You’re are looking for a dog. Where do you go for a pet? How do you find just the right dog for you? Your first thought may be the local pet store, but these aren’t always the best solution as many pet stores receive their pets from puppy mills-breeders who turn out dogs like hotcakes and with as little concern for them.
Nebraska is one of those states, along with Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, identified as major puppy mill states by the Humane Society of the United States. Though some extreme animal rights groups try to smear many legitimate dog breeders with the puppy mill label, expanding the term to mean just about anyone who breeds and sells dogs, a strict definition of a puppy mill is that breeding and selling is the main business and that dogs are bred out of greed, not out of concern for the animal, and with little concern for the individual dog. Dogs purchased from these puppy mills are often overpriced, underfed, overbred and often display personality or health problems. Dogs in puppy mills are often kept in unsanitary conditions, that at times borders on criminal.
While many states have puppy lemon laws for dog purchases, Nebraska is one of those states that does not. These puppy lemon laws offer some protection for owners who purchase dogs, often from these puppy mills, that reveal serious problems-some life-threatening. These puppy lemon laws give the new owner a time period in which to return the dog. Such puppy lemon laws not only protect dog purchasers, but put some check on indiscriminate dog breeding as well. This means such puppy lemon laws impact puppy mills. However, a legitimate dog breeder does not need puppy lemon laws to either take care of their dogs or to make as certain as possible each dog they sell is healthy and has a positive personality.
You may consider checking online for a pet. With puppy mill owners now shopping their poorly bred dogs on the Internet, the probability of puppy mills expanding their influence grows. When these puppy mills thrive, the dogs under their care do not. Many of the dogs bred under puppy mill conditions are underfed, overcrowded, rarely if ever, visit a veterinarian and mother dogs can be quite literally bred to death. When “shopping” online you must take extra precautions not to be misled by slick advertising and heart-stopping pictures.
There are many, many reputable dog breeders across the country. They love their dogs, they take good care of their dogs, provide proper nutrition, living conditions and veterinarian checks. They also are not afraid when someone interested in purchasing one of their dogs, checks them out.
Looking for a dog, but do not want to encourage a puppy mill operation? How do you go about finding just the right dog for you?
Do your homework. Look at your lifestyle, your family and decide what sort of dog would best “fit” your life, energy, activities, schedule and space available.
Don’t be afraid to check out your local animal shelter. Many shelters have programs to match an animal with the right owner.
Ask your veterinarian or one you trust for a recommendation.
When checking out a dog breeder, be sure to see if the dog’s welfare is of primary concern. How many dogs do they breed each year? Do the dogs have a positive environment in which to live? Are the animals crowded, fed high-quality food, seem to have good personalities?
Do the owners show concern about who the dog goes to “the right home” or is the sale their primary concern? Do they certify the parents as in good health and temperament? Do they seek information as to whether or not you understand how to properly care for the dog, even to providing guidelines before the sale and guidance afterward? Will they take a dog back that doesn’t fit into your situation?
Does the breeder have a solid connection with a local veterinarian? Can the breeder show you a dog’s medical history? Are they open about possible genetic anomalies?
Check out any information you’re given.
Will the breeder provide references from those who’ve purchased and are satisfied with their dogs?
Does the breeder encourage you to take your time and make multiple visits?
Look for a breeder who has a written contract and doesn’t hurry you to a decision.
Of course, things can always go wrong because, after all, a dog is a living animal. Don’t expect perfection from a dog, just lots of love.
If you do your homework you can avoid the puppy mill and find a bright, loving pet who will provide companionship for many years to come.