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NY Woman Sues Dog Breeder Over Genetic Abnormalities

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January 05, 2012

NY Woman Sues Dog Breeder Over Genetic Abnormalities

By Chad Love

Does your dog have a soul? And if you answered yes, should you be able to sue an unscrupulous breeder for your dog's pain and suffering caused by genetic defects?

These are just a few of the interesting questions being raised by a lawsuit now making its way through the New York legal system. This lawsuit seeks to reclassify dogs as "living souls" so their breeders can be held accountable for any pain and suffering the dog endures from genetic defects (A big hat tip to Patrick Burns at the always provocative and entertaining Terrierman's Daily Dose dog blog for the find).
 

From this story on cbsnews.com:

When Elena Zakharova took home her 2-month-old female Brussels Griffon from the Raising Rover pet store in Manhattan, she was excited about the new addition to her family. But, according to the New York Daily News, just a few months later in July 2011, the dog began whimpering and limping in pain. Now, her owner says despite expensive surgery, she will never run or walk like other dogs. Zakharova is claiming that the pet store sold her a dog with genetic abnormalities that could have been avoided if the pup were not bred from other dogs with disabilities. She is suing the business in a New York small claims court for the pain and suffering of the now year-old dog, which she named Umka.

"Pets must be recognized as living souls, not inanimate property," said Zakharova's lawyer Susan Chana Lask to the New York Daily News. But dogs are considered property under New York state law, which means that sellers aren't liable for their pain and suffering -- yet. And, while a "Puppy Lemon Law" allows owners to return dogs that manifest sicknesses within 14 days, Umka didn't show symptoms until a few months later. If the judge refuses to recognize Umka's plight, Lask told the Daily News she will argue that the dog bills should be paid under New York's Uniform Commercial Code, which gives a buyer four years to return a "defective product."

According to the story, Zakharova has spent $5,000 on medical bills so far, with the prospect of spending much more down the line. She claims she's not suing for money, but to raise awareness about unhealthy breeders and stop pet stores from selling puppy mill dogs. That's great and all, but it begs the question of why the hell she didn't perform some rudimentary due diligence before buying her dog from a pet store?

It bears repeating that one of the most important aspects in selecting a new puppy is, undoubtedly, the issue of health clearances. There have been huge advances over the past few decades in both physical and genetic testing for various issues: for hips and eyes to diseases such as Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC) and degenerative myelopathy. These days, most of us wouldn't even consider buying gundog pups from sires and dams that don’t have at least OFA and CERF clearances for hips and eyes. Any reputable gundog breeder will offer at least a two-year guarantee on their pups being able to obtain said clearances. (And if they don't, then don't merely walk away. Run.)

Your thoughts on the case? Should dogs warrant consideration for "souldom" or does that take us down a slippery legal slope for future dealings with the anti-hunting, anti-working dog animal-rights fringe? And while the world of sporting dogs does have its health and genetic issues, do you think the necessity of having a basic level of functional conformation in a working gundog has helped to spare us at least some of the myriad genetic problems facing many of the faddish, popular non-working dog breeds?

Comments (22)

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from Meghan Hunt wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I responded to an ad for "Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs" last January. When I arrived, I saw a shack of a house, grown dogs in chicken pens, and the pups in a lean to, covered in their own feces. Results? A sweet, deaf pup that gave me much joy and happiness for the year that he lived. The breeder lied about his age and didn't care thy the pup was deaf. The remaining 6 puppies died of parvo. The one that got away showed many residual physical al and mental deficiencies that would be his downfall. DNA testing revealed that he was an American Bulldog/Bull Terrier mix. Pet stores get their dogs from people like that man. It's truly a sad thing. Dogs are living souls, much better ines than we humans.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Oh boy, here we go.

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from Moose1980 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Though they may be out there, I have never met a hunter who bought a hunting dog from a pet store. Thats all I need to know about the quality of dogs that come from those places. It's a shame the dogs end up suffering but you hear enough of these stories that you think people would be wary of getting dogs from pet stores by now.

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from Bob81 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

While this story has a somewhat wacky twist due to the argument regarding dog's having souls, irresponsible breeding practices are no laughing matter. It is somewhat unfortunate that the owner is having to pursue this somewhat dubious legal route in order to get recourse.

