buying a puppy, Responsible Ownership

The “signs of a backyard breeder” that are completely and utterly wrong

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Our potential puppy buyers pass the pages around. New breeders, enthusiastic about their membership with the “good guys,” share them too. They are printed and re-printed and gathered by online dog magazines, shelters, even breed clubs.

And they are fatally, horribly wrong.

Let’s take a look at the ten worst “signs of a backyard breeder.”

1. Beware if the breeder doesn’t show their dogs in conformation shows.

FALSE.

Good breeders know the value of peer review, and they seek out ways to prove their dogs and to “take their temperature” as breeders. However, saying that the only definition of good breeding is breeding for the conformation ring ignores a vast and extremely valuable network of performance and working breeders.

Good conformation is important to ALL dogs. No matter what they do. But it’s nothing but hubris to say that the conformation ring is the only place good breeders evaluate their dogs. Remember that the original point of the conformation ring was to judge working dogs against each other. The working came first.

If your breed is one with a working history, the ability to do its historic job should ALWAYS be the boundaries that shape your breeding efforts. If the conformation ring is the best and most demanding place to test whether you’ve done a good job as a breeder, then you should go there. If it’s not – if the best and most demanding test for how well you’re doing as a breeder is the sheep pen or the field trial or the performance ring – then that’s where you should be. And nobody should ever even hint that you’re someone to beware of.

2. Beware if the breeder doesn’t allow you to see the parents. A responsible breeder should be more than willing to allow you to meet the parents of your future puppy.

FALSE.

For the vast majority of good breedings, both parents will not be on site. You may be able to meet mom, but dad is quite unlikely. As a matter of fact, it’s a bigger red flag if all the dads are on site (meaning the person breeds only to her own dogs and never seeks out a good match elsewhere).

It’s also a huge generalization to say that I should be “more than willing” to have you meet the mom dog. That depends entirely on how old the puppies are, how she’s feeling about strangers touching them, and whether she’s in shape to be seen (you know what I mean – there is going to be a time when mom is a naked rat with skin and backbone showing, and maybe I’m not ready to have you, oh sweet puppy buyer, Instagram her all over the world). Mom dogs are individuals, just like humans. It’s not a bad sign, or a signal that she’s not a good dog or that her puppies won’t be good dogs, if she doesn’t like seeing complete strangers mauling her kids.

3. Beware if the breeder doesn’t allow you to visit. It is vital to see where the puppies are being raised.

FALSE.

I used to believe this too – until I began reading the news. I also realized that in every other area of our lives, we take sensible and normal precautions about who comes in the house. But for puppy buyers, it was “Can you type my e-mail address? Then sure, come on over.” I was giving an incredible amount of access to my home, my dogs and puppies, my young daughters, and myself without ever having met the people who were walking in.

So now, if you ask to come over, the answer is no. Instead, we do group visits at set times. My husband and I make sure that multiple adults we know and trust are there for the visits, so we can welcome you – but welcome you wisely. If you cannot come for one of the group visits, I will meet a potential buyer anywhere convenient for them, and we usually turn it into a group get-together with all the buyers and friends from that area. It’s a great system. And it makes me feel much more secure about what’s coming in my front door.

4. Beware if the breeder breeds several types of dogs. The purpose of a responsible breeder is to better the breed. How are they able to do that if they are focusing on different breeds?

FALSE.

New breeders usually have only one breed in the house. However, one of the truly pleasurable rewards of maturing in your breed is realizing that you have the time and energy and structure to indulge in a breed that you’ve always loved.

(For some reason, this seems to be Frenchies, like, ALL THE TIME. You Frenchie breeders are creating the “big bowl of ice cream for breakfast” of the dog breeder world, I swear.)

Some breeders who have always had big go small. Others have fun with a coated breed when they had wash and wear coats, or vice versa. Sometimes they’ve got kids or grandkids who want a different breed. There’s no “right” reason to get into a second breed, except that you love them and you want to. And the breeders who have a second breed (or a third breed) usually do just as fantastic a job with them as they’re doing with their first breed.

