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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Article paints a picture of reality for bad breeding practices

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We’re seeing a positive trend in the spreading of information about breeding practices and how they are impacting the health and welfare of dogs.

The latest entry is from Sara Boboltz of the Huffington Post. It is well worth the read. She goes into everything from line breeding inbreeding to the horrible breeding that has deformed the English Bulldog, leading to the risk of breathing problems.

And Boboltz these dogs can’t swim and the puppies have to be delivered by delivered by cesarian section.

Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital, is quoted as saying the dog breeds we see today are “human constructs,” meaning they are on the unnatural side. I’ve called it forced evolution.

Check out the article and the comment section.

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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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No logic coming from those who oppose puppy mill regulations

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I’m gonna keep hammering away at this, because every time I read about those opposing breeding regulations in states across the map, the same, tired, twisted mess keeps sinking to the bottom of the debate pond.

So let’s review the basic proposals and specific regulations – with the key follow-up question – WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT?!

** HUMANE HOUSING: Usually, the proposals in state bills set minimum, reasonable standards for the size of cages where the breeding dogs are housed or set a space requirement that allows the dogs room enough to turn around freely and lay down comfortably. And of course the cages should be free of feces and other unhealthy conditions.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – No reasonable person could opposed this provisions – PERIOD. The alternative is to allow breeders to force the dogs to live in horrible conditions.

** DAILY EXERCISE: The bills typically call for minimal amounts of time each day, when the dogs should be allowed to play or at least walk around a bit outside or within some open area.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – No one with an ounce of compassion in their soul would really suggest dogs housed in breeding kennels should be kept in their cages 24/7. We’d never want pets in homes to live this way.

** CLEAN FOOD AND WATER: Self-explanatory.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – The alternative would be dirty water and scummy food? Only a moron would not want the dogs to get clean food and water.

** VETERINARY CARE: Again, self-explanatory.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – Of course, I can hear the pro-puppy mill types saying, “Nobody tells me what to do with my property. It’s just like my car, I change the oil when I want to.” And that pretty sums up where animals stand with the pro-puppy mill side.

** LIMITS ON THE NUMBER OF TIMES FEMALES SHOULD BE PREGNANT IN A GIVEN TIME FRAME: Some of the proposals I’ve seen include this regulation and it’s a good one. The females should be given time for their bodies to rest. They are not factory machines.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – This, along with the other provisions, aids in the health and welfare of the dogs. It’s common sense and good veterinary science.

WHO IS FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE? – Animal welfare advocates and quality breeders and every single human with the ability to think logically and have compassion for animals.

Yes – quality breeders meet or exceed the standards of care being proposed across the nation. The only breeders who would be impacted are those that do not meet the minimums. And that’s the point – isn’t it?

I repeat – That’s the point, isn’t it?

And yet, we have groups like the AKC and others out fighting every bill to regulate dog breeding.

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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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Connecticut city considers ban on puppy and kitten sales in stores

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Hartford, Conn. held a second of two public hearing last week on a proposed ban on the sale of puppies and kittens in stores that originate from kitten or puppy mills. The legislation would limit the “sales” to what the Fairfield Patch website calls “humanely sourced puppies.”

The article reports one opponent of banning the sale of puppies in stores read from a newspaper ad concerning pit bulls needing new homes. He was quoted a saying, “We are in business because people don’t want an old pit bull dog.”

That’s ridiculous and it is the typical propaganda that falsely claims all homeless dogs are either pit bulls or mutts. Clearly, the nation would NOT have the thousands over thousands of breed-specific rescues operating, if the only dogs in the homeless ranks were pit bulls and mixed-breeds.

Puppies and kittens should not be sold like toasters in stores. Adopting or purchasing a pet is a lifetime commitment, where an adoption-application is part of the process. It is not something that should be an impulse decision by shoppers.

In addition, the buyer has no way of confirming the conditions where the puppies are bred. No one should purchase a puppy or kitten without confirming how the parent dogs are being treated. It is far too risky.


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Wacky Mentality for Nov. 4: Odd statements on breeding and animal welfare

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Some people just continue to pull in their thoughts from regions beyond our solar system. This, of course, is assuming intelligent life does not exist beyond the Earth. But then again, intelligent life is limited here too.

The Pack News Wire included an editorial posted on – under the headline: “The Hidden Agenda Behind The Animal Care Movement.”
This was odd enough. Not the ‘animal rights movement,’ as we typically see. The headline suggests the animal care movement has a hidden agenda. What? – your vet is out to take over the world?

But Gary Truitt actually states – “The real agenda behind the animal activist movement is the total domination and, in some cases, elimination of animal agriculture.”

The fact that this is not happening really doesn’t seem to bother Truitt. But his claims are really based on the fact that those who support compassion and animal welfare want to see abuse exposed, in some cases with undercover video of people actually torturing animals.

So since people with compassion want to prevent acts of animal cruelty and see to it that abuse is uncovered, Truitt falsely claims that means they want total domination. That’s wacky.

AND – A headline on reads – “Animal Welfare Act endangers the Queens corgis.”

And why is this claim made? – Because the act bans the act of tail docking for cosmetic reasons for dogs.
So if breeders don’t get to engage in this completely unnecessary but cruel practice, they just don’t want to breed that dog. So the fear is the Queen won’t be able to buy more corgis because those who set the breed standard won’t like the dogs with full tails – the way nature intended.

From the piece –

The ban on docking has changed the look of the corgi; therefore breeders are not continuing to raise the Pembroke Corgi.
Just because they don’t get to chop off each dog’s tail. That’s wacky.
Falling below the number required will place in on a “vulnerable native breeds list.”

Native breeds list – ? They are all related to wolves. The welfare of the dogs should come first, not a native breeds list.

The Queen should decree henceforth to adopt homeless pets. What a great example that would set.


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