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Puppy Mills

The Backyard Breeder So who is this “backyard breeder”? The backyard breeder can, at best, be described as uninformed. At their worst, they are nothing more than small scale puppy mills.

The usual backyard breeder is going to be someone who owns a purebred, AKC registered bitch. We’ll call her Sally. It doesn’t matter what breed. She is a big for her breed, and a little cow-hocked, in short, she wouldn’t win any prizes at a dog show, but she is registered.

Down the street, one of the neighbors just so happens to have a male dog of the exact same breed. We’ll call him Romeo. Now Romeo is way too big for his breed. He carries his tail curled up over his back, and he’s quite aggressive, so he lives in the backyard chained to his doghouse.

Romeo is also dysplasitc. His hips aren’t formed right and in a couple of years, he will go lame and have to be put down, but no-one knows that yet, because his owners have never even heard of Hip Dysplasia, much less thought to have him tested for it. There’s not much to recommend Romeo, except for the fact that he is the same breed as Sally, and he too, is registered.

“Wouldn’t it be nice… ” they say to themselves, “if old Sally and Romeo had some puppies?” Maybe they’re thinking it would be a good experience for the kids, to “witness the miracle of birth”, maybe they’re thinking that Sally will be “fulfilled” if she has a litter of puppies.

Who knows what they’re thinking, or even if they think at all.

Other than the fact that they happen to own one, Mr. & Mrs. Backyard Breeder know virtually nothing about Sally’s breed. They don’t know what health concerns they should be checking for, both in the prospective parents and in the future puppies. They don’t know the breed standard, they don’t know that old Sally is cow-hocked, or that Romeo only has one testicle. No, all they know is that these dogs are registered, so in their minds at least, they are worth breeding. They decide to let the dogs ‘get together’, and Voila’! Puppies!

At first, everything is just Jim-Dandy. Sally takes care of the puppies, and the kids play with them after school. But as they begin to grow, the backyard breeder finds that a litter of puppies is a lot of extra work and expense. How can something so little be so much trouble? Puppy shots, worming, clean-up, and dog food, lots and lots of dog food. Sally’s owner is getting buried.

In desperation, an ad is placed in the local newspaper. Wonder of wonders, there is a lady on the phone who only wants to know three things: How many males? How many females? Do you have the “blue slips”? She wants to buy the whole litter! Of course, she’s not offering top dollar, in fact, she’s only willing to pay less than 1/2 of what they were asking, but the backyard breeder figures that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and off they go.

Now depending on just how much trouble Sally’s owner had, they will now do one of two things: they will either swear off breeding dogs for the rest of their lives and finally have Sally spayed, or they will look at that cash in their hands and decided to breed old Sally again in 6 months. {After all, didn’t that Lady say she would buy more puppies when they had them?} They might even go so far as to get a second bitch, so they can make more money next time.

Mr. and Mrs. Backyard Breeder may not realize it, but they have just become a Puppy Mill.