Pet stores prey on people who want a dog and don't know enough about the industry to know any better. While the owner should certainly do their research, I think we should be careful not to blame the victim here.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

The problem with most folks who go to pick out a pup is they simply are not prepared to say no. When our brown lab died at age 14, I was ready to get another one immediately because our family was suffering. As badly as I wanted to get another pup, I still was careful to do my research. NO going to the rescue centers. I'm glad they're there but I know enough about my own sense of compassion to stay away. How could I walk into one of those places and leave without a dog? "Umm, I'm sorry but I don't think any of these dogs you folks have worked so hard to save will work out for me (or presumably anyone else)" So I called around to every lab pups ad in the paper within three hundred miles. Most of the ads were for puppy mills or worse. Finally, the Minneapolis paper turned up an ad for pups way down in Mountain Lake, almost into Iowa. I called them and knew immediately I would probably take one of their pups. They had the mother and the grandmother who was about at the end of her tether. Both dogs came from a distinguished long line of brown labs. However, they had bred to a local pastor's registered yellow lab because he was such a wonderful dog (and all pups were black!). These folks were looking to make a pup for themselves (and he was an avid waterfowl hunter). How could I go wrong? And I couldn't have asked for a better, more healthier dog than Pearl (albeit she's a bit accident prone). Same story with Opal. I was in a hurry to get another dog, but kept my wits about me. Bought her from a sweet young girl in the country who bred her dog to raise some money to buy a car. Both parents were fine dogs and I could tell THAT pup was exceptional. No guarantees for either Pearl or Opal but I was pretty sure I wouldn't need one. My new brittany pup came from a breeder in North Dakota who didn't have the fanciest operation but the dogs had good lines, looked healthy, and he did provide an unconditional 1-year guarantee (he would provide another pup but not a refund). Coral is my first experience picking up a dog from a breeder. Seems to have worked out okay. Picking a dog from a pet store? Pffft! I mean, if this gal's arguement is that a pet is something more than merchandise, then why did she act like a purchasor of mere boxed merchandise? Talk about shooting their case in the foot before it's even into court! There's a litigation lawyer under every rock.

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from Creek Chub wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

In response to Ontario_Honker, it's been my experience that my two rescue dogs have been far healthier than the three labs I've gotten from very reputable breeders. I'm not anti-pure bred, but there is something to be said for pups that have DNA which has crossed over the into the intermediate/deep end of the proverbial gene pool. I'm not experienced in breeding my own dogs, or sifting through breeding records of AKC and field trial champions. I also agree that there is nothing finer looking than a well trained dog pointing/retrieving/flushing, but to me it's just a little more satisfying when mutts do the same.

I know that you were comparing puppy mills vs your experience with breeders, but please don't dismiss shelters and rescue organizations as too much of a gamble. If only for a family companion dog, your odds of finding a great dog are pretty darn good.

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from Deb Morse wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

In response to Honker_Ontario: First, I have to make clear that I am a foster volunteer with Chicago English Bulldog Rescue and completely biased. In the past week I have made two trips to animal control to pick up bulldogs that went unclaimed and both appeared to be discarded puppymill breeders. On the second trip we had to find the dog among the hundreds of cages of unwanted, disowned, abandoned dogs. It was heartbreaking to witness the hopelessness and resignation of these animals. I wonder how many of them were the result of breeding by some "sweet young girl" or "a local pastor" or any number of other heartwarming stories? Why is it okay to breed a dog to make money to buy a car? Dogs are sentient beings, not objects to be bartered. The newest addition to our family is a nine year-old bullie that also came from animal control. We know his age and name because he had a chip which also gave a phone number, but those calls went unreturned. Who does this? He is a proud dog, deserving of our respect, love and care. But he is no more deserving than any of those abandoned dogs that I and my fellow volunteers have locked eyes with and had to leave to their own fates, through no fault of theirs. My guy is just one of the lucky few that find a new home. He might not have many years left, but that is irrelevant. We lost our nine year old guy Halas this past September when he had been with us for only two years. Those two years, I wouldn't trade them for the world We humans have created this disaster and it is up to us to make it right. Until there are consequences, this cycle will continue. I applaud Ms. Zakharova for taking a stand and bringing attention to the plight of these animals.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Cool your jets! You guys have taken some of what I said completely out of context. I HAVE done the rescue/humane society route and it is just too difficult for me to leave if there's nothing there that will fit the bill. That is exactly what I said in the above post. Do believe I also said those institutions fill a very worthwhile function. I did leave without a dog and the folks there acted like I felt their animals weren't good enough. The dogs were not good enough for what I needed and as a college student I could only have one dog. I'm not going to try making a border collie or a "malmute mix" into a hunting dog. Might work but most likely not. Walking away from the pound knowing that the dogs I didn't pick would die ... well, I'm just too soft for that. So I stay away. Give me a blindfold and a cigarette for being sensitive!

And you guys should also note that I have said many, many times on this forum that the best dog I have owned and probably ever will own was a small half lab half golden retriever. I would have to say that overall my non-papered hunting dogs have been better in the field than those that were registered.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Sorry, that should read "You folks ..." not "You guys ..." I am not gender biased.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Why does everyone feel the need to get all Orwellian about this? And applying anthropomorphism to them? Yeah I might get flamed for this, but people need to come to terms with reality.

