|Without exaggeration, there are hundreds of thousands of homeless dogs in shelters and rescues across the country.
Petfinder.com has over 5000 pit bulls listed alone. The sad fact is that less than 50% of the shelters and rescues in the country are on Petfinder, and most of those do not bother to list pit bulls anyway.
Rampant over breeding by irresponsible breeders and irresponsible owners allowing their un-altered dogs to roam loose are the heart of this problem. A quick internet search for Pit Bull kennels will turn up HUNDREDS of kennels that breed more than five litters a year, this does not include the 'stud kennels' who sell sperm for artificial insemination - responsible for hundreds more litters every year.
Every day, puppies and dogs are dropped at shelters or just abandoned by their owners in fields or parking lots. Had those dogs come from responsible breeders or rescues, those dogs could have been returned instead of just being left behind like unwanted luggage.
According to estimates by the Humane Society of the United States, over FOUR MILLION unwanted dogs and cats are killed every year in shelters across the country. Approximately 25% of dogs and cats in shelters are pure bred.
|Who wants someone else's throw away dog?
There is a common mis-conception about dogs and cats in shelters... that they are there because they are 'bad' or because they are 'problem pets'. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most common excuse for dumping a pet at a shelter is 'change in family situation'. This includes marriage, divorce, new baby, new job or moving. The pet is the innocent victim who is cast aside because they are now inconvenient.
The sad fact is that many people purchase dogs from pet stores, puppy mills and irresponsible breeders without any thought about the life long commitment they are making. If you buy a puppy from a pet store, what will you do with that puppy when you don't want it anymore? The pet store won't take it back... so your only choice is to dump it at a shelter, and the odds are that it will die there. A reputable breeder will take back a dog fro ANY reason at ANY time.
Connor was starved to near-death before he was thrown in the dumpster where he was found by a city worker. He weighed 29 pounds when they brought him to the vet, they estimated he was about a year old. He spent a week at the vet's office, while the shelter looked for a foster home for him. I was approached to take him in, and refused... they kept on me and eventually I accepted. When I told them I would take him, they had to call the vet to see if he was already dead - they weren't sure if he was in the noon group or the end-of-day group. He arrived at my home two days later, looking like a skeleton with fur stretched over it.
It took nearly a year to get him healthy and to a correct weight. He is now happy and healthy, and has earned CGC and TT titles, and TDI certification.
|Connor, October 12, 2003
|Connor, August, 2004
|Connor's story, unfortunately, is not uncommon. There are cases of extreme abuse and neglect in every shelter and rescue. Rampant over breeding only adds to the problem.
Until Pit Bulls are rare in shelters, until every responsible breeder has a waiting list of YEARS for their puppies, there is NO REASON for any kennel any where to be producing more than one litter a year. Most responsible breeders breed far less than that, having a litter every few years.
There are currently two fads in pit bulls, and they run to opposite extremes.
- The 'Short-n-Wide'
- The extreme inbreeding necessary to produce this body type causes many temperament problems, genetic disorders and endless physical problems as well.
- The Giant Pit Bull
- These dogs do not appear pure bred by any stretch of the imagination, most lines appear to be more Mastiff blood than Pit Bull in the first place. Part of the 'giant' fad is the blue coat color. Blues are sold as 'rare' (a bold face lie, blues are extremely common, especially from Back Yard Breeders), and command a premium price. This premium price comes at great expense to the dog - because breeding blue dogs to each other ensures a litter of primarily blue dogs (big money for the breeder), but almost guarantees Demodex mange, caused by the weakened immune system that goes hand in hand with the poor breeding practices used to get all blue litters. Demodex mange is a lifelong problem, and is expensive and difficult to treat.
Blind, old and of no more 'use' to her owners for breeding...
"Found wandering the streets in Oakland, California; dirty, chewed up, badly bred, mama dog to who knows how many litters. Her stoicism and noble spirit just shined through and embodies everything I just love about this breed. She wasn't afraid of me; wasn't growling or shrinking away .. Just hanging steady, listening closely, sniffing the air and taking everything in. Argh! What a diva. She won't survive the shelter, but she'll be one of those dogs that'll stay with me for a loooong time. Sleep well, Wise One. Wishing you happier travels in your next journey." - Donna Reynolds of BadRap
Sadly, dogs like this one are not uncommon in shelters, and they rarely make it to rescue. They are often bred at every heat and they just wear out. Once they are no longer able to produce puppies they are dumped at shelters or just let loose to wander the streets. They are not great candidates for rescue because they often have health problems and temperament issues.
A picture is worth a thousand words
The following graphic picture shows the grim reality of pet over population. Please do not scroll
down unless you are prepared.
|The caption reads: Two days' worth of euthanized animals sit in barrels in cold storage at the Kern County Animal Shelter on Mount Vernon Avenue. The animal shelter euthanizes about 25,000 animals every year.
This is two days worth of dead animals from a small shelter in California. TWO DAYS.
Every single one of those animals came from somewhere... a puppy mill, a back yard breeder, someone who
'just wanted one litter' from their dog. When you choose to create life, you are responsible for that life.
Those animals didn't ask to be born, and they sure didn't ask to die in fear in the hands of a shelter
employee. Shelters have NO CHOICE but to euthanize these animals, more and more come in every day. There
are far more animals than there are homes.
The ONLY way to stop this the wholesale slaughter of healthy, happy pets is to STOP PRODUCING THEM.
99% of pet owners have no 'need' for a 'pure bred' dog. They don't intend to show the dog or compete
in breed specific performance trails. Getting an 'AKC' dog from the local paper is no guarantee of
health or temperament or quality. In fact, you have a BETTER chance of getting that 'perfict' dog from a reputable
rescue where the dogs are evaluated before you adopt them.
If you MUST buy a dog, then look for a responsible breeder.