5. Beware if the breeder doesn’t issue a spay/neuter contract. Very few people are qualified to breed. A responsible breeder will issue a limited registration contract and require that you fix your dog by a certain age.

FALSE.

And also elitist. Before we even get into the spay/neuter, any statement like “very few people are qualified to breed” will lead to a polite invitation from me to go soak your head. Breeding well takes commitment and sacrifice and money and incredibly hard work, but it does NOT take some kind of educational or income level and it is not granted along with a silver spoon. Anyone willing to put in the effort deserves to try.

Now – the real issue: NO, good breeders do not always insist on a spay/neuter contract and do NOT require that you neuter or spay at a certain age. The health-consequences pendulum has completely swung on this, and any breeder still insisting on an early spay/neuter needs to get educated fast. It is BAD for your bitch to be spayed young, and it’s arguably BAD for your male dog to be neutered ever in his life.

A good breeder will generally insist that you not BREED a non-breed-worthy dog, but they should not be insisting on a spay/neuter contract.

6. Beware if the breeder often has puppies available. Most responsible breeders will create a wait list of people who are interested in their puppies and will only breed when they have enough people to adopt the majority of the litter.

FALSE.

This is one of the incredibly pervasive lies that get passed around, even to the point that many good breeders nod when they hear it. It’s also a really fast way to completely torpedo a breeding program.

As a breeder, you are breeding for YOURSELF. You are not breeding for the demand of buyers, to impress your peers, to do a favor to the stud dog owner, or anything else. You are putting seven or eight or ten puppies on the earth because YOU believe that YOUR breeding program will be brought forward by this breeding. You are responsible to the dogs and to yourself. Nobody else.

“Only breed when you have enough people” makes it sound like it’s a tap you can just turn on and off – oh, there’s my fourth reservation! DING! Quick, go out there and impregnate Molly!

Dogs do not work that way. The windows your bitch gives you to breed her are going to be few and short. The stud dogs ideal for her are going to be far away and difficult to get. If you can do a breeding that moves your program forward, for heaven’s sake, DO IT. Do it and be thrilled that you had the opportunity.

7. Beware if the breeder isn’t active in breed specific clubs. Membership to any of these clubs shows the breeder is willing to continue learning to help the improve the breed.

FALSE.

This is pretty personal for me, because I am not a member of our national club. I am not a member because I and the entire body of dog-related science believe that the club’s Code of Ethics is bad for the breed. So science and I got together and agreed that we weren’t going to breed that way, which means no membership for me.

For other people, there are any number of other reasons that they are not members of a club. What’s really going on – the root of the matter – is that the IDEA of an AKC parent club is great. The way it is supposed to function and the goals it’s supposed to have are incredibly valuable to good breeders.

If your club has managed to maintain a reality that is close to the idea, then that is awesome and you should be a member. If your club makes you scream at the computer all the time and you can’t go to the annual general meetings because you know you’ll start screaming at real people, then maybe it’s not such a great requirement.

8. Good breeders line up qualified buyers in advance of birth of a litter and rarely ever advertise.

FALSE. Oh my goodness, so dang false. (Links to an old article of mine that is likely to have some broken links and old data, but the point is still valid.) Again, SO SUPER DUPER FALSE.

9. Beware if the breeder offers to ship their dogs to new owners without meeting them first—a responsible breeder meets the new parents before she sends her pups home with them.

FALSE.

Before I get going, my puppy owners are not “parents.” They bought a puppy from me; they are owners.

Now, on to shipping: Shipping is one of the greatest forces for good in the dog world that you can possibly imagine. Before shipping was easy and safe, the regions of the country were islands. There were “West Coast” and “East Coast” styles of the same breed. If you were a breeder, you either bred your girls to the same few boys in your area or you put your bitch on a train and hoped she would be OK when she got off in a week.

