Puppy mill probe

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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Woman's quest for a pet uncovers a disturbing trend

Roxanne Lushman of St. John's began searching for a new puppy about two years ago, but her quest to find a toy poodle or Yorkie from a reputable breeder led her to an in-depth investigation of some questionable ads.

In the last two years, Lushman estimates she's contacted hundreds of people selling puppies on a popular buy-and-sell Internet site.

Roxanne Lushman with her pets Rosie, an eight-year-old Labrador mixed breed, Chico, a 10-year-old poodle, and Puss-Puss, her two-year-old cat. - Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Roxanne Lushman of St. John's began searching for a new puppy about two years ago, but her quest to find a toy poodle or Yorkie from a reputable breeder led her to an in-depth investigation of some questionable ads.

In the last two years, Lushman estimates she's contacted hundreds of people selling puppies on a popular buy-and-sell Internet site.

The many roadblocks to getting answers to her questions left her suspicious that people in this province are selling puppies from mainland puppy mills.

Lushman said she spoke to people placing ads for puppies who were unable to give her information about the animals' parents, and didn't have them onsite. That would likely mean they were being bought from other provinces, and probably not on legitimate terms.

When she persisted with her questions, Lushman said some people gave her other phone numbers to call, mainly in Quebec.

In some cases, she said, the people had 20 puppies for sale, which indicates they're not just a family with two dogs that are breeding.

"One dog isn't going to have 20 puppies at a time," she said.

"I feel very strongly about puppy mills and animal abuse, and I sort of made it my mission to contact these people, just to see where they were from and how they were portraying their puppies - and 99 per cent of them were from Quebec," Lushman said.

She believes some of the people she's contacted in this province have caught on to what she's doing. Recently when she's responded to ads by asking questions about the puppies, the sellers have told her they have no information because they're selling them for a cousin, aunt or other relative in Quebec.

"They were getting puppies brought in here in bulk - four or five puppies at a time and selling them onsite, and I'm assuming they're making money off them as well as the people who they buy them off in Quebec," she said.

"There may be legitimate breeders," Lushman said, "but if you're a legitimate breeder, why are you asking people to sell them in Newfoundland? Why not be honest and sell them yourself as a legitimate breeder? That's the questions I'd ask these people and then even from Quebec, I'd say if you're a legitimate breeder from Quebec, how come your ads are posted in Newfoundland and not in Que-bec?"

Lushman said she was told by some sellers it would cost $200 to ship a puppy by plane in a crate to St. John's. She said when she's asked about veterinary papers or the name of the puppy's veterinarian, most of the sellers haven't been able to produce anything or she's never heard from them again.

"A lot of these puppies are not even vaccinated before they come on the plane, obviously," Lushman said.

The Humane Society Inter-national (HSI) and Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA) have been spearheading a lobby against puppy mills in Quebec.

Last year, the CSPCA gave shelter to about 60 dogs from a puppy mill just outside Montreal.

Allana Devine of the CSPCA said in a news release the association was fortunate the owner surrendered the dogs, because while the conditions they were living in were unacceptable, the owner was acting in conformity with the Criminal Code, which doesn't adequately protect animals against neglect.

In December 2008, the CSPCA and HSI/Canada rescued about 100 dogs from what they termed in another news release as "appallingly inhumane conditions" in a puppy mill north of Montreal. It was the third major puppy mill bust for the two organizations in less than three months.

Debbie Powers of the SPCA in Newfoundland said Thursday she's not surprised by any of this. She said she's also aware of people in this province breeding dogs constantly just for money, but unless there's something horribly wrong with the conditions these animals are living in or they're not being fed properly, there's not a lot the SPCA can do.

Powers said if people would stop buying from these breeders, there wouldn't be a market for the puppies.

She said if she heard a seller saying they had to bring their puppies in from Quebec, it would send up red flags in her mind.

Powers recommended consulting the Newfoundland All Breed Kennel Club if you're planning to buy a puppy, to obtain the names of reputable breeders.

If someone is considering buying a puppy from Quebec, at least they should get the name of the kennel there, she said, and check it out with the SPCA in that province or local kennel club to find out more about it.

"The other thing is, do they sign contracts? And if they do, they should look closely at it," Powers said.

