Our mission: To protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

 August 7, 2014

Adding a new, furry friend to your family is a big decision. The BC SPCA encourages pet guardians to adopt from BC SPCA shelters or other rescue organizations, but recognizes that British Columbians often buy from breeders.

If purchasing a pet from a breeder, there are several ways to ensure you’re choosing a reputable source, and not a breeder who runs a puppy or kitten mill, where animals are usually kept in horrible conditions.

“If the breeder agrees to sell you a puppy or kitten without meeting you, or requests that you meet in a shopping mall or somewhere away from their breeding facility to get your new pet, this is a clear indication you are dealing with a disreputable source,” says BC SPCA general manager of community relations Lorie Chortyk.

“Reputable breeders will happily show you their home or facility and often belong to a breed group or organization where members adhere to a strict code of ethics.”

Signs of a reputable breeder include:

  • Has no more than two or three breeds or species

  • Has a clean and spacious home or facility with the opportunity for animals to receive regular exercise outside of their kennels/cages

  • Gladly shows you their entire home or facility where animals are kept and introduces you to all their animals – adults and offspring, including the mother of the pet you are considering adopting

  • The breeder is able to provide veterinary records that show the animals are healthy

  • Openly discusses positive and negative aspects of the animal/breed

  • With puppies and kittens, the breeder does not breed females who are too young or old. Generally, dogs and cats should not be bred at less than 18 months and should only be bred once in every two heat cycles. Maximum breeding age for female dogs ranges from five years in giant breed dogs to 10 years in toy breeds, but breeders should be attentive to the overall well-being of the breeding female and not just her ability to breed

  • Puppies or kittens are raised indoors (not in barns or outbuildings), where they are exposed to various household noises, are handled gently by many different people and are kept clean, warm and well fed

  • Won’t let puppies go to new homes before eight weeks of age and not less than 10 weeks for kittens

  • Asks you many questions about your lifestyle and experience with animals to ensure you’re a good match

  • Is a member of a breed club where possible – many breed clubs require members to comply with a code of ethics

  • Is knowledgeable about heritable disorders in the breed and discusses how they breed to avoid such disorders

  • Provides, at no extra charge, valid paperwork for registration and vaccine certificates for the animals

  • Never sells animals to a pet store or companion animal dealer

  • Has a contract for you to sign that lists your responsibilities to the animal you are purchasing as well as their responsibilities, and outlines their health guarantee for the animal

  • Reputable breeders will often require you to spay or neuter the puppy or kitten and require you to return the animal to them if it does not work out

Common characteristics of disreputable breeders include:

  • Agrees to sell you a puppy or kitten without meeting you (i.e. over the phone)

  • Doesn’t allow you to come and meet them and/or their animals before purchase

  • Sells their animals to pet stores or brokers

  • Does not ask you questions about your lifestyle and experience with animals

  • Has rundown or crowded facilities

  • Is reluctant to show you their facilities

  • Has dirty, unhealthy and/or unsocialized animals

  • For dogs kept in cages, is unable to show you their outdoor exercise area in use

  • Sells animals without vaccinations, veterinary check or guarantees against health problems including genetic defects

  • Charges extra for kennel club registration and/or pedigree

  • Will not take the animal back should a problem arise or will try to simply offer you another animal should the first one get sick, rather than helping with your vet bills

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.

Don’t have email? Don’t worry! Call us at 1-800-665-1868


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