I used to be petrified of dogs. I have a very vivid memory of being 6 years old, walking into my best friends house and being jumped on by their 1 year old Black Lab puppy – well, jumped on and knocked down… That was enough to scare this little girl off of dogs for a while! I’m not sure when it was I finally grew out of that stage, but it was probably when I was in my early twenties and I got a cute little puppy of my own – from a pet store… *gasp* …yes, I know I know…
In my defense, the pet store I went to was a small mom-and-pop type of place that sold puppies from local residents. So while the point of my rant will conclude with why this is still bad, buying a puppy mill dog would have been a thousand times worse!
It wasn’t until about 7 years later that I had my first experience working with a dog rescue and learned the harsh truths about backyard breeding. I rescued my current pup from a fantastic organization and ended up working with that rescue for a year. I worked their adoption events and also helped them pull dogs from shelters. That was an eye-opener…! I wanted to take every single one of those dogs home with me!
So where did the majority of those poor dogs come from? Yup, you guessed it – backyard breeders! They are infamous for posting their ads on Craigslist under the guise of “adoption.” Do not be fooled! These people are choosing to breed their dogs – mostly pits – for PROFIT. They don’t care that 90% of their litter will end up in shelters and euthanized by the time they are 6 months old. They only care about selling their litter to anyone who will pay.
Who wouldn’t want to snatch up one of these adorable puppies for a “reasonable adoption fee”??
But sadly, most of them will end up in shelters… cold, hungry, scared, flea-infested, sick and unloved.
These backyard breeders don’t care if you’re a responsible dog owner or just a kid living in an apartment with no back yard who wants the cute puppy – they will sell that puppy to anyone.
Those cute little puppies grow up though. And that kid in the apartment learns really quick that the cheap adorable puppy will bark all night, eat his shoes, tear up his couch and pee all over his carpet. He didn’t have to go through a house-check like responsible rescues require. He didn’t have to prove to anyone that he can afford this puppy; that he can afford its vaccines and vet costs; that he can afford proper training; or that he can even afford to feed this dog the correct nutrition it needs.
The dogs you find in the shelter? They come from kids like this, from the breeders who sell their dogs to kids like this. And the majority of these backyard breeders can be found on Craigslist.
So what can we do to help? Adopt adopt adopt!! I will advocate adopting from a rescue or a shelter until the day I die. And do your research! Research the breed you want, make sure it’s the right fit for your home and family, and realize that owning a dog is a 8-15 year commitment.
Most importantly though, the next time you’re on Craigslist, check out the ‘Pet’ section and flag those bogus posts from people claiming they’re “adopting out” their newborn puppies. It’s illegal to try to sell your animals on Craigslist. That’s why they got “smart” and started using the ‘adoption’ word like crazy. You’ll know these backyard breeders by their telltale catch phrases:
“Reasonable adoption fee”
“Small fee to cover vaccines and expenses”
“I’m moving and can’t take him with me!”
“My apartment doesn’t allow pets!” (um, then why did you get one?)