Backyard breeders. It’s a term that sounds terrible, but in reality it is far worse. Take a quick look at how many dogs are up for sale on Craigslist or your local classifieds. Chances are they come from a backyard breeder. We have written a number of articles highlighting how breeding leads to animal cruelty, disturbing “designer” breeding, and thousands of animals being euthanized when they don’t sell. And those examples are from “reputable” breeders! Backyard breeders are even less regulated than commercial breeders, and the results are appalling. While law enforcement certainly tries to close them when they can, most cities are allowed to do nothing more than give the breeder a citation. The only way to stop this practice is education.
Backyard breeding is simply breeding without any sort of oversight. The dogs (and cats in some cases) are bred for looks, genetic traits, or a specific purpose such as size (pit bull Hulk is the most visible example of this), without any concern for hereditary disease or genetic screening, and they allow inbreeding, compounding complications. These breeders are also motivated solely by profit. This means they cut corners as far as caring for the animals, including vet check ups and vaccinations. Often times, law enforcement issue their citations based on the animals not having tags or proper vet check ups, but there is nothing forcing the breeder to actually fix that problem.
A perfect example of the evils of backyard breeding is the story of Pegasus and her savior Dave Meinert. Meinert saved Pegasus at just 4 weeks old. She was born to a backyard breeder, and the rest of her litter died early on due to the birth defects they suffered as a result of severe neglect and inbreeding. These defects meant that Pegasus would eventually go blind and deaf, and would cut her life drastically short. His tribute to their life together is a gorgeous tale of redemption, as well as a perfect example of why backyard breeders are so dangerous.
If you are looking to adopt a new pup, make sure to watch out for backyard breeders. Be careful if:
- The dog is being sold at less than six weeks old.
- You aren’t allowed to see the entire facility or the area the puppy was born/raised.
- You aren’t given a time period to bring the dog back. Reputable shelters give you a grace period to ensure the dog finds the best forever home.
Remember, the only way we can stop breeders from condemning dogs to a miserable life, and often a quick death, is to make sure friends and family adopt and don’t shop. If breeders can’t turn a profit, they will most certainly stop. Help protect these poor animals, and prevent more stories like Pegasus by adopting one of the many animals that desperately need a good home. Adopt, don’t shop!
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