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Adopting a Pet Should Be a Happy "Tail"

There are plenty of great dogs available for adoption in shelters, but advocates say beware of online and so called backyard breeders. (Veronica Carter)
There are plenty of great dogs available for adoption in shelters, but advocates say beware of online and so called backyard breeders. (Veronica Carter)
May 2, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The idea of a new puppy in the family can sound like a great idea, but the Arkansas Attorney General's Office has a warning: Watch out for online breeders who promise a lot of things but don't follow through.

These breeders have photos of adorable puppies and guarantee the animals are up to date on all vaccinations, but consumers should use caution because it could be a scam artist.

Ashley Younger is director of the Central Arkansas Rescue Effort (CARE) for Animals. She says Arkansas doesn't have a lot of regulations for breeders, and there are some reputable ones in the state, but there also are what she calls "backyard breeders" who are just out to make a quick buck.

"There's a difference between breeding a dog because you grew up with schnauzers all your life and you just think they're wonderful and you want to share the gift of that breed with future generations,” she states. “I think that is distinguishable from someone who just looks at breeding animals as a cash crop."

Before getting a new animal, Younger says it's a good idea to do research, because adopting a pet should be a lifelong commitment.

Younger says there are too many unwanted animals in Arkansas, but rather than focusing on just how to house them, the smarter approach is through spay and neuter programs.

"You look at how often that dog can get pregnant again and you start to see how big that problem becomes,” she stresses. “Especially if you look at our euthanasia rates, it just becomes unconscionable to keep bringing all these animals into the world that we just don't have a place for them to go."

Younger says many communities in Arkansas offer low-cost spay and neuter clinics for pets.

Younger adds there are a lot of great animals, including full-breed dogs available for adoption in shelters around the state, but if you do buy from a breeder, she says ask to spend some one-on-one time with the animal before you take it home.

"We do want our adopters to make a lifetime commitment to these animals, so we want to do everything in our power to set our adopters up to have a success story,” she states. “I like to call it a 'happy tail.' "

The Attorney General's Office says responsible breeders will let your tour their facility. Other advice: Check for references and pay with a check or credit card so you have a receipt.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - AR