Shipping is also an enormous boon for puppy buyers – yes, even pet buyers – because they can seek out many more breeders who are a good match for their needs and their households. As a result, many breeders ship out half or even more of each litter, and they do it to families that they’ve never met in person.

The question is NOT whether a breeder has met a buyer. The question is whether the breeder has done enough homework to determine if this is going to be a good home – whether it is ten minutes away or a ten-hour plane ride away. Shipping has nothing to do with an owner being a good match or a poor one.

10. Beware if the breeder does not reject high-risk buyers: (renters, young people, those with poor track records, low income, other pets, dogs kept outdoors)

FALSE. Also, HOLY CRAP.

The “poor track record” and “dogs kept outside” (for most breeds) are OK. The other stuff – this attitude is why people say “they tried to get a puppy from a good breeder and couldn’t, so they felt like they had to go to a bad one.” This INEXCUSABLE attitude.

Every breeder knows her breed best. Some breeds have very specific requirements from buyers, and tend to not do well in average homes. Rigorous screening is the responsibility of every breeder. But NO BREED requires a list of arrogant garbage like the above. And if you find yourself screening buyers based on qualifications that have nothing to do with your breed’s needs and are just excuses for being a d-bag, STOP. Young broke renters who have scraped together the money for a good puppy and are committed to feeding and vetting it well should be welcomed with open arms.

BONUS: Bad breeders breed their bitches on every season.

PJOnB&*%$*GSIURrHKgLSDqJF;KLD89*(&%^8374!!!11111!!

That’s how much I hate this one.

It’s completely false. In fact, you may just be a better breeder if you breed every season.

Hey, Joanna, did you steal these? Are you a blatant list stealer?

Yessir, sure did. I am quoting them verbatim so you can see that these are REAL lists.

Sources (not coincidentally, these are the entire first page of a search for “signs of a backyard breeder”):

http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_breedersandpetshops.phphttp://www.4pawsorlando.com/post/254431-backyard-breeder-vs-responsible-breeder

http://www.paws.org/get-involved/take-action/explore-the-issues/puppy-mills/

http://www.jlhweb.net/Boxermap/reputablebreeder.html

http://home.comcast.net/~NoPuppyMillsVA/What_is_a_Backyard_Breeder_/what_is_a_backyard_breeder_.html

http://www.lgd.org/library/breedercomparison.htm

http://www.almosthomerescue.org/whatisbyb/whatisbyb.htm

http://itsdogornothing.com/10-signs-of-a-backyard-breeder/ (this is the hall of fame one where most of my top ten came from)

http://dogs.about.com/od/becomingadogowner/fl/What-Is-a-Backyard-Breeder.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backyard_breeder

 

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26 Comments

  • Reply Anonymous May 26, 2015 at 11:09 am

    […] […]

    • Reply redriveratdawn August 3, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      You are absolutely 100% correct for all the right reasons. I have always known that #1 and #2, especially, were garbage. the Animal Rights Fanatics who made all this stuff up do not know anything about animals, animal care, animal medical issues, in fact, many of them don’t have slaves (meaning, they don’t have any animals for pets) so there is no way they could know about animal best practices. Thanks.

  • Reply Robyn Michaels May 26, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Nice try. While there may be exceptions to every rule, These are still things I tell people looking for a good breeder. While I tell people th breedery probably won’t own the sire, or may have gotten a puppy back, if they can’t see where the pups are housed, that means the breeder doesn’t want to show them where they are housed. But the big 1 you left out is that if the breeder doesn’t ask you to sign a contract that they want the dog back if you can’t keep it, that means they bred the dogs as livestock. This isn’t the 1960s, or even the 1990s. These days, puppy mills and ‘bad’ breeders don’t need AKC papers…& even the AKC is pretty lax unless you are a major puppy mill. This is how ‘bad breeders’ get dogs of good bloodlines. Don’t be naive.

