Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys

I spent the better part of a decade running a East Coast based pet store . This outlet was a highly successful business offering pure bred puppies, food, supplies and related services such as training and grooming. My involvement with this company started quite innocently enough when I purchased a puppy and I thought this would be the greatest job in the world. And for a time, it was.

We had an amazing location which drew a ton of traffic, many celebrities and a zany mix of staff members that were charismatic and caring. The care and attention offered these babies were first rate. We employed a licensed vet tech and were supervised by two veterinarians.

We also lied through our teeth a multitude of times daily when asked ” where do the puppies come from”. The accumulation of those lies and a moral dilemma finally lead me away from the business . Truth be told, 90% of the kittens and puppies offered were purchased through wholesale distributors , brokers and on-line auctions. Every so often a hobbyist or local cat “breeder” would sell a liter to us. We bought low and sold high, each person worked on commission and it wasn’t much different than buying a used car. At that time, most pets cost the store around $150-$200 and retailed for $850-$1,000.

One time, a beagle was sold for $2,000 with falsified registration papers depicting championship blood lines. Transactions like this were a daily occurrence and so were the multitude of health related and breed specific issues. We spent a considerable time fighting with irate pet owners when their pals developed problems and had more than our share of law suits. One time, a couple came in with a white terrier hybrid, a young dog maybe two or three. He asked if we could identify this breed, none of us could. Until he took out his receipt and registration papers claiming this pup to be a Maltese, a toy breed expected to weigh well under ten pounds with a silky, non-shedding coat. Far from the twenty pound wiry fox terrier like adult dog that stood in front of us purchased for $1500.

As much joy that one could derive, watching happy tails and purring kittens find loving homes were overshadowed by the litany of lies, deception, embellishment and questionable business practices. No matter what a consumer is told, you can rest assured that any pet provided by a pet store was bred in a puppy mill environment and prone to physical and behavioral difficulties . Some of these issues can be devastating resulting in bite histories or life threatening medical conditions. Heart breaking stuff, really.

One would be well advised not to support pet retail outlets. The Puppy Project, with it’s certification process and legitimate breeders are a better alternative for a happy, healthy pet.

How to Distinguish a Real Breeder from a Puppy Mill

It is no secret that Puppy Mills, and pet stores, horribly mistreat dogs, breeding them in terrible conditions. The informed consumer would never intentionally put money in the pocket of people who put profit over the health and happiness of a puppy – but puppy mills thrive specifically because they make it hard to tell that their dogs have been mistreated. Even the most informed buyer could potentially make the mistake of buying a dog from one of these psychopaths. So how can YOU make sure your breeder is the real deal?

  1. Not Selling Puppies Year-Round

If someone is selling dogs year-round, that means they are breeding dogs year-round. People who breed dogs constantly are often using the same mother, forcing them to give birth multiple times a year, which is extremely unhealthy. A dog should only give birth at a maximum of once a year, and up to three times during their lifetime. Any organization selling puppies constantly is likely doing so by endangering the welfare of their dogs.

  1. On-site Visits

Not letting someone see their kennel is a HUGE red flag, for obvious reasons: If someone won’t let you see where they are breeding their dogs, they are hiding the conditions in which those dogs are bred… because those conditions are, pardon our French, absolute crap.

  1. Who is Your Veterinarian?

Any legitimate breeder will have a veterinarian – because in even the best conditions, dogs do get sick. Dogs need vaccinations, and checkups, especially during their first year. How could someone breed dogs without making sure they are healthy? By not caring whether they are healthy, that’s how.

  1. Number of Breeds

There’s no way a single breeder could accommodate five or six different breeds, including the different breed standards and needs of each individual breed. If a dog breeder is offering nine different dog breeds, run far, far away (after calling the authorities)

  1. Expert Referrals

If a breeder is the real deal, many people will have positive things to say about them. Most importantly, experts in the dog industry, including veterinarians, parent organizations, and others, will vouch for them. Expert referrals can be hard to get, which is why the Puppy Project exists. Our experts inspect every breeder that wants to list with us thoroughly, according to the specific requirements of their breed. A Puppy Project certification is the best guarantee that you are buying a happy, healthy puppy that has been treated with love and care.