OH, I think you're spot on.

All that being said my dog came from a shelter as a pup. He's a mixed mutt, but is a darned fine dog. I didn't get him with the intention of having a hunting dog, but a family dog. However he is really good at both.

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from smccardell wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I don't think the owner in the article should be going down the "dogs have souls, so you should pay for the pain and suffering" road. Then what? Because I carry a genetic defect and my wife carries a similar gene then my kids can sue me for their pain and suffering? I am all for the breeder taking responsibility for the animals they bring in to this world, I just think her tactic is a bit off. She should try campaigning to change the laws in her state, so not only does she benefit but society benefits by changing the way these puppy mills operate.

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from jcarlin wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I think it's more of a buyer beware situation. Admittedly breeder's should be more careful. The conditions mentioned in some of the posts above are admittedly horrible.
However, from a strictly legal standpoint, if we define dogs as having souls and that allows us to sue for pain and suffering due to genetic traits.. what's the natural endgame? It would set a precedent for children or say, children's adopted parents, to be able to sue the biological parent for pain and suffering for not more scientifically choosing their mate. There's a law that even this administration might think is a bit restrictive.

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from jcarlin wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

sorry, smc. I read a lot of posts, but didn't get down to yours before chiming in.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Changing the law is next to impossible.

With stopping many puppy mills up north, North Carolina is starting to become the new 'puppy mill state'.

An attempt to pass more stringent laws about breeding animals, the two biggest blockers and lobbyists against them were...

Naturally, the AKC. They make their money on registrations. More puppy mills, more money.

But the sickest is that the other big blocker is the NRA. That floored me. The NRA supports puppy mills?!???

The Catholic church (which has it's own problems) states the axiom that animals have no souls. So I think that her case won't go very far.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Yeah, Jeff, the NRA lost sight of any sort of perspective a LONG time ago. About forty years back I pinned them down on a phony cancer insurance policy they were marketing that wasn't really worth the paper it was written on, and certainly not the money it cost. Their answer was essentially that it really didn't matter what the nature or quality of the product was they were selling as long as the proceeds were being used to fight their crusade to save my right to bear arms. Sorry, but the Robin Hood justification doesn't wash in the 20th century! A scam is a scam. I dropped my membership.

My guess is the NRA lobbies against puppy mill regulation simply because it is flock shooting "antis". Unlike the NRA, and some other rabid anti-liberals whom I guess I don't have to mention by name, I try to judge for myself the possible merit in any position, no matter who its author may be. If the Humane Society, PETA, SPCA or any other anti-hunting animal-loving organization wants to work at regulating these horrible puppy mill situations, then I'll support them. In those endeavours at least. I will not, however, support frivolous lawsuits and I'm sure the courts won't either. That crap only hurts the cause, it doesn't help. I am certain the defendants will prevail and I do hope they are awarded substantial solicitor and client costs. Maybe that will help put a damper on some of these grandstanding lawyers.

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from jcarlin wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I think the NRA weighed in on this from the slippery slope standpoint. I recall the rationalization on that at the time. Some of the proposed local laws were pushing the extreme that if you had a pair or two of breeding age, non-altered animals, you were now a breeder which opened you to a lot of arbitrary permitting and space requirements. The NRA weighed in largely on the side of houndsman. I keep a brace of beagles and they live in my house. If i happen to have 3 and 2 are bitches I don't think I should need to get a permit, have my property inspected, and be treated any differently than any other dog owner. Mine happen to both be altered males, but I don't think that should be a requirement. The other side of the coing is some "animal welfare" groups that were pushing laws for all dogs to be fixed. If that happens.. well obviously you just run out of dogs. I don't think that's a brilliant solution to a stray problem. I think it's a complicated issue, and just like the firearms rights battles it gets fought as all or nothing. Everyone's afraid that if they start at a moderate view, the compromise that gets reached will be too close to the opposite of thier preference. I don't necessarily agree with the NRA (of which I'm a member) on all of their stances, but someone's got to fight that fight.

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from illinoisburt wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I don't pretend to have all the answers to this problem, but answers provided by animal rights groups are likely not the solution.

The slippery slope jcarlin mentioned has already been found. A number of communities in CA have mandatory spay/neuter laws on the books and there was an attempt to pass statewide legislation AB1634. The basic premise is to regulate away anyone in possession of even a single non-altered animal so only professionally licensed breeders can produce a dog or cat. The attempt was supported by many animal welfare groups in the name of pet protection, but the main support was from AKC and show breeders since it would cut out the majority of their competition and lead to much higher prices within a couple years. Not a good fix for the problem.

