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Thursday, April 29, 2010

A rant about bad dog breeders. Don't buy from them!

This is a sad story. Penny Lane, our border collie puppy, was smart and loving, but she had an uncommon problem. She would go full-tilt wacko and bite people unexpectedly. As two peace and animal-loving people, my husband and I dealt with this for a whole year, but finally, on the day of my mother's memorial, our dog attacked a kennel worker, drawing blood. She didn't want to be leashed. We started (again) working with a trainer, and on the trainer's second visit, my dear puppy lunged and attacked, jumping and biting. And on Easter Sunday Penny Lane attacked my husband, the one person who was above her in the pecking order. Now before you call me a horrible pet owner who shouldn't have even contemplated getting a border collie, contemplate backyard breeding. People who shouldn't be doing it but need the money badly are breeding cute little AKC-registered dogs that go home and become nightmares for their owners. We're talking $5000 in dental work before the first birthday. This was a border collie puppy with massive inbreeding from bad breeding decisions. They tried to breed too fast, too many, with some bad biters thrown into the mix. Border collie rescue of Southern California won't even take dogs from this breeder because of how many volunteers have been bitten badly.

It made us really sad. We had to put her to sleep. What else can you do? The vet called it a mental illness. We put everything into this dog—lots of training.
It was, however, a valuable learning experience and I'd love to help educate people about how to buy good dogs. But maybe I'm not the best-qualified. All I can tell you is what not to do. Don't take a puppy home from a breeder who is obviously disorganized, can't find shot records, and has a dirty home and kennel. You're not rescuing the dog—you're submitting your family to the worst possible attachment to an animal that's not going to be healthy. Probably adopting from a shelter is a good way to get a dog, but the ones I visited had unhealthy dogs.

Of course we were there with our dog when she was euthanized. We stroked her and told her we loved her and that she was a good dog. It really wasn't her fault and she didn't mean to have bad breeding. It was sad.

Sigh, samsara is an ocean of suffering. Please pray for Penny and all animals like this.

But the trainer has helped us to locate a very reputable lab breeder, and on May 8th we're going to go up and see if one of the 6-month old males wants to come be a part of the family. Labs are lovely and I had one as a child. We're looking forward to all of the challenges of puppyhood without the idiopathic aggression. And this breeder has a guarantee. Seriously, folks, if you have a dog that bites people and there's no way to keep it in a large pasture all the time, don't torture yourself if you have to euthanize. Sometimes it's in the pet's best interest too. A biting, aggressive animal is an unhappy one. I'm not talking about a dog that is triggered by certain things in its environment, necessarily, but one that goes crazy periodically with little warning.

Thanks for listening. This was indeed a rant. But I don't care if it offends someone if it only helps one other family. And maybe, maybe we could get some laws passed about breeding dogs for sale. I think we owe it to the animals.


Roy said...

Thank you so much for this post Laura. I am very sorry for your loss.

Karin Grow said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through all that Laura. It really was the best decision for her.

Laura said...

Thanks for your kind thoughts, Roy and Karin. I sure appreciate them.

It was hard, but we're moving on.
Bless the beasts.

Mare said...

oh Laura...I am so so sorry for you and your dog...But i am a firm believer that there are far worse things than death. I believe you did the right thing for her. Years ago I rescued a kitten that grew into a very unbalanced adult. She was very unpredictable and would actually stalk people in my home...the baby sitters, my Mother in Law. Once she slashed my sister's arm so badly she needed stitches. That was the last straw...I brought her to my vet and we decided that it would be best if she was put down. What else can you do? You cannot give her up for adoption or give her to someone else. You would just be passing the suffering on to others. It was for the best of all concerned..Sometimes the greatest act of Love is the let go...

Laura said...

Thanks Mare,
Stories like yours are very helpful. We tried for a year.

But in case anyone else reads this, you should just know that our family isn't devastated. We're moving on. Remembering our old dog with love, looking forward to getting a new one.
Details soon.