"Other than that," she said, "I don't know what one is able to do. If they're buying sight-unseen, it's crazy."

dss@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Humane Society Inter, Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Newfoundland All Breed Kennel Club

Geographic location: Quebec, St. John's, Newfoundland Montreal Canada

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Recent comments

  • S
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    http://www.newfoundlandkennelclub.com is link for Newfoundland All Breed Kennel Club

  • m
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I got my dogs from ads in the Telegram. I went to the homes, met both parent dogs, paid fifty dollars each to re imburse the owners for shots, and got lovely pets. I got my cats the same way but paid nothing, and they too are lovely pets.

  • s
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Buying purebred dogs is about ego????????? r u serious. people do this for hobby and sport. to show their animals. when u buy purebred dogs u know the ancestors from generations ago. these animals are taken very good care of. u get what u pay for. but u r indeed right that u must investigate who u r buying from. if u dont that is ur own stupidity. make a law that all unregistered breeders will be fined. just like owning a business.

  • Salli
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    I have a purebred dog and I can tell you it is not about ego!!! I did research on the breed and their temperament. I did research on how to find a good breeder. I met the breeder and the parents of my dog. I know what medical problems are common to this breed. I know that the parents are well cared for and live in the breeders home. I was welcome to come visit whenever I wanted. I waited months to get my dog. And while I did spend more money on my dog than I would purchasing from a shelter, I know where he came from, I have a health history and guarantee and I have the expertise of the breeder for any questions I may have. If you can not afford to buy a dog, chances are you will not be able to afford the vet bills should anything go wrong. One trip to the vet can cost thousands. Lots of people tell stories of how they stayed up all night with their new puppy. I brought mine home and put him to bed...no whining, no getting up to pee!!! But I had an excellent breeder who knows his dogs and told me how my puppy would behave...and he told me exactly what to do. I am glad I went to an excellent breeder. I have no regrets and would do it again. I am sad that many dogs in shelters get put down but make no mistake, most purebred dogs are wanted and the owners wait long periods of time to get them, and MOST of these owners are not looking to rehome their dogs in 6 months!

  • Cheerbear
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    What's wrong with adopting a dog from the local animal shelter? People insisting on purbreds and purchasing them for insane amounts of money is what keeps this horrible business running.

    As long as there are people willing to slap down a thousand dollars for a dog, people will continue to breed them. For every dog purchased at a backyard breeder or a pet store, another perfectly good dog is put down at an animal shelter because he happens to be a couple of years old already, or is not 'purebred'.

  • Polly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Other than that, she said, I don't know what one is able to do. If they're buying sight-unseen, it's crazy. Another thing which also falls into that particular category , is people who buy these animals . We have that old SUPPLY AND DEMAND market happening . If there wasn't a market for puppy mills , they wouldn't be so popular . Why are people looking to buy dogs or cats , look around folks , the animal shelters are full to bursting with animals who are desperate for a good home . Ms. Lushman may very well be the poster child for what ails this province . The lack of a good thought -provoking process . Using terms like ---best price--- , why should price be a factor in this , shouldn't this be all about the animal itself ? The fact that we have stories like this on front covers of newspapers ---- DISGUSTS ---me . This has nothing to do with animal rights or the protection of animals , but everything to do with EGO .

  • Kurt
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    Some dogs are just not appropriate for most owners out there (many owners shouldn't even have dogs to begin with, but that's another story.) While they might match the owners' egos, they simply to do not match the owners' lifestyles. I like bird hunting, so I don't own a boxer. That's called being a smart, intelligent dog owner. But there are plenty of people out there with big egos (and an insecurity complex).

  • Animal Lover
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    To Polly Peckford...you must be one of the people who supply the dogs for the puppy mills to say this is about Ego.

    Secondly, it is not inhumane to buy a purebred dog, people have preferences, and some would rather a purebred dog over a mixed breed, and some of the reasons are allergies, non-shedding etc. But if it is about buying a purebred at least know where these are coming from. Buying a purebred from a breeder where the parents are onsite, at least you can see the parents and know they are not caged in wire cages with no contact with the outside world and their only purpose in life is to breed.

    The onus is on the buyer to make it their business to know where their puppy is coming from.