As for the lawsuit mentioned in the article, remember to be careful what you ask for. If the owner can sue the pet store for the dog's emotional damage, it won't be too much of a stretch for an animal welfare group to sue an owner on behalf of the dog. After all a sentient being with natural rights should not be subjected to all the coersive and tramatic things like training, working in the heat or cold or rain or snow, being subjected to hearing gunshots, seeing wounded or dead animals, or anything else right-minded folks at PETA know is bad for them. And who else but a compassionate animal lover attorney on their payroll will stand up for the little guys? Money damages of course paid into a charitable account at their organization to help care for Fluffy and others in like bondage.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Ontario, that's some new info for me, thanks.

Now jcarlin, your statement leaves a few holes...

I don't foresee 'running out of dogs'. Ever. We've been working with Rescue groups, and yes, beagles, hounds, labs, and other "purebreds" in in there.

I agree with the; "Fix ALL the dogs!" group until we have more people who want dogs than there are dogs. As long as county shelters are full, and 6 million a year get put down, no reasonably intelligent human should be breeding a dog at all. To breed one dog to make money is just as bad as any puppy mill right now. You are either part of the solution, or you're part of the problem.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Be careful about lumping all professional breeders in with the puppy mill sadists. The breeders have worked very hard to get rid of some very painful and heartbreaking defects in certain breeds. For example, when I was a kid hip dyspasia was a near epidemic problem with labs. I rarely see it these days because of improvements in genetics testing and certification that was introduced by these folks, not legislated. Some folks might think "hips & eyes" certs are just another way for breeders to make more money but I don't buy that. Most of the breeders really care about the pups they make. Their stock in trade is more their reputation than mass producing pups. And then there's the countless mom & pop breeders who produce a litter of pups no and then mostly as a hobby. Look at my dog Pearl for example. Yes, I paid $300 for her but she had a good "mixed" pedigree that almost ensured vitality; she was wormed, dew claws removed, and shots; she was eight weeks old; and the people drove from Mountain Lake to Duluth, Minn. just to show us the pups. Sorry, but I don't think they made a killing on that deal! They were essentially breeding for a pup for themselves. Another example: I bought my brit pup from a North Dakots breeder who didn't have the fanciest operation but I could sure tell his heart was in the right place. A tornado ripped off the roof of the barn and tore up all the kennels. He was extremely lucky none of the dogs or pups was injured. He was able to round up the dogs and patch together the kennels to get past the crisis. But he moved the pups INTO THE HOUSE until he could get another roof on the barn. At the same time that country was dealing with record high water levels and his basement was flooded almost the entire year. So, the pups stayed in a makeshift pen in his living room! In spite of commitments to training and raising those dogs, the breeder was still able on his own to clean things up and get everything rebuilt before people started showing up for fall hunting season. Now, I would hate to see some guy who is that dedicated to taking care of his dogs saddled with some mandatory neutering regulations. I'm quite sure that in a heavily regulated situation, this fella would have been thrown out of business and all the dogs hauled off to sit in some caged sterile warehouse instead of his living room until someone showed up who really didn't have a clue about raising a dog and took them (as opposed to someone with $800 in hand who has experience and knowledge about what they're getting into).

We live in an imperfect world. Try to make it better yes, but simply mandating that all life will cease until things get better? I don't pretend to be God, and I'm quite sure that's not what He had in mind either.

Back to the subject of this thread: I would like to see this business regulated more from the punitive end of things. Repeat offenders seem to be the most serious problem right now. We need to go after them with a heavier hand - as in prison terms rather than fines. As far as suing dealers who sell pups that develop birth defects? Cripes, that's why it's so dang hard to find OB doctors these days. Every parent with a kid born with a defect wants to blame it on the doctors and hospitals. Again, we do not live in a perfect world and no matter how hard we wish for it, dogs - and children - are going to be born with "defects". We need to accept and live with that fact. My late son (who by the way died as a result of medical malpractice) was high-functioning autistic. I would never have thought of him as defective. And I would never have wanted Wesley to be anything but who he was. God bless ya, son! Yes, He most certainly did.

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from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I believe the real point here parallels the Scopes Monkey trial. The real question is the Ethical Treatment of animals. Not do dogs have souls and if so go to heaven or not. Dogs have been purpose breed since forever. If you do this you have a degree of in breeding. Not ideal for any species. You have to understand that if legal president establishes doggy souls it is a very short leap to deer, pheasant and stripped bass. Anyone can bring a law suit. No matter the subject. As a post script; I love my dogs and would do grieves harm to whom ever who would molest them.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Carl, the fringe could really go after that one. I didn't take the thought that far, I only thought of 'companion' animals.

If dogs have souls, why not deer? Or bass?

