Breeders vs. Puppy Mills
It is sad to think that people will do anything to make an extra penny, even if that means keeping puppies in filthy miserable conditions, in cramped spaces with no medical attention whatsoever. Usually, puppies kept in these conditions will be unhealthy - and they will also more likely than not have severe behavioural problems that will be almost impossible to correct. If this is not reason enough to find an authorised breeder, remember that you are NOT "rescuing" them - the harsh reality is that if we do not buy animals from these horrible people, then eventually they will be forced to give up their business as they will not be making any money.
Unfortunately, however, this is probably a utopian dream but maybe soon there will be stricter regulations in place and a more pro-active approach to shutting such puppy mills down. Even though there has been legislation allowing organisations such as the RSPCA to deal with those who do not provide adequate living conditions and care for their pets, it is still not that easy to implement. However, at least the government is moving in the right direction, albeit at a snail's pace.
To find an authorised breeder is relatively simple, since you can contact various canine associations who will gladly provide you with the contact details of breeders all over the country. For example, the UK Breeder's Directory (who have a vast online site) features a large number of breeders who are all obliged to abide by the code of the ethical rearing of animals before they can be listed. Of course, an ideal situation would be for each of these breeders to be inspected as well, but that would of course demand a large amount of funding as well as manpower.
The Kennel Club, who also organises the famous Crufts dog show every year, would also be an excellent source of information as they take a proactive role in improving the life of dogs all over the UK. They run campaigns all year round to help improve living conditions for dogs, as well as for things such as ensuring better marine and coastal access for people walking their dogs.
When you meet a breeder they should be able to provide you plenty of information regarding the care your dog will require, what vaccines the puppy has already had and whether or not he or she has been de-wormed, also remember to ask if the puppies have been examined for any hereditary conditions.
Watch the litter closely, and if they are clean, playful and happy then the breeder has been taking good care of them. You will also want to see the mother of the litter your puppy will come from, to determine if she is healthy. If she is friendly as well then you can breathe a sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that this is a breeder who enjoys his or her job.
Once all the paperwork is in order and you have been given full instructions as to the care of your puppy, then you can be safely on your way with your new bundle of joy. Oh! Did your bundle of joy just go potty on you? Welcome to the lovely world of puppies and toilet training!
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