To find the right companion animal, do some research on breeds
to find the best match for you and your lifestayle. Also, decide if you
want to obtain your dog from a shelter, a
breed placement group or a breeder.
Responsible breeders try to improve the breed.
Other breeders, often called backyard breeders
or puppy millers, may act irresponsibly
to maximize financial profits at the detriment of the dog, the breed and your pocketbook.
Learn more about adopting a dog from the Wisconsin Humane Society.
There are many
shelters in southeastern Wisconsin that have
wonderful dogs available for adoption. These dogs will make grateful new family members
and who are smart and eager to fit into your
lifestyle. Please think twice before selecting
an animal just for his or her appearance when
you could be passing up the rewarding love
and loyalty of a dog waiting for a second
If you choose to obtain your dog through
a breeder, familiarize yourself with his or her
qualifications to make ensure that he or she is reputable.
Puppy mills perpetuate cruelty
Puppy mills are breeding facilities that produce puppies without concern for their physical, social or emotional needs. The puppies are sold to the public via the internet or newspaper ads, or to brokers and pet shops across the country. Unsuspecting consumers often obtain puppy mill puppies facing an array of immediate veterinary problems, or harboring genetic diseases that do not appear until years later. Such medical problems can be a financial hardship on the dog's family.
Animals originally from puppy mills and other unscrupulous breeders are regularly surrendered to the Wisconsin Humane Society because they are sick or have serious behavior problems. These animals were treated poorly from birth.
Many dogs from puppy mills are inbred or overbred, and receive minimal veterinary care, poor quality food and water, and very little socialization. Sadly, some dogs are forced to live in puppy mills for their entire lives. Repeatedly bred, female dogs are sometimes killed or sold once their reproductive years are over.
Most pet stores obtain their dogs from puppy mills and are making significant profit from the suffering of animals. There is one way to the end that cycle - don't support businesses that sell animals and don't obtain one from these sources.
Questions to Ask a
- How long has the breeder been
in business at the same location? Make
sure they are not a fly-by-night operation.
- Does the breeder have references
you can contact?
- How many types of dogs do they
breed? Most reputable breeders
only work with one or two breeds.
- What are common health issues
or concerns associated with the breed?
- Does the breeder offer a written
guarantee to provide a full refund of the
price if the dog is later determined to
have a serious preexisting medical condition
or temperament problems?
If the breeder is not knowledgeable
about the dogs and specific breeds he or she
is selling, something is wrong. Reputable breeders
know a lot about the animals they work with,
and they provide references from satisfied
Here are some tips to help you find
a healthy companion animal:
- Age: We
recommend that puppies stay with their mothers
and littermates until they are at least
8 weeks old. An early separation can cause
lifelong behavior problems. Verify the puppy's age.
- Proper socialization: Puppies should be
friendly, not excessively shy or aggressive.
If they've been well-cared for and around
kind and loving people, they will most likely
be very friendly and playful.
- Vaccination records: By 8 weeks of age
a puppy should have gotten one distemper
combination vaccine, including a parvo preventative.
He or she should also receive booster shots
at 3 to 4 week intervals. Ask if the puppy
has been de-wormed.
- Has a veterinarian checked the
puppy? Get a written and signed
statement from the breeder's veterinarian
indicating that the animal has received
an exam. Ask for the name of the vet and
call for verification. Reputable breeders
do genetic testing of parent dogs to avoid
passing on problems. Make an appointment
with your own veterinarian for the day you
pick up the puppy, or soon thereafter.
- Nutrition: Ask to
see what the breeder is feeding the dogs.
Most good breeders will give you a few days'
supply of dog food for you to take home
and help your puppy's digestive system adapt.
- ALWAYS ask to see the dam (mother).
If the dog you are obtaining is eight weeks
old or younger, you should still see enlarged mammary glands as evidence
that the mother was lactating. Be careful. Many backyard
breeders will show you a pretty female dog
and say it's the dam, even though the dog
has never had a litter.
Responsible, reputable breeders are knowledgeable
and willing to help educate you about training
your puppy. Responsible breeders will also interview
prospective clients and ask to meet the whole
family. They want to make sure the temperament
of the puppy matches the personality and lifestyle
of the family. They want to make sure this
is a lifelong match. Responsible breeders
also encourage or require clients to spay or
neuter their puppy. The dogs on their property
are friendly, socialized and trained.
You can also adopt a purebred dog from a
local or national breed placement group. Reputable
breed placement groups require you to complete an
adoption application and check references.
They may even ask to conduct a home visit
to ensure they are placing the animal in a
suitable environment. A good breed placement
group will also spay or neuter the animals
and keep them current on vaccinations and
other medical care. Contact
us for a list of reputable breed placement
groups that we work with on a regular basis.
If you choose to adopt
a companion animal from the Wisconsin
Humane Society, either a mixed-breed
or a purebred, there are many benefits included. All animals are spayed
or neutered, given an identification microchip
and provided with other veterinary services.
As part of our adoption program we provide
assistance for undiagnosed, pre-existing medical
problems within three weeks of adoption. One
month of additional free animal health insurance
and a certificate for a free vet exam are also provided. Knowledgeable adoption counselors
will assist you in selecting a dog who will
be compatible with your lifestyle.
Animal behavior seminars, informational brochures, behavior telephone counseling and tip lines are available at the Wisconsin Humane Society. We have a retail store and help people select appropriate animal care products. Finally, knowing that you are giving a very deserving and wonderful animal a second chance increases the joy of adding a new member to your family.
Click here to see some of the wonderful animals available for adoption at the Wisconsin Humane Society.
Avoid Obtaining Puppies from Pet Stores
Not all pet stores sell puppies and kittens,
but you should be careful about the ones that
do. Consider the source of the animals sold at these facilities. Reputable breeders
do not sell their animals to pet stores.
In order to make a hefty profit, many pet
stores obtain puppies for the lowest
possible cost. This often means that pet stores
get their inventory of animals from puppy
mills. Puppies from puppy mills are sold cheaply
to animal brokers and pet stores and then
the store sells them to customers at much
higher prices. Pet stores prices can actually be
substantially higher than a reputable breeder's, and pet stores will not be able to provide you with information regarding animal's temperament, health or background. For this reason, it is best to
obtain puppies from reputable breeders,
or adopt them from a good breed placement
group or animal shelter.
Other animal shelters in the area also have
great animals for adoption. We encourage you
to check them out as well. Visit Petfinder.com
to search area shelters.
Learn more about selecting a reputable cat breeder.