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Beware of Backyard Breeders

Thinking about getting a purebred dog? Here are some do's & don'ts to help guide you through the process.

Always visit your local animal shelter or rescue group before purchasing a purebred dog or cat. Many shelters and rescue groups will have purebred animals available for adoption and a great selection of Mutt-i-grees that will steal your heart.

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Visit our pet Adoption website section to search for a purebred dog at the Animal League, or at thousands of shelters and rescue groups across the U.S.

For those people that really want a purebred dog, please keep in mind the following:

Do:

  • Check the breeder’s references. The breeder should be able to provide you with a list of satisfied clients.
  • Visit the home or kennel of the breeder to make sure that the animals are well cared for and appear healthy.
  • Make sure that there are not more dogs or cats than the breeder is able to care for properly. Proper care includes quality food, clean water, proper shelter from the heat and the cold as well as available veterinary care.
  • Ask to see the parents of the pet that you want to purchase. Breeding frequency should be based on the age and health of the mother dog. In general, dogs and cats under the age of one year should not be bred.
  • Visit the area where nursing mothers and puppies are kept. The area and the animals should be clean and the animals socialized, well fed and warm with access to veterinary care as needed.
  • Make sure the breeder has knowledge about the pet you would like to purchase - breed characteristics; temperament, breed specific health issues, etc., and can provide documentation on the lineage of any pet that is used for breeding.
  • Be prepared to fill out the breeder’s application for the purchase of your new puppy or kitten. The breeder will want to make sure that you are ready for the responsibility of pet parenting and that the puppy or kitten that you select is right for you.
  • Read the purchase contract closely before buying the dog or cat. Confirm that the puppy or kitten has been properly vaccinated and that your responsibilities and the breeder’s responsibilities to the new pet are clearly defined.
  • Confirm that the breeder will take the puppy or kitten back if you are unable to care for it.
  • Make sure that your new pet is spayed or neutered if it is not show quality.

Don't:

  • Don't purchase a dog or cat from the internet or from a Pet Store. In all likelihood, these animals come from cruel and inhumane mills or from irresponsible backyard breeders.
  • Don’t buy a pet without visiting the local shelter first. You’d be surprised at all the wonderful animals available for adoption.