Homeless, or hot property?
Sitting here, freshly scrubbed after a wet, dirty day of SAR training, I started checking some ads in a regional agricultural newspaper's online site.
Way leads on to way, and impulsively googling phone numbers from some questionable dog ads in the livestock section led to roads I wish were less taken, especially by me.
The pets/dogs classifieds of the Holmes County Bargain Hunter -- which serves eastern Ohio's Amish country -- made my skin crawl off to hide. I need another shower already.
Commingled with a modest number of the usual backyard breeder and bailing pet-owner ads is the commercial narrative of the new rural economy, one of the few facets of animal agriculture that is not yet vertically integrated, the new millenium's Mortgage Lifter:
BROKER LOOKING FOR Toy breed puppies...any kind. 10 years experience. Have lots of references. Paying $150-$300. 814-331-0247.
KENNEL SELLOUT. YORKIES, Bichons, Pomeranians, King Charles, Poodle, and Shih-Tzu. 1-4yrs. old. (423)345-3042.
LOOKING FOR LITTERS of puppies, we could pay up to $60 a pup for pure or small breeds. Call us at (330)466-7276.
ONE 9MO OLD Pom male. One AKC Pom male. Two Pom females. (740)622-1109.
PUPPIES WANTED: BOOKING litters. Cavashon’s, Schnoodles, Cavapoo’s, Cavalier King Charles, Morkies, Shorkies, Cockapoos, Shihapoos, Bichon’s and Bichon mixes, Maltishons and Maltipoo’s, Maltese cross, Puggles, Havanese cross, Yorkipoos, Yorkie mixes. Small Poo breed mixes. Designer breeds. 330-280-4531.
PUPPIES WANTED: BUYING some now, and booking ahead. Pugs, Puggles, Yorkies and mixes, Morkies, Cavashons, Havanese and mixes, Shih-Tzu’s and mixes, Bulldogs and mixes, Bichons and mixes, Maltese and mixes. We always pay and we always pick up. 330-518-9516; 330-559-9211.
THIRTY 2-1/2’X4’ WIRE dog cages made by Raber Kennels. Six 16ft sections, two 12ft sections with automatic water nipples. Can deliver. (270)528-1537 or (270)531-3751.
WANTED TO BUY: Adult kennel breed sellout. Yorkies, Maltese, Pomeranians, Shih-Tzu’s. (330)359-0245.
WANTED: SOFT-COATED WHEATON, also Brussel Griffond adults and/or puppies. Also, someone to raise Bulldogs and I will supply the dogs. (724)254-4594 or (412)289-9498.
Bad enough, the brokers looking for $60 puppies that will miraculously appreciate ten or twenty-fold by the time they reach the deli case in a week or so, the sellouts of bulk-priced breeding stock, the indelible image branded on my brain of the thirty canine livestock who have and will spend their entire miserable existences in those banks of 30" x 48" cages (with water nipples). These ads infuriate, but do not surprise. Not like some others.
There's the famous canine repro specialist vet in Cleveland I keep hearing about.
ATTENTION DOG BREEDERS
Two hour seminar by world famous canine reproduction vet, Dr. Hutchinson. A rare opportunity to learn from one of the top Veterinarians in the country. Tuesday, May 18th at Farmstead Restaurant in Berlin at 7:00pm. For information call (330)674-0810.
In addition to building vinyl storage units, the disembodied phone number that is organizing this meeting of minds has some six-week-old Australian shepherd pups for sale. Because those pups get stale if you let them sit on the shelf too long.
Then there's the new wrinkle on "rescue:"
AA1 RESCUE now accepting puppy litters. Call when young to assure placement. Will find loving homes and spay mom. (330)242-5137.
This one is fishy. I've never heard of a rescue placing an ad looking for dogs. It's not like there is, you know, a shortage of dogs and puppies in rural eastern Ohio. I have been to the pounds; they are well-populated, and many of them are only too eager to release animals to legitimate rescues.
AA1 Rescue does not have a Petfinder listing, nor a website, nor a mention on anyone else's website, nor is it registered as a 501(c)3 with the IRS.
The only place it turns up in a Google search is in this free ad in a Cleveland publication:
AA1 PUPPY RESCUE
Lab mixed puppies, 6-8wks. SUPER SWEET, shots, dewormed. $100. 330.242.5137
The phone number, similarly, only appears in this ad. It is a cell phone in Medina, OH.
Like I said, fishy. The "rescue" that pays for ads looking for pups, but whose only web presence is in one free ad offering puppies for sale for $100. Presumably unneutered, as they don't specify the way they do for the $3 inoculation and the $.50 worming.
Then there's so-fishy-I-smell-low-tide:
GUARDIANAccepting puppies & dogs. We are a well-respected rescue with 12yrs. experience. We will pay up to $50 per puppy. (330)656-3524.
A rescue that pays a newspaper for an ad so they can buy puppies? At about the same price offered by the puppymill brokers in the same ad column?
In those twelve years of experience garnering respect, "Guardian Angel Rescue" has apparently not gotten around to getting registered as a tax-exempt charity; my fruitless search of the IRS dB reminded me, though, that there is a well-respected group in Canfield, OH, Angels for Animals, that helped out NESR with low-cost neutering on five English shepherds we once sprung from one of the rural pounds they serve.
There are Guardian Angel Rescues in Memphis, TN and Tampa, FL. Presumably not trolling rural Ohio for $50 puppies. Otherwise, no website, no Petfinder listing, no mention on anyone else's website.
The Northfield, OH cell phone that is the only point of contact for this and some similar puppy-solicitation ads, shows up on the other side as well, with paid ads that give some idea of the strict placement criteria and great care that Guardian Angel takes with its procured puppies:
A Big Puppy Sale FREE Shots. FREE Life Worming. Rescue Puppies. $35 up. 330-656-3524. 5/12/2010There is more of the same in Akron-area ads, most of them coming up on Google but not properly cached.
Presumably, the $35 "bargain" puppies cost the guardian angels less than the $50 top price offered in the other ad. Or they are old and shopworn. The inclusion of "up" suggests that there may be no ceiling on the potential price for intact "Rescue Puppies."
I've long cautioned dog-shoppers to be as skeptical of rescues and shelters as they should be of breeders.
To make sure that the animals have had appropriate health care, that the facilities do not promote disease, that behavior and health assessments are performed appropriately and the results used to determine appropriate placements and also shared transparently with potential adopters, that dogs who need training to become adoptable receive it, that the rescue provides follow-up support as needed, including guaranteed take-back. To determine that the rescue is well-run, fiscally responsible, clear-headed as well as (reasonably) soft-hearted.
I had no idea how excessively high I was setting the bar, because I didn't know how low you could go.
I think we've got enough evidence to add, now -- Make sure the rescue is a rescue, and not a bottom-feeder among bottom-feeders, a cut-rate dog broker out to make a quick two bits on kyootness.