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Friday, June 4, 2010

Things to Consider BEFORE You Register your pet...

Owners of new puppies often receive paperwork with their new family member. One proud declaration at a first veterinary exam with a new puppy is, "She has papers!". There are now many groups that offer breed registration.  Having "papers" is not as informative or as qualitative a statement as it used to be.  Two of the more common registries in our area are the AKC and the APRI, although there are several others nationwide.

The AKC, American Kennel Club, has been around since the 1800's and for decades was the predominant registry.  If you had a dog that had "papers", they were AKC papers, and that was significant.  These papers meant that the purebred lineage of your puppy could be traced back several generations.  It might also hold championship history in the show ring.

The APRI, American Pet Registry, Inc, is a group that began around the 1990's and is owned by and for the pet industry.    "Pet Industry" is predominantly defined by large commercial dog breeding facilities, also known as puppy mills.

Registration of your puppy with either group is only important if you plan to show your dog in breed specific events sponsored by these groups.  If you want to show a dog in AKC events, your dog needs to be AKC registered.  APRI registration will not suffice.  If you bought Binky to be a house pet, then you do not need registration papers, so you might be wise to put your registration money into a new toy or bedding for your new family member.

There are some very important things to know about registering your dog with a breed registry. 

1.  It is not a microchip.  This registration does not identify this specific dog to you should your dog go missing.  It is not a microchip registration.  While your dog is described on the paperwork, there are thousands of other dogs of the same description.  Microchip is a permanent identification to that particular animal, while registration papers alone are not.  It is very important to microchip your pet, register that microchip with the microchip company, and to keep the microchip registration information such as your phone number and address current with the microchip registry at all times.  There could be little worse than losing your pet, having it be found, but you were not contacted because your old phone number now belongs to a complete stranger.

2. The AKC is vehemently opposed to any spay/neuter legislation.  You can read more regarding spay/neuter laws at Law Requires Dogs be Spayed, Neutered.  There are millions of pets being killed in shelters and veterinary clinics every day, simply because they do not have a home.  Spay Neuter legislation often requires pets to be spayed/neutered.  They often require breeders to obtain and maintain a breeding license.  When you register your dog with AKC, a portion of your money is going to be used to fight legislation that will assist in the fight of pet overpopulation. 

3. APRI is owned and operated by the pet breeding industry.  When AKC decided to mandate that frequently used male dogs were to have DNA testing performed, this meant an extra expense for the breeders using this registry.  Around the same time, the AKC began inspecting the breeders that use their registry.  Breeders with large numbers of commercial breeding stock, such as puppy mills, do not want more expenses, nor do they want more frequent inspections.  Commercial breeders often own several females, and few males, because one male can easily impregnate a dozen females.  To avoid DNA testing, and more inspections, the pet industry began their own pet registry on a whim.  Surely the pet owners would recognize the difference between the recognition of AKC papers, and this new APRI papers, right? 

But people bought into it, recognizing only that their new puppy had "papers" and not understanding much more than that.  The American people were naively duped into thinking their dog was "papered", not knowing what this actually meant, and a new registry run by commercial breeders developed and continues to spread it's wings today with great momentum.  It did not hurt the deception that another popular breed registry was just one initial different from APRI.  The American Purebred Registry was known as APR, so confusion of the two registries was frequent.

When you register your dog with APRI, your dollars are going to support the people that continue to breed in mass quantities despite the problems of severe pet overpopulation.  Your money is used to pay lobbyists to fight Breeding Legislation that is intended to make the industry more humane in their treatment of the animals in their care, and crack down on puppy mills.  Your money will be used to lobby for the inclusion of canine breeding stock as LIVESTOCK in some states in support of the puppy mill industry.  In Iowa, this recently came to a head and was defeated, but can and will likely be brought up again.  Livestock are not required to have shelter at all, and there are tax benefits to dog breeders becoming livestock producers.

 USDA Licensed Commercial Breeding Facility

USDA Licensed Commercial Breeding Facility

Is this where you want your money to go?

Rather than registering that puppy with either group, send that money to a local shelter, the smallest one you can find.  They need the money more than these groups do, and will use it much more wisely.  They will care for the six year old dog that was abandoned by it's owner... the dog that was purchased from a commercial breeder six years ago...

If you are looking to seriously breed a dog, I would advise consulting your veterinarian on the expenses for pre-breeding tests such as CERF testing for eye health, getting hips and elbows OFA evaluated at 2 years of age before breeding, brucellosis testing, DNA testing for breeds predisposed to genetic conditions, etc.  Breeding is a business that requires expenses, and you should make yourself aware of these expenses BEFORE jumping in! 