  • C
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Animal Lover -- Buying from a reputable breed is better than a puppy mill, sure, but Polly P and Cheerbear are right; in the vast majority of cases, buying a purebred is about ego, and/or stupidity (why spend several hundreds or thousands vs adopting for 100-200). Of course it happens everywhere, not just NL. Every dog bought means another at a shelter will die. Don't breed or buy while others die.

  • Cheri
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    What breaks my heart is that many of the people buying these expensive designer breeds, will only try to sell the dog 6 months later when they realize how much work is involved in raising a dog. Did they think that paying $1000 for it meant the dog would raise itself? Doesn't matter what breed it is when it eats a hole in your sofa!

  • Maggie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    Hey Mutt lover! I have a Shih-Tzu and believe me she is no carbon copy! She has NEVER been YAPPY, nor has she had any health problems. Her trips to the vet have only ever been to have her vaccines and she is 16 years old.....When I was a kid we had a mutt, she lived to be 15 with no health issues but now she was yappy!!

  • K
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I am so glad to see an article like this in The Telegram. Over the past few months I have been searching for a puppy of my own. I continuosly checked the SPCA and other shelters for a dog that would not aggravate allergies but was unsuccessful. So then I started looking for a breeder.

    During this search I discovered the same thing as Ms. Lushman. A lot of the puppies were available from a cousin in Quebec. After obtaining a phone number for the reputable breeder and calling I immediately knew that there was no way I would be getting that puppy.

    It is very disappointing that Newfoundlanders are selling puppies this way and supporting puppy mills in order to make a few dollars.

    In the end we decided to get a puppy from a reputable, knowledgeable breeder from Newfoundland. Yes it cost more but it was better to spend that money than to support the cruelty and inhumane conditions that these animals face in the puppy mills.

  • Kevvy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:22

    Jason from nl: Any dog, whether it be a purchased purebred or mixed-breed mutt, can be trained to suit your life, your family, your wants as a pet owner. Training, committment and lots of love would turn even Cujo into a cuddly beast. I think what many people mean when they contend purchasing a purebred is ego-based is the fact there are so many unprepared owners who do it for image over anything else. Does a 22-year-old girl who works retail in the mall really need to buy a Yorkie to carry around in her purse? Do all those gangstas really need Rotties and Pitbulls? Does the family need a Golden Lab just because because it is the prototypical family pet? Too often we see this happening instead of people making conscious choices about what breed suits them best. But please, please don't rag on mutts. I've lived with purebreds and mutts and I'll be honest with you, the mutts are less fussy, easier to train and in my humble opinion, far more lovable. To all the SPCA owners who are proud of their mutts, be proud, you've saved a life.

  • Mutt lover
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    A dog is a dog. From my experience mixed breeds are healthier and have a better disposition than purebreds. I'd personally rather have a healthy, friendly, unique looking dog than a yappy, carbon copy shitzu that needs eye drops and insulin shots daily. Give me a break!

  • Jason
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Buying purebreds isnt about ego and or stupidity!! Thats pure ignorance! Many people do alot of research and put alot of thought into selecting a dog that will fit their family. I have no problems with adopting a mixed breed, however most times you dont know what your getting in terms of possible future health concerns, nor do you know what the dogs temperment will be. If you have a Labradoodle/akita/sheppard cross its going to be harder to tell how that dog is going to fit into your household then if you select a breed you know is good with children and is also calm and not agressive to other dogs that me be already in the house. The trouble with most people is they are ignorant when it comes to selecting a dog. They think oh I will do the right thing and adopt because thats the thing to do. They get a dog that they really have no clue about how it will behave and what the dogs needs are. Im a firm believer of choosing a breed that works with your needs, your familys and that you meet the dogs needs. This is hard to match with mixed breeds. When it comes to a good animal and good breeding program, your not finding cheap in the same sentence. If you cant afford to spend $1000 to $2000 up front for the right breed from the right breeder you cant afford to have your dog. One simple trip to the vet can cost this amount. A $50 dog from the pound that came from a bad breeder can cost you thousands in vet bills over the years. Again I am not saying these mixed breeds dont need homes, just that they are not a better choice than a well breed purebreed. A good breeder is in business to at best breakeven, selling pups for 1000-2000 really only covers costs if the dogs have all their health tests in place. A good breeder has a program in place to better the breed and if they cant explain this than they shouldnt be breeding. I think laws need to be changed to prevent just anyone from breeding and to put tighter controls on breed standards. This comment may be unpopular but many show breeders do not have the breeds best interest in mind but winning the next show. I am the owner of a breed from field lines in the sporting category and see just how much healther, intelligent, and how better temperment this line is compared to its show line counterparts where looks seem to be the main and only enhancements added to the line.

