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01 April 2009


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PAPERS? PAPERS! Let me zee your papers.

I would never buy a dog from a licensed breeder. If you need a license, you're simply producing too many dogs, IMO.

I looked into it when I bred my first litter and all the language and the requirements say "factory farm" or "puppy mill" instead of anything beneficial or helpful for a "hobby breeder."

To me, it's rather like saying that orphanages are the only ones qualified to raise children.

Janet Boss

BRAVO! I don't breed and probably never will, but I fight for the rights of those that do, especially since I often count on them to be able to have a puppy for me! Of my 4 pets, 3 are the product of irresponsible breeders/owners, the other from a very responsible breeder. I adore all of them of course, but am glad I support a shelter that has positive placement policies, realistic acceptance policies, and one that is willing to work with breed rescue as well. I chaired the first "big" S/N effort for the shelter, and that program evolved into targeting the highest "random" breeding animals in our area. Penalizing responsible pet owners will never make sense.

Gina Spadafori

You know, basically all the things I’ve been writing about here for the last year and a half.

Comment by Christie Keith — April 1, 2009

As in ... the stuff that actually works.

And isn't REALLY about a 95 percent kill rate on the road to pet extinction.


Good analogy.

I heart unlicensed breeders.

Christie Keith

My question is, what would you like to be done instead?

About breeders? Nothing legislative or regulatory, just continued education of the public about good places to get animals, and enforcement of animal cruelty and neglect laws across the board.

About animals dying in shelters? Systemic reform of the animal control and shelter industry to end the use of population control killing and utilize proven programs such as low cost/free/incentivized accessible spay/neuter, TNR programs for feral cats, behavior and training help for those who have pets, compassionate and non-judgmental adoption and surrender policies AND ATTITUDES at shelters, aggressive adoption outreach including advertising, satellite adoption programs (malls, fairs, etc) and convenient locations and hours for adoption centers, good relations with local media, positive and enthusiastically supported foster programs, working with rescue groups including breed rescue, and the end of divisive, unhelpful, failed approaches such as blaming animal owners for everything, acting as if the problem cannot ever be solved, and in general being part of the problem instead of the solution.

You know, basically all the things I've been writing about here for the last year and a half.



You just forgot the part where cities authorize private citizens ("humane society" volunteers or staff) who are subject to no public authority and have no training, to administer these laws.

Barbara Saunders

The discussion about "breeders" went off the deep end long ago, and the "animal welfare establishment" fans the flames with a lot of sloppy rhetoric. I have a neighbor who shares my vet. She is planning to let her lovely spaniel have a litter. The puppies are already spoken for; in fact, there's a "waiting list" of us ready to step in if someone cancels on her. She said she was feeling guilty about it, until the vet said, "She's a great dog, why wouldn't you want her offspring?"

Stephanie Russell

You are right. The dedicated breeders are not the problem. The people who love the breed, take excellent care of a few breeding dogs, and whose puppies are the pride and joy of their family. I don't know what the licensing requirements are, my guess is they very by state. The problem are the puppy mills, the breeders in it for profit and not the love of the breed, and the people allowing their intact pets to run free all over town.

My question is, what would you like to be done instead?


Eloquent and accurate. Thanks for summing it up so well.

Linda Kaim

Well said. I am going to spam all of my friends with a link to this.


Well written argument, Christie. You might well have used any one of hundreds of personal freedoms we take for granted. Like a driver's license, for instance. When is the last time it kept someone from speeding? Will someone without a license ever get behind the wheel and injure someone else?

Who is quietly stalking the hobby breeders of the USA?

New Biggest Fan

Brilliant, Christie! Brilliant! This article should be required reading for anyone who has a pet, loves pets, or ever lived with a beloved pet. Once all the breeders of purebreds are gone and all of the mixed breeds are altered, where will puppies and kittens come from?

Lisa C

Simply excellent post - this post/essay should be submitted for print in various papers and given to the dog sportsmen alliance !

