Animal Shelters A Front For Puppy Mills?

by Mary Haight on January 30, 2013

animal sheltersWhat happens when animal shelters turn to breeding puppies to support their shelters? Given that this concept goes against shelter ethics, were they really ever a shelter? This question, and more, arose when Mel Freer (No Dog About It) wrote about an online site a friend thought might be of interest to her. Was this a puppy mill in disguise or was this a breeder operating an animal shelter as a front for puppy sales? Take a look at the screen shots and see what you think. Either way, it’s an ugly reality that defrauds the public. Skip ahead to the fact that this operation as a shelter could apply for a 501c3*, registering them as a tax-deductible entity with the IRS — Uh-oh.

Animal shelters are defined in the public mind as working to adopt relinquished and unclaimed pets.

A breeder is not a no-kill shelter and a no-kill shelter is not a breeder. The State of Wisconsin and others may be turn sheltering efforts on their head. Tax-free contributions by businesses who profit from them keep puppy mills or breeders masquerading as no-kill non-profits in the green, while the hapless people who think it’s fine to order a dog over the internet keep them thriving. With a 501c3, puppy mills and those selling pets to anyone with the cash would gain some credibility. What a way to defraud people, not to mention destroy public trust.

Having a kennel is one thing, but a 501c3? I wonder what the Animal Legal Defense Fund has on this. Can anyone chime in on this point: How many States allow animal shelters to also have a breeding operation or vice-versa? It may be that most do. There is some good information in this State Puppy Mill Laws document, but no easy answer.

It doesn’t seem logical there would be legislation that says you can’t have a business and a not-for-profit at the same time, simply don’t co-mingle funds. Of course there is a problem with board members profiting from any shelter business dealings, but how long would *that* take to be discovered by the IRS?

There are  2-3000 USDA breeding operations licensed each year according to the ASPCA. Add in estimates of  unlicensed breeders and that total rises to around 10,000 per HSUS. Daunting numbers if you think how many could apply to be a 501c3 charitable organization. And here’s the kicker that might be on the minds of animal advocates:  You may have heard or experienced first-hand the difficulty of determining who is a good breeder and who isn’t. Should this shelter/breeder ruse succeed in embedding itself like the cancer it is, won’t many animal shelters be stuck in a similar fight for identity and public trust? There is nothing stopping these operations from keeping the breeding facility at another location and out of sight.

Then comes the ripple effect — what happens to donations that come from outside the local area? Would it get to a point that people would only donate to shelters they could themselves inspect for fear of supporting a puppy mill? Not a pretty picture, and possibly the biggest case of identity theft ever.

 

*the group referred to is not a 501c3

27 comments
JoanWeatherfordSammond
JoanWeatherfordSammond

if you go to AKC's website, you will notice they have a list of "recommended" purebred rescue orgs....they are all registered breeders with akc, in fact the "double license" is the new thing and breeders have two websites posting pups on their breeder website and posting the worn out breed stock on the so called "rescue" site they also own.  that way they appeal to all.  scam.  plus they also can now collect donations and receive grants.  scam.  they can also pull purebred dogs that end up in shelters free of charge with their "rescue" license and then flip it into their breed stock for breeding.  leave it to the puppy millers to think of new ways to abuse dogs.  

RobertPaulHudson
RobertPaulHudson

All shelters/rescues sell their animals with an "adoption fee" if you want to look at it that way. My local Humane Society has a dog fee between 200 and 400 dollars depending on the breed.

Sheltie Times
Sheltie Times

I don't believe in making broad sweeping generalizations about any group.  There are corrupt rescues and shelters.  Most of the ones I've worked with however have strict spay and nueter policies.  It is hard to start a puppy mill when you are spaying and nuetring the incoming dogs.  I'm not saying it isn't happening and it shouldn't be addressed, but when broad sweeping generalizations are made, you hurt the legitimate work that is done, by rescues and shelters that have no desire to recreate the puppy mills they fight against.