  • Salli
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Last year I was inquiring about miniature schnauzers. I contacted a breeder in Quebec who could send me one in less than a week if I paid for the crate and shipping ($200) in addition to the cost of the puppy ($400). When I said I was not expecting to be able to get one quite so soon, he told me I could get one in 2 weeks or in another month instead. He appeared anxious to sell me a dog. It was all too suspicious for me. Needless to say, I did not purchase a dog from him.

  • Manuel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    ST from portugal cove. How about i walk you in circles and breed you for profit. I can take you to shows stuff you in a crate and fly you around the world drugged out on pills to keep the animal asleep while they are travelling.
    better yet i can shave certain parts of you and call you a pure breed. Make you look like a poodle. Do you think this is the animals purpose in life is to be trained to amuse idiots like you?
    If so then i have a collar just your size and it will only choke you if you do anything i dont want you to do.
    See its people with the sense of a rock like you that have this country and world in so much trouble.

  • Bronson
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    S T - You or as you would say u say buying purebreeds is not about ego, when buying for a hobby or sport or showing your dog does sound a little egotistical don't u think? I know a few people who have bought purebreeds and while they are good people, the one thing they talk about the most is the cost of the dog. They will certainly let you know how much they paid for them; again a little bit of an ego trip. You have three types of pet owners; the ego driven bunch who spend thousands of dollars believing they will get some super dog and win the hearts of millions at some dog show, you have the pet owners who substitute animals for kids which is kind of creepy, you have the pet owners who love their pets no matter the breed or imperfections, oh and of course you have the irresponisble idiots who abuse animals and only have them for darker, disturbing reasons. It's not an easy task getting a new puppy but whatever route you take knowing the reason you want a dog is front and foremost.

  • Cheri
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    If you read the ads on a very popular free-advertising buy and sell website, you'll also notice by the very wording of the ad that something's a little off. It seems that no matter the breed, it's available and the wording of the ads for several different breeds are all the same, obviously being sold by the same person. Ms. Lushman said that no one dog has 20 pups in a litter. Similarly, what loving household has 20 breeds of dogs??

  • Mike
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    C from NL - People may choose to buy a specific breed of dog for any number of reasons. I don't think it is a fair statement to say it is about ego and/or stupidity. If you want a specific breed that you cannot get at a shelter, why is it wrong to go to a reputable breeder to get one? To say Every dog bought means another at a shelter will die. is incorrect. If I did not get my dog from a reputable breeder, I would not be getting a different type from a shelter. So my purchasing a dog did not cause one to die. Also, I am in no way responsible for any of the dogs that have ended up in shelters. You are passing judgement on people do you not know.

  • Pet Lover
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    to Manuel Clarke maybe you should read this article again, this lady has 3 pets two of them were rescued. Who are you to judge a person without knowing them.

    As well if the pet owners out there were caring pet owners, we wouldnt have overrun shelters, people get pets and that is where it stops, no vet care no spaying or neutering and then this pet begins to have puppies. That Manuel Clark is the reason why our shelters are overrun, not because of the purebreed population. Purebreeds from reputable breeders usually have a non breeding contracts.

  • Manuel
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Anyone selling puppies as a breeder is still a puppy mill. He or she is doing it for profit then your a puppy mill. Whats wrong with this woman. All the dogs being put to sleep in this province and she can get on from the SPCA or Humane Society Shelter. Woman like her are the reason puppy mills exist. Go to your local shelter and adopt an animal before it gets put to sleep for being homeless.

  • Anti-puppy mills
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Many purebreds find their way to the SPCA. People surrender pure breeds for all kind of reasons. They usually are the first to be adopted, but, in my experience they are the ones who do have more medical issues compared to the mix breeds...

