Thursday, August 20, 2015

Kelley Drinks Because . . .

I love my new t-shirt
  • It's illegal to hit people with your truck, no matter how much they really deserve it.
  • I haven't mastered the Force Choke yet, but Lord knows I'm trying.
  • We keep making laws to protect stupid people from themselves instead of letting natural selection take its course.
(Seriously, if you're not smart enough to know not to use the hair dryer in the tub without the warning label, maybe you should not be a part of the gene pool.)

In case you haven't figured it out, this is a rant. Proceed with caution because I'm in a mood today!

Ah, the Force Choke . . .
One of the drawbacks of being a dog club president as well as an animal control officer is that I get the same frustrating emails to both my personal and professional accounts. There is no "down time." The latest:

A woman says her husband bought her a GSD puppy as a surprise two months ago. She now realizes it was from a bad breeder. Three days after they got the puppy they discovered that it had a stomach infection. THEN they discovered that the puppy has bilateral hip dysplasia (both hips) and bilateral distal femoral osteochondritis dissecans (excessive cartilage growing on the ball joints of both large leg bones). Mind you, the puppy is only 4 months old. The woman wants to rehome her puppy because:
  • She can't afford the expensive orthopedic surgeries to treat these problems
  • The puppy is going to require life long medications and treatments for what may never be a good quality of life
  • They don't have time for a "special needs puppy" (her words, not mine) because her husband works 10 hour shifts, 6 days a week and she works a full 40 hour week, Monday-Friday.
  • She's leaving the country in four days and will be gone for two months
All of this was in a badly written generic email addressed to "To Whom It May Concern." (I'm assuming that English is not her first language.) She ended the letter saying that "I need help for him to find someone that will understand [his] needs and be willing to dedicate him a lot of time."

BTW, I have friends in other parts of the dog community and they received the same email. It's a small community. We talk. And since the initial email I've gotten more information. It only made the whole situation more depressing.

I didn't tell Mrs. X my personal feelings. Otherwise, I would have said "Talk to a trusted vet. The most humane thing could be to put the puppy down." I know that may come across as harsh and calloused. Based on the tone of her letter I don't think she would even consider that -- especially since she told one of my friends that her husband paid $3500 for the puppy. (I hope she was exaggerating. Otherwise, she was seriously screwed. I paid much less for the pick of the litter show-quality puppy from a responsible breeder.)

As a club president, I told Mrs. X that we are an enthusiasts club, not a rescue group. We don't have the space, funding or permits to take in animals. I suggested she try searching for rescue groups on the internet to see if one has space and funding available for a special needs dog. I also offered to forward her request to the rest of the Club saying that if anybody was interested they would contact her directly.

As an animal control officer, I recommended she return the dog to the breeder immediately. Florida has one of the best Pet Lemon Laws in the country. Then I took the time to spell it out for her, citing specific sections. Her response was disheartening: "We have 2 party involve and when the real breeder was contacted they didn't return any calls to the other party." What does that mean, you ask? It means that the puppy was bought through an online puppy broker. Yes, they exist. They're horrible. If you only learn one thing from my blog, let it be this:

DO NOT BUY FROM AN ONLINE PUPPY BROKER!!
NEVER. EVER. EVER!

This is what online puppy brokers don't want you to see
-- your puppy's parents!
Despite what the sites may say, these are puppy mill puppies. In the past 6 months, my rescue friends have picked up the pieces from several of these online deals after have gone horribly wrong. The puppies are overpriced, very often sick and unhealthy and the purchaser has no contact with the "breeder" (I use that term loosely.) There is no fair contract and when there's a problem the answer is usually "euthanize the puppy or take it to the pound."

Now that I've had time to calm down -- thanks Ernest and Julio -- I no longer want to hit the letter writer with my truck. I am truly sorry for her heartache. I just wish that her husband had called me and/or read my blog before he bought the puppy. I would have gladly talked to him. We would have discussed:
  • Why does want a puppy? Here are nine reasons NOT to get a pet. They should never be surprise presents, especially two months before a long European vacation.
  • Puppies take a lot of time and work. Are you sure you're ready? If your work schedule has you out of the house all the time, consider waiting. Until then, volunteer at the local shelter to get your puppy fix.
  • Here are some questions to ask before buying a puppy. These are questions for both you and the breeder. Also, if the breeder doesn't ask you some hard questions back, you should be concerned. If you can't speak to the breeder directly, run away!
  • Florida has one of the best Pet Lemon Laws in the country. Learn it and use it to your advantage. It can help you weed out bad breeders.
  • Are you sure you can handle a German shepherd? They can be a handful. To quote Peter Parker's Uncle Ben "With great power comes great responsibility." Here are 10 questions to ask yourself before getting a German shepherd, as well as some very serious things to consider. I've said many times, GSDs are not Labs, and they're not for everyone. And that's OK.
Instead, Mr. X went out uninformed and ended up with an extremely sick, poorly bred puppy. He thought that by spending more money he was getting a better puppy. (He was wrong.) Mrs. X immediately fell in love with the puppy -- seriously, who wouldn't? Then they threw good money after bad trying to fix an unfixable problem because their hearts ached with compassion and guilt. Now they're trying to assuage their feelings by passing the problem on to someone else, thereby avoiding making "the decision."

I don't know why people do what they do. It's frustrating. I'm trying to make the world a better place for animals and people alike. (Trust me, I don't do what I do for the money!) I try not to dwell on the ignorance/stupidity/apathy/cruelty of others. It stresses me out. I preach, I teach, I pray . . . and I wonder if I'm making a difference or just making myself nuts. Some days I just want to scream. Other days I just cry. And on really bad days I drink and swear. Today is one of those days. So friends, I'm off to open another F***ing bottle of wine. And in honor of Thoughtless Thursday, I am not going to give any more thought to people who don't think -- at least not for today. Talk to later, -- K