How backyard breeders are keeping the RSPCA in business
An Animal Rights Article from


Jessica McFarlane
September 16, 2005

This heading is a tough call. How can Backyard breeders be responsible for all the animals left at the RSPCA? How can backyard breeders possibly be responsible for 135,000 and more dogs and cats abandoned at these shelters and the countless more dumped in public areas?

It's easy, it's happening, and it needs to stop.

A backyard breeder is a person who breeds animals without being registered with the relevant organizations. A backyard breeder is also a person or persons who breeds animals which: are bred for money, are sold without being identified (micro-chipped), are sold to new owners without first 'screening' the owner, are sold very cheaply or given away, have not been vet checked, are sold without concern for their well being in their new home.

A backyard breeder does not have to be guilty of all of the above. In fact, they only need to practice one of the above acts and they are officially adding to the large numbers of dogs and cats in animal shelters around Australia.


Backyard Breeders are breeders who do not commit full responsibility to the act of breeding, therefore, their animals are sold to people who do not commit fully to the responsibility of owning that animal. When a backyard breeder sells for money, they usually sell to anyone who expresses interest.

The animal is sold without the breeder asking the buyer questions such as; 'Have you owned this breed of dog before?', 'Do you have the appropriate facilities for the dog to live in?', 'How much experience do you have with animals?'

When an animal is sold to 'just anyone', its chances of being sold to an irresponsible owner are very high, this is even higher when the buyer too, does not ask questions and leaves after 'just picking what looks cute'.

A breeder who sells animals that are not micro-chipped is guilty of an offence. This breeder is advertising the fact they don't want to pay for the expense nor take the time to have it done, therefore, are advertising the fact they may have the same attitude towards breeding, the litter and probably the dam and sire. It is also against the law for an individual to accept an animal that is not micro chipped.

Puppies and kittens for sale that are not micro-chipped are often vaccinated and vet checked. This is one positive thing, but usually the breeder only vaccinates and vet checks the animals because they are not micro-chipped in the first place - but they still want to make the sale. What better way to make the litter sound more attractive?

Puppies that are sold cheap or given away are obvious signs of a breeder breeding for money and not for quality. It is also a sign they probably didn't want puppies and 'just want to get rid of them', and quick! This is just another way the litters end up in bad homes - the breeder is just glad to rid of the puppy, so whoever comes along and has some money is good enough.

Backyard breeders are the people who are allowing irresponsible individuals own pets. They are allowing the ignorance towards the well being of animals to continue and they are the driving force behind the number of animals abandoned at shelters everyday.

A breeder, who cares for their animals, will not sell to you if you do not meet a certain criteria. You must demonstrate knowledge toward the breed, show that you have experience with animals and can show that you will commit to the animal for life. If you do not meet the criteria, you probably should not own an animal at this time. A breeder, who cares for their animals, will not sell you an unidentified pet, and when they sell you the pet, you will be encouraged to register it as soon as possible. The pet will be sold with information on vaccinations and worming and even better, papers. Some breeders may also offer some kind of 'warranty', where, if the puppy gets sick, you can 'return' it. The best breeders will want you to keep in contact with them to keep them up to date on how the animal is going and will offer you advice for as long as the animal is alive.

Of course, there are those who own a dog purchased from a backyard breeder who are responsible. But unfortunately, it isn't common. There are many dogs purchased from backyard breeders who have ended up in loving homes and couldn't have a happier, healthier life, and this sort of home is recommended for every pet! However, as unfortunate as it is, the statistics show that a majority of backyard breeders are irresponsible, and a majority of the buyers who purchase pets from these breeders are irresponsible too.

Quite a match! It is these irresponsible people (working together) who fail to care for their pets and this is how they end up lost, abandoned, dumped at shelters or left in a public area to fend for themselves.

In a recent article written by an RSPCA officer, it was claimed that animals that were bred from registered, careful breeders made up 0-2% of animals taking up residence at the RSPCA. The same article also stated that these very animals were also much more likely to be rehomed.

These statistics are proof that buyers should only purchase from registered breeders with an obvious love for their pets, the breed and the litters wellbeing in the future. In time, if buyers only bought puppies and kittens from registered breeders (after of course, meeting the criteria), there would be a large decrease in the number of animals left at shelters.

For those who fit the backyard breeder description, think about your intentions and why you wish to breed. If you are serious about breeding and want to do the right thing, get yourself registered and think about what you can do to make sure your litters go to loving, caring homes - get educated fast! For those who are not serious about breeding, get your dog de sexed now or take more care next time your bitch is in heat, don't contribute to the many dogs and cats heading for shelters every day.

For all those considering buying a pet, there are several places that are suitable for purchase; registered breeders, the RSPCA and other shelters such as Council pounds. Animals from these places are healthy, micro-chipped (and probably registered if required) and you will be asked questions about how you intend to care for the pet. You will also notice pets sold from these places are always micro-chipped and animals from the RSPCA are desexed too.

Do not be tempted to buy from a backyard breeder. This only allows them to continue breeding which as mentioned, keeps the RSPCA in business! The RSPCA do a great job, but how nice would it be if we didn't actually need them?

See: Say No to Animals in Pet Shops

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