I think the hamburger industry would have her assassinated first.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Well stated Herr Huber. PETA would have us all believe that pigs (and all other animals)= Humans and have souls and should receive the same rights associated with such.
None of us want that put into legislation, were one to swat a fly, one would be guilty of murder.
Back to responsibility. As an amatuer breeder, it would not hurt my feelings to have to be licensed. As an owner of a dog,I do not want the Law to mandate that if I do not have a breeders licence, that animal has to be spayed or neutered. I do think that if one chooses to breed animals, that as a responsible breeder, every effort should be made to guarantee that the progeny will be clear of genetic defects. This is not an inexpensive process but really makes you feel better when you place a puppy in his new home knowing that he will live a happy and healthy life for the next 10 or so years.
Do you make any money breeding, not really, if it is done right. Do you get great satisfaction from an owner telling you about a great retrieve one of your puppies made yesterday on a crippled duck that fell 200 yards out? You betcha! It's all about turning out an excellent product and having happy owners. I do not advertise and right now I have a waiting list of about 20 folks (hunters) who want Zeke x Maddie puppies that have seen how the litter that was whelped last May have turned out. Maddie is in heat right now and I'm not gonna breed her this time because she just had cysts removed from her breast. A puppy mill would not have even had the cysts removed and bred her any way.
Do dogs go to Heaven? I hope so, cause there's a couple I'd really like to see again. Question is, will I get there?-LOL
Just my thoughts.
R

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from Bob81 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

While this story has a somewhat wacky twist due to the argument regarding dog's having souls, irresponsible breeding practices are no laughing matter. It is somewhat unfortunate that the owner is having to pursue this somewhat dubious legal route in order to get recourse.

Pet stores prey on people who want a dog and don't know enough about the industry to know any better. While the owner should certainly do their research, I think we should be careful not to blame the victim here.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Changing the law is next to impossible.

With stopping many puppy mills up north, North Carolina is starting to become the new 'puppy mill state'.

An attempt to pass more stringent laws about breeding animals, the two biggest blockers and lobbyists against them were...

Naturally, the AKC. They make their money on registrations. More puppy mills, more money.

But the sickest is that the other big blocker is the NRA. That floored me. The NRA supports puppy mills?!???

The Catholic church (which has it's own problems) states the axiom that animals have no souls. So I think that her case won't go very far.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Yeah, Jeff, the NRA lost sight of any sort of perspective a LONG time ago. About forty years back I pinned them down on a phony cancer insurance policy they were marketing that wasn't really worth the paper it was written on, and certainly not the money it cost. Their answer was essentially that it really didn't matter what the nature or quality of the product was they were selling as long as the proceeds were being used to fight their crusade to save my right to bear arms. Sorry, but the Robin Hood justification doesn't wash in the 20th century! A scam is a scam. I dropped my membership.

My guess is the NRA lobbies against puppy mill regulation simply because it is flock shooting "antis". Unlike the NRA, and some other rabid anti-liberals whom I guess I don't have to mention by name, I try to judge for myself the possible merit in any position, no matter who its author may be. If the Humane Society, PETA, SPCA or any other anti-hunting animal-loving organization wants to work at regulating these horrible puppy mill situations, then I'll support them. In those endeavours at least. I will not, however, support frivolous lawsuits and I'm sure the courts won't either. That crap only hurts the cause, it doesn't help. I am certain the defendants will prevail and I do hope they are awarded substantial solicitor and client costs. Maybe that will help put a damper on some of these grandstanding lawyers.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Be careful about lumping all professional breeders in with the puppy mill sadists. The breeders have worked very hard to get rid of some very painful and heartbreaking defects in certain breeds. For example, when I was a kid hip dyspasia was a near epidemic problem with labs. I rarely see it these days because of improvements in genetics testing and certification that was introduced by these folks, not legislated. Some folks might think "hips & eyes" certs are just another way for breeders to make more money but I don't buy that. Most of the breeders really care about the pups they make. Their stock in trade is more their reputation than mass producing pups. And then there's the countless mom & pop breeders who produce a litter of pups no and then mostly as a hobby. Look at my dog Pearl for example. Yes, I paid $300 for her but she had a good "mixed" pedigree that almost ensured vitality; she was wormed, dew claws removed, and shots; she was eight weeks old; and the people drove from Mountain Lake to Duluth, Minn. just to show us the pups. Sorry, but I don't think they made a killing on that deal! They were essentially breeding for a pup for themselves. Another example: I bought my brit pup from a North Dakots breeder who didn't have the fanciest operation but I could sure tell his heart was in the right place. A tornado ripped off the roof of the barn and tore up all the kennels. He was extremely lucky none of the dogs or pups was injured. He was able to round up the dogs and patch together the kennels to get past the crisis. But he moved the pups INTO THE HOUSE until he could get another roof on the barn. At the same time that country was dealing with record high water levels and his basement was flooded almost the entire year. So, the pups stayed in a makeshift pen in his living room! In spite of commitments to training and raising those dogs, the breeder was still able on his own to clean things up and get everything rebuilt before people started showing up for fall hunting season. Now, I would hate to see some guy who is that dedicated to taking care of his dogs saddled with some mandatory neutering regulations. I'm quite sure that in a heavily regulated situation, this fella would have been thrown out of business and all the dogs hauled off to sit in some caged sterile warehouse instead of his living room until someone showed up who really didn't have a clue about raising a dog and took them (as opposed to someone with $800 in hand who has experience and knowledge about what they're getting into).

