– by Tania Sigurdson, Education Chair
I have heard this phrase, “backyard breeder” many times as I am sure you have as well but I think it is time to re-visit what this actually is and how it is impacting our province. We, at the Pembina Valley Humane Society, are dedicated to the safe re-homing of cats and dogs in our community. Our mission is to “promote humane and compassionate animal care through sheltering, adoption, education, and community outreach” (https://pvhsociety.ca). It is through this lens that I would like to re-visit and ensure everyone understands exactly what a “backyard breeder” is and why it is so important to be aware of who you are getting your new animals from.
When looking for a new pet it is important to remember that where you get your pet from requires a lot of research on your part to make sure that your new furever friend has come from a safe place. Local shelters, like the PVHS, are a great place to start but we recognize that we may not have the right fit for your family. You may also be looking for a specific breed of dog which causes you to begin the search for a breeder. “Backyard breeders” are known for mass producing puppies for the purpose of making a profit without investing the adequate care for the animals they are responsible for. On the RSPCA website (kb.rspca.org.au), they indicate that “backyard breeders often do not adequately provide for all the special needs of the mother and her offspring” and go on to state that “inadequate nutrition, infections diseases, parasite infestations, behaviour problems, health issues, and genetic abnormalities are common in these situations placing the welfare of animals at risk.” During COVID restrictions, many families decided to bring a new pet into their home. As a result, there was a massive increase in people looking for a new pet and a shortage of new pets available. This increased the opportunity for backyard breeders to thrive and make a dramatic profit while investing little care for the animals they were breeding or the families their puppies were going to.
On March 9, 2023 CBC posted an article about an investigation by the chief veterinarians office regarding “two dogs in emaciated conditions that were being sold through an online auction house.” This backyard breeder was reported to be located in Grunthal, MB. I would encourage you to read the article (linked below) so you see the significance of this situation and the many more like it that still exist right here in our province.
At the Pembina Valley Humane Society, we love animals. The staff have dedicated their careers to the responsible care and re-homing of the animals in our shelter. The many PVHS volunteers have dedicated countless hours to walking, playing, cuddling, feeding, and cleaning up after the shelter animals while they wait for their new family. Through responsible practices, we work with our local veterinarians to ensure our animals are healthy prior to re-homing and we are very proud of the work we do for our community and the animals in our care. We also know there are many responsible breeders in Manitoba for families who are looking for that option as well. When looking for a breeder, it is incredibly important to know who you are buying from and what conditions the animals are living in. The Humane Canada website states that “if you don’t take the time to carefully choose where you get your puppy, you could end up with a dog that suffers from serious medical issues or behavioural problems, causing you a great deal of heartache, frustration, and expense” and ultimately, supporting backyard breeding or puppy mills. (humanecanada.ca) Humane Canada also provides a list of “essential question to ask a breeder” which I have provided a link to below as a resource to help you make informed decisions.
Other options would be to ask around – good breeders rely on good reputations. You could also check with your local veterinarian. No matter which route you take, a shelter or a breeder, always ask lots of questions, check out their websites/online presence, and do your research. And, if you come across something that is worrisome report it to the local authorities.
I wish you all the best in your search for your new furry friend and encourage you to check out the PVHS to see if we already have the perfect pet for you who is just waiting for you to come meet them.
Last modified: October 7, 2023