This chapter, more than any other, is likely going to draw the most controversy, but this is what we are seeing in cities. Something needs to be done. So much so that NPR's Morning Edition was talking about the rescue issue that I'm writing about in the book. I'm really happy more attention is put on the subject, but until something is done on both sides of the coin, it's rather useless.
There are significant issues with both breeders and rescue groups as a whole. Breeders must do a better job of breeding out diseases and personality flaws when breeding for family life, instead of breeding to a standard that encourages excessive deformities in many of our dog breeds. The AKC and breed groups can consult with reputable veterinarians to ensure the dogs that are being promoted as “healthy” are actually healthy specimens. Better yet, ethical veterinarians could judge the breed rings to prevent dogs like overweight Labradors, German shepherds with knocking knees, or Pekingeses who can’t walk without overheating from winning the trophy designating “best bred dog." Potential owners need to know that just because a dog is registered with the AKC, that the dog might not be a healthy specimen. Just because I register my car does not make me a safe driver.
On the other hand, shelters need to do a better job of conducting honest behavioral and physical evaluations in addition to breed classifications on every dog to ensure that when a dog is placed, it’s going to be a successful placement. Rescue groups must deny truck adoptions at gas stations to get around state loopholes which are placing near-feral dogs in homes that are not suitable for these sensitive pups, many of which are failing in the cities in which they are placed.
Regardless, it’s up to you to do your homework. There are great breeders and great shelters but you just have to know what you’re looking for.
Let’s do this....
Chapter 2: Breeder v. Rescue
Melissa McCue-McGrath, CPDT-KA