    • Reply Joanna Kimball May 26, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      Robyn, what I’ve described above is not a list where there are a few uncommon exceptions. The expectations above are just plain BAD. They will not help you avoid bad breeders and will not help you find good breeders.

      This article wasn’t about the signs of good breeders, or I would have written about things like contracts. However, I would object strongly to anyone saying that the lack of a simple contract means that they breed dogs as livestock. It’s not wise to have no contract, and as an owner I would ask for one, but if I don’t get one I do not think anything close to “Well, now I’ve learned YOUR BIG SECRET, you livestock breeder you.”

    • Reply bestuvall May 26, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      The AKC is pretty lax about what unless you are a major “pm”. This is how bad breeders get good bloodlines? What does that even mean?

    • Reply redriveratdawn August 3, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      The last I heard about USDA regulations, the dogs ARE considered as livestock, that is why they cannot live in a home while on the breeder’s property. So, telling a breeder that the dogs are just “livestock” to them is telling them that they follow the rules. The rules, mind you, that the HSUS helped to write and put in place. So, you should also be writing a letter to Wayne Pacelle about your concerns, as he is part of the problem you are concerned with.

      • Reply Joanna Kimball August 3, 2015 at 7:44 pm

        The USDA/APHIS regulations do not prevent the breeding dogs from living in the owner’s house. Many USDA-inspected “dealers” (meaning breeders) have their dogs in the house. It’s so common that it’s specifically addressed in the APHIS questions and answers over the last few years.

      • Reply Tamar Paltin August 4, 2015 at 12:47 pm

        I, respectfully, disagree with a lot of these points. I think trying to adhere to every recommendation put forth on being a “good breeder” may be ridiculous but if a breeder does all of the things you describe I would not consider them as an option when buying a puppy. Not having the stud, shipping on occasion, not allowing continous or random home visits, etc.. Make sense. However if you regularly don’t allow individual visits, don’t let me meet the bitch, ship most pups, don’t ask about my means, don’t show in the breed ring, etc… I’d absolutely steer clear- sounds like a puppy producer to me not a dedicated breeder. This list is not a good way to introduce new people to good breeding practices.

  • Reply bestuvall May 26, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    “if they can’t see where the pups are housed, that means the breeder doesn’t want to show them where they are housed. “.. umm NO..there are people who do not want other people coming to their home for security reasons. People who live alone, never meeting the people before they come over, etc. people have been robbed and even killed when the ruse of “seeing the puppies” have been used.. even seemingly “nice” people have come back alter and robbed houses. For some it is much easier to meet them in a public place. It does not mean they are “hiding” something.
    As for contracts? Most ar not worth the paper they are written on. I get them signed sometimes, sometimes not depending on what the circumstances are. To say people are breeding livestock if they don’t get a contract is ludicrous. It is personal choice and personal circumstances.
    Also the fact that the breeder owns both parents does not mean they only breed that pair. . I have owned stud dogs I have used to my own bitches and also used many outside dogs. The idea is that these “rules” are always up for debate.
    great article. Needs to shared everywhere.. so I am sending it with your permission to my breed club list. Thank you.

    • Reply Joanna Kimball May 26, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      You bet – reprinting is always allowed as long as you cite the blog. And thanks!

  • Reply Dave May 26, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Amazing insight as usuall, I believe my readers would love to read this article in my magazine whats your policy in republishing

  • Reply Sharon Marquis May 26, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Your entire theory for BYBs and who should be qualified to purchase puppies from a responsible breeder, is just frightening and nieve on so many levels! I will never waive my strict adherance to what I believe are acceptable and unacceptable criteria when selecting homes for my puppies! If you cannot afford the purchase price, you may not be able to afford proper vet care or top quality food. If you have a background of unacceptable care of a dog, you will never get a puppy from me. If you have ever turned a dog over to a shelter, you will never get a puppy from me. I applaud owners who compete with their dogs in venues where the ability to do the work they were bred for is kept alive. However, a Viszla must still look like a Viszla and not a Pointer! If our dogs are not measured against the breed standard for conformation, then we will lose the type that distinguishes one breed from another. “Form follows function” is not just a saying, it is an important truth.

