Are All Breeders Bad?

“Are all animal breeders bad?” has become a wildly popular search term on Google. For years, animal lovers have received mixed messages about animal shelters and breeders, leading to questions about how to acquire pets through humane and ethical sources. The answer isn’t black and white.

Best practices for bringing home a companion animal depends on where you live.

Slogans like, “Adopt, don’t shop” and, “My favorite breed is rescued” are printed on t-shirts and bumper stickers nationwide. It’s a simple message of compassion. Provide loving homes to animals who need it most.

But what happens when the reason behind that message changes?

In New England, animal shelters continue to be at the epicenter of providing a safe space for animals with nowhere to go. However, the number of healthy animals who need sheltering is dropping every year. Some of the reasons we’re seeing these shifts are accessible spay/neuter services for pets and a greater awareness and demand for adoptable animals than ever before. The animals in New England shelters today need loving homes, but often have requirements to suit their special needs. They don't just need a family - they need the right family.

There are still many areas in the US where homeless pet populations are not under control and shelters are in desperate need of adopters to give healthy animals loving homes. When you Google “are all breeders bad?”, the short answer is no. It is extremely important to be informed in your search for a trusted and responsible breeder.

For dogs specifically, it will take work and time to find the companion you’re dreaming of. Working with a responsible breeder eliminates the risk of unknowingly supporting puppy mills, where dogs live in cruel and inhumane conditions. Puppies from these mills often suffer from severe medical and/or behavior issues while adult dogs live in extremely inhumane mill conditions and are severely overbred for expensive and desirable puppies.

A good place to start when learning more about breeders is to follow these tips -

  • Never buy a puppy unless you personally meet the puppies’ mom.
  • Never buy a puppy that is less than 8 weeks old.
  • Never buy a puppy that needs to be shipped to you, or from a pet store. These are from puppy mills and their mom and dad will live their lives in terrible conditions. Buying those puppies supports puppy mills.
  • Click here for information about why working with a responsible breeder may be right for you, and more to look for in an excellent breeder.

Our options can be confusing when it comes to pets and we all want to do the right thing and make the most humane decisions for animals. If you have questions, ask! Your search for an animal companion is unique and you deserve to have access to the most accurate, transparent information about the unique needs and availability of companion animals where you live.

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