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 alive, sentient beings – and the increasing demand for “purebreds” has dire consequences for dogs.
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 life in a box, on a chain, or in a backyard pen – where they have no choice but to eat, sleep, and relieve themselves day after day in the same tiny patch of earth.
When they found Murphy, he barely looked like a dog. Trapped in a wire cage in a dark hallway, he was neglected for so long that his 7-pound body was engulfed by 2 pounds of heavily matted, trash-encrusted fur. Winnie, a 15-pound Lhasa apso, was kept in an outdoor enclosure and, like Murphy, was also covered in tight, painful mats. PETA was able to get Murphy and Winnie to surrender, foster, and adopt into the homes. But not all dogs are so lucky.
Around 70 million homeless dogs and cats are struggling to survive. They starve on the streets, drink from puddles contaminated with engine oil, get hit by cars, languish with untreated injuries and contagious diseases and succumb to extreme weather conditions. Others wait in shelters.
There are simply not enough responsible homes for all existing animals – but breeders and puppy factories are only too happy to accept the demand for “new” breeds through further litters.
It also means that many purebred breeds suffer lifelong debilitating health problems because they were bred to meet harmful AKC “breed standards”. 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.
Teresa Chagrin is the Animal Care and Control Manager in the Cruelty Investigations Department at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).