 

I known responsible breeders that take in adult dogs that need rehoming that came from their facilities.  I'm not sure what the poster defines a kennel as, but around here, kennels are primarily used as temporary housing for dogs when owners are away.  They don't take in dogs who need rehoming, they refer to shelters and breed rescues depending on the area.

 

I thankfully haven't encountered shelters/rescues using breeding to support or cover their activities.  The breed rescue we use requires all rescues to be spayed/nuetered.   I have known responsible breeders that do run breed rescues and having seen their facilities they do rescue older and disabled dogs.  Some end up staying with the person who runs the rescue or the fosters because there aren't new owners lining up to adopt.  We met one the last time we adopted from our breed rescue.  The dogs they breed and show are raised as a separate business.  They want to raise the best quality dogs to improve the breed.  Without full knowledge of the history of the dogs coming into rescue, that disqualifies them for breeding.

 

That doesn't matter to those who are puppy mills, I realize that.  However, we do need to be careful and not attack the legitimate breeders with the same anger we have for the puppy mills.  I for one want to see the continuation of quality dog breeders who will raise pure bred dogs in healthy, safe, living conditions and continue to preserve the traits we love about the specific breeds.  As for breeders who are involved in rescues, both of my dogs benefited from having 2 different breeders who understood the breed and who organized a rescue and was then be there for both of them when their owners lef them.  I'd much rather see them in foster care with someone who understands the breed then stuffed into a cage/crate with in a shelter with a bunch of random dogs with people who can't even identify what kind of dog they are when trying to place them.

 

While I can see allowing breeders who have a legitimate, safe, healthy breeding business to also run a breed rescue where all the rescues are spayed/nuetered, I can see no justification for a rescue that breeds dogs.  It runs against against all logic for a place that is supposed to be reducing homeless animal populations to increase them because people want more puppies than they have and it brings in revenue.  I have always supported spaying and nuetering for rescue animals to decrease future homeless populations.  Rolling the cost into the adoption just ensures that it is done and nobody has to check on the adopter after the fact.  The animal leaves with the assurance that it will bring no more into the world.

 

Perhaps part of the problem in this discussion is we aren't defining the words and terms we use in the same manner.  As I mentioned before breeder and kennel perhaps are being used interchangably because breeder currently is associated with puppy mill instead of those who seek to preserve the quality and trates of a specific breed through responsible breeding.

Jackson2
Jackson2

Shelters/Rescues/and PM's what ever that is all rely on somebody raising a dog somewhere for all of them to stay in business.   There are so called rescues that sell over 18,000 dogs a year and they are a 501C, Folks that is big business  The HSMO sells thousands of dogs each year and they make millions off the dogs they sell as well..   This entire article is verging on insane, kind of like cannibals eating their own children.     Who gives a Rat patootie who is placing an animal into a loving home.  Be it a breeder rescues  etc  all of these hateful names is like the Pepsi and Coke wars..  Be honest everyone is fighting for a diminished market share.  There used to be over 10,000 licensed inspected class A USDA kennels, these folks are the good guys..   Today there are less than 2000 an 80.0% decrease.  Which means due to aggressive Verging on illegal behavior by the USDA people are operating as back yarders with no inspection or license requirements, that is not good for the animals IMO.

 

The Shelters and Rescues often are far worse places than any kennel, kennel owners do not slaughter their animals because they are inconvenient.  Kennel owners provide the best facilities and vet care for any managed population, Shelters will kill a dog opposed to treat it because it is not profitable, Rescues will not take a sick or injured or an old dog either and will put em down for the same reasons.

 

All in All the public trust has been falsely acquired by the shelters and rescues as if the truth became public, most people would be horrified of the methods and business tactics they employee.

 

I think we collective can do better, we as animal lovers need to stop calling people and each other names and look at realistic regulations and educational systems to improve the welfare and care for all animals.   

