by Lilian S. Barber

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As the breeder referral person for IGCA I receive numerous requests nearly every day by phone, email and snail mail. Many times a prospective buyer will call me after finding out that most of the IGCA member breeders have a waiting list for puppies, since they don't breed more litters than can be cared for and socialized properly. People just don't want to wait. They have seen a cute IG puppy in a pet shop and want my opinion whether or not they should buy it; so this subject is very familiar to me. I hate the thought of a sweet, loving IG puppy sitting in a cage in a pet shop as much as anyone else does, but the fact is that as soon as that puppy is sold, another is ordered to take its place. In the case of large pet shops in well heeled areas, that puppy may be replaced by two or three. I heard this just recently about a pet shop in Orange County. There is no getting around the fact that buying a puppy from a pet shop perpetuates the problem. There was a time when IG puppies did not sell, so they were not re-ordered from the broker. Those times have, unfortunately, changed.

Pet shop managers are now aware of animal welfare and animal rights groups and their attempts to stop their sale of puppies and kittens, so they have been using several ploys to mislead potential buyers. I checked out a local mall store just last week. Fortunately they didn't have any IGs; but they had posted a large sign that said: "Our puppies do not come from puppymills. They are bred by USDA licensed breeders." To the general public, that sounds good. To me it sounds like educating the general public is one of the top priorities in attempting to stop the puppymills, along with working toward legislation to change things. The FACT is that a USDA licensed breeder is a commercial breeder who is in business to produce and sell large numbers of puppies.

We are not condemning those who have, unknowingly, purchased a puppy in a pet shop, but we ARE condemning the pet shops, the brokers and the puppymills.

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