A practice created with the best of intentions may be feeding profit into the system it seeks to destroy.
By Justyne Yuen-Lee
As animal lovers, we hope for the best practices when it comes to finding a new dog to add to the family. We preach the mantra “Adopt Don’t Shop” to people considering the pet parent lifestyle. And if adopting isn’t an option, we suggest research on reputable breeders who go above and beyond expectation to provide their clients with the healthiest pets and the dogs with a cruelty-free life.
In our for-profit world, it is easy to slip toward the extreme notion that all breeders are constantly overbreeding for the almighty dollar and use dogs as a means to an end. Inside this story-line, the heroes become the rescuers who go to any length to save dogs from puppy mills. This is not always true.
And thus we arrive at the “puppy mill rescue” or “auction rescue” practice. Rescue groups, fuelled by donations from supporters, participate in auctions to buy dogs with the hopes to remove them from the breeding cycle. Then these groups rehome the “rescued” dogs.
But are they really rescues and is this practice weakening the industry or supporting it?
Dog auctions were once a place where breeders would sell the dogs that were of “no use” to them. Rescuers would buy them for a low price and rehome them.
However, these “auction rescues” now generate almost forty percent of auction income according to Bob Hughes, owner of Southwest Auction Services. Breeders will now save their puppies for auctions since rescuers will pay more than brokers.