 

 

DevinHardin
DevinHardin

I just read an article last week about this. It was not a shelter but a rescue that blatantly state  it has to breed in order in order to raise the income it needs to stay open. I was horrified. Now I am learning about puppy mill brokers that are operating under the guise of rescue organizations. I know of one that I suspect is doing that. They say they get their puppies from puppy mills or from pet stores after they have reached the undesirable age of purchase. However, they advertize A LOT of puppies, young one, all purebred. They are not a 501-c-3. They have numerous complaints against them with the dog warden. You can find their name blasted all over the internet. There are just many things that are suspicious about this group. What can one do when they suspect a group is doing this? Is there anyone to report it to? Or are our hands unfortunately tied due to our inadequate laws? Thanks so much for any advise.

 

RubyFifer
RubyFifer

Sadly I know that shelters are selling dogs. More sadly is truckloads are going places that y'all don't want to know about. Mamas with litter everyday. Mostly from economically depressed areas... Places few people care about. I agreed to foster a mama & her litter of 10 from SC.. Two weeks later the "rescue" had emergency & asked if I could take 2 more because their foster had backed out AFTER the mamas and babies were already on the truck. I agreed to take them for a couple days over the next few hours I make two more puppy pens. How do I know that some are sold?? The first mama had paper work for herself & each of her 10 pups. Proof of rabies for mama and description of each baby. Mama 2 same shelter was sent to NC to a "boarding" facility that KEPT a 10 day old son of hers when they sent her back to the shelter to get on the truck. Mama number 3 had 12 pups - 7 of hers n 5 that were a couple days older. She was half starved & as a result extremely puppy aggressive. All of these babies were 10-15 days old when I got them.

lifewithbeagle
lifewithbeagle

Ugh... I don't like this at all. I don't know that I saw anything about this on the ALDF website, but I think if this is a trend, they know about it, or will soon enough.

 

Christie from lifewithbeagle.com

MelF
MelF

All really great points Mary. I am horrified to think that legitimate shelters may one day competing with puppy mills trying to hide their nefarious business behind the name "Shelter" or "rescue". Ugh!

I am still shocked at the boldness of the one that I shared. Honestly, have they no shame at all? Don't worry. I already know the answer to that question. Not even an ounce. 

 

Thanks for adding to my post by sharing some really great information. I had no idea.

Kenzo_HW
Kenzo_HW

It is also an example of how inadequate the current legislation is, regulating the symptoms and not the core of the problem. It will only disappear if we would take a completely different approach. Shrude business people without scruples will always find the next alternative - from petshop, internet, shelter identity theft, and then .... - First when we have legislation that makes it as good as impossible to earn money on dog breeding this can end. And why not, if the whole surplus of a breeder would be taxed, I don't think it will scare the breeders away, that do it for the dogs in the first place.

Sheltie Times
Sheltie Times

I'm not sure I understand.  I know breeders who do run or participate as fosters for breed rescues and they are not scamming the system.  They participate in breed rescue because they love the breed and feel compelled to help dogs who are homeless.  I am there are issues of abuse, but the legitimate breeders I know who are involved with rescue are not abusing the system.  In fact some have had real financial issues because of the financial challenges of rescue and the decreases in donations during these challenging financial times.

 

I know the person that fostered our first rescue dog was no longer fostering as she had lost her home and she had been a legitimate breeder and breed foster parent.  It was a loss to the breed rescue.  She did an amazing job preparing our dog for his new home.

 

I have no issue with legitimate breeders running resuces and fostering dogs.  Those I know who have done it have not been mixing charity and business funding.  The resuce community is close.  Those that do should be called out and reported.  However, we shouldn't take away from the people who are doing the work that needs to be done and have the facilities, training, and resources to do it.

 

 

haroldgardner
haroldgardner

That is really awful.  Let's put the IRS on them...then they will really suffer.

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