    It blows my mind that people will buy from such shady puppy sellers still!! These people are selling puppies for outlandish prices (usually weeks before they are ready to leave their mother- this itself is absolutely terrible!!) and they aren't necessarily getting a prized pure bred either. I know of a situation where a family was sold a pure bred that was suppose to be several weeks old... it was not a pure bred, nor was it several weeks old, but, actually about 4 months old and the poor animal was filthy rotten. This so called breeder now has another batch of puppies for sale in the Nfld Buy and Sell and he does not have the mother and father on site because he's selling them for a buddy ... disgusting.

    Various shelters across our province are over-flowing with dogs (and cats!! A LOT of CATS!!), people should really think about them when they are considering a loving pet. Fostering an animal is always an option and an animal can be taken on trial to first see if it's the right fit for your home and family.

  • dianne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    great article! it is good to get people talking about this topic. even if people disagree, discussion is the best way to get all the facts out there.

    is there a reason they can't list the name of the website where people are seeing all these ads? KIJIJI. look at pet sections, its sad.

  • Carmen
    July 02, 2010 - 13:11

    I purchased a dog from PEI from a breeders network that I later heard was a pet store selling puppy mill dogs. It's devastating. At the time I did some research on the place and it seemed legit, but a few months later I read a story about them....It was horrifying.

    Puppy mills are the most inhumane places on earth and I completely see why this lady wouldn't buy a dog without knowing exactly where it came from. I got lucky, my dog doesn't seem to be inbred or have behavioural issues, but I'm sure there are lots of people out there who were less fortunate.

  • Glenn
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    If you are set on buying a puppy please download and read, How To Buy A Puppy before you consider parting with your money. It is free at www.howtobuyapuppy.net

    Buying a puppy without problems is harder than most people think. Finding a responsible and knowledgeable breeder is very difficult.
    www.howtobuyapuppy.net

  • C
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Mike, Salli, Jason -- as a veterinarian, I think I have a good grasp of all the issues you mention. IMO, one possible exception for breeding/ purebreds would be some types of working dogs. For companion animals, there is no need when so many good ones are put down at shelters. Breeding animals for show is ALL about ego, nothing more; it's also ridiculous and inhumane. If you need a hobby, collect stamps or go exercise.

  • S
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    http://www.newfoundlandkennelclub.com is link for Newfoundland All Breed Kennel Club

  • m
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    I got my dogs from ads in the Telegram. I went to the homes, met both parent dogs, paid fifty dollars each to re imburse the owners for shots, and got lovely pets. I got my cats the same way but paid nothing, and they too are lovely pets.

  • s
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Buying purebred dogs is about ego????????? r u serious. people do this for hobby and sport. to show their animals. when u buy purebred dogs u know the ancestors from generations ago. these animals are taken very good care of. u get what u pay for. but u r indeed right that u must investigate who u r buying from. if u dont that is ur own stupidity. make a law that all unregistered breeders will be fined. just like owning a business.

  • Salli
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    I have a purebred dog and I can tell you it is not about ego!!! I did research on the breed and their temperament. I did research on how to find a good breeder. I met the breeder and the parents of my dog. I know what medical problems are common to this breed. I know that the parents are well cared for and live in the breeders home. I was welcome to come visit whenever I wanted. I waited months to get my dog. And while I did spend more money on my dog than I would purchasing from a shelter, I know where he came from, I have a health history and guarantee and I have the expertise of the breeder for any questions I may have. If you can not afford to buy a dog, chances are you will not be able to afford the vet bills should anything go wrong. One trip to the vet can cost thousands. Lots of people tell stories of how they stayed up all night with their new puppy. I brought mine home and put him to bed...no whining, no getting up to pee!!! But I had an excellent breeder who knows his dogs and told me how my puppy would behave...and he told me exactly what to do. I am glad I went to an excellent breeder. I have no regrets and would do it again. I am sad that many dogs in shelters get put down but make no mistake, most purebred dogs are wanted and the owners wait long periods of time to get them, and MOST of these owners are not looking to rehome their dogs in 6 months!

  • Cheerbear
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    What's wrong with adopting a dog from the local animal shelter? People insisting on purbreds and purchasing them for insane amounts of money is what keeps this horrible business running.