    • Reply Joanna Kimball May 26, 2015 at 8:10 pm

      Sharon, there are two things I want to point out: When you go to an average dog show, all around you showing and handling and owning their show dogs are people who cannot afford the purchase price of a puppy without cleaning their bank accounts completely out and then some. We all know that’s the case; it would be very disingenuous to say otherwise. Most breeders are dog-rich and cash-poor. And everybody knows that if there is a crisis we beg and borrow and steal if our dogs need care, and we make sure they get it. If WE can be trusted to be cash-poor and be responsible owners, we should be able to extend the same courtesy to approved owners.

      Second, having “ever” given up a dog to a shelter should not disqualify an owner. Emergencies and catastrophes sometimes force a dog out of an otherwise amazing home. That’s the whole reason we have return clauses in our contracts, isn’t it? I am not as concerned with whether they’ve ever used the American rescue system (which exists for a reason) and more concerned with WHY and WHEN. A family that had to give up a dog to a no-kill shelter 10 years before I met them because they had an emergency and no support system does not indicate to me that they’re going to be less than stellar owners NOW. Most of those people tell that story with tears, and explain that that’s why they’re so passionate about finding a breeder with a return policy now. Giving up a dog because he barked too much – that’s a red flag.

      Finally, “form follows function” means “breed for function and the form will follow.” It is not a command to use the show ring – the exact opposite. It is the ULTIMATE and MOST IMPORTANT reason that breeders must keep the historic job first and foremost. Form follows function means that if you breed a dog to do its historic job and with a sound body and excellent structure, it WILL end up looking like its breed – at least its breed at the time of founding, which is not a bad thing. It does not mean “Breed for form and the function will remain intact.”

  • Reply Ruth May 28, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    1: totally agree, however I want to see the breeder doing SOMETHING with their dogs. Sports, obedience, therapy work, true working dog…..SOMETHING. A stay at home pet is nice and all, but if you’re going to breed your dog, do SOMETHING to help prove they’re worth passing on their genes!

    2-3: Agree. And personally I’d have no problem with being told that you’re arranging a group day for everyone who wants a puppy to get together at the house to meet the whole litter. However, unless I live across the country, I want to be able to see how mom and litter was kept at SOME POINT, if only when I’m picking up the pup.

    4: I don’t have a problem with two breeds. Three or more is going to make me look extra close though and ask more pointed questions about the dogs that I’m not looking at. Can you REALLY put the proper energy into your breeding program with that many breeders to keep track of?

    5: Yes, no, sorta? I’d like to see a “limited registration” until certain expectations are met. Say, minimum health certs and maybe a stacked photo of the pup at a certain age back to the breeder so that the breeder can be sure the pup hasn’t turned out bad hipped and cowhocked and is a good representative of the breed. The contract I have on my Tibetan Mastiff actually says I WAS NOT to neuter him before 10months (and we were verbally begged to not do so before 2yrs if we decided not to show) and that she’d change the limited reg when we showed her proof of non-dysplastic hips, passing elbows and a healthy thyroid. But yes, a “you must spay or neuter the pup before 6months” contract shouldn’t be a good thing…..

    6 & 8: I think I agree in general. Though the breeder had better have plans to pause breeding if they now have a full household cause they only sold 1 of the last litter of 10……(and don’t advertise on craigslist, the craigslist rules say not to!)

    7: Or when you have a breed club like the ATMA……

    9: Thats what references are for! I’d personally have no problem providing extra references in a situation like that either.