Nancy Freedman-Smith CPDT

Here in Maine there is a (possible) new law that is targeting puppy mills. If passed it will punish the "orchid" breeders by charging $450 per unpayed female.

H. Houlahan

Okay, part you left out.

Environmentally conscious small orchid growers -- because of their hard-earned expertise -- find themselves in a position where it is not only reasonable, but seems an ethical obligation, to expose the practices of the giant orchidariums to consumers, to law enforcement, and to lawmakers.

Small orchid growers don't want groundwater pollution and invasive orchids and lingering pesticides any more than do regular "civilians." So some of them become particularly vocal critics of orchid mass-production, using their special expertise to explain the problems to ordinary houseplant owners and non-owners.

But the big orchidariums have lots of financial clout, and heavily influence the orchid-growers' national club. They also have clubs of their own, and hire lobbyists and PR men. And what they hammer at, over and over, is We are all exactly the same. If the government regulates Megalorchids, Inc., in any way, it is coming into your kitchen. All orchideers must hang together. It's traitorous to criticize Big Orch. All orchid growers have the same interests, and we big guys are going to tell you what those are.

And huge numbers of kitchen orchid growers swallow this kool-aid, and become cannon-fodder for Big Orch, while viciously attacking their environmentally-minded fellow hobbyists.

"Where are regular consumers going to get orchids if they aren't available in the Walmart garden center?" they demand to know.

Meanwhile, the forces of orchid liberation, and frank orchid haters, press forward with laws to hobble the kitchen growers in every town. "All orchid-growers are the same. They are all just in it for money, and don't care at all about the impact of their product.
Look at their own advocacy groups -- they are the ones saying it!"

Anne T

New Biggest Fan asks the question we all are asking ourselves. The AKC has gone to the dark side, the Media believes the spew from Ingrid Newjerk and her ilk, so we have to start organizing ourselves and barking vociferously if we want to have responsible, ethical sources for the dogs we love!

Case in point: my PBS station runs Terry Gross's Fresh Air at 7 pm. Tonight's offering was I had no clue who Michael Shaeffer is/was, and wasn't impressed, so I sent an email saying that if Terry wanted to do something meaningful, she get Nathan Winograd on.

And should I get a response, I am going to suggest she interview Christie, Gina and Patrick for further takes on the war pet ownership and breeding of healthy pets is facing. I suggest you all do the same. The louder we make our voices and the more united we are, the more we will be heard. Yes we can!


Great post, Christie. As a person who used to be into orchids in a big (hobby) way, the analogy was a good one. I must admit, I was irked by the dismissal of plants as not suffering, it reminded me of those who say "It's just a dog/cat/rabbit/horse, not a human" but that's me being hyper-sensitive about my second love, plants and horticulture.

It's too bad the big kennel clubs weren't quick off the mark to thwart the fanatics. It's also too bad that legislators are too busy or lazy to do some shallow digging to find out what's what.

As for where dogs will come from when our 'friends' in the pseudo-animal welfare camp succeed, why, from them of course. They'll own all the shelters and continue to 'raid' breeders who are on the books to steal their dogs and puppies, then sell them as rescues or adoptions. It's called cornering the market.

You know, even breeder friends of mine, some very long-time fanciers, are pretty blasé when I warn them about all these laws. They think it's fear-mongering, sensationalism, tinfoil hatting - until it hits them. Breed bans are so last century now, only the hicks in the hinterland are still buying it. There's too much pushback, too many facts have come out. Mandatory neutering isn't going very well either, thank Dog.

Easy to target those evil, smelly, greedy breeders though, isn't it? I presume you've seen Yates's latest - 179 Bills in 34 states all involving warrantless searches and other intrusive policies.

Breeding/selling dogs is becoming a crime. It won't be long before owning them is, too.


"Caveat: Breeding/selling dogs is becoming a crime. It won’t be long before owning them is, too."

lol but not in a funny way.

for example this excellent blogger:



Let's not forget that he cultivation of orchids is also a crime against nature, the new colors and hybrids of different forms that don't exist in nature but are forced, against their will to exist and reproduce.

