What we believe: Good breeders are good people

Here at Animal Advocates of Alabama, we've been accused of being hypocrites because we support good breeders. We are getting a new pug puppy, and we're not apologizing for that. We've had dozens of rescue dogs coming through our house. We believe in rescue, and we believe in "adopt, don't shop."

But we also respect good breeders. Not backyard breeders or puppy mills. But those breeders who want to keep a breed line intact. Or who want to show their dogs. Otherwise, where would we find quality animals who can be our companions? We are not PETA, which wants to end all breeding. We believe good, quality breeders are keeping breeds alive.

PugsNot long ago, my wife and I were criticized on social media for wanting to get a baby pug from a high-quality breeder. We were hypocrites, the person accused. That cost the irresponsible person a $2,000 sponsorship at her dog festival, Barking at the Moon in Fultondale. It's a good event, but when they allow a marginal person, who is ugly to others, to be involved, it's a bad deal. They won't be having a sponsorship from us.

Good, high-quality breeders are necessary for the breed of the dog. Yes, rescue is vitally important in Alabama. We treat animals like crap. But good breeders are important, too. They make sure our companions are who they are. We're pug people. But we've got pug-Chihuahua mixes, pug-Boston terrier mixes, pug-Jack Russell mixes. These mixes are great, and we love them. But the pure breeds also need protection. Good breeders do that.

Backyard breeders generally are hobbyists. They do not vet their animals, check them for genetic disease, or socialize their puppies. Puppy mills are just plain horrible. The dogs are treated like breeding machines. They live in cages barely big enough to hold them, they are fed poor-quality food, and they are not socialized. When they do get too sick to make money for their owner, they are put out on the street -- literally -- to fend for themselves.

Veronica and I are getting old. But we're going to get a pure pug puppy soon. That little guy will be our last one. We're getting him/her from a fabulous breeder. We have passed and kept many rescues in our home. If you are offended that we'd get a purebred pug from a high-quality breeder for our grumble, then be offended. That's what we're going to do.

Good breeders are responsible breeders. We support them. Backyard breeders and puppy mills need to be shut down. Two of our pugs are from those kind of breeders, and those breeders are  awful.

The Alabama Legislature needs to address this issue, but it won't. Lawmakers are all about what's good for them, not for the voiceless they should be concerned about. They should regulate backyard breeders and puppy mills, but they won't because they don't care. What's in it for them? That's what they care about.

But here at Animal Advocates of Alabama, we'll keep caring, and trying to motivate our corrupt governor and Legislature to act. We'll bang our heads against that wall until our brains are rattled and mush.

Good breeders are good people. Bad breeders are bad people. That's the message.


Joey Kennedy

Joey Kennedy is president and publisher of Animal Advocates of Alabama. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Kennedy worked for more than 33 years at The Birmingham News.

1 comment

  1. Jimmy 30 May, 2016 at 10:50

    I am with you on this Joey. I want every pup in a great home for sure. I want the pure needs to continue under the careful watch of professional component breeders. Puppy mills, backyard breeders, and the dogs running free are a problem. What about a registration fee for ever dog? Small fee but keep the small unmanaged breeder out?

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