For a young family, couple or simply someone in search of his or her new best friend, owning a puppy at some stage is almost like a rite of passage.
Need some practice with your partner before having a child? Get yourself a puppy. Want to make sure your child isn’t the centre of attention in every facet of their life? Get yourself a puppy. Looking to invest in a daily and excitable welcome home from work? Time to get yourself a puppy.
But in all this talk about how dogs and puppies have the power to complete a home, little is spoken about the responsibility we have to them.
Namely, the responsibility we have to ensure we are buying our puppies from ethical and reputable breeders and not puppy farms. To make sure we’re not accidentally encouraging – and funding – the existence of puppy farms, and the subsequent squalid and inhumane conditions they allow puppies and their mums and dads to live in, there are a few things you can do.
1. First things first, what makes a puppy farm?
In order to avoid accidentally buying a puppy from a puppy farm, it’s important to recognise what they are and how they’re defined.
A puppy farm, also called a puppy factory or puppy mill, is an intensive dog breeding facility. They operate in conditions that fail to meet the social and psychological needs of a dog. For example, the dogs often live in squalid conditions that are detrimental to their health.
Puppy farms are very, very lucrative businesses. Those that operate the businesses are in steadfast pursuit of profit, and as a result, the welfare of the dogs in question is ignored. The dogs are deprived of the love and care they need with the growth of business prioritised over compassion.
2. How to find an ethical breeder.
For a lot of people, it's not just a dog they're seeking, but a particular kind of dog. If this is you, and you're looking for a place to buy the puppy you've always wanted, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you're purchasing the dog from an ethical breeder and not a puppy farm.
According to RSPCA's Smart Puppy and Dog Buyer's Guide, this is what you can do to make sure the breeder is ethical: