All About Animals: Backyard Breeders

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Just who are backyard breeders, you ask? Well, it could be your neighbor, relative, co-worker, or even a close friend. They lurk everywhere. Anyone who feels compelled to breed their family dog (or dogs) is a backyard breeder. Whether they are breeding strictly for monetary gain or out of sheer ignorance, the outcome is the same – over-population.

Now that you have me started on the subject, I’ll give you my take on backyard breeders: They all need their tushes walloped.

The typical backyard breeder rarely does prenatal care. Their shady contracts, lack of medical records, and inability to provide references are all red flags. Many will have several litters to choose from and live in less than humane living conditions. The backyard breeder doesn’t seem to care that they are risking the health and well being of their family pet. Giving birth is stressful to female dogs. The unspayed female is more likely to develop breast cancer or other diseases of the reproductive system. They also run the risk of birth complications.

Backyard breeders claim that the dogs that they breed over and over are part of their family. So, does this mean that they would encourage their human family members to breed for profit? Isn’t that, in fact, called prostitution? Maybe someone could explain the difference to me. I find this behavior repulsive.

Even if you know a backyard breeder who takes excellent care of their dog, bottom line, they are still causing over-population. There are over 53 million dogs in the United States. Two-thirds of these are the products of backyard breeders. It’s obvious that they don’t care that they are causing over-population of dogs in our communities.

Now with Christmas rapidly approaching, ads will start popping up everywhere – in the classifieds, on CraigsList, and hand-written cards on bulletin boards. These same breeders will claim that their purebred or designer pups are high quality and oh – so – cute; that in fact, these pups are in great demand and going fast. Reserve yours now!

Thousands of these pups are sold yearly and come with a hefty price tag. Please don’t be fooled by the use of the words “re-homing fee”. This makes it sound s if they are being adopted. Who are they trying to kid? Selling pups by any other word is still selling pups. These people don’t care what happens to their pups after the sale, as long as they have a check in hand. If you want a purebred or crossbred pup, believe me, the shelters and rescues are full of them. Just for the record, 25 percent of all dogs in shelters are purebreds.

Please do not fall prey to these uncaring breeders. Money is their only motive. 6-8 million dogs enter shelters yearly. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that if you buy a pup from a backyard breeder, you are encouraging them to breed and breed again, therefore causing shelters to continually be over-crowded. This at times forces shelters to euthanize young, healthy dogs to make room for the products of backyard breeders. Pups that enter shelters often are the last of the litter that didn’t sell.

Is this the way we should be treating man’s best friend? Shame, shame on the backyard breeders.

Please, this season, do not buy; adopt from local shelters or rescues.

Chic Miller
Since 1990 Chic Miller and her husband, Bob, have owned and operated Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal sanctuary on Gas Point Road in Cottonwood. The Millers care for hundreds of abused and neglected animals. Animals that come to this sanctuary remain there for the rest of their lives. Chic is a retired nurse and takes care of all the medical needs for the injured and ill animals. Aside from a few volunteers, Bob and Chic take care of all the daily chores. The Millers care for hundreds of animals, including dogs, horses, ponies, pigs, llamas, goats, cats, chickens and yes, even a one-legged turkey. Chic Miller can be reached at 530-347-0544. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to help support Bella Vista Farms Animal Sanctuary.
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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    I would add, do not buy dogs or cats from the big box pet stores. Those pets come from shady suppliers. For a family pet, the shelters are full of cuddly puppies and kittens and a requirement is that they be spayed. If you are looking into show dogs, very expensive and not profitable, like horses.
    I had a co-worker who ran a kennel and showed dogs. He said he got into it for something the whole family could do. He boarded dogs but did not sell them. His family showed their own dogs and at times he would show other people’s dogs. He would only show people’s dogs after checking them out. The judges at dog shows knew who brought quality dogs and if a shower brought bad dogs they wouldn’t warrant much look over. I learned a lot about dogs from him.

  2. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    The latest craze: Whatever-a-doodles. (Labs, golden retrievers, Burmese mountain dogs, etc. crossed with poodles.) I understand the appeal of mixing one of those breeds with a poodle and getting a dog with personality that doesn’t shed or get crippled hips. But ultimately it’s more of the same.

    And then of course, locally you have your lovers/breeders/abusers/abandoners of pit bulls—for those who think that a dog bred to maul perfectly accessorizes their lifestyles. Special place in Hell, as they say.

