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The Importance of Choosing a Responsible, Humane Breeder

American Humane’s highly trained animal first responders are on the ground in Tennessee, caring for more than 30 dogs that were seized by local authorities. These emaciated and malnourished pups were mistreated and neglected by the humans in their lives.

Sadly, for our rescue team, this is not an uncommon sight. Back in 2018, we helped rescue and rehabilitate 255 dogs in an another abusive and cruel situation. This reinforces the importance for the public to only seek dogs from a responsible breeder. All breeders are not created equal.

While many people choose to adopt from shelters, others may work with a breeder for a variety of reasons, including breed preference, allergies, and the need for a guide or service dog, at which jobs certain breeds excel. American Humane strongly encourages everyone looking for a purebred dog to seek out responsible, humane breeders that treat the animals in their care with love and compassion. To learn more about the difference between a responsible breeder and a puppy mill, check out American Humane’s position statement on the matter.

By demanding the highest standards from breeders, animal lovers can help hit irresponsible breeders where it hurts – their pockets. The worst culprits fail to provide for the physical and emotional needs of the dogs in their care, confining puppies to filthy and unsafe conditions where they often receive little to no behavioral or veterinary attention. Our rescue team often finds that dogs from puppy mills face ongoing health problems throughout their lives due to the harsh conditions in which they are born. All dogs deserve to be raised with kindness, care and attention shown to their physical and developmental needs.

Already, American Humane has launched an effort to ensure humane conditions among responsible breeders who prioritize the health and welfare of their animals over profit. You can learn more about that effort here. By helping families delineate between reputable operations and those that mistreat and neglect animals, we can encourage informed, responsible breeding practices.

Robin R. Ganzert, Ph.D., is president & CEO of American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization.

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