A Lesson On Pet Store Puppies

      Contributed by Cherri Thomson

      Where do Pet Store Puppies come From??????

      A good question, which is commonly answered by "puppy mills" and while this is usually the case, we do sometimes find "known" bloodlines in the pedigrees of pet store puppies too.

      Often times, a less than responsible breeder may be careless in selling their puppies. Limited Registration and Non-breeding agreements go a long way in stopping the casual breeding of pet quality animals, but they by no means put an end to it. There are many cases where a breeder may sell a pet puppy on a spay/neuter agreement where the owner decided to breed anyway. To many people, registration papers don't matter. All they want is to produce puppies to sell to people who don't care about registration papers anyway.

      Just what does registered mean? It certainly does not denote quality, since ANYONE can register puppies that are born to registered parents. Even the most awful quality registered parents can produce registered puppies. The AKC and CKC are merely registration bodies, that provide a certificate that says, according the paperwork sent in by the breeder, the puppy is "registered". The paperwork is all done on the honour system. There is no way of actually proving the sire and dam listed are true, and the AKC and CKC have no means of checking either. The registration papers on any dog are only as good as the honesty and integrity of the breeder who submitted the applications for registration.

      Pet store puppies are usually AKC Registered. This does not mean that they are quality dogs. Backyard breeders who sometimes find it difficult to sell puppies may also "wholesale" to pet stores, but generally the majority of puppies in the pet stores come from bonafide puppy mills, who exist soley to produce "livestock" to sell at as a big a profit as they can. Following the trail of a pet store puppy back to the breeder will likely show a number of middlemen handled the puppy before it got to the pet store. The puppy mill usually gets about $50 to $75 for their puppy. The dog broker who buys from the puppy mill generally sell the puppy delivered to the pet store for about $200 to $400. With a general 50% markup on retail sales, you can see how a $50 puppy ends up costing $400 to $800 in the pet store window. The "inventory" is perishable, with a shelf life of only a few weeks. Once a pup is over 3 months of age, they aren't quite so cute and puppyish anymore, and often the price is discounted just like last seasons clothes are sold at clearance prices. When a puppy is sold, this creates a vacancy for another to take its place and the circle begins again. For as long as pet stores receive payment for puppies in their store, the dog brokers will find it profitable to buy puppies from puppy mills. As long as the puppy mills have dog brokers coming to buy their puppies, the puppy mills will exist.

      In a perfect world, no puppy would be born in a puppy mill. No pet store would sell puppies on impulse and whim. And all puppies would be bred by breeders who carefully selected only the superior members of the breed, did the genetic health tests, and raised the puppies in optimum conditions of cleanliness and love. But we all know the world is far from perfect.

      A step in ending this practice of puppy mills/dog brokers/pet stores is for the general public to outright STOP buying pet store puppies. If there is no ready market for these puppies, the profitability ends. Though a long process, perhaps someday with adequate legislation, education, and publicawareness, there may no longer be a market for puppy mill puppies. So, please DO NOT buy pet store puppies. "Rescuing" them from pet stores by offering to buy them, even at greatly reduced "sale" prices does nothing more than create an empty display case that needs to be kept full of product to sell.

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