The Puppy Industry
We’ve learned some important things about the “puppy industry” in our combined years of being veterinarians. Many of us having worked with pet stores to care for the puppies they sell (wherever they come from, they’re innocent and need good care) and that makes us somewhat of “insiders”. And we believe we’ve discovered an Achilles’s Heel of the whole industry.
We’ve learned that Pet Stores buy puppies from Puppy Mills 99% of the time. They buy the dogs cheaply, for a couple of hundred dollars in most cases. Their goal is to turn that puppy around and sell it for thousands of dollars as soon as possible. It’s the only way they can stay in business.
Why “as soon as possible”? The Pet Store is an expensive business to operate.
- It’s space requirements are large
- Heating and air conditioning are expensive and essential
- Puppies need food and produce a lot of waste
- Puppies need vaccinations, dewormings, and regular veterinary care.
- It’s a very labor intensive business, even apart from the veterinary care.
- Margins are small on everything EXCEPT selling young puppies.
So it’s in the interest of the Pet Store to sell the puppies as soon as they can because they need these sales to subsidize the rest of the business. But why do they need to sell them immediately?
- Because people will pay more for younger puppies
- Every day that puppy stays in the store, it becomes an “expense”.
- The costs for caring for unsold puppies start to skyrocket. Food, vaccines, veterinary care, labor costs to care for them all add up and decrease the profit for any puppy who stays in the store for more than a week or two
- Once the puppies grow up in the store and reach about 18weeks of age, they’re essentially worthless, and the store will do anything just to move them out of the store, including giving them away.
How This Information Will Doom the Puppy Mill Industry
As veterinarians, we’ve all seen too many clients coming in to our hospitals with puppies they’ve bought from Pet Stores. We always ask them why (in a very diplomatic way). The responses vary but can be summed up thus:
- Too daunting a task to find a good breeder.
- Ignorance (they don’t actually say that)
We realized that the key here is just how hard it can be for a potential puppy purchaser to find a “good” breeder. How can they do that?
Why Hasn’t Anything Else Worked to Close Down Puppy Mills and Pet Stores Selling Puppies?
We’ve seen many valiant efforts fail.
Legislation fails because:
- of the lack of money for enforcement
- loopholes in the laws
- the ability to easily close one puppy mill and open another just down the road
- mild penalties
- State’s rights issues
Boycotting fails because:
- most activist groups are local
- most activist groups are poorly run by volunteers
- there are laws against boycotting that vary from state to state
- most activist groups are poorly organized and funded.
How Will We Succeed? What is the Plan?
We realize that the key is competition.
In our free market society, this can often be the only thing that works. Who would have imagined that an online seller of books could have possibly competed with Barnes & Noble or Borders Booksellers? Didn’t people need to browse the aisles of bookstores to buy books? But a mere ten years later, Borders is out of business, and B & N is reeling. Could anyone have imagined that we would be buying our clothes and shoes online? Zappos helped us change the way we shop. All Amazon did was offer people an easier way to shop, with better choices. And great customer service.
We will offer an easy way to for people to purchase high quality pups from responsible breeders, in good health that are guaranteed not to arrive sick to their new homes, and guaranteed not to develop the major diseases that have become inherent in those breeds.
Our sister site, www.PuppyProject.org will offer responsible breeders the opportunity to become “Certified Breeders”. This certification will entail the breeders learning advanced courses about breeding and reproduction, passing certain tests, and having their facility inspected. This is not unlike what AAHA (The American Animal Hospital Association) does with veterinary hospitals.
ONLY breeders who have met our requirements will be allowed to sell their dogs on www.PuppyProject.org.
How Will This Change Everything?
- Potential puppy purchasers will have an easy way to find great breeders without risk
- By eating into Puppy Stores most important segment (8-12wk old pups) we will take away a nice portion of their profits that they use to subsidize caring for older puppies.
- Without as much profit from those sales, the cost for caring for the puppies in the store will become overwhelming, considering their needs.
- Without being able to realize significant profits from the sales of 8-12 week old puppies, the entire process of selling puppies becomes untenable.
- As pet stores slowly stop selling Puppy Mill puppies, the Puppy Mills themselves will lose their retail outlets.
- Without the nationwide retail outlets (pet stores) Puppy Mills will be forced to sell directly to consumers.
- Puppy Mills selling puppies directly to consumers will flourish for a while, until the public learns more. Eventually, puppy purchasers will realize the the VETcbs Certification is the only guarantee of getting a quality puppy.
- Without their nationwide retail outlets, the Puppy Mill industry will eventually collapse.
Who Will Benefit from this Change?
- Responsible Breeders: With the decrease in supply of puppies, the cost will go up. That’s the Law of Supply and Demand in a nutshell. Responsible breeders will finally be able to realize a profit on the sales of the puppies that they put their hearts and souls into.
- People wishing to purchase a puppy: They will be able to easily find local and distant responsible breeders, and the dog they purchase will come with health guarantees.
- The Puppies themselves: Over time, and dent in the Puppy Mill industry can only make life better for the hundreds of thousands of dogs who will be born into this misery or Puppy Mill Factory Farming of Dogs.
- The Breeding Dogs: The puppies eventually find their way out of the Puppy Mill and hopefully into a good home. But the breeding bitches and studs never do, and live their entire lives in what are essentially concentration camps. This, too, will stop.
- Adoption and Shelter Dogs: As the price of puppies increases, very often beyond the reach of lower or middle income people, there will be more and more people going to shelters to adopt dogs. A big part of the problem is that now people can buy “purebred” puppy mill dogs for mere hundreds of dollars, instead of the thousands that they should be paying. Choosing between buying a “purebred” or getting a mutt at the shelter for about the same price is a difficult choice for most people. Choosing between buying a dog for $2000 or more, or choosing a great dog from the shelter is another story.
- Veterinarians: Vets hate seeing sick dogs coming from Pet Stores. We also hate dealing with Pet Store owners. We face the choice of either treating the puppy at our expense, or have the new owner take the puppy back to the pet store for them to treat it at no cost. Or for them to return the puppy if it’s too sick for euthanasia. With our guarantee, the veterinarian will be able to treat the puppy, and make a profit doing so.
- The Breed Itself: It’s no secret that Puppy Mills have diluted the quality of the dog breeds we love. The list is too numerous and the problems we now regularly see in dogs are directly related to poor breeding. By decreasing the amount of dogs bred through Puppy Mills and sold through Pet Stores, we can put the breeding of dogs back in the hands of the people who know best how to do it….. responsible dog breeders.
- The Pet Store Owner: well, maybe not. But at least they’ll be able to sleep at night a lot better than when they were selling Puppy Mill dogs and ripping off their customers.