    As long as there are people willing to slap down a thousand dollars for a dog, people will continue to breed them. For every dog purchased at a backyard breeder or a pet store, another perfectly good dog is put down at an animal shelter because he happens to be a couple of years old already, or is not 'purebred'.

  • Polly
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    Other than that, she said, I don't know what one is able to do. If they're buying sight-unseen, it's crazy. Another thing which also falls into that particular category , is people who buy these animals . We have that old SUPPLY AND DEMAND market happening . If there wasn't a market for puppy mills , they wouldn't be so popular . Why are people looking to buy dogs or cats , look around folks , the animal shelters are full to bursting with animals who are desperate for a good home . Ms. Lushman may very well be the poster child for what ails this province . The lack of a good thought -provoking process . Using terms like ---best price--- , why should price be a factor in this , shouldn't this be all about the animal itself ? The fact that we have stories like this on front covers of newspapers ---- DISGUSTS ---me . This has nothing to do with animal rights or the protection of animals , but everything to do with EGO .

  • Kurt
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Some dogs are just not appropriate for most owners out there (many owners shouldn't even have dogs to begin with, but that's another story.) While they might match the owners' egos, they simply to do not match the owners' lifestyles. I like bird hunting, so I don't own a boxer. That's called being a smart, intelligent dog owner. But there are plenty of people out there with big egos (and an insecurity complex).

  • Animal Lover
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    To Polly Peckford...you must be one of the people who supply the dogs for the puppy mills to say this is about Ego.

    Secondly, it is not inhumane to buy a purebred dog, people have preferences, and some would rather a purebred dog over a mixed breed, and some of the reasons are allergies, non-shedding etc. But if it is about buying a purebred at least know where these are coming from. Buying a purebred from a breeder where the parents are onsite, at least you can see the parents and know they are not caged in wire cages with no contact with the outside world and their only purpose in life is to breed.

    The onus is on the buyer to make it their business to know where their puppy is coming from.

  • C
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Animal Lover -- Buying from a reputable breed is better than a puppy mill, sure, but Polly P and Cheerbear are right; in the vast majority of cases, buying a purebred is about ego, and/or stupidity (why spend several hundreds or thousands vs adopting for 100-200). Of course it happens everywhere, not just NL. Every dog bought means another at a shelter will die. Don't breed or buy while others die.

  • Cheri
    July 01, 2010 - 20:11

    What breaks my heart is that many of the people buying these expensive designer breeds, will only try to sell the dog 6 months later when they realize how much work is involved in raising a dog. Did they think that paying $1000 for it meant the dog would raise itself? Doesn't matter what breed it is when it eats a hole in your sofa!

  • Maggie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    Hey Mutt lover! I have a Shih-Tzu and believe me she is no carbon copy! She has NEVER been YAPPY, nor has she had any health problems. Her trips to the vet have only ever been to have her vaccines and she is 16 years old.....When I was a kid we had a mutt, she lived to be 15 with no health issues but now she was yappy!!

  • K
    July 01, 2010 - 20:09

    I am so glad to see an article like this in The Telegram. Over the past few months I have been searching for a puppy of my own. I continuosly checked the SPCA and other shelters for a dog that would not aggravate allergies but was unsuccessful. So then I started looking for a breeder.

    During this search I discovered the same thing as Ms. Lushman. A lot of the puppies were available from a cousin in Quebec. After obtaining a phone number for the reputable breeder and calling I immediately knew that there was no way I would be getting that puppy.

    It is very disappointing that Newfoundlanders are selling puppies this way and supporting puppy mills in order to make a few dollars.

    In the end we decided to get a puppy from a reputable, knowledgeable breeder from Newfoundland. Yes it cost more but it was better to spend that money than to support the cruelty and inhumane conditions that these animals face in the puppy mills.

  • Kevvy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:06

    Jason from nl: Any dog, whether it be a purchased purebred or mixed-breed mutt, can be trained to suit your life, your family, your wants as a pet owner. Training, committment and lots of love would turn even Cujo into a cuddly beast. I think what many people mean when they contend purchasing a purebred is ego-based is the fact there are so many unprepared owners who do it for image over anything else. Does a 22-year-old girl who works retail in the mall really need to buy a Yorkie to carry around in her purse? Do all those gangstas really need Rotties and Pitbulls? Does the family need a Golden Lab just because because it is the prototypical family pet? Too often we see this happening instead of people making conscious choices about what breed suits them best. But please, please don't rag on mutts. I've lived with purebreds and mutts and I'll be honest with you, the mutts are less fussy, easier to train and in my humble opinion, far more lovable. To all the SPCA owners who are proud of their mutts, be proud, you've saved a life.

