1. Choose to adopt
By choosing to adopt instead of buying, you are helping to reduce the demand for puppies from puppy mills. In the long run, this reduces profits and helps to put puppy mills out of business. Without demand, there will be no supply.
There are plenty of dogs up for adoption at shelters such as the ASD, ALL and SPCA. The SPCA alone takes in more than 1,000 dogs every year. Many of them are pedigree castaways purchased on the spur of the moment. Many of the dogs in these shelters were once cute little puppies in a pet shop.
2. Look for a reputable breeder
With the presence of puppy mills, responsible breeders are extremely difficult to find. Make sure you meet the breeder personally and follow the checklist below.
The responsible breeder
– The responsible breeder is knowledgeable about the breed. (Conduct your own research and cross reference this to what the breeder tells you about the breed.)
– The responsible breeder interviews you thoroughly, to ensure that his pup is going to a good home. Questions are designed to address your experience with dogs, knowledge of the responsibilities, your house, family, and whether you can afford it. They may even ask to view your home.
– The responsible breeder only breeds one, at most two different breeds.
– The responsible breeder does not breed for money, but to improve the breed.
– The responsible breeder generally does not sell puppies to pet shops or other third parties. Instead, they meet and screen their buyers personally. They care where their puppies go to.
– The responsible breeder does not always have puppies available for sale. They do not breed often.
– The responsible breeder is able to provide you with references or testimonials from past customers.
– The responsible breeder often encourages multiple visits to view the dogs and wants to see your entire family.
– Take a look at where the puppies are born and raised and ensure that it is a clean and healthy environment.
– You are able to meet and interact with at least the mother of the puppies.
– The puppies are kept with their mother until they are at least eight weeks old.
– The breeder socialises their puppies so they can integrate well in your family.
– The breeder shows you veterinary certification for the vaccination of their puppies.
– The puppies look happy and healthy and are active and responsive.
Agreements before purchase
– The responsible breeder encourages the sterilisation of puppies that are bought as pets.
– The responsible breeder is willing to take back their puppy or dog if it does not work out.
– The responsible breeder may require that you sign an agreement regarding the welfare of the puppy, including a restriction on breeding the puppy when it matures.
3. Take your time
A dog is a lifetime commitment. Take your time to consider and to find reputable breeders. Ask friends for recommendations and seek help. Purchasing a puppy should not be an easy task.
4. Buyer beware!
Always follow the checklist to ensure that the breeder is a responsible breeder. Buying from a home breeder can sometimes be just as bad as buying from a puppy mill. Some pet farms and pet shops often assure you that they only buy from reputable breeders with quality dogs but generally responsible breeders would not sell their puppies to pet farms and pet shops. Ask questions and get your answers. If you are not satisfied, you should look for a puppy elsewhere.
5. You are not rescuing that puppy mill puppy when you buy it.
By buying a puppy from a puppy mill, you could be perpetuating the suffering of the dogs in the puppy mill. When you buy that puppy, the money helps sustain the mass production establishment, it pays for the running of the mill, for the buying of more breeding stock. This means that you are helping to finance the very same puppy mills that may be mistreating the mother and father of your puppy, along with many other dogs.
Stop the demand for mass produced puppies. Buying does not save their lives. When the buying of puppy mill puppies stops, the supply will too. If you want to save a life, adopt instead.