Saturday, September 23, 2017

Good News About U.S. Dogs

Six Quick Bits:

1. We still love dogs.
There are more dogs in the U.S. than ever before. Americans have far more dogs, per capita, than folks in Latin American, Europe, Africa, or Asia.

2. There is more, and better, dog training information than ever before.
American dogs have more access to better dog training options and information than ever before. Not all dog training advice and methods are equal, of course, but the average cell phone has more information, videos, and local contacts than the largest library just 20 years ago. Your cell phone is also the largest online pet and equipment store in the world.

3. Fewer dogs are being killed in shelters.
Fewer dogs are ending up in shelters or being euthanized today thanks to spay-neuter education, persuasion, subsidies, and laws. Spay neuter laws prevent millions of canine and feline deaths a year, and untold misery.
More dogs are being adopted.

4. More dogs are being adopted from shelters and through rescues.
Dogs from states where dogs are in surplus (the South and Midwest) are now screened, sorted, and sent to areas where there are fewer shelter dogs (cities and suburbs, especially on the coast).

5. American consumers are turning away from the AKC.
Consumers have figured out that "American Kennel Club" dogs are too often diseased, deformed, and dysfunctional, a product of mandatory breeding within a closed registry, and zero show ring points given to health, temperament, or working ability. Many AKC breed standards actually require selection for structural deformity. As a result, AKC registrations have fallen from over 1.5 million dogs a year to about 400,000 -- a decline of 74%.

6. Pet shop puppy sales have fallen to very small numbers.
The trouble here is up-river from the pet shop; commercial breeders ganging up large numbers of dogs, often in small pens with wire bottoms and little socialization, freedom, or exercise. Here breeding bitches are "bred until dead" and their puppies scooped up at the age of 6 to 7 weeks and whisked off to contract middle-men transporters such as Hunte. Here puppies from a dozen locations, and from dozens of litters, are co-mingled before vaccine immunity has reliably kicked in. The result: a predictable number of dogs with parvo, distemper, eye infections, and kennel cough.


Noel said...

I'm somewhat near an Amish community that amounts to a giant and horrifying puppy mill. The demise of pet shops is a great thing, but the internet has created something that may be worse - unscrupulous breeding operations that exist unobserved by buyers, and a mask of "quaintness" that ignorant customers seem to fall for. It's getting some attention, but not enough.

Alice said...

I'm wondering if there's a way to promote mutts as a good choice for pet, as a public service. Seems like the voice for purebreds is so loud, even I fell for it for a long time, but I'm over it now. If more people's FIRST choice were adopting a mutt, maybe there would be fewer dogs suffering in puppy mills.

mmctaq said...

I think the "Adopt, Don't Shop" campaign has all but drowned out the proponents of purebred, purpose-bred dogs, Alice... breeders are now pretty much demonized in many or most circles. Along with that, genetics are being dismissed with the claim that "it's all in how ya raise 'em!" Instead of acknowledging that some dogs just ain't right (and giving those dogs a kind and sympathetic exit), dogs which have little potential to be proper companions are "rescued," "rehabbed" and then warehoused (sometimes for YEARS!) while awaiting the perfect "furever home." These dogs are often misrepresented, and end up with owners (sorry! "furmommies") wholly unprepared and incapable of managing their issues.

There are many varied excellent reasons for purchasing a well-bred dog. For people with certain needs or goals or criteria, it is not a question of either (purpose-bred or random-bred) being equally fitting... because this simply is not true. I have probably owned as many dogs by happenstance as design, and I certainly did not love or enjoy or value the random dogs any less. I expect that my next dog will be purebred because there are things I wish to do that make this a better choice, for me.