  • Mutt lover
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    A dog is a dog. From my experience mixed breeds are healthier and have a better disposition than purebreds. I'd personally rather have a healthy, friendly, unique looking dog than a yappy, carbon copy shitzu that needs eye drops and insulin shots daily. Give me a break!

  • Jason
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Buying purebreds isnt about ego and or stupidity!! Thats pure ignorance! Many people do alot of research and put alot of thought into selecting a dog that will fit their family. I have no problems with adopting a mixed breed, however most times you dont know what your getting in terms of possible future health concerns, nor do you know what the dogs temperment will be. If you have a Labradoodle/akita/sheppard cross its going to be harder to tell how that dog is going to fit into your household then if you select a breed you know is good with children and is also calm and not agressive to other dogs that me be already in the house. The trouble with most people is they are ignorant when it comes to selecting a dog. They think oh I will do the right thing and adopt because thats the thing to do. They get a dog that they really have no clue about how it will behave and what the dogs needs are. Im a firm believer of choosing a breed that works with your needs, your familys and that you meet the dogs needs. This is hard to match with mixed breeds. When it comes to a good animal and good breeding program, your not finding cheap in the same sentence. If you cant afford to spend $1000 to $2000 up front for the right breed from the right breeder you cant afford to have your dog. One simple trip to the vet can cost this amount. A $50 dog from the pound that came from a bad breeder can cost you thousands in vet bills over the years. Again I am not saying these mixed breeds dont need homes, just that they are not a better choice than a well breed purebreed. A good breeder is in business to at best breakeven, selling pups for 1000-2000 really only covers costs if the dogs have all their health tests in place. A good breeder has a program in place to better the breed and if they cant explain this than they shouldnt be breeding. I think laws need to be changed to prevent just anyone from breeding and to put tighter controls on breed standards. This comment may be unpopular but many show breeders do not have the breeds best interest in mind but winning the next show. I am the owner of a breed from field lines in the sporting category and see just how much healther, intelligent, and how better temperment this line is compared to its show line counterparts where looks seem to be the main and only enhancements added to the line.

  • Salli
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    Last year I was inquiring about miniature schnauzers. I contacted a breeder in Quebec who could send me one in less than a week if I paid for the crate and shipping ($200) in addition to the cost of the puppy ($400). When I said I was not expecting to be able to get one quite so soon, he told me I could get one in 2 weeks or in another month instead. He appeared anxious to sell me a dog. It was all too suspicious for me. Needless to say, I did not purchase a dog from him.

  • Manuel
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    ST from portugal cove. How about i walk you in circles and breed you for profit. I can take you to shows stuff you in a crate and fly you around the world drugged out on pills to keep the animal asleep while they are travelling.
    better yet i can shave certain parts of you and call you a pure breed. Make you look like a poodle. Do you think this is the animals purpose in life is to be trained to amuse idiots like you?
    If so then i have a collar just your size and it will only choke you if you do anything i dont want you to do.
    See its people with the sense of a rock like you that have this country and world in so much trouble.

  • Bronson
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    S T - You or as you would say u say buying purebreeds is not about ego, when buying for a hobby or sport or showing your dog does sound a little egotistical don't u think? I know a few people who have bought purebreeds and while they are good people, the one thing they talk about the most is the cost of the dog. They will certainly let you know how much they paid for them; again a little bit of an ego trip. You have three types of pet owners; the ego driven bunch who spend thousands of dollars believing they will get some super dog and win the hearts of millions at some dog show, you have the pet owners who substitute animals for kids which is kind of creepy, you have the pet owners who love their pets no matter the breed or imperfections, oh and of course you have the irresponisble idiots who abuse animals and only have them for darker, disturbing reasons. It's not an easy task getting a new puppy but whatever route you take knowing the reason you want a dog is front and foremost.

