Originally Posted by TNR1
Unfortunately I would say that responsible breeders make up the minority of individuals out there....you don't have to go far to see a case of an unscrupulous breeder being shut down or find pictures of puppy mill puppies that were purchased from a pet store and turned out to be sick. Plus, it seems that even the big named organizations that have been tasked with regulating the industry (AKC for example) are willing to give papers to just about anyone. For those of us in the trenches trying to save lives of both purebred animals and moggies/mixed breeds, it does seem that most breeders are unwilling to assist us in making things better. Case in point, the rescue I volunteer with received 8 small dogs from a cruelty case involving a "breeder". All the dogs had been kept 24/7 in carriers no bigger then they were....they were completely unsocialized and many had issues with their skin, teeth and eyes. And who got to pay to get these little ones back to health? We did. Who had to try to place them into appropriate homes? We did. And the adoption fee did not cover the expenses we paid. It becomes very easy when faced with enough of these cases to develop a very skewed opinion of breeders in general (even if it isn't deserved).
Those of us in the rescue community are working tirelessly to get those people who allow their kitty to breed year after year after year to finally have their cat spayed by offering programs such as "spay the momma" and opening more low cost and no cost clinics. We are also working with groups like Alley Cat Allies to address the feral cat populations and trying to convince shelters to alter animals before they are released to an adoptor. All we ask is that the breeder community help to regulate their own community so that one day...unscrupulous breeders are in the minority and not the majority. That being said...I think this site and especially this forum is a good start to teach people who are looking at becoming breeders the things they need to understand before they even purchase their cats and also what it takes to be a responsible breeder. For that...I am grateful.
Katie, you say that, from your experience, the majority of "breeders" are irresponsible and unscrupulous, but just exactly what is your definition of a breeder? I'm not trying to be argumentative, although I know that it might sound that way (I never learned to write) - I'm just trying to see exactly how the rescue community defines a breeder. If a "breeder" means someone who allows any two animals with reproductive parts still intact to have offspring, then one must also include all the irresponsible mixed-breed cat owners as being "breeders" and you must define humans (as they are animals) who have children as "breeders".
I think you may be unaware of the fact that CFA and TICA (and probably most of the other registries) have purebreed rescue people working tirelessly to retrieve and place so-called purebred animals in new homes - even though many of these "purebred" animals are as close to being a breed as you or I are. What many of these same people mention over and over again is that they have to tiptoe around the rabidly anti-breeder community in order to even get these cats out of shelters and placed, although the goals of finding a good home for the animals are theoretically the same.
There is very little we, as breeders, or the registering bodies can do to control the activities of unscrupulous people who will always find a way of breeding so-called purebreds. Early spay and neuter, when one can find a vet to perform the same and a pet owner willing to pay the cost of having a kitten come already spayed or neutered, is an extremely effective way of preventing a particular animal from being bred. The next best thing, to keep an honest person honest, is to have a written contract and restrictions on the registration papers of Not For Breeding as the resulting kittens could not be registered. We can also all work to help those kittens and cats which result from a breeding program by performing rescues and taking back any kitten or cat which a pet owner can no longer keep.
However, as a community, there is very little we can do about people who lie to get a kitten and then turn around and breed it without registration papers. There appears, as you may have noticed Katie, to be a network of BYBs who all know each other and who trade off stud services, kittens and misinformation.
I think this forum, while being a good place to help breeders learn how to responsibly breed, should also be a place to teach pet owners how to be responsible OWNERS.
There is much talk of what makes a good or bad breeder, but I have seen no discussion of the fact that a good many people are not fit to own pets IMO.
I have had many people whom I would not consider fit to own a goldfish call me up trying to get a kitten from me. Here's are some examples:
- Woman calls me up and says she wants a kitten and it must be a female. First thoughts in MY mind are "Why would she want a female specifically - does she think she's going to breed it?", so I ask her "Why a female?". Her answer - "Because I hear they make better mousers."
<*huh?> My response - "Since my cats will NEVER be allowed outside nor will they be used for mousing, this is a moot point. Thank you for calling. Perhaps you can adopt a cat from someone advertising free kittens to a good home." <*sigh*>
- A man calls me up and tells me he would like to get a kitten for his mother. I ask him whether she wants a kitten, knows about his quest for one, and whether they know anything at all about the Siamese breed. Answer: "No, it would be a surprise for his mother. But she would be glad to get rid of her other cat to have a new kitten."!!!! What do you suppose MY response was? (Fill in the blanks here)
- Then, of course, there are the people who think they need a new kitten to replace the one which was run over in the road. When asked why it was outside, they respond that it's natural for cats to be outside.
- There are the types who want to get a kitten as a toy for their children.
- There are also the types who will mention that their cat just died. You ask them why and their response is that they don't know. It just wasn't doing well for a couple of months and then it died. You inquire as to whether they took it to the vet and their answer is "No, I didn't have the time or money."
CFA has a mentoring program for new breeders. Perhaps it needs a mentoring program for new pet owners.
Katie, in no way am I denegrating the good done by the rescue community - a MUCH needed group of people who work hard to help animals left and right. But blaming breeders for all the problems, rather than recognizing that even if there were NO breeders - by anyone's definition of that word - there would still be millions of animals needing rescue due to human nature, is doing a disservice to the problem of overpopulation.
Perhaps, Katie, would you be willing to post rules for good pet ownership for us (without involving a discussion of whether such a cat comes from a breeder, a shelter or off the street)? I would like to see that information listed as a learning tool. I truly appreciate your posts and your thoughtful responses.