If you are serious about becoming a quality breeder, who raises dogs within the home, provides all recommended veterinary care, requires that sold puppies be spayed and neutered by contract, and screens the homes to ensure the quality of life for that puppy, then I would recommend AKC registration.  They are the oldest organization, they conduct routine inspections of kennels that utilize their registry, and despite my differing opinion on their spay neuter legislation, they do provide many good programs for pets and their people.  They have programs in which mixed breed, fixed animals can participate called AKC Canine Partners Program.     Programs that involve dogs and their people, provide quality time for dogs with their people.  Who would not support that?

|As a responsible breeder, make sure, if your puppies are sold as "pet quality" puppies, that the spay neuter contract is followed through as in your contract.  Follow up with a phone call and request a fax from their veterinarian to confirm that the spay/neuter has been performed. 

As a responsible breeder, you are responsible for the breeding dogs you own, but remember you are also responsible for those puppies, even after they leave your home.  Can you imagine one of your puppies months or years down the road, being euthanized at a shelter because the home you chose was not the right one, or because you neglected to make it clear that you would assist if the need arises to rehome that dog?

Before making that final decision to become a responsible breeder, visit your local shelter and tell the dogs and puppies in there that you are going to find homes for the puppies you breed, with families that may have considered taking one of them home from the shelter.  If you are wise and have a heart, you will bring one of those happy faces home with you... 

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APRI said...

I will respond to your recent blogging about America's Pet Registry Inc. (APRI). I appreciate the opportunity to address the issue of registering your dog, I can not address the issue of registering cats as APRI does not register cats.
Registering your purepbred dog is extremely important in today's world. Registration is the first step in the chain of legal ownership. In today's society it often becomes crucial to be able to prove "ownership" of an animal. Regardless of which of many registeries your pet may be eligible to be registered with, the new owner should register the pet in their name. For the sake of a simple explanation, registering a pet in the owners name is similar to a title on a car (from a legal standpoint). It starts the legal chain of ownership. Microchiping and registering the chip number with one of the national data bases is equally important. If your pet is stolen, lost and ends up in a shelter or the owner ends up in some type of legal dispute over ownership (divorce, domestic dispute etc.) the registration and the microchip information are your best legal defenses for proof of ownership. So register that purebred dog today, or in the case of a registered hybrid, do the same.
Also for your information, APRI only registers dogs that have a pedigree(family tree history)that can be traced to the original studbooks of the parent registry. In most cases that would mean that an APRI registered or registrable dog has the very same ancestors as an AKC registered dog. APRI maintains a database of hundreds of thousands of pedigrees (family tree information). APRI not only supports the humane treatment of animals but has helped sponsor hundreds of seminars across this country devoted to education and veterinary clinics to promote state of the art medical care for dogs and has spent tens of thousands of dollars to bring nationally recognized veterinary care health specialists to lecture at these seminars.
APRI does not endorse any one animal shelter in this country, but we applaud those that operate ethical no-kill shelters and encourage pet breeders to do the same. Any person who breeds animals has an ethical obligation to care for that animal in a humane manner and to be responsible for that animal as long as they own it.
APRI is a privately owned business, not unlike your Vet Clinic or your families other businesses and thus strives to produce a profit so that we can continue to employ many people, pay taxes and provide a legitimate and important service to the people who choose to breed dogs in a responsible manner. For that we are proud and are nationally recognized as the premier pet registry in the United States.
Once again I would encourage all pet owners to register their dog, have them microchipped and most importantly , register the chip and owner information with a national data base. Microchipping alone is worthless if you do not register the chip after it is purchased. Thousands of dogs are destroyed in this country every year because the "owner" could not be united with their pet. The majority of dogs in shelters in this country are there because of irresponsible owners, not because of pet breeders. In a perfect world people would take pet ownership more seriously, we do not live in a perfect world.

These comments are submitted by a National Field Representative for America's Pet Registry Inc.

ameow2002 said...

Response to the field rep for thinks you doth protest too much! You say the parent dogs lineage can be traced back on both sides but shouldn't both parents be the same breed? How can you condone responsible breeding of more mixed breeds by fancying them up and calling them 'designer dogs' so you can sell them to an unsuspecting public for an outrageous amount of money? The shelters are full of homeless cats and dogs, millions of them in fact and by some estimates as many as 35% are actually purebreds. Anyone who truly cares about the welfare and future of our companion animals WILL NOT condone breeding more while millions die for lack of a home. A micro-chip is a wonderful tool to reunite lost pets and owners, But what of those who continue to be born, and die, micro-chipped or not? Put your money where your mouth is, walk the walk and don't just talk. Require spay and neuter of APRI puppies, provide the funding and then...we MIGHT believe you really do care about something besides money....