We live in an imperfect world. Try to make it better yes, but simply mandating that all life will cease until things get better? I don't pretend to be God, and I'm quite sure that's not what He had in mind either.

Back to the subject of this thread: I would like to see this business regulated more from the punitive end of things. Repeat offenders seem to be the most serious problem right now. We need to go after them with a heavier hand - as in prison terms rather than fines. As far as suing dealers who sell pups that develop birth defects? Cripes, that's why it's so dang hard to find OB doctors these days. Every parent with a kid born with a defect wants to blame it on the doctors and hospitals. Again, we do not live in a perfect world and no matter how hard we wish for it, dogs - and children - are going to be born with "defects". We need to accept and live with that fact. My late son (who by the way died as a result of medical malpractice) was high-functioning autistic. I would never have thought of him as defective. And I would never have wanted Wesley to be anything but who he was. God bless ya, son! Yes, He most certainly did.

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from Moose1980 wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Though they may be out there, I have never met a hunter who bought a hunting dog from a pet store. Thats all I need to know about the quality of dogs that come from those places. It's a shame the dogs end up suffering but you hear enough of these stories that you think people would be wary of getting dogs from pet stores by now.

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from RES1956 wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Well stated Herr Huber. PETA would have us all believe that pigs (and all other animals)= Humans and have souls and should receive the same rights associated with such.
None of us want that put into legislation, were one to swat a fly, one would be guilty of murder.
Back to responsibility. As an amatuer breeder, it would not hurt my feelings to have to be licensed. As an owner of a dog,I do not want the Law to mandate that if I do not have a breeders licence, that animal has to be spayed or neutered. I do think that if one chooses to breed animals, that as a responsible breeder, every effort should be made to guarantee that the progeny will be clear of genetic defects. This is not an inexpensive process but really makes you feel better when you place a puppy in his new home knowing that he will live a happy and healthy life for the next 10 or so years.
Do you make any money breeding, not really, if it is done right. Do you get great satisfaction from an owner telling you about a great retrieve one of your puppies made yesterday on a crippled duck that fell 200 yards out? You betcha! It's all about turning out an excellent product and having happy owners. I do not advertise and right now I have a waiting list of about 20 folks (hunters) who want Zeke x Maddie puppies that have seen how the litter that was whelped last May have turned out. Maddie is in heat right now and I'm not gonna breed her this time because she just had cysts removed from her breast. A puppy mill would not have even had the cysts removed and bred her any way.
Do dogs go to Heaven? I hope so, cause there's a couple I'd really like to see again. Question is, will I get there?-LOL
Just my thoughts.
R

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from illinoisburt wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I don't pretend to have all the answers to this problem, but answers provided by animal rights groups are likely not the solution.

The slippery slope jcarlin mentioned has already been found. A number of communities in CA have mandatory spay/neuter laws on the books and there was an attempt to pass statewide legislation AB1634. The basic premise is to regulate away anyone in possession of even a single non-altered animal so only professionally licensed breeders can produce a dog or cat. The attempt was supported by many animal welfare groups in the name of pet protection, but the main support was from AKC and show breeders since it would cut out the majority of their competition and lead to much higher prices within a couple years. Not a good fix for the problem.

As for the lawsuit mentioned in the article, remember to be careful what you ask for. If the owner can sue the pet store for the dog's emotional damage, it won't be too much of a stretch for an animal welfare group to sue an owner on behalf of the dog. After all a sentient being with natural rights should not be subjected to all the coersive and tramatic things like training, working in the heat or cold or rain or snow, being subjected to hearing gunshots, seeing wounded or dead animals, or anything else right-minded folks at PETA know is bad for them. And who else but a compassionate animal lover attorney on their payroll will stand up for the little guys? Money damages of course paid into a charitable account at their organization to help care for Fluffy and others in like bondage.

