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Animal Humane Society position on breeding of companion animals

Animal Humane Society believes there is a place for responsible breeding of companion animals. However, inhumane and inadequate breeding facilities exist; therefore, we encourage individuals to exercise caution when purchasing animals from breeders and to consider alternative means for acquiring companion animals.

Alternative means
Animal Humane Society believes that adoption through humane societies and rescue organizations is critical.  Because of the number of animals in need of homes, we advocate that people choose to adopt rather than purchase a pet.

Shelters and breed specific rescue organizations shelter and place purebred animals, many of which would otherwise be euthanized or abandoned by breeding operations. It is estimated that 25% of animals in shelters are purebred animals. In addition, mixed breed animals often display the personality traits and characteristics one associates with a purebred animal, oftentimes without the health disorders found in certain breeds.

Purchasing from a breeder
Responsible breeding operations play a role in preserving and enhancing the very best characteristics of their breeds and are committed to the humane care of their breeding animals and their breeding animals’ offspring.

Animal Humane Society recognizes the role of exceptional breeders that are committed to exceptional care of their animals and those that educate themselves to recognize inherited disorders and sterilize animals that could pass on these disorders.

Animal Humane Society also encourages breeders to educate themselves on pet overpopulation and make breeding choices that do not further contribute to this pervasive problem.  

If people do choose to purchase animals from a breeder, Animal Humane Society encourages them to diligently research potential breeders to ensure they’re not supporting inhumane and inadequate breeding practices. Responsible breeders do the following:

  • Adhere to regulations placed by the State or USDA for breeding facilities of its kind.

  • Sell their animals only to individuals, selecting pet owners in advance of pet’s birth.

  • Specialize in one or two breeds.

  • Demonstrate extensive knowledge of the breed’s history, traits, temperament and conformation.

  • Rarely advertise and never sell to pet shops or online.

  • Value their reputation for seeking to improve their breed(s).

  • Breed their animals only a limited number of times — not every year or multiple times each year.

  • Consistently evaluate the health of their breeding animals and their offspring to ensure the well-being and optimal health of all animals in their care.

  • Do not separate offspring from their mother before seven to eight weeks of age.

  • Allow consumers to tour the premises where the breeding operation takes place and to meet the parents of animals being bred.

  • Provide guarantees and allow owners to return animals at any point in their lives and for whatever reason if the purchaser no longer wants or can no longer care for the animal.

Animal Humane Society also supports altering breed standards to eliminate those which may prove detrimental to an animal’s health and contribute to ongoing inherited disorders.