    My dog is a yellow lab—the last of a backyard breeder’s litter (who didn’t get picked because she’s shy) that my wife brought home one day. Nine years old, and her hips are a mess. We’ve always had the best luck with rescue mutts—even the difficult ones.

    My remembrance of one such dog:

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      I saw a sign along a busy downtown Phoenix road, Pit Bulls $300. They belong in a special hell. And several dogs have been shot during domestic disturbance calls, almost always a pit bull.

  3. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Some of the sweetest tempered dogs I know are pit bulls and boxers. But they were not bred by irresponsible breeders nor owned by idiots. There is a whole lot of truth to nature or nurture with dogs. Idiot owners can make even a poodle or Cavalier King Charles mean. But I still shy away from put bulls because of their historical breeding. It’s been six months since we lost 17-year-old Brio, and we’re very close to rescuing – and being rescued by – a new four-legged family member.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      When I was a kid my Grandma lived in a ‘burb of Denver. Her neighbor had three pit bulls that appeared to adore her. One day she hit her head on a cabinet door, opening a gash. The blood splatter triggered the dogs—they took her down, killed her, and ate part of her. All of her face was gone.

      It’s not a coincidence of ownership that most maulings are by a couple of breeds that were bred to fight. Between 2005 and 2017, pit bulls accounted for two-thirds (66%) of all fatal maulings by dogs in this country (n = 284). Second is rottweilers, at 10% (n = 45). No other breed accounts for as much as 5%. Combined, pit bulls and Rottweilers account for three-fourths of fatal dog maulings. Many breeds bite—huskies are probably the nippiest breed of all. But pit bulls and Rottweilers were bred to attack, bite with extreme force, and shake until severe injury or death. It’s their nature.

      • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

        More stats on fatal dog attacks: Of all age groups, children ages 0-2 had the most victims, 27% (n = 115). The highest age-specific fatality rate is infants <1, which comprised 48% (n = 55) of this group. The 50-69 and ?70 age groups followed, each accounting for 18% (n = 76) of all deaths.

        Clearly, physical vulnerability—not level of threat—plays the biggest role in who gets killed by these two breeds.

      • Avatar Ann B. says:

        The debate of the good and bad of pitbulls is ever present. As a victim of a pit bull attack, I can tell you I am terrified of pitbulls. I am also very nervous when any dog runs toward me and my mutt. It all boils down to being a responsible pet owner. Unfortunately, there are too many irresponsible pet owners. My dog was also bitten by a chihuahua that was on the loose near the clover creek preserve. Another example of being irresponsible pet owners.

  4. Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

    My favorite story is about a woman walking her leashed dog on a rural Cheyenne road. Her dog was attacked by two pit bulls. The woman pulled out her revolver and shot at the pit bulls, wounding one and then they both ran off. She called the sheriff who met her at the local Vet Clinic. While there a woman came in with her pit bull claiming it had been shot. Sweet justice took place and both pits were incarcerated and the woman shooter had her vet bill paid by the irresponsible owner.

  5. Hal Johnson Hal Johnson says:

    We adopted a pit bull early this year. I’ve never intended to get a pit bull, because I believe the statistics. But, early this year, a not-quite-grown female pittie showed up at our place with what we surmised was her brother. It appeared that they’d been dumped.

    A neighbor caught the male chasing his chickens one day, and he shot him. After that, the female quit roaming and stayed with us. One day, we decided that she was part of the family. She is very sweet, hangs out in the aviary with the chickens and ducks, and doesn’t bother our cats.

    Still, I can’t deny that having a pit bull in the family weighs on me. The statistics are one thing, but she is so dang strong that when she wags her tail against your shin, it’s like being whipped with a cable. That’s a reminder that a pit bull attack is spades more worrisome than that of a dachshund. But, we’re committed. She’s stolen our hearts.

    I’m thinking shin guards for that tail.

    • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

      Hal, I’m all for people like you adopting pit bulls and Rottweilers that don’t seem aggressive and need a home.

      That said, when I’m Emperor Steve of Towersland, it’ll be illegal to breed them. Further, idiots who think aggressive pit bulls in their yards accessorize their bad-ass self-images won’t be allowed to breed, either.

      • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

        Steve, Towersland is already here. Many home insurers will not sell home insurance to homes that have pit bulls. Many HOA’s are banning pit bulls and several other large dogs. Many apartment complexes ban dogs. The only places left that have pit bulls are renters in slum lord houses. At least in Phoenix.