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from jcarlin wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I think it's more of a buyer beware situation. Admittedly breeder's should be more careful. The conditions mentioned in some of the posts above are admittedly horrible.
However, from a strictly legal standpoint, if we define dogs as having souls and that allows us to sue for pain and suffering due to genetic traits.. what's the natural endgame? It would set a precedent for children or say, children's adopted parents, to be able to sue the biological parent for pain and suffering for not more scientifically choosing their mate. There's a law that even this administration might think is a bit restrictive.

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from jcarlin wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

sorry, smc. I read a lot of posts, but didn't get down to yours before chiming in.

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from jcarlin wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I think the NRA weighed in on this from the slippery slope standpoint. I recall the rationalization on that at the time. Some of the proposed local laws were pushing the extreme that if you had a pair or two of breeding age, non-altered animals, you were now a breeder which opened you to a lot of arbitrary permitting and space requirements. The NRA weighed in largely on the side of houndsman. I keep a brace of beagles and they live in my house. If i happen to have 3 and 2 are bitches I don't think I should need to get a permit, have my property inspected, and be treated any differently than any other dog owner. Mine happen to both be altered males, but I don't think that should be a requirement. The other side of the coing is some "animal welfare" groups that were pushing laws for all dogs to be fixed. If that happens.. well obviously you just run out of dogs. I don't think that's a brilliant solution to a stray problem. I think it's a complicated issue, and just like the firearms rights battles it gets fought as all or nothing. Everyone's afraid that if they start at a moderate view, the compromise that gets reached will be too close to the opposite of thier preference. I don't necessarily agree with the NRA (of which I'm a member) on all of their stances, but someone's got to fight that fight.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Ontario, that's some new info for me, thanks.

Now jcarlin, your statement leaves a few holes...

I don't foresee 'running out of dogs'. Ever. We've been working with Rescue groups, and yes, beagles, hounds, labs, and other "purebreds" in in there.

I agree with the; "Fix ALL the dogs!" group until we have more people who want dogs than there are dogs. As long as county shelters are full, and 6 million a year get put down, no reasonably intelligent human should be breeding a dog at all. To breed one dog to make money is just as bad as any puppy mill right now. You are either part of the solution, or you're part of the problem.

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from Jeff Bowers wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Carl, the fringe could really go after that one. I didn't take the thought that far, I only thought of 'companion' animals.

If dogs have souls, why not deer? Or bass?

I think the hamburger industry would have her assassinated first.

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from Creek Chub wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

In response to Ontario_Honker, it's been my experience that my two rescue dogs have been far healthier than the three labs I've gotten from very reputable breeders. I'm not anti-pure bred, but there is something to be said for pups that have DNA which has crossed over the into the intermediate/deep end of the proverbial gene pool. I'm not experienced in breeding my own dogs, or sifting through breeding records of AKC and field trial champions. I also agree that there is nothing finer looking than a well trained dog pointing/retrieving/flushing, but to me it's just a little more satisfying when mutts do the same.

I know that you were comparing puppy mills vs your experience with breeders, but please don't dismiss shelters and rescue organizations as too much of a gamble. If only for a family companion dog, your odds of finding a great dog are pretty darn good.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

The problem with most folks who go to pick out a pup is they simply are not prepared to say no. When our brown lab died at age 14, I was ready to get another one immediately because our family was suffering. As badly as I wanted to get another pup, I still was careful to do my research. NO going to the rescue centers. I'm glad they're there but I know enough about my own sense of compassion to stay away. How could I walk into one of those places and leave without a dog? "Umm, I'm sorry but I don't think any of these dogs you folks have worked so hard to save will work out for me (or presumably anyone else)" So I called around to every lab pups ad in the paper within three hundred miles. Most of the ads were for puppy mills or worse. Finally, the Minneapolis paper turned up an ad for pups way down in Mountain Lake, almost into Iowa. I called them and knew immediately I would probably take one of their pups. They had the mother and the grandmother who was about at the end of her tether. Both dogs came from a distinguished long line of brown labs. However, they had bred to a local pastor's registered yellow lab because he was such a wonderful dog (and all pups were black!). These folks were looking to make a pup for themselves (and he was an avid waterfowl hunter). How could I go wrong? And I couldn't have asked for a better, more healthier dog than Pearl (albeit she's a bit accident prone). Same story with Opal. I was in a hurry to get another dog, but kept my wits about me. Bought her from a sweet young girl in the country who bred her dog to raise some money to buy a car. Both parents were fine dogs and I could tell THAT pup was exceptional. No guarantees for either Pearl or Opal but I was pretty sure I wouldn't need one. My new brittany pup came from a breeder in North Dakota who didn't have the fanciest operation but the dogs had good lines, looked healthy, and he did provide an unconditional 1-year guarantee (he would provide another pup but not a refund). Coral is my first experience picking up a dog from a breeder. Seems to have worked out okay. Picking a dog from a pet store? Pffft! I mean, if this gal's arguement is that a pet is something more than merchandise, then why did she act like a purchasor of mere boxed merchandise? Talk about shooting their case in the foot before it's even into court! There's a litigation lawyer under every rock.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Cool your jets! You guys have taken some of what I said completely out of context. I HAVE done the rescue/humane society route and it is just too difficult for me to leave if there's nothing there that will fit the bill. That is exactly what I said in the above post. Do believe I also said those institutions fill a very worthwhile function. I did leave without a dog and the folks there acted like I felt their animals weren't good enough. The dogs were not good enough for what I needed and as a college student I could only have one dog. I'm not going to try making a border collie or a "malmute mix" into a hunting dog. Might work but most likely not. Walking away from the pound knowing that the dogs I didn't pick would die ... well, I'm just too soft for that. So I stay away. Give me a blindfold and a cigarette for being sensitive!

