The prospect of rescuing an animal from a shelter can be perceived as a daunting one. There is a common misconception that the majority of rescue animals require more effort to look after because they are more likely to suffer from health and behavioural issues, which are a consequence of their abuse or mistreatment under a previous owner.
For the hardened animal lover, rescuing an animal that fits this profile is a major part of the appeal, but for others it will seem too much like hard work.
A Cautionary Tail
Paying for a purebred animal from a pet store is not always a guarantee that you will be receiving an animal that is free from health and behavioural issues.
The trade of purebred animals as pets is a profitable business. You only have to look at statistics of dog ownership in the UK – 7 million dogs, of which 75% are believed to be pedigree – as evidence for this.
And with purebred/pedigree dogs demanding prices of anything between four hundred to two thousand pounds, the prevalence of backyard breeding programmes and puppy farms, chasing the trail of money created by such level of demands, has increased significantly.
With most pet owners looking for an animal that will fit seamlessly into home life, it is easy to take a guess at the reasons behind these statistics. Unfortunately, more often than not when the first priority is to make money, the welfare of the animals comes in a distant second.
Animals bred by the industrial methods found at puppy farms can suffer with the kind of health issues and behavioural problems that the uninformed consumer is probably looking to avoid when buying a purebred animal. These animals are then sold through adverts in the newspaper, online and on occasion through pet shops.
Image By Klearchos Kapoutsis
Paws For Thought
Not only dogs, but all animals that are bred by backyard and industrial methods are more susceptible to problems further down the line.
The cramped and unsanitary conditions found in such establishments, mean that easily contractible diseases such as cat mange are more prevalent in animals bred and housed in in such close quarters.
The breeding of animals on such an industrial level means that animals that are close relatives are often forced to mate together, a practice that leads to genetic diseases being passed to an incredible number of animals.
Again, because of the profit above all else mantra (and given the fact that many pet stores specialise in pet supplies rather than livestock), little time is found for the important socialising of animals that makes them comfortable with human interaction. Something which is all too important for forming the basis from which pets can be house trained in the future.
Although animals with problems do exist within shelters too, the fact that they have been cared for can make them happier and friendlier, and with animals receiving the medical care they might need, they are often healthier too.
Despite painting a negative picture of their practices, not all pet stores source their animals through such scrupulous means, and those who wish to buy a pedigree animal should not be put off doing so. However, with the Kennel Club recently publishing that they believe that one in three owners have bought puppies from outlets using puppy farms, it is essential to be careful when doing so.
If you have strong feelings on the argument presented, or have acquired a pet from a store or a shelter and wish to share aspects of your experience, please comment below…
- License: Creative Commons image source
Blogger and animal lover Stevie Carpenter challenges his own assumption that the purchase of a purebred animal from a store will provide a hassle free pet, to submit his answer to the Pet Shops vs. Animal Shelters debate. He writes for Petmeds.