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What is a backyard breeder?

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Breeding dogs without the government knowing about it; at least this was a common answer that was provided when a group of high school students in a North Carolina School were asked to define the term “backyard breeding”.

Judging by the answer given by our youth, the knowledge of what an actual backyard breeder is, what their effect on the community has, and how the government is involved, (or not for that matter), shows an alarming absence of education.

Backyard breeding is a term used to describe intentional breeding of dogs for the sole purpose of making money without regard to conserving the integrity of the breed. The term is a brand for those believed to have irresponsible practices in breeding. Shayne Davis, owner and show woman of five American Pit Bull Terriers describes backyard breeders as those “who don’t get their dogs health tested and are not concerned with bettering the breed standard”. Davis believes in the importance of a healthy dog, as well as careful screening of buyers, and following through with owners to ensure that they are properly caring for their puppies. Backyard breeders do not typically have a relationship with a veterinarian, often resulting in the spread of disease through litters and do not concern themselves with personality, (aggressive vs. non-aggressive).

Backyard breeders, (unlike responsible breeders) are the reason that our communities face such high rates of overpopulation; especially when it comes to Pit Bulls. Since backyard breeders are not concerned with where the puppies ultimately end up, the fate of the litter has a much different outcome than that of a standard breeder. The more backyard breeders produce litters, the more puppies/dogs that are euthanized at shelters, end up in dog fights, end up neglected and/or abused, and the more that end up becoming statistics as opposed to family companions.

Regulations on breeding establishments, (backyard or otherwise) are lenient at best. Currently, nation-wide regulations are not in place, rather county to county, and in some instances, state to state regulations on the number of litters a breeder can produce per year. Since selling puppies is considered income, it is also required that breeders claim their income on their annual tax reports. Backyard breeders do not typically follow these requirements.

There is a stark difference between an educated, responsible, Pit Bull enthusiast, and a backyard breeder; that difference is not always widely understood. Backyard breeders have a very negative effect on their surrounding communities not only by adding to the overpopulation problem, yet also in stroking the stereotype of Pit Bull owners as irresponsible individuals.

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