Greyhound racing breeder challenges common practice of breeders

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Possibly without realizing he was doing it, a supporter of greyhound racing in Australia is challenging a common practice of many breeders across the world.

Anthony Jeffress, a breeder, was quoted Feb. 20 in an article by Australian Racing Greyhound. He was concerned about the dogs been taken by authorities during the investigation concerning live baiting.

The article reports at least two mother dogs were “separated from their respective litters aged 12-14 weeks.” And then Jeffress was quoted as saying:

“There are a lot of greyhound trainers who believe mothers should be left with their pups for as long as six months,” Jeffress said.

“Those two were weaned off but it’s not just about the feed, it’s about the socialisation.”

So here is an area where I can agree with dog-racing breeders. Puppies need extended time with their mothers. The training and socialization is vitally important for all puppies, not just greyhounds.
Too often, breeders are selling puppies at 6 to 8 weeks old. I believe this is one reason why we see dogs with behavioral problems later in life.
But any concern for the welfare of greyhounds expressed by anyone who participates in dog racing is hollow, as the industry regularly kills and injures dogs.
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Anti-adoption column is stunningly misguided

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A reader posted a link to a column that can best be described as misguided. I was stunned that anyone might come to the conclusions that writer Erin Auerbach reached after her experiences in adopting homeless dogs.

She leads off her Washington Post opinion piece from July of 2014 with a quote that goes to the heart of why we adopt homeless pets -“Why buy while those in shelters die?” And then she abandoned the statement of compassion completely.

Auerbach notes she adopted homeless dogs before writing the column. But somehow she came to a point where she switched her mentality.

She faced the pain of loss after a couple of her rescues faces illnesses and now it means her love will go to dogs purchased from breeders only  – not the very animals in need she previously helped.

She states – “Rescue and shelter dogs are a crapshoot.”

Unbelievable. The crapshoot for dogs comes as the result of horrible breeding practices that result in health and mental disorders. The crapshoot comes as a result of abuse or neglect. It is a subset of humans who created these problems.

But rather than speak out against those people, she calls the dogs a “crapshoot.”

I could better understand if someone was stung by the loss of a pet and stated they just cannot go through that pain anymore. But to go there and jump off track to say you have the love to give, just not to the rescue pets, is unimaginable to me.

She might not have wanted to come across this way, but her writing feels like she is blaming the dogs. The reality is the fault all lies with poor breeding practices or abuse or neglect or being taken from a mother too soon – all the fault of some humans.

She also misses an extraordinarily import principle. We don’t rescue dogs just to give something to ourselves. We rescue to save lives and offer compassion and love to animals in need.

To put it bluntly, Auerbach’s piece was irresponsible and she should produce an apology.

Thankfully, Lisa LaFontaine, the President and CEO of the Washington Humane Society wrote a column for Huffington Post to counter Auerbach’s claims.

LaFontaine is on the front lines of the problem and the effort to educate the public, while Auerbach has produced something that could steer people away from saving lives through adoption.

If everyone or even a substantial number of people took Auerbach’s advice it would lead to millions more homeless pets dying every year. It is bluntly irresponsible.

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Westminster Kennel Club spokesman just admitted breeds are mixed to create new breeds

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The spokesperson for the Westminster Kennel Club just admitted on the Today Show that the new breeds for this year’s dog show are nothing more than a product of mixing breeds together.

So what does that make the dogs? Say it with me …. “mixed breeds” or “mutts.”

Of course the club would never put the system in these terms, although it is factually correct. And of course all breeds have resulted from mixing different dogs together to come up the physical appearance of the current breeds. The process might have started years ago – even thousands of years ago for particular breeds, but the breeds of dog that Westminster and other kennel clubs promote are nothing more than wolf-hybrids.

All dogs are wolf-mutts.

The shows and the kennel clubs and their promotions are actually nothing more than a promotional system to drive the price of puppies. They want people to watch the shows and follow groups like the AKC to popularize the breeds and promote the purchasing of more puppies.

Don’t fall for it. The shelter dog is worth just as much. In fact, the shelter dogs are in many cases the survivors of a horrible breeding system. The breed standards are actually detrimental to dogs.

I’ll have more on this soon. And also coming right up will be my take on the new greyhound racing report from GREY 2K and the ASPCA. There’s a lot of animal welfare news flooding cyberspace and the airways out right now.

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One more important point concerning the North Carolina effort to regulate puppy mills

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The American Kennel Club has been at the forefront of opposition to improved breeding regulations across the nation, measures that could shut down more puppy mills.

But of course, the AKC receives funding through breeding operations. The more breeders, the more money. So when a state like North Carolina introduces a bill that might close down breeding operations that do not meet minimum standards of care, the AKC kicks its opposition into high gear.

The WRAL article I linked to yesterday included the following:

The bill would not apply to dogs being bred or kept as hunting dogs or show dogs and would only apply to breeders with 10 or more breeding females on the premises.

But the AKC has said it is unfair to regulate breeders more stringently than other dog owners, and it has objected to any state inspection of facilities.