    10: Heh, Apollo’s breeder flat out told us he was probly going to end up an “outside dog”! And I definitely believe each and every home needs to be considered on its own merits!.

    • Reply Katie August 3, 2015 at 4:34 pm

      And who wouldn’t want a mini Apollo? He such a good looking guy; takes after his Aunt, don’t you know?

  • Reply kath May 28, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I’m extremely grateful I found a breeder that doesn’t adhere to #10. When I came to her for a working line German Shepherd puppy, I was a single 23yo apartment-dwelling graduate student with no consistent income, no backyard, and no prior dog ownership experience (just a lifetime of yearning for one and lots of exposure to relatives’ GSDs). However, I had spent the better part of three years researching and saving, not just for the puppy purchase but for health, training, and emergency expenses for the first couple years, and I could articulate my hopes and plans for the dog. She approved me for a puppy from her next litter, but in the meantime I fell in love with one of her retiring females, and for the cost of her spay I took her home with me. Three years later, I’m back on the same breeder’s wait list for a breeding related to my current dog, and I have lots of fun plans for nose work and OB. So a big big BIG thank you to all the breeders and rescue orgs who are willing to look outside of their regular “standards” for those of us who are willing to give everything we have to a dog/pup!!

    • Reply K May 30, 2015 at 12:15 am

      Yeah, my first Malinois should not have been given to me (16 year old, no fence around the yard, lots of frequent little-kid guests, cats, and poultry). But it worked out great. I am blessed that the rescue I work with currently will adopt out to people with small children, people in apartments, etc. It is one of the reasons I work with them and not other groups. We won’t let you take home the wrong dog, but we certainly won’t tell you not to get a dog at all (except in extreme cases, of course). I wish more breeders were like that.

  • Reply Mariah May 30, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Have I told you lately that I love you? Your articles always hit the nail on the head and I always find myself nodding and saying “yes!” in my head (and sometimes out loud!). Thank you for your excellent and insightful articles.

  • Reply Kalee June 9, 2015 at 5:24 am

    When I started looking for my purebred Doberman I found a lot of poor quality dogs. I didn’t trust the “breeders” I talked to. When I found a great breeder they denied me for being too young. So, I tried several several several rescues and everyone denied for reasons like: you’re not home at all hours, you work more than 4 hours a day, your yard is too small, and my age. I felt trapped into buying a backyard breeder puppy against my will. I knew I was active enough between my husband’s daily runs, my evening walks, nature hiking and trails. Plus my interest in the best vet supported diet, I knew I could handle the breed. Eventually I was blessed and found both a beautiful rescue and a well bred pup. (The two act like sisters and play all the time.) I’m all for screening but most breeders in my state were after $X thousands and had near impossible requirements. I didn’t want a poor quality pet, I wanted a healthy dog. The “top” breeders seemed so rude and cold, they never gave an honest buyer a chance to own her dream dog.

  • Reply Sandra August 3, 2015 at 3:18 am

    The one reason I don’t like people in my house is Parvo!

  • Reply Eric Johnson August 3, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    The issue with #9 has to be tempered with the USDA/APHIS revision of the pet store rule almost 2 years ago. Under this rule, puppies may or may not be shipped. A good friend of mine simply will not ship … period.

    • Reply Joanna Kimball August 3, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Puppies can always be shipped under the new APHIS rules. Nothing about that has changed. The new APHIS rules say that if you ship puppies sight-unseen AND you have more than four breeding females, you MAY be subject to APHIS “dealer” registration and inspections. Some breeders are choosing to respond to that by refusing to ship, but that’s a breeder decision. Not an APHIS rule.

  • Reply Mary August 3, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    I love this article as much as I hated your crop/dock article. You are correct in your points. I just spent some time with a friend and her 15 month Doberman. Wow, what a gorgeous boy! She said someone told her she should show him. She said, nah, because she doesn’t plan to breed him. I told her to show him and finish him and breed him. If the health is there in his breeding, and it seems it is, he should be used for breeding. We need to breed great dogs. Add those great genes to the gene pool.

