Dogs in Review February 2009 | Laws & Paws

Breeders and Puppy Buyers

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There has been an explosion of interest in purebred dogs in recent years. As a result the public receives an ever-increasing amount of information, good and bad, real or imagined, about breeders and their dogs. This information is shaping what the public believes about breeders; therefore, it is essential that today’s breeders know what the puppy-buying public is being told.

Who’s Talking?

The increased demand for puppies has had the effect of encouraging more puppy mills to fill the demand. In reaction to that, public and private “watchdog groups” have undertaken to educate the public about the evils of commercial high-volume breeders. Their work has some good effects: almost half the states now have “puppy lemon laws,” requiring breeders to guarantee their puppies’ health, and giving buyers recourse if they purchase a sick puppy. But their efforts go far beyond legislation. Private groups abound which solicit complaints from all consumers (not just those who buy dogs at pet stores), assist consumers in filing complaints and lawsuits, and monitor the practices of all breeders (not just those who sell to brokers). Their representatives may contact you by e-mail, phone and in person, posing as puppy buyers. Through the Internet, these groups don’t hesitate to disseminate information about breeders. Some will publicize any negative information they get about a breeder, from a court decision to a humane society complaint to an anecdotal report of an isolated bad experience from a prospective puppy-buyer. In some cases they have created enough negative publicity to actually shut down a particular breeder.

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