True, the bill should regulate all breeders. But to suggest breeders would be regulated more stringently than “other dog owners” is categorically false. If a family was caught treating their pets the way puppy-mill breeders are allowed to treat their dogs, the family would be charged with animal cruelty every time.

As it stands now in North Carolina, breeders are getting preferred treatment and protection from prosecution.
And to the reference to the AKC’s opposition to state inspections, it’s only about what the breeders have to hind, isn’t it? Quality breeders have nothing to hide.
So this is all about protecting substandard breeding operations – period.
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GoDaddy paints itself as clueless with puppy commercial

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One would think GoDaddy might have learned from the Skechers ad some time back that featured greyhound racing. But in a stunningly clueless move, the web-hosting company previewed a Super Bowl ad that shows a dog being shipped off from a breeder, after the puppy was violently thrown from the open bed of a pickup truck and then went missing.

I refuse to post the ad here. But the ending shows the puppy running back to the business property before the breeder coldly shouts, “Ship ’em out,” as the van door closes.

The ad is warped on a number of levels. From the breeder riding dogs around in open trucks to being clueless to the dangers of purchasing puppies online to the callus way the breeder is depicted shipping away the puppy.

Thankfully, GoDaddy has pulled the ad. But why, in 2015 and certainly as a company that knows how the Internet and search engines work, would GoDaddy not know in advance what dump theme for an ad this was?

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Interesting comments in support of breeder are actually a challenge to puppy-mill practices

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The case where a group of Old English Sheepdog (edit – Bulldog) puppies were taken from a home-breeder in Waukegan, Ill. has drawn a lot of national attention. It seems the breeder was violating a local ordinance, but now the rescue group holding the puppies and city staffers (including the police) have received threats of violence.

On Chicago Now’s “Raining Cats and Dogs” blog, the comments are all over the map. So I jumped in this week in the comment section to offer my take.

The following sums up some of my input:

Comments concerning puppies actually support bans on selling puppies before they are ready to leave their mothers.

It is interesting to read the comments from those who support the breeder in the story, where concern is expressed for separating puppies from moms at too young an age.
But if anyone introduced legislation to ban the sale of puppies before the age of 10 to 12 weeks or so, the AKC and other breeder organizations would scream and lobby heavily against it.


Rescue groups and shelters often have no choice. They either take in puppies dropped off at shelters at a very young age or take in puppies from a rescue case.

But it is time to ban the sale of puppies before they are ready to leave their moms, where they learn important social skills and gather other benefits. And the breeders should not be allowed to separate them from the moms.


Actually, there are behavioral concerns. Puppies learn social skills from their moms and litter mates.
All dogs are actually wolf-hybrids and in the wild, wolf puppies stay with their moms much longer – of course.

And as far as breeding goes overall, there are real concerns out in the real world. I regularly note that there are good breeders, but far too many are not at all concerned with breeding with concern for long-term health.

I’ve heard too many stories of young dogs getting cancer. I’ve had too many people tell me about their purchased dogs that ended up with serious knee deformities or cancers or hip problems or behavior problems.

We have been talking to one person of late who purchased a pair of puppies just four years ago. One had both knees operated on and the other had liver problems and is now dead due to an oral cancer.
One family we know adopted four ex-racing greyhounds and all four died young from osteosarcoma.

We need far better regulations on breeders, so that only the quality breeders are operating. Who wants a bunch of substandard breeders – not only harming dogs but giving good breeders a bad name?
Who could support a system like that. which is what we have now?


Clearly, there are good and bad breeders. We all know that. I have no problems with the breeders are researching and working with concern for quality breeding. These breeders are not the problem.

I’ve clearly stated that we need to weed out the bad breeders (puppy mills, etc) so that only the quality breeders remain.
That is clearly a logical position that everyone should support. Who would support bad breeding?

The issue has been the breeders who fail to engage in research and continue to breed dogs with health issues.
We also know there is a problem with purebred dogs because of the rise in specific breed rescue groups. People tend to too often site numbers from municipal shelters without taking into account the purebred dogs up for adoption in rescue groups.

Yes, irresponsible pet guardians are a problem, along with irresponsible breeders. We should address both. I often do.
Last year, I spoke at a meeting for a local shelter and told the attendees that while they debating over the particular issues of care within the shelter (very important) I was watching dogs and cats coming in the door.

We must debate these topics knowing it is a complex issue. We can’t let bad breeders off the hook because bad people are taking in pets.
I don’t want to see people dumping their pets or not caring for them and I don’t want to see bad breeders continue to operate.


Good breeders already comply with the provisions in every proposed anti-puppy mill bill I’ve read. But we continue to see opposition to shutting down the bad breeders.
And yes, I have visited breeding operations where the dogs were housed properly and had access to play yards and clean food and water.

Again, why would anyone want bed breeders to continue to operate?


In my home state, breed rescues have seen huge growth over the last 15 years. We’ve always had bad pet guardians. But in the last 15 years, the homeless problem has gotten worse, with even purebred dogs.