  • Reply Kathy August 31, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Ummm, great breeders don’t breed every season, they might do that two or three litters, but a breeder that is really conscious and responsible will carefully plan a breeding or two and get whet they need for their program or to improve the breed and then let the bitch go back to a rich happy life. Dogs bred back to back to back for several litters is not healthy for the mom, and ensures she has no their life other then a brood bitch. If you need to breed a bitch that often you have not waited to see how her pups grow up, and health issues that show up will you would possibly have several litters on the ground possibly before health issues a dog is passing on is seen. Also if you need to breed her more then a few times it means you have not carefully considered a great pairing that gives you what you need, then you continue with the next generation. A lot of this is nonsense from people who want to justify their poor breeding practices

    • Reply Joanna Kimball September 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      Kathy, we’ve gone through the question of whether breeding back to back is healthier in other posts – but I’d challenge you with this: If it is not healthy for the mom to be bred back to back, please cite or copy a study or good research that demonstrates this. Because I can give you multiple pieces of research that demonstrate that breeding back to back is healthier.

      You’re also coming from the point of view – and again I’d love to see you really thoughtfully consider whether this is correct – that good breeders breed less than bad breeders. Aside from the obvious example of a puppy mill or puppy farm (which is not what a good breeder breeding back-to-back would ever create), is that really true? Do good artists paint less than everybody else, so if you produce a lot of work you’re being careless? Do good writers wait until their book is five years old before writing another one? Of course not. Part of what makes you a great (fill in the blank) is repeatability and predictability. If you really don’t have *any* idea what a pairing is going to give you, then the answer is to get more experienced, know your pedigrees better, and BREED MORE, so you can get to the point that you don’t have to wait three years before you dare to breed again.

  • Reply Lenna S. Hanna-O'Neill August 3, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Joanna, were you channeling me when you wrote this??! You were, weren’t you? How I despise so many of these stupid, false “truisms” that get between breeders and good homes. Most especially, number 3. That one gets people KILLED. And I just love the snarky way supposedly “reputable” breeders throw that one around. Good grief. Before I was forced by ill health to leave my beloved farm, for many years I was a single woman with a small child at a remote country property surrounded by picturesque trees that produced lots of shade as well as being pretty. They also made it impossible for.any of my neighbors to see the actual house. Donson and I could have been dead a week or more before anyone came looking. And I am supposed to just allow any Tom, Dick or Harry instructions to find my place, people I have never met?! The hell with whether people think I am “hiding something;” placing your child at that kind of risk is poor *parenting,* and I take that a bit more seriously. Plus, I am very careful to protect my dogs from bringing in any nasties while I have young pups, but I am supposed to welcome people who have been shopping puppies, and guddling around with who knows how many pups raised with who knows what kind of health prorocols or vaccines… Furthermore, why should I subject myself to the possibility of a lawsuit? Working farms are dangerous to untrained city folk. I have lost track of the times when I went against my better judgment and let some fool come out to my place, only to have their children run around like hooligans, treating my home like a combination petting zoo and amusement park… swarming over my tractor, climbing in the hay loft, trying to “pet” breeding animals that are not kid friendly and that could easily crush them, etc. The parents are usually not appreciative after the second or third time you ask them to contain their kid before it falls off the tractor onto the disker and cuts a chunk out of itself, or has a near miss with an unfriendly goat who didn’t appreciate a handful of straw crammed in its face… SOOOO many reasons why I don-t let people come out! And if people want to mendacioualy accuse me of “having something to hide,” I’ll agree with them: having been targeted and lost animals to the antics of rabid ARTs, I damn well do intend to keep the location of my animals private, and if they think that is “suspicious” then they are too darned stupid to have one of my pups in the first place. Kudos on a great article!

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