Thursday, December 20, 2012

Open letter to kennel registries: require permanent identification on every pup

Meet Chloe. Her owner surrendered her to the Animal Care Center of Indio. Her intake number is 12-10-12-503. She has papers issued by the United Kennel Club (UKC).

Someone bred her, then sold her, and eventually she ended up in a shelter -- another sad face, forlorn and discarded. Wouldn't it be fantastic if every breeder took lifelong responsibility for the dogs he or she bred? No UKC, AKC, ADBA, ABKC or other dog registered with any kennel club would die in a shelter because every breeder would instantly pull that dog and place it in a more responsible home (of course the dog would be spayed or neutered before being released from the shelter).

Responsible breeders do take responsibility for their litters and would be horrified to learn one of the dogs they produced ended up in a shelter. However, thousands of dogs die in shelters every year, and this overpopulation leads shelter workers, animal rights advocates, and most rescuers to scream for spay and neuter legislation or, in some cases, breed-specific legislation. Most breeders oppose these legislative efforts. Every dog produced by an irresponsible breeder that ends up in a shelter adversely affects responsible breeders. If responsible breeders want to avoid laws that restrict breeding or ban breeds, they must take united action against irresponsible breeders or end up lumped in with them.

It is time for the kennel registries to act. The kennel registries--not politicians--should step up and require that every breeder give each pup permanent identification--either a microchip or tattoo--that any shelter can look up if the dog ends up in their care. Require that breeders (owners of both the sire and the dam) never allow one of their dogs to remain in a shelter.  Ban any breeder from being able to register additional dogs or enter shows if that breeder, after being notified that a dog he or she produced is in a shelter, fails to retrieve that dog.

It is time for kennel registries to support their responsible breeders by weeding out the irresponsible breeders and, by doing so, save a few thousands lives.