Buying a Puppy in the Information Age
In recent years dog breeding has taken its licks. With the negative press surrounding Puppy Mills and the mistreatment of animals at those types of breeding operations, people have become more and more wary of buying a puppy. The emergence of the online sales market for dogs has complicated things even further.
Many large websites allow the advertisement of puppies without any knowledge of the conditions they are being bred in. People will often buy a dog and have it air shipped to their location without ever seeing the home the animal was born and raised in, and this leaves far too much to the imagination.
So what are the realities of a situation like this? How can a person be sure that the puppy they are getting isn’t coming from a house of horrors like we have all heard of in regards to puppy mills?
The answer is simple: By being an educated and proactive consumer, and arming yourself with knowledge.
One thing you need to be aware of is the laws surrounding dog breeding in the state you are purchasing the animal from. For instance, Pennsylvania has taken a lot of heat from activist groups in recent years, and with good cause. At one point, PA was the hotbed for Puppy Mill operations in the nation. But things have changed to an extent, given the implementation of improved Dog Laws in the Keystone State. While enforcement of these laws is still imperfect, as it is everywhere, there have been measures put in place to help protect puppies and consumers. Pennsylvania has a Puppy Lemon Law that guarantees the health of the puppy for 30 days. This goes further than just covering genetic defects, as it is a total health guarantee up to the price paid for the puppy. This law holds the breeder accountable for their breeding practices in the sense that a dog raised in poor conditions will usually be unhealthy. Other states such as New Jersey and California also have effective lemon laws in place for this same purpose.
Make sure that buying a puppy is a commitment you are ready for. There are enough dogs without homes.There are, however, some realities a person has to face when buying a puppy from any breeder. The breeders dubbed as “reputable” by many are too expensive for a middle class American family to afford. Buying a dog with championship bloodlines may be entirely too cost prohibitive for a person looking for a family pet. So if you are in this situation, and you are going to buy a puppy from an online resource, here are some things you should do to cover your bases.
- Ask the breeder questions about the breed, if they aren’t educated about the breed they are raising, they aren’t educated about breeding in general.
- If at all possible, visit the home of the puppy. The only way to know what environment the puppy is raised in is to see it.
- Be realistic, just because someone is a “Commercial Breeder” doesn’t mean they are a “Puppy Mill”, selling sick dogs, or abusing animals. A lot of these licensed breeders have better conditions for their dogs than rescues or shelters, this is a fact.
- Don’t buy from a pet store. Pet store buy from “Puppy Dealers”, and puppy dealers often buy from puppy mills. At a pet store, you have no idea where the dog came from.
- Be aware of internet scams.
Hopefully these tips assist you in making wise knowledge based decisions when finding your next dog. I personally can attest to one thing, based on my years of experience, the only way to know if a puppy is right for you, is to meet him/her, not have someone else tell you what you should do.