Orchid growers are therefore exploiting the orchids, forcing them to reproduce in an unnatural setting, exploited as playthings.

Therefore orchids should be allowed to die out of cultivation and only be appreciated in nature. The only orchids it would be ethical to "caretake" would be those rescued from foreign or domestic abandonment situations.

But since most humans are probably not up to the awesome requirements of responsible orchid guardianship, most "rescued" orchids are best off being destroyed by self appointed orchid right advocacy groups right of the bat because people should be able to enjoy a picture of an orchid as much as the real thing. Wanting an actual orchid is just "selfish".


Friends thought Sean and were nuts for moving out here to the middle of nowhere. We had no choice, though - we wanted to get a kennel license (yes, even though we only have seven dogs), and we had to come 2 hours outside Toronto to get one, because the restrictions any closer than that are INSANE.

Want more than three dogs in some areas? You need a **100 ACRES** of land - 100 acres, for seven 24 lb Frenchies. Add on top of that restrictions about distance from road and property line that your average cattle ranch might be able to conform to, but not anyone else, and it all combines to make it impossible for a hobby breeder to breed dogs legally.

So, we're out here in Mennonite country, because the Mennonites have lobbied - HARD - for almost NO restrictions on their right to keep 300 dogs in their barn. Like most municipalities, no distinction is made between a hobby breeder with one to two litters per year, and a volume breeder with one to two litters per week.

Until we can convince them that there IS a difference, breeders like me will either have to hide, or live in areas where we're only protected because of laws that allow people to warehouse hundreds of dogs in dismal conditions. It's not a happy compromise, trust me.


Good points, Houlahan. Here's another:

The commercial orchid growers are licensed federally, under the USDA. Therefore, they are exempt from state commerce laws relating to agricultural pursuits. What's more, red tape and exorbitant fees don't faze them at all - it's just the cost of doing business. Since mass production leads to greater efficiency, more advanced systems and larger profit margins, they carry on as usual while writing off business-related expenses.

It's the little guys who do it for love, not money (the definition of an amateur) who get the shaft. They are easy targets, as Christie points out because if they are associated, it's a very loose thing. They don't make money and usually it costs them so they are not a business in the taxation sense. They don't have fancy equipment, most of it is cobbled together through trial and error and lots of scrounging. They know that what they are doing is harmless so they can't envision society turning against them, being legislated into second-class status and ending up criminalized for doing what they love - bringing happiness to others and teaching them to appreciate the newest and most highly evolved plants on Earth.

Incidentally, orchids don't tolerate much fertilizer or water (with a couple of exceptions), they prefer what we call controlled neglect, so the runoff issue is kind of a non-starter. Power consumption, maybe, because big greenhouses ain't cheap to operate. Growing plants that can't be eaten could be another hook for the enviro-nazis.

I fully agree with Christie, legislation should be a last resort. Public education and peer pressure carry a lot more clout than some half-baked, poorly written piece of law that, per usual, will only affect law-abiding citizens - the ones who aren't a problem in the first place.

People need to learn that buying a dog from a pet shop isn't a good idea and doesn't mean what it used to mean. Those dogs are bred for only one purpose - to make a profit for the big outfits - you know, the ones who are usually exempt from animal liberation-inspired legislation.

Betty Adams

We have come to the point in this country where we will have to fight fire with fire. I have purchased a gun and intend to use it if my constitutional right to be secure in my home and against unreasonable search and seizure are threatened. That might bring some needed attention to the problem. I am 80 years old and have bred and shown dogs for 54 of those 80 years. I have a lot of dogs, most of which are old like myself and deserve to be treated with the love and respect I expect for myself. Some are intact and some are not ( what difference does it make for a ten year old bitch or a 15 year old dog. Anesthetizing them to do that procedure would be a death sentence.They will take my dogs over my ( and their) dead body. And that is not a threat, it is a solomn promise.

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