  • Cheri
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    If you read the ads on a very popular free-advertising buy and sell website, you'll also notice by the very wording of the ad that something's a little off. It seems that no matter the breed, it's available and the wording of the ads for several different breeds are all the same, obviously being sold by the same person. Ms. Lushman said that no one dog has 20 pups in a litter. Similarly, what loving household has 20 breeds of dogs??

  • Mike
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    C from NL - People may choose to buy a specific breed of dog for any number of reasons. I don't think it is a fair statement to say it is about ego and/or stupidity. If you want a specific breed that you cannot get at a shelter, why is it wrong to go to a reputable breeder to get one? To say Every dog bought means another at a shelter will die. is incorrect. If I did not get my dog from a reputable breeder, I would not be getting a different type from a shelter. So my purchasing a dog did not cause one to die. Also, I am in no way responsible for any of the dogs that have ended up in shelters. You are passing judgement on people do you not know.

  • Pet Lover
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    to Manuel Clarke maybe you should read this article again, this lady has 3 pets two of them were rescued. Who are you to judge a person without knowing them.

    As well if the pet owners out there were caring pet owners, we wouldnt have overrun shelters, people get pets and that is where it stops, no vet care no spaying or neutering and then this pet begins to have puppies. That Manuel Clark is the reason why our shelters are overrun, not because of the purebreed population. Purebreeds from reputable breeders usually have a non breeding contracts.

  • Manuel
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Anyone selling puppies as a breeder is still a puppy mill. He or she is doing it for profit then your a puppy mill. Whats wrong with this woman. All the dogs being put to sleep in this province and she can get on from the SPCA or Humane Society Shelter. Woman like her are the reason puppy mills exist. Go to your local shelter and adopt an animal before it gets put to sleep for being homeless.

  • Anti-puppy mills
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Many purebreds find their way to the SPCA. People surrender pure breeds for all kind of reasons. They usually are the first to be adopted, but, in my experience they are the ones who do have more medical issues compared to the mix breeds...

    It blows my mind that people will buy from such shady puppy sellers still!! These people are selling puppies for outlandish prices (usually weeks before they are ready to leave their mother- this itself is absolutely terrible!!) and they aren't necessarily getting a prized pure bred either. I know of a situation where a family was sold a pure bred that was suppose to be several weeks old... it was not a pure bred, nor was it several weeks old, but, actually about 4 months old and the poor animal was filthy rotten. This so called breeder now has another batch of puppies for sale in the Nfld Buy and Sell and he does not have the mother and father on site because he's selling them for a buddy ... disgusting.

    Various shelters across our province are over-flowing with dogs (and cats!! A LOT of CATS!!), people should really think about them when they are considering a loving pet. Fostering an animal is always an option and an animal can be taken on trial to first see if it's the right fit for your home and family.

  • dianne
    July 01, 2010 - 19:48

    great article! it is good to get people talking about this topic. even if people disagree, discussion is the best way to get all the facts out there.

    is there a reason they can't list the name of the website where people are seeing all these ads? KIJIJI. look at pet sections, its sad.

  • Carmen
    July 01, 2010 - 19:47

    I purchased a dog from PEI from a breeders network that I later heard was a pet store selling puppy mill dogs. It's devastating. At the time I did some research on the place and it seemed legit, but a few months later I read a story about them....It was horrifying.

    Puppy mills are the most inhumane places on earth and I completely see why this lady wouldn't buy a dog without knowing exactly where it came from. I got lucky, my dog doesn't seem to be inbred or have behavioural issues, but I'm sure there are lots of people out there who were less fortunate.

  • Glenn
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    If you are set on buying a puppy please download and read, How To Buy A Puppy before you consider parting with your money. It is free at www.howtobuyapuppy.net

    Buying a puppy without problems is harder than most people think. Finding a responsible and knowledgeable breeder is very difficult.
    www.howtobuyapuppy.net

  • C
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Mike, Salli, Jason -- as a veterinarian, I think I have a good grasp of all the issues you mention. IMO, one possible exception for breeding/ purebreds would be some types of working dogs. For companion animals, there is no need when so many good ones are put down at shelters. Breeding animals for show is ALL about ego, nothing more; it's also ridiculous and inhumane. If you need a hobby, collect stamps or go exercise.