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AKC PUPPY MILLS = AKC $$$
Puppy mills are the key to big money for
AKC so why should the American Kennel
Club promote the well bred, well raised
show breeder's pups over pet shop
May 2016 | TheDogPress.com
Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief
tired of complaining about puppy mills. Don’t you wish someone
would either “do something” or everyone would just shut up and
accept that they are favored by AKC? When we first
published this in 2002, we thought puppy
mills were on the way out. But in fact, they are growing, nurtured and fertilized
by the registries you and I support. You know it.
One of our Advisory Board members was researching puppy mills and
and pet shop puppies. Even
as I answered her questions, I could find
no justification for the hypocrisy. Dr. Lee is a very learned woman but she was
incredulous when I had to admit that “puppy
mills” have the same registration rank, i.e.
privileges, as the most highly respected
breeders. The more I tried to rationalize the reality
of the situation, the more I squirmed.
Let me put it in perspective. American auto makers spend millions developing some of the safest, most stringently
tested cars in the world. They advertise their "show quality" autos on national TV. Still, they all have a cheap, bottom end
starter-car “designed” to fall apart after
36 payments. Anyone with a lick of sense knows you pay more for a
quality car and in the long run, you save money over a throw-away
Conversely, not one penny of the fifty million
bucks we send to AKC every year gets spent on TV spots or educational PR. So how is a family supposed to know that
the $900 pet shop puppy is inferior to the
one that the top breeder sells for $500??!!
Do any of the Registries
promote the value of a top quality, well bred puppy over a puppy
mill puppy? Does AKC advertise what is supposed to be its brand- a
healthy happy purebred puppy? No, they register them the same
and essentially warrant them to be as good as a “puppy mill” puppy? Do any of the registries suggest that a home-raised,
hobby/show breeder puppy might be healthier, better adjusted, more
like its breed?
How would a potential puppy buyer know of the misery
and suffering attached to that cute little
fuzz ball in the pet shop?
Incomprehensible? Hypocrisy to the extreme? Treason against the show and performance
breeders who invest so much time and money
into doing it right? Into making the AKC name a byword?
Are hobby and show breeders
profitable for the Registry? Is AKC avoiding moral and ethical responsibility? Insulation against legal action by puppy
OK, if you answered “yes” to all of the above, you score 100%. You also came face-to-face with the reality
of the puppy mill problem.
If, like the auto manufacturer,
AKC and UKC stressed the value of the carefully planned,
crash-tested, well designed, rust-proofed,
signature series puppy, that would help. But no, they are in effect, telling buyers
that the el cheapo model is “just as good.” If GM tried that, they could be sued when
the family that bought a tin can instead of a
Suburban was severely injured in a side-impact
crash. If the dealer
recommends the new car that is crash tested
by independent labs, road tested and rated
by (whatever!) it is an honest sale. If the buyer chooses to drive off in a
toy car and gets in a wreck, he has no recourse.
If the Registries would just
admit that commercially-bred puppy mill puppies are not expected
to be as genetically healthy, emotionally
sound, structurally “well built” and laden
with chrome as those carefully planned dream-babies
individually reared by an accredited breeder,
well, gee, wouldn’t that be a fair way to
If the Registries had an independent testing
lab and some experts to “test drive” randomly
selected models (breeding stock), they could
state that overall, pups from “A” rated breeders
would likely be better than those from “B”
But wait, we do have an independent testing
process! It’s called the dog show; different venues,
different conditions, different opinions. All of which adds up to validation of quality
at least insofar as body style and performance
features. So what’s the problem? Why doesn’t AKC take the initiative and do
the common sense, obvious thing??
Why doesn't AKC and UKC promote the
health, type, temperament and value of a show-bred, hobby breeder's puppies?
Is it because most of
the registry's income is derived from puppy
mill registrations and Heaven forbid, no financial empire would
want to annoy their best customers. Remember, that is not you, it is the puppy mills. In addition to establishing their own registry as was recently threatened, the
millers might file a class action suit. Breeders won’t. They will just keep paying ever-increasing
registration fees (do the millers get discounts? YES!)
and supporting the sport through competition,
donations, and commerce with hundreds of
peripheral enterprises, photographers, suppliers,
ah well, you get the point. If we carried the same clout, the same unified
voice as the puppy mills, we could get “somebody”
to “do something” about puppy mills.
We could strongly suggest, by withholding
our $$ as did the mid-west puppy miller’s
association, that AKC or UKC take the initiative
and institute one of the oft-discussed two-tiered
registration systems. It could be as simple as accrediting breeding
programs based on a combination of championships
(bench, field, or performance) and basic
health clearances. What can be so hard about that????? They have computers.
For that matter, so does TheDogPlace and
finally, there is a unified voice. Forcing an issue is called a Project and Registration Reform is Project #2.
If this sounds like a promotion for TheDogPlace,
it is. If it sounds like a criticism of our registering
bodies, it is. If it sounds like “put up or shut up” it
Let’s quit talking about the horrors of puppy
mills. It is time we quit supporting Registries that put the interests of puppy
mills over those of hobby breeders. It’s time we demanded the Registries do something affirmative and constructive.
First Published June 2000 from author's ShowSight Magazine column
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