By Ron Sturgeon, Founder of Reform Canine Breeding and Auctions (RCBA)
We’ve heard from some dog breeders who don’t want any oversight or any additional laws passed. They don’t support our reform efforts. At the same time, however, they admit that bad breeders of every size exist and they agree that these bad breeders should be forced to reform or to go out of business. We don’t see a way to compel bad breeders to reform or exit as long as they can operate in the shadows without accountability.
We’ve also heard from many breeders who back RBCA’s reform efforts 100%. In fact, two breeders have joined our leadership team to give us feedback and guidance. We’re listening to them carefully.
Good breeders deserve support for all they do to preserve the breeds that we love and for doing business the right way.
If you are a dog breeder who treats his or her dogs with kindness, who teats his or her dogs with humaneness, and who breeds following medically sound practices, you have nothing to fear from us.
In fact, our efforts are likely to help you and your business to grow.
As an auto-salvage yard owner in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, I have seen environmental regulation come to an industry. Generally, those who were most determined to keep the regulators out were either non-complaint or simply resisted any change. A decade after regulation, even skeptics have had to concede it has been good for the auto salvage industry because it has eased the weak, non-compliant operators out and it has improved the public’s perception of the industry.
The analogy between the industry that I belonged to then (and still do consulting for) and the dog breeding industry today isn’t perfect, but I believe it is still a good one. Regulation was going to come to the auto salvage industry, and we had to choose whether to oppose it or improve it by contributing to the process.
It was abundantly clear that we were better off being a part of the process, rather than the government “doing” it to us. It was also clear that the government didn’t understand our barriers to compliance and needed our insights to get to a common-sense regulatory approach. Think “I’m from the EPA, and I’m here to help you!”
Whether they know it or not, dog breeders are in the same place now as we were then. Eventually, they are going to face more regulation.
If you are a dog breeder, what about you? Many dog breeders treat their dogs as they should. The smaller ones actually treat every dog as if it were a pet. They take great care because they have genuine affection for their dogs. They are very selective about who they sell to and the kinds of homes their dogs go to. They breed their dogs only with medically sound best practices. They think long-term about both their dogs and their breeding business.
If the previous paragraph describes how you run your dog breeding business, you are doing what I wish every breeder would do.
Here are the reasons I think you should welcome registration and regulation as a means of reforming bad breeders or ridding the industry of them:
- It’s the right thing to do for the dogs. Dogs deserve to be treated with kindness, to be treated humanely and to be bred using medically sound practices.
- It’s good business for the breeders. Following best practices and treating dogs as they should be treated sets you apart from your competitors who don’t follow these practices. It allows you to sell your dogs for higher prices to informed buyers.
- Even less informed buyers know enough to recognize a loving environment. Doing business the right way allows you to educate prospective puppy buyers who are better able to recognize the loving environment you create than some give them credit for. Once these prospects know the difference, they want your dog because of the way you run your dog breeding business.
- It’s a model that best serves the long-term interests of the industry. Registration and sensible regulation benefit responsible dog breeders like you, dog buyers, and the dogs.
Ultimately, it’s about making the dog breeding industry better. You can help. Share your expertise. Get involved. And, by the way, let’s remember the focus of the conversation: the dogs. Too many of our discussions end up being about what’s good or not good for the breeders.