Dog Owners or Breeders who is to Blame for the Overpopulation in Shelters – Dog Owners

Dog Breeders or Owners? It’s really hard to choose the greater of two evils. I’ve volunteered for animal shelters for the past two years and I could give you many accounts of reprehensible behavior from both candidates. But, I would have to lean towards dog owners, sadly, as the more culpable for the large population of abandoned and sheltered dogs.

Although a licensed dog breeder is considered a reputable and legal business, the concept still raises many concerns in my mind. There is a fine line between a dog breeder and an operator of a puppy mill. The latter is much more prevalent, but not as publicized. But, the demand for dogs from breeders and puppy mills is caused by people who want or must have a specific breed of dog. So, in essence dog owners create the demand and ultimately keep dog breeders and puppy mills in business, which, in turn, creates more dogs.

But the more disturbing issue is that owners, regardless of where they got the dog, tend to view their pet as a disposable item. Much like a lamp discarded at a yard sale. You would be horrified to see how many people come into the shelter to surrender their dog, as if they were dropping off unwanted clothing at Goodwill. I’ve heard excuses ranging from “We have to move and can’t take our dog with us” to “My wife is pregnant and is afraid the dog will eat the baby”. Ridiculous as it sounds, that was really what a man said to me. I’ve also helped people in the adoption area of the shelter, as they were browsing through the dogs to find a new pet. I heard the conversation between a woman and her husband, as they were admiring a cute little female Shitzu. He said, “I don’t know if our dog will get along with her if we adopted her.” And, the wife said, “Oh, don’t worry…we’ll just bring him in if he doesn’t like her.” It’s exactly that mentality that infuriates me.

To add insult to injury, the people who consider their pets to be disposable also see no need in getting their pet spayed or neutered. Why would they bother when they could just take the unwanted puppies to the animal shelter?

I know there are many responsible, caring owners who consider their pet as part of the family. But, they are far out-numbered by the callous and uncaring people who bring an animal into their lives to fulfill a temporary whim. They soon outgrow their need for a pet, or when the puppy becomes a “not-so-cute” adult, they discard them. Animal shelters and rescue organizations are filled with dogs that are turned in for no other reason than they were unwanted. If all dog owners took responsibility for their dogs for the duration of their lives, there would be fewer animals dumped in shelters.