnitude worse. I have only once seen a US petshop and I still have nightmares about it. Sterile white boxes with desperate miserable babies in them. It makes you want to weep or throw things. Possibly both.
firin
20th Sep, 2011 16:39 (UTC)
Very upsetting stories and pictures, but I am glad to have had my awareness of the issue raised. Thanks, Bunn.
bunn
20th Sep, 2011 19:50 (UTC)
Thanks for reading! It's one of those (many) issues that makes me want to just YELL and rant, but I do try not to do it too often - that way lies a future as someone in a sandwich board with THE END IS NIGH!!!! written on it... :-D
inzilbeth_liz
20th Sep, 2011 20:27 (UTC)
Thanks for posting this, horrible though it is. I'm afraid the impulse to buy to 'rescue' would be very strong.
bunn
21st Sep, 2011 13:27 (UTC)
Yes. I think it's really, really hard to walk away knowing that you could get this one out - but it's the only thing you can do that can really help the whole situation, awful though it is :-(
huinare
20th Sep, 2011 21:43 (UTC)
Thanks for posting this, pet shops are indeed cruel, and if I can ever afford to have an animal housemate in my life again I'm definitely going for the shelter.

I worked for about half a year, round about 2005, at Petco, which is one of the big chain pet/pet supply stores in the States. They had the decency not to sell dogs and cats, but I felt badly enough for all the rodents, reptiles, and small birds. They definitely did not get the care they deserved, as we were undertrained and overworked, spending most of our time bowing and scraping to self-satisfied customers (pet people can be surprisingly vitriolic!)

The rats in particular got a shoddy deal, crammed into overcrowded glass cages; 9 out of 10 rats sold went to snake feed, so that somehow made them unimportant.
bunn
21st Sep, 2011 13:31 (UTC)
Oh, that must be awful. Always terrible to have to do a job less well than you would like, but particularly horrible in that sort of situation :-(

Makes me think of 'The Ones that Walk Away from Omelas'
huinare
22nd Sep, 2011 17:51 (UTC)
Interesting parallel with Omelas, I hadn't thought of that but it is a somewhat more subtle application of the same principle.

Yeah it was rather disheartening. At the time I was halfway desensitized to it, as I was so focused on the outrages wrought upon the employees by the evil customers, and distracted by my own all-consuming issues of the time.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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