Jul 23, 2014 - Shelter & Rescue    2 Comments

Supply, Demand, and Puppy Progress.

In Duluth, Minnesota, demand for puppies now outstrips the number available for adoption in rescues and shelters. This is great progress, accomplished though outreach and education, and mirrors patterns seen in many other American communities over the last two decades.

The celebration does not come without its share of frets, however:

Some worry, though, that without more adoptable puppies in the system, families inadvertently are being funneled into using puppy mills and other forms of unethical breeders.

Of course all animal lovers would like to see puppies come from only the most humane and ethical sources possible, so this concern may seem valid at first glance (indeed, in a perfect world, all puppies would come from conscientious breeders, live their entire lives with loving, responsible owners, and there would be no need for rescue at all), but if you think about the statement for a moment, it really begins to collapse in upon itself.

After all, if there were still enough adoptable puppies in the system to meet demand, that would be an indication that all the wonderful hard work that has gone into owner education, spay-neuter efforts, and making adoption a viable and appealing option for so many families had fallen short. Simply put: if you do have enough adoptable puppies to meet demand, there are still a lot of people in your community producing litters who shouldn’t be. This isn’t responsible, and it certainly isn’t good for the welfare of dogs. Unless the goal is to sell puppies, not having enough is a pretty darn good “problem” to have.

Perhaps hard to believe, but in some settings, too few puppies is actually a good thing...

It may be hard to believe… but in some settings, too few puppies is a very, very good thing!


There are countless reputable, responsible breeders, just as there are countless reputable, responsible rescues and shelters. Whether a potential owner chooses a breeder or a shelter as their source, our hope is that they do their homework and support the best option available.


  • The bad side of the reduced number is… The increase in the unethical harassment of breeders, in fact often criminal harassment of so many breeders. I know of a woman who had all her doxie stolen in a raid, because the AC in her area told the judge that she had 23 Chi’s dead and dying in her basement. The woman has NO basement – she has a crawlspace. She raised doxies & never had any Chi’s.
    Then when charges were UNFOUNDED she can only have her dogs back if she pays storage fees to the pound that were then $13,000 & are now in excess of $20,000… Wow really so you ILLEGAL SEIZE someone’s property & then charge them for it??? She can’t pay it and will not get any of her dogs back.

  • This blog appears to say that commercial breeders aren’t as ethical and humane as some other breeders and hence, a need for rehoming groups and shelters. I’m sure that isn’t what the author meant to convey, but somehow the message is unclear. The message perhaps should be that shelters and rehoming groups should be working to put themselves out of business, not bemoaning the fact that there aren’t enough pups to supply those who wish to own them.

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