And you guys should also note that I have said many, many times on this forum that the best dog I have owned and probably ever will own was a small half lab half golden retriever. I would have to say that overall my non-papered hunting dogs have been better in the field than those that were registered.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Sorry, that should read "You folks ..." not "You guys ..." I am not gender biased.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

Oh boy, here we go.

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from bruisedsausage wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

Why does everyone feel the need to get all Orwellian about this? And applying anthropomorphism to them? Yeah I might get flamed for this, but people need to come to terms with reality.

OH, I think you're spot on.

All that being said my dog came from a shelter as a pup. He's a mixed mutt, but is a darned fine dog. I didn't get him with the intention of having a hunting dog, but a family dog. However he is really good at both.

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from Carl Huber wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I believe the real point here parallels the Scopes Monkey trial. The real question is the Ethical Treatment of animals. Not do dogs have souls and if so go to heaven or not. Dogs have been purpose breed since forever. If you do this you have a degree of in breeding. Not ideal for any species. You have to understand that if legal president establishes doggy souls it is a very short leap to deer, pheasant and stripped bass. Anyone can bring a law suit. No matter the subject. As a post script; I love my dogs and would do grieves harm to whom ever who would molest them.

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from smccardell wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

I don't think the owner in the article should be going down the "dogs have souls, so you should pay for the pain and suffering" road. Then what? Because I carry a genetic defect and my wife carries a similar gene then my kids can sue me for their pain and suffering? I am all for the breeder taking responsibility for the animals they bring in to this world, I just think her tactic is a bit off. She should try campaigning to change the laws in her state, so not only does she benefit but society benefits by changing the way these puppy mills operate.

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from Meghan Hunt wrote 2 years 15 weeks ago

I responded to an ad for "Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs" last January. When I arrived, I saw a shack of a house, grown dogs in chicken pens, and the pups in a lean to, covered in their own feces. Results? A sweet, deaf pup that gave me much joy and happiness for the year that he lived. The breeder lied about his age and didn't care thy the pup was deaf. The remaining 6 puppies died of parvo. The one that got away showed many residual physical al and mental deficiencies that would be his downfall. DNA testing revealed that he was an American Bulldog/Bull Terrier mix. Pet stores get their dogs from people like that man. It's truly a sad thing. Dogs are living souls, much better ines than we humans.

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from Deb Morse wrote 2 years 14 weeks ago

In response to Honker_Ontario: First, I have to make clear that I am a foster volunteer with Chicago English Bulldog Rescue and completely biased. In the past week I have made two trips to animal control to pick up bulldogs that went unclaimed and both appeared to be discarded puppymill breeders. On the second trip we had to find the dog among the hundreds of cages of unwanted, disowned, abandoned dogs. It was heartbreaking to witness the hopelessness and resignation of these animals. I wonder how many of them were the result of breeding by some "sweet young girl" or "a local pastor" or any number of other heartwarming stories? Why is it okay to breed a dog to make money to buy a car? Dogs are sentient beings, not objects to be bartered. The newest addition to our family is a nine year-old bullie that also came from animal control. We know his age and name because he had a chip which also gave a phone number, but those calls went unreturned. Who does this? He is a proud dog, deserving of our respect, love and care. But he is no more deserving than any of those abandoned dogs that I and my fellow volunteers have locked eyes with and had to leave to their own fates, through no fault of theirs. My guy is just one of the lucky few that find a new home. He might not have many years left, but that is irrelevant. We lost our nine year old guy Halas this past September when he had been with us for only two years. Those two years, I wouldn't trade them for the world We humans have created this disaster and it is up to us to make it right. Until there are consequences, this cycle will continue. I applaud Ms. Zakharova for taking a stand and bringing attention to the plight of these animals.

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