The Value of Responsible Dog Breeders

There are two issues on which all dog lovers agree. First, dogs deserve a life in a safe, caring, and healthy environment. Second, those who treat dogs in a negligent or cruel manner should be held accountable. Dogswest takes a strong line on animal cruelty. Dogswest is also the only registry in WA that has significant Regulations and Code of Ethics to ensure that people who register litters with the ANKC raise their dogs in a humane manner.

What is a Responsible Breeder?

One of the most effective ways to ensure that dogs are placed in safe, loving environments is to support responsible dog breeders. Local communities should consider responsible breeders an asset, as they are in a unique position to mentor new dog owners and provide advice and detailed information about the dogs they own and sell. Responsible breeders are experts in their breed, and know the pedigree of the dogs they sell. They can tell potential buyers about the temperament, health, and other characteristics unique to the puppy they are considering. Many breeders devote their entire lives to developing a line or pedigree of dogs that meet specific temperament, performance, and health standards. Many also breed dogs for specific purposes, such as hunting, search and rescue, therapy, and assistance for the disabled. When responsible breeders sell a puppy, they ensure these dogs are placed in good homes by implementing a screening process for potential buyers and following up after the purchase. Breeders will take dogs back if they are not in an ideal situation and place them in new homes.  Many of the Dogswest breed clubs have rescue programs for their breeds. Breed club rescues are often comprised of ANKC breeder volunteers who work with local animal control officers or individual owners to ensure dogs are not abandoned in shelters, but rather placed in safe, loving environments. Being a responsible dog breeder is truly a labour of love that comes with a significant price tag. Responsible dog breeders breed because they love their chosen breed(s) and are willing to dedicate their lives and resources to raising quality dogs.

A Matter of Enforcement

There is no question that those who treat dogs in an inhumane manner should be punished. When tragic stories of animal cruelty and irresponsible breeding come to light, they almost always result in charges under existing law being brought against the individual or business responsible. The problem is not an absence of laws, but rather a lack of enforcement or the resources to properly enforce existing laws. Many states and local communities simply do not have the manpower or money necessary to adequately enforce existing laws. There have been many attempts across the country to further regulate dog breeders, including requiring warrantless inspections of private homes without probable cause as well as impractical and arbitrary standards of care. Not only do such provisions violate the rights of responsible, law abiding citizens, they are also ineffective and unenforceable. The problem is more complex than simply creating new laws – it requires the ability and will to enforce the laws against negligence and cruelty that are already on the books. A “quick fix” of adding new laws will not change or improve a lack of enforcement and may only divert resources from much-needed enforcement operations.

An Effective Solution

Breeder and owner responsibility cannot be defined by establishing arbitrary ownership limits or unenforceable breeding requirements. Instead, responsibility should be defined by the quality of care given to the animals. This is why GRCWA works with dog owners, breeders, and the community to educate the public about responsible dog ownership. The ANKC also encourages responsible breeding practices by supporting educational symposia for breeders and competitive dog shows and other events where breeders showcase and compete with the best of their breeding programs. For over 108 years, Dogswest has been dedicated to well-being of dogs. For over 46 years the GRCWA has been dedicated to the health and welfare of Golden Retrievers. We support and value the responsible owners and breeders who breed and raise our cherished pets and beloved working dogs. Responsible breeders are an important asset and educational resource in our communities. Through educational programs and enforcement of existing laws, we can punish those who harm animals while recognizing that responsible breeders who devote their lives to their dogs are part of the solution, not the problem.

 

Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2020

As ANKC registered breeders are already regulated, have a central registration database and are considered by the Government to be the “GOLD STANDARD” due to their Regulations, Code of Conduct and Governance, the GRCWA puts forward the following recommendations to the proposed Dog Amendment (Stop Puppy Farming) Bill 2020 :

  • RECOMMENDATION 1: ANKC registered breeders should be exempt from the requirement to get an approval from the local council to breed. Existing ANKC registration details should be used to identify DogsWest members and their dogs.
  • RECOMMENDATION 2: Non ANKC/DogsWest members should be given a distinctly different unique identifier that makes it clear that they are not ANKC “Registered Breeders” and are not regulated by a robust Code of Ethics.
  • RECOMMENDATION 3: Oppose the mandatory spay/neuter legislation - Spaying/Neutering are major surgeries and the decision to spay or neuter a dog should be made by the dog’s owner in conjunction with their veterinarian. Recent scientific studies demonstrate that spaying/neutering, particularly before a dog is fully mature, may result in detrimental long-term health impacts. 
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