background image

The puzzle of pet homelessness...

Brenda Lloyd | 2019-12-02

(Note:  Before I even begin writing this, I will state that I went to the home to pick up my new friend, met his parents, and even called the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society welfare line for direction - this was not a puppy mill operation). 

So...I bought a designer puppy that was posted for sale on Kijiji yesterday - from what most would consider a "backyard breeder". 

And I would like to begin a discussion on that...because I know that some are now  judging me, calling me irresponsible...and I think that deserves a discussion.

I make no apologies... 

I love dogs. I mean, I LOVE dogs...

I homecook for my own, and take great care to ensure they lead enriched and interesting lives.  I have a certificate in animal welfare, a certificate in dog training and obedience, and I'm a certified pet food specialist.

I know a lot about dogs, and am certainly aware that there are far too many dogs - and other pets - sitting in shelters in need of homes.  

I read the news, and watch the rescue shows; get sucked into the sad posts about stray dogs in the U.S., the feral dogs in Mexico, and the dog meat trade in Asia - that appear in my newsfeed every day.  I've heard the warnings about the risks of buying from "backyard breeders", as well as the pleas from animal experts and rescues to "adopt, don't shop".

So why on earth did I buy a mixed breed puppy yesterday...from the Kijiji guy?

Well, I am going to get into that (in my next few posts), but before I do so...I would like to know, from anybody and everybody who may like to comment:

How significant do you think the pet overpopulation problem is in Canada?  Do you feel there even is one, or do you think that we hear so much about the problem from American television/rescues/shows/social media that some Canadians have simply morphed the problem from that country into one of our own?

If you do think there is an overpopulation problem, what do you think is the main cause/are the main causes? 

If there is a problem, then why are rescues all over Canada importing homeless dogs from other countries? Why are there no laws in place to limit canine breeding - of any type, including purebreds - until it is under control?  

Do you think that shelter overpopulation could possibly be a result of the fact that responsible pet ownership is becoming so expensive as to be prohibitive?  Or that people are simply so busy running around trying to make ends meet in this frantic world that they don't have time to train, socialize and care for their dogs well, and end up having to surrender the resultant broken ones?  

How many dogs are in shelters today because intolerant people complain about their presence in apartment buildings and condos, forcing guardians to surrender their dogs or move?  How many because of breed specific legislation? 

Or, perhaps, is it just natural and inevitable for any society to have a certain percentage of lost and vulnerable individuals (think children in foster care, homeless adults),that need care and help from the rest of us...and we are doing a crap job of providing that needed care? 

(Note: Statistically and based on the numbers that I could find, I would hazard a guess that there is a greater percentage of minor children in foster care/considered permanent wards than there are homeless dogs in shelter at any given time - I'd love for someone to prove me wrong on that one).   

I will post my thoughts on the above questions in my next few posts...and I will share the story of my new family friend, as well.  

I will also get into why I feel that targeting ALL "backyard breeders" and lumping them in with the evil of "puppy mills" can sometimes be unfair...and why making them the primary scapegoat for the overwhelming problem of canine homelessness in this country is dramatic and unwarranted.

But first, I'd like to hear some other opinions...not to challenge, but in the spirit of fire away.

I have thick skin, and am always open to knowing that I may very well be completely misguided.

Besides, the sting of any criticism will be much soothed by the fact that I am considered a hero by at least one wee soul:

His name is Finnegan...and he's a part of my family now, no matter how he came to be here, and come what may...


To be continued...