Retail Rescues and shelters can be a second chance at life and afford many people with a wonderful pet that gives immeasurable love and joy.
That being said, there are a few things about rescues that you should also know. Retail rescues and shelters:
• are exempt from most animal welfare laws,
• are exempt from consumer protection laws,
• are exempt from taxes,
• are not required to document the source of their dogs,
• are largely not held responsible for the health or temperament problems of the dogs they place,
• can market their sales as adoptions, making their motivations appear loftier than other pet sellers,
• can market their dogs' shortcomings, disabilities and diseases as selling points, even when they will cause their new owners great hardship and expense,
• can fraudulently advertise their mixes and mutts as breeds to get the public in the door,
• can engage in, or are the beneficiaries of, the mass transport of dogs from other parts of the US or from foreign countries,
• can saturate the marketplace with dogs from undisclosed origins including foreign countries, creating a black market in dogs,
• can introduce diseases and parasites to US regions where they never existed or were formerly eradicated,
• can maintain the façade of a traditional animal shelter dedicated to helping local animals in need while often closing their doors to most local animals and importing more attractive ones from great distances - even foreign countries - in order to have a constant inventory of saleable pets, and...
• can diminish the production and availability of long-standing breeds through legislation and media campaigns, and by saturating the dog marketplace with out of state and foreign dogs.
According to the Washington Post, rescues are buying dogs from dog auctions and the same puppy mills they disparage to then turn them around and sell them for profit. Yes, you heard that correctly. They lecture people on not buying from pet stores, because they are from puppy mills, and then THEY buy from puppy mills to sell those same puppies to you.
"Bidders affiliated with 86 rescue and advocacy groups and shelters throughout the United States and Canada have spent $2.68 million buying 5,761 dogs and puppies from breeders since 2009 at the nation's two government-regulated dog auctions, both in Missouri, according to invoices, checks and other documents The Washington Post obtained from an industry insider. At the auctions, rescuers have purchased dogs from some of the same breeders who face activist protests, including some on the Humane Society of the United States' "Horrible Hundred" list or the "No Pet Store Puppies" database of breeders to avoid, maintained by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals."
According to Nancy E. Halpern, D.V.M., There are several animal health and consumer-related problems associated with the unregulated movement of dogs through Retail Rescue channels:
•The source of the rescue dogs may be from the same “puppy mills” owners are trying to avoid, or from other breeders providing substandard care for the dogs,
•Dog breeding through these channels will not only continue at current levels, but is likely to increase, if the market favors sales of rescue dogs,
•Federal regulations over commercial breeders may not apply to these breeders,
•"Puppy lemon laws" which many states use to protect consumers sold dogs with infectious and/or inherited diseases and disorders do not apply to rescue/shelter dogs, so consumers are without recourse when treating their newly purchased dogs, often purchased sight unseen and with no medical history,
•Dogs imported from other states and/or countries may be infected with transmissible diseases or parasites that endanger their health and the health of other animals they come in contact with,
•Punishing retail pet stores for unscrupulous dog breeders unreasonably harms these businesses, and will not eliminate the problem at its source,
•Pet owners who prefer to purchase a pure-bred dog, for their known physical and behavioural characteristics, will have increasingly limited options.