This is the first time I have ever submitted a letter to the editor. I have never felt so passionately about a topic before. Perhaps it is my love for animals or perhaps it is because of our tragic experience with a backyard breeder.
My husband and I decided we wanted to add a companion to our family. I came across an ad from a “breeder” who had a litter of mini-dachshund puppies for sale. From the first moment I saw the little pup, I was smitten and lost all ability to be logical. We paid our $650. We named her Willow.
It was not long before we found out that Willow was not healthy. After numerous tests and money spent, our vet diagnosed Willow with a genetic liver shunt that meant toxins were not being filtered before hitting the bloodstream.
Further, she suffered from the “double dapple” effect. If both the sire and the dam of a puppy are dappled, they both have an equal chance of passing on their dominant dapple gene to the puppy. For reasons unknown, the combination of two dapple genes hitting the same area of the dog can be lethal. Double dapple puppies can be born with no eyes, and/or no ears. Blindness and/or deafness are also caused by the double dapple gene. Willow was “lucky” and was only blind and deaf on her left side.
We tried our best to give her a good quality of life but one day found Willow unable to get back up or balance. She wouldn’t move, drink or eat. She just stared into the distance. The kindest, and saddest, thing we could do was to end her suffering and have our small pup euthanized. She was only six months old.
Months later, we were contacted by others who had purchased pups from this “breeder” who had similar genetic health issues. This breeder was made aware of our situations yet continued to breed and sell pups to unknowing families.
The “breeder” is still breeding. More families will be heartbroken and have their wallets emptied with a cloud of guilt that will linger for a lifetime. The SPCA could not do anything as it was not direct animal abuse although they did sympathize.
How or why any so-called breeder, or anyone in general, could do this is beyond me. I have learned my lesson and I hope others think twice before buying a pup through classifieds. Adopting or buying from a reputable breeder will save you money but, most of all, anguish.
Sure, you can say that Bill M214 (Standards of Care for Breeders of Companion Animals) didn’t go far enough, but you will never convince me it has gone too far.