Comment: The last thing the world needs is a different breed of dog | nation

The unfortunate admission of two more dog breeds by the American Kennel Club (AKC) is reported as quickly as an announcement for a new car or smartphone. But dogs are not fads. They are living, sentient beings – and the increasing demand for “purebreds” has dire consequences for dogs.

Many people who think they need the latest breed of breed buy dogs on a whim, then abandon or neglect them when they find they bark, hair, walk, mess up, and daily grooming and need attention, like all dogs do.

PETA field workers regularly encounter dogs – even purebred – that have been won without much thought about the care and dedication required. Many have been banished to a lonely, miserable existence in a box, on a chain, or in a backyard – where they have no choice but to eat, sleep, and relieve themselves day in and day out on the same tiny patch of earth from extreme weather conditions.

When they found Murphy, he barely looked like a dog. Trapped in a filthy wire cage in a dark hallway, he had been neglected for so long that his tiny 7-pound body was engulfed by 2 pounds of heavily matted, trash-encrusted fur. Winnie, a 15-pound Lhasa apso, was kept in a filthy outdoor enclosure and, like Murphy, was also covered in tight, painful mats. PETA has succeeded in ensuring that Murphy and Winnie are surrendered, cared for, and adopted into a home where they are now treated with love and respect. But not all dogs are so lucky.

Around 70 million homeless dogs and cats are struggling just to survive. They starve on the streets, drink from puddles contaminated with motor oil, get hit by cars, languish with untreated injuries and contagious diseases and succumb to extreme weather conditions. Others wait in shelters for a loving family who may never show up.

There are simply not enough responsible homes for all existing animals – yet breeders and puppy factories are only too happy to cash in on the demand for “new” breeds by producing more litters. This means misery for dogs locked in factory farms where they are repeatedly bred; denied exercise, socialization, and veterinary care; and often driven insane by intense captivity and privation.

It also means that many purebred breeds suffer lifelong debilitating health problems because they were bred to harmful AKC “breed standards”. Dachshunds ‘elongated spines, for example, can cause debilitating back problems, and bulldogs and pugs’ unnaturally flattened faces and short airways make them difficult to fetch a ball, run, or even breathe. The newly added breeds are reportedly prone to fractures, patellar dislocation (dislocated kneecaps), hip and elbow dysplasia, epilepsy, and cataracts.

The greedy breeding industry doesn’t care about the health, well-being, or even their lives of the dogs. It’s up to the people who refuse to support an industry that treats dogs like items to be made, sold, and disposed of – by never buying animals from breeders or pet stores. When you are ready to give a dog a lifetime of love and care, please visit your local animal shelter and adopt a companion who will hold first place in your heart.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Teresa Chagrin is Animal Care and Control Manager in the Cruelty Investigation Department at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.

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About Clayton Arredondo

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