A few breeders in Lake Charles, LA raised some red flags on March 22, 2014 when a potential puppy buyer contacted this Examiner writer to point them out, making it important for buyers to do their homework. (Note: breeder names have been blurred since these allegations have not been formally investigated by animal welfare officials) Rescuers strongly suspect that the info in this article is true and I invite any breeder to contact me to correct any allegations that can be corrected with documentation.This article is presented in hopes of educating buyers about doing their homework on breeders instead of buying blindly and possibly contributing to animal cruelty. The only proof I have is what I can observe on several breeders' websites and what I have learned about shady breeders over my 12 years of rescue experience. For guidelines on finding responsible breeders, visit www.aspca.org.
I was told about 2 months ago that a local breeder allegedly received 8 Maltese from the Ragley puppymill breeder for the price of $300 total, and now the breeder has several Maltese puppy litters and more on the way. The timing fits and it's alleged that these puppies were born from the poor dogs possibly purchased from the Ragley breeding hell they lived in before. This is what rescuers were afraid would happen; that other breeders would buy these dogs cheaply from the Ragley breeder and then keep breeding them to death. There are many red flags to watch for when buying puppies online:
- If any breeder is selling dogs online with no promise or info about their health history or health of parent dogs.
- If there is no AKC or CKC "verbiage" which is worthless anyway, but it shows a breeder doesn't have proof that the dogs are purebred or where the breeding dogs came from.
- If a breeder tries to scam people into donating money to help with costs of dogs he/she has allegedly "rescued" but there are no photos of "real" rescued dogs he/she actually rescued. One breeder had photos that were traced back to a dog rescue in the Dominican Republic and there is no chance the dog was rescued locally by this person...AND... any breeder asking for donations should be able to prove their non-profit status (remember most breeders are running a "for profit" business) Update as of 3/23/14: one breeder took down the donation link that was on his home page after I sent a message asking where the donation money was going. So that action suggests he knows he was misleading the public--would you want to buy dogs from someone like that?
- If any breeder has a photo of a celebrity on their website claiming that the celebrity endorses his/her puppies. These photos can easily be grabbed from an online stories and used on any breeder's site until someone reports it to the celebrity. Update as of 3/23/14: one breeder has taken the photo of Britney Spears off of his website so that suggests that he was lying about the dog she was holding being one of his yorkies.
- If there is a chance that any breeder received dogs from the Ragley backyard breeders... rescuers warn that you should not buy puppies from that breeder. There is still an ongoing investigation into the Ragley breeder's operation and rescuers have vet evidence that all the dogs were in poor body condition and some in poor health. Those dogs should not be bred and should be retired into loving homes. There is so much more that is wrong with this activity but the allegation that any breeder got dogs from the Ragley breeder and now has puppies that look just like the dogs from there, should not be ignored.
- Sellling puppies on Craigslist is always a big red flag of a shady breeder, so make sure to ask to see the breeding dogs and their vet records before buying.
Responsible breeders will always be completely transparent with buyers. They will let you come to their home to see the breeding dogs, let you see vet records or call their vet to verify the health history of breeding dogs, let you call previous buyers to get "references" about the health of the dogs they bought, etc. If any responsible breeder wants to come to me to do an article on a responsible breeding operation, I will be happy to do a positive article on them. Also keep in mind that the internet is full of sites where dogs are given away for free or sold cheaply and many breeders will purchase a few cheap dogs that look purebred and will begin a breeding business to make money. This is not responsible and overloads our already overpopulated pet community.
For more information on the Ragley puppymill uncovered in 2013, click links below for full stories: