Since there are homeless pets awaiting adoption, the Regina Humane Society (RHS) strongly advocates that persons wishing to acquire a pet obtain one from a shelter or other source of homeless animals, such as breed rescues, and rescue groups that embrace spay and neuter requirements, or from responsible owners (See Keeping Companion Animals as Pets Position Statement) looking to re-home animals in their care.
If a suitable pet cannot be adopted through these sources, the Society recommends obtaining a pet only through a compassionate, responsible breeder.
Breeding animals responsibly takes a lot of diligence and hard work. Responsible breeders:
- Produce puppies/kittens for the purpose of preservation and betterment of the breed, by choosing parents that are a good representative of the breed, with positive temperaments (i.e., safe around humans) and a good health history. It is important for them to have a good understanding of genetic tendencies in the animal’s family pedigree.
- Register their animals with the appropriate organization (Canadian Kennel Club, Canadian Cat Association). (Other so-called registries have been created, some for mixed breed animals. In Canada the Canadian Kennel Club is legislated to be this country’s purebred dog registry.)
- Perform all health tests available for their breed of interest to ensure that genetic diseases and conditions are not passed on.
- Study reproduction, whelping and queening practices so as to cause no harm to their animals and to be prepared to assist in the birthing process where necessary and to look after newborn kittens and puppies and their mother.
- Comply with all applicable laws regulating breeders in their jurisdiction.
- Keep breeding stock healthy and well socialized with both people and other animals.
- Never keep more dogs or cats than they can provide with the highest level of care, including quality food, clean water, proper shelter from heat or cold, exercise and socialization and veterinary care.
- Base breeding frequency on mother’s health, age, condition and recuperative abilities.
- Don’t breed extremely young or old animals.
- Raise puppies and kittens in their home to prepare them for living with their future families.
- Keep puppies and kittens clean, warm, fed, and with the mother until 8 to ten weeks of age; begin socialization at three weeks of age and arrange for a veterinarian’s exam before placement.
- Wean animals and provide appropriate vaccination before placement (8 to ten weeks of age for dogs and cats).
- Find responsible homes for each animal. Some responsible breeders will not allow their animals to breed until they have a waiting list for the offspring. If a home cannot be found for an animal, the breeder will keep the animal and be responsible for its lifelong care.
- Interview each potential client, as he/she wants to know about the person that is purchasing his/her animals to ensure lifelong commitment and care and to discuss positive and negative aspects of a particular animal and its breed.
- Record and provide clients with information about the animal’s pedigree, and provide an opportunity to meet at least one of the parents so that potential buyers can see the expected adult size of the dog or cat and learn about the parents’ temperament and state of health.
- Are willing to tour clients through the location and facilities where the animals are being raised.
- Show clients health certificates and complete records of veterinary visits.
- Provide a purchase contract in plain language that spells out breeder’s responsibilities, buyer’s responsibilities, and health guarantees. The contract should also contain a lifelong return policy if for any reason the new owners are no longer able to provide the animal with responsible care.
- Ensure that buyers agree not to breed pet quality animals (animals that for some physical or behavioral trait are not good representatives of the breed) by using a spay/neuter contract or by having these pets altered before placement.
- Offer guidance and support to new owners.
- Never sells puppies/kittens to a dealer or pet shop.
The Regina Humane Society does not support purchasing or otherwise acquiring animals from irresponsible breeders.
The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) and the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association (CVMA) also offer guidance in selecting an appropriate pet from a responsible source through these publications:
- CKC Finding a Reputable Breeder
- CVMA Dog Breeding Position Statement
- CVMA Ownership and Selection of a Pet Position Statement
- CVMA Common Sense Guide to Selecting a Dog or Cat