(One commenter took the typical route of those opposed to breeding regulations, by suggesting there are no definitions to the phrase – puppy mill. I had one ready for them.) –

A puppy mill is any breeding operation that —
A) Houses dogs in dirty cages too small for them to freely move about – and does not contain clean bedding.
B) Does not allow the dogs daily time for exercise in a safe, outdoor play area.
C) Denies the dogs regular veterinary care.
D) Does not offer the dogs proper food and water.
E) Separates the puppies from their mothers at too young an age.

These are the typical provisions contained in proposed anti-puppy mill bills and laws. Want a definition of a puppy mill? It’s any breeder who does not comply with the above.


We have too often seen even inspected operations finally exposed as puppy mills, because the current regulations are far too weak.
Let’s weed out the bad breeders and puppy mills and leave breeding to quality breeders. Who could oppose that?


Obviously, the puppy mills are not being inspected – as for one thing there are too few inspectors.
We’ve also seen where inspectors allowed horrible conditions to go on – through multiple inspections.

Only recently has legislation been proposed to cover all breeders, those who sell to commercial operations and over the internet.

We need to make sure the dogs get regular play time and clean housing and clean food and water. Sadly, too often this is not happening.

The USDA license is too often – sadly – not worth the paper it’s printed on and it will be until the regulations are improved.

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Editorial suggests the US needs to expand sources for puppies

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I received the link today on the Pack News Wire to an editorial that ran Monday on the DVM360 website. I was so stunned that I had to read over it several times.

The writer, Mark Cushing, JD of the Animal Policy Group is suggesting an expanding US market for dogs needs to look overseas for breeding sources for puppies, as our human population grows.

Cushing lists what he feels are US sources for dogs, which includes hobby breeders (he states the volume there isn’t enough), large-scale breeders (but he notes puppy mills are an issue) and “Untreated feral dogs in the American South and Midwest producing litters for delivery by local shelters to urban markets around the country.”

On the latter “source” he goes on to write that is “difficult to view this as an intentional, humane source of the volume needed, although it is a steady source now.”

It is a strange take that I’ve never seen worded so oddly. In reality, it is not so much feral dogs who are adding to the homeless ranks.

How he lists “untreated feral dogs” as a source to fill what he states as a growing US demand for pets, without mentioning homeless adult dogs and puppies that are ready for adoption is stunning. How he writes an editorial about the demand for pets without noting millions of homeless pets are dying in shelters every year – before they find homes is stunning.

And it is stunning that Cushing fails to mention that by far the best “sources” for pets in the United States are your area shelters and rescue organization.

I’ll give Cushing the benefit of the doubt, to a degree, in that he might have been focusing on puppies. But again, new homeless dogs are being born every day all over the nation. Rescue is the BEST source for pets.

We absolutely do not need anyone suggesting families should look to overseas breeders for puppies, while millions of dogs are dying in the US without homes.

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Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel features the real problems with substandard dog breeding

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I was really pleased to see that Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel has dipped into this issue of dog shows and breed standards – through the American Kennel Club and others – and horrible breeding practices in general.

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Basically, a good video about dog breeds and aggression – with one big problem

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The producers of the video below did a pretty good job – on the topic of aggression and dog breeds. Just because a dog happens to be of a particular breed, doesn’t mean he or she will exhibit a particular behavior, aggression or other behaviors.

But one major mistake is made in the video. The reporter states dogs from shelters or rescue groups tend to be more aggressive than those purchased from breeders. BIG ERROR there.

Many of the dogs that end up in shelters or with rescue groups originated from breeders. Some of these dogs are in shelters because families turned them in due to behavioral issues. Why? – Because too many breeders are pulling puppies away from their mothers and litter mates at too young an age and are selling them at 6 to 8 weeks old.

The puppies need more time with mothers, to learn proper social behaviors. So to claim dogs from shelters or rescues might exhibit aggression in a higher percentage, merely because they are from shelters or rescues is inaccurate at best.

Poor breeding practices or acts of cruelty or general mistreatment are the key and unfortunate factors that generally lead to negative behavior in dogs.

And I must add that in my experience, shelter dogs and cats can show gratitude and can offer an adopting family a special kind of love.

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Video: A look into online puppy sales

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A reader, Twitter friend and fellow animal-welfare advocate has requested that I post information about the organization, Purebred Breeders. It took a few seconds to find the following video from HSUS – from December of 2011.

Back on December 7, 2011, the Today Show featured a segment about Purebred Breeders, which reportedly covers almost 800 websites.

In a post on the HSUS website from Dec. of 2011, Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president for animal protection litigation and investigations for HSUS is quoted as saying:

“Purebred Breeders reaps massive profits by purchasing puppies from puppy mills around the country and selling them at a huge mark-up to dog lovers who would never knowingly buy a puppy mill dog.”

Spread the word everywhere you possibly can and through as many means as possible. People should never purchase puppies or kittens before visiting the breeding facility and before insisting on a full tour. Otherwise, the risk is too great that they were bred at a puppy mill or kitten mill.

And for the millionth time, tell everyone that of the top 25 strategies for adding a new furry family member, No. 1 through No. 24 involve adopting through a rescue group or shelter.

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