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The harsh reality of 'backyard breeding': Toledo Humane Society brings in six purebred dogs

The Toledo Humane Society recently took in six dogs, all with something similar: their past.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The term "backyard breeders" is commonly used to describe when dogs are bred for fun, money or to create purebred pups.

Toledo Area Humane Society staff said most of the time, dogs used for this kind of breeding end up in a shelter. The Humane Society recently took in six of these dogs.

"Right now, in our care, we have quite a few that were surrendered recently to us from operational breeding," Humane Society Development Manager Abbey Hall said.

She said their whole life up to when their owner released them has been producing purebred 'desirable' puppies for their owners to make money.

"They've never known the love of a home or a family," Hall said. "So, they have very special needs."

Lucas County Canine Care and Control, or LC4, is also seeing similar situations on a daily basis.

"Part of our problem with all these dogs is because people are not getting their dogs spayed and neutered, and they're continuing to breed, or they're breeding on purpose," Cassie Bloomfield, the community outreach coordinator at LC4, said.

That's what backyard breeding is, she said. A reputable breeder has vaccination records and lets people meet the parents of the litter. 

"Where we run into problems is when people are not doing those things," Bloomfield said. "They're breeding for looks and we're getting the really short, squatty bullies with a lot of health problems, behavioral issues because those can be genetic. We see these dogs that are really struggling just to live because they were bred because they look cute."

The reality of backyard breeding and puppy mills is most of the older dogs end up in the shelter simply because they aren't needed anymore.

"So you kind of have to look past the breed and go, 'I really love goldendoodles,' but these aren't going to be your typical goldendoodles," Bloomfield said. "It could be years or it could be months of rehabilitation to get where they need to be. Can they get there? Yes, but the right family has to guide them to get there."

For those who choose to shop rather than adopt, Humane Society staff said doing research on a breeder is important.

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