Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Monday, January 31, 2011

Aww..but she's so ______ (cute, sweet...)

I wasn't sure where to go with this today but then I had a situation happen that brought this to the forefront of my mind: breeding.

This is a HUGE issue in my mind. Breeding of animals because they are cute/sweet/the kids want to see puppies or kittens born/my neighbor wants a dog "just like mine" etc are NOT reasons to breed. 

Why?  Well, first of all, there are millions of cute and sweet dogs and cats in shelters and foster homes all over the USA.
These are some unsettling statistics from the ASCPA

Approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals
 enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats).

There are a ton of great stats on this page to really show you the severity of this problem.

What people don't seem to think about is numbers - there are a finite number of homes. If there are 100 homes available that WANT an animal, you breed a litter of 10 and sell to those folks, that represents 10 shelter animals that won't be getting homes. And yes, it IS that simple. People can be educated on where to get pets.

Now, there are some people who want a certain breed of dog or cat. Ok, what about them? Well, there are breed rescues (and no the pets are not all "problem children" or sick animals). There are also search engines like Pet Finder. I know people that have found wonderful pets through them. 

If those things aren't getting you what you want, you need to research and find a reputable breeder. By reputable, you want someone who doesn't overbreed, has their animals in a clean and well-socialized environment, who is willing to take an animal back if there is a problem - medical or situational (the really good ones will NOT want their animals to be given away, euthanized etc if they can be fixed/saved), and who, depending on the breed, have done the necessary screening BEFORE breeding to ensure they are not passing down some of the health problems we KNOW can be genetic.

Let me just say this: go with your gut! I've known clients who haven't and have regretted it. 

Also consider that ethical breeding serves to improve the breed. Good breeders don't make a huge profit because they are putting money back INTO their dogs with regular vet visits, preventative care and screenings and puppy health checks. AND you must be prepared for the possibility and expense of a C-section. AND it might because the animal has only one puppy (which will probably cost more than the sale of that ONE pup), which sometimes fails to provide enough stimulus for a normal birth. Or because you have a breed that has a high incidence of needing one - Bulldogs, small/toy dogs or mixed breed dogs where the male breed is larger than the female breed. 

How about taking your children to the shelter and showing them the importance of being a responsible pet owner? And how people that aren't responsible have created a huge overpopulation problem, particularly with cats.  Adopt an animal that needs a home and then have it spayed/neutered if it hasn't already been done. 

No comments:

Post a Comment