1. Fallacy: Breeders refuse public admittance to their facilities because they don't want people to see how their dogs live.
Fact: Public admittance is by the choice of each breeder and the reason many don't allow public admittance is because kennels are considered 'biohazard' areas. Kennels have to be disinfected daily to minimize the risk of disease. People can carry disease like Parvo and Distemper on their hands shoes or clothing by unknowingly being in contact with them.
Puppies are born with immature immune systems and have little to no immunity against disease. They depend on their mother's milk for protection through the vaccinations she has had while their immune systems develop.
Breeders who do allow public access will ask you to take precautions by using disinfectant on hands and shoes and will not usually allow handling of puppies under 6 weeks of age to minimize risk. Admittance is usually by appointment to allow time to treat floors with a parvacide solution for better protection.
There is also the very real problem of animal rights activists who will purposely carry in disease because they believe no one should own or breed animals of any kind.Some believe animals are better off dead than owned. Unfortunately you can't tell by looking at or talking to anyone if they are an activist. Most are well versed in what they do and are very personable and convincing as someone looking for a pet.
2. Fallacy: Breeders almost never allow their dogs out of kennels for any reason.
Fact: This has a two-fold answer. All licensed breeders fall under care regulations by the federal and state governments. (Iowa regulations are in the pdf file to the left.) Regardless of whether each state has their own welfare laws, the federal laws cover welfare regulations in all states. USDA breeders are under the guidelines of the APHIS regulations in the federal link above.
Both the state of Iowa and the federal government require dogs to be removed from their kennels twice in each 24 hour period for exercise unless the size of the kennel allows the animal(s) within to reach a full running stride. While Iowa law does not state the full running stride specifically, it works in conjunction with federal law as to that regulation.
If kennels are of basic size allowed by law, each breeder must adhere to allowing their dogs out twice daily for exercise. Some breeders have runs attached to their kennels that allow the exercise within and others have exercise yards or areas as allowed by regulations for exercise, and some allow 'yard play' even if their kennels are large enough not to require it. That is personal choice.
3. Fallacy: Female dogs are forced to continually breed several times a year until they're worn out.
Fact: It is physically impossible for female dogs to be bred continually. On average a female will only come into heat (estrous cycle) once every 6 to 10 months. Frequency can vary by breed or by individual female. Physical maturity also varies greatly by breed and can affect the age when puberty begins.
Small breeds mature physically at one year of age. Large breeds mature physically at age two. Giant breeds do not physically mature until they are three years old.
Dogs are not 'forced' to breed. They breed because it's what nature tells them to do when the time is right. They don't breed from love, but from natural instinct to continue their species. The only 'force' involved in breeding is when they are kept apart for the female to have 'rest heats' while their bodies are telling them they are supposed to be mating. Reproductive vets advise breeding on 2 cycles and resting not more than one.
When a female goes through a rest heat the estrogen and progesterone bombardment of the uterus can cause permanent damage if a breeding female is left unbred for too many cycles in a row. The estrogen and progesterone are what make the pups grow and thrive and doesn't shut off just because mating didn't take place. Intact females bred on a regular basis are less likely to contract pyometra than one bred only occasionally.
4. Fallacy: Breeders silence barking dogs by jamming a steel pipe down their throat.
Fact: Some breeders do have the bark softened on dogs who bark excessively. Bark softening is done by a veterinarian experienced in the procedure. It is a simple procedure that lowers the sound of the bark, but does not keep the dog from barking and does not require an incision. It's a procedure that has made the difference for many family pets to be able to stay in their homes when all avenues to train the dogs not to bark failed instead of having to have them euthanized. See pdf file to the left.
Vets that we asked about this have all agreed that shoving a pipe down a dog's throat would cause irreparable damage to the esophagus that would most likely cause the dog to bleed to death or have to be euthanized.
5. Fallacy: Kennel dogs are kept in cages stacked on top of each other and feces and urine fall through to the dogs below.
Fact: Stackable kennels are made so that not only is the waste kept away from the dog in the kennel, but it's impossible for it to go through to the dogs below. See pictures to the left. This is one of many similar type stackable kennels that contain a coated rack that slides out for cleaning and a tray that slides into the open space underneath. They can be purchased as single units or multi units These are the only stackable type of units allowed by law for breeders to use. They either have to have the tray underneath or absorbant material such as newspaper or wood shavings.
The only type of kennel that can legally be used by breeders without a solid bottom are single tier kennels. All breeding kennels, no matter whether they are stackable, raised single-tier, or kennels built on the floor, have to be made so that they can be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
6. Fallacy: Inspectors are allowing kennels to stay open in spite of multiple citations.
Fact: It's not unusual to read APHIS breeder reports showing multiple minor citations/violations. Just a few of those type of citations include things like:
(1) A single cobweb in the corner of a kennel building.
(2) A lid left of a feed bin (This includes while animals are being fed. You are not allowed to leave the lid off between refills of the bucket or other container used to fill dishes during the feeding process)
(3) A few pieces of food dropped on the floor during feeding or knocked out of a cage to the floor by a dog or puppies.
(4) A dog or puppy drops a piece of food in a clean dish of water during the course of eating. (If your inspector comes in and sees that piece of food in the water, they have to cite it.
(5) Outdated medication. (If you have any type of RX or over the counter medications that have expired and didn't dispose of it, you'll be cited for it even though it's not being used.
(6) Painted surface has scratch or scuff marks. (Dogs and puppies will scratch and chew on wood even if they have bones or chews. Ever seen a dog or puppy pick up a stick or twig in the yard? Kennel dogs and pups are no different.)
None of the above are reasons to close down a kennel or revoke a license nor are they things that put a dog's life at risk.
7. Fallacy: Breeders shoot their dogs when they are retired or no longer producing.
Fact: Breeders normally retire dogs at 6-8 years of age. Some breeders spay or neuter their retirees and keep them as pets. Others will sell them for a nominal fee to pet homes to recoup some of the expense of having them spayed/neutered and some will give them away to good homes or sell them at auction. Some offer them to breed rescues. Some turn them over to shelters.
Breeders are not in the habit of killing animals just because they are retired. Most breeders like to retire stock young enough to be able to try to place them in homes as pets. Breeders also have to keep records of each dog showing if it was sold, if it died (how/why), if it was euthanized and how it was disposed of.