Alter Your Pets said...

The only APR dogs I have ever had in my foster care generated from the Puppy Mills, in fact I believe it was the Puppy Millers that came up with APR?
Isn't this the real reason APR was invented, to make it even easier then AKC (I have little respect for them either) to whip out some fancy looking certificate with a gold emblem for ignorant, impulsive buyers?
And you may be giving some people jobs, and creating a profit for yourself, but at what cost, on the backs of the poor parent dogs that live a hell of a life in a Puppy Mill or at some back yard breeder set up, all the while populating the Earth with more and more. Can't you get it through your heads, there are too many pets and not enough homes, what about that don't you understand???? Anyone that can add 1+1 knows it!
Don't pass it off on the owners, I don't have pets leave here that continue to populate even though 80% come in not altered.
The ROOT of this problem is the BREEDERS, that is where it starts and that is whom needs to be held accountable first!
Have you no shame?
I'd rather see you run a Brothel, at least those employees if run decent have a voice and even get a few bucks for themselves (what are you offering these parent dogs?) if they want to be there or not.
Puppy Mills are like the seedy Pimp in the back alley whose willing to sacrifice whatever and whomever to make a buck. That's why no one can get into these holes with a camera, it's a secret society.
And like the Pimps, they know just who to use for profit, the vulnerable and voiceless.
I've been cleaning up your mess for years and really get disgusted listening to your rhetoric of how you are contributing to society in some positive way. And it's costing me and others time and money to do so, so much for your helping out the economy ;-)
APR is nothing more then the
American Pet Rip Off!
Bless the Beast as they have No Voice and No Choice.
Spay and Neuter, Be Part of the Solution Not the Problem of the OVERPOPULATION of pets in this Country.!

Immydog said...

Thank you ameow2002 and Alter Your Pets. Wonderful responses...

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I comment on your site, but I've been keeping up with your work for a while now. I admire the passion with which you write the articles and hope someday I can do the same. Love

Anonymous said...

Let it also be known the one of the 2 key people with APRI, Mr. Rob Hurd, was fined $10,000 by the USDA for violating the Animal Welfare Act when he was a breeder! Speaks volumes doesn't it.

Anonymous said...

I jut purchase a Labrador from suppose to be a reputable Pet store, and they gave us the litter medical records plus the APRI registry, certificate and on this certificate is the names of his can i be sure that this is a pure Labrador Retriever. What should the pet store given me to prove to me that he is..I'm in desperate need...

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Anonymous said...

I am AKC ,APRI breeder My dogs have 2 akers to run on . I would tell you that AKC,apri and all breeders are not the problem of to many dogs what a silly statment thar is ! If you are looking for pet APRI lets me sell my pups to kids at a cheaper price. AKC is still the best but do go all uppty at tell AKC dogs are better thier not. Stop blaming breeders for what the people that purcase them do with them . how silly that sounds. With out breeders you don't have any dogs why is there always people trying to save the world. Catch people that need to be and leve the people that are doing thing fine alone ! If there is a need for a non govenment enity to check up stop getting on a high hose and getting all upity and start a good breeder seal of all dogs and thier lines otherwise stop perptuating lies

Anonymous said...

AKC is a joke.... I have "registered" nonexistent litters of over 30 puppies and had it go through...that is when I stopped using them.

Anonymous said...

I just bought an APRI six week old Siberian Husky. She has not seen my vet yet but will early next week. She is Brown/White with the most beautiful blue eyes. So far she has bonded with me, my eight year 80# eight year old Golden Retriever and my five year old 80#,50% Siberian Husky, 25% German Shepard and 25% Akita. The second dog, Frankie is from the Humane Society (Yellow Lab mix??) and is without a doubt the smartest, most curious dog I have ever owned. Both Frankie and Sammie (show quality animal that did not meet standards at 2 years and was returned to the breeder) are peace loving wonderful dogs who love everyone they have ever met. Frankie plays with the new one (as yet un-named)like old friends. He is gentle with her and she is very lively and cheerful around him. Sammy could care less about playing but is very tolerant with the tail biting, etc. The point I would like to make is the dog is to a great extent, what the owner is and provides. Registration is only for show and does not insure the dog will be healthy and socialized. It has been proven by The Nebraska Humane Society studies that there are more dog/ human conflicts with Labradors than with Pit Bulls per dog. I did not do my research on the puppy but was sold on the breed (and blue eyes) with my experience with Frankie. I will not register her but will continue to nurture the relationship and train her. I'm 78 and have nothing but time to train and exercise her. She is full of life and brings a lot of joy to the house. I hope my expectations of a long and healthy relationship with the four of us are met and think they will be. Thank you.