Bullmarket French Bulldog Breeders

Stolen Dogs and Scared Breeders

Another Ontario breeder has had dogs stolen by vistors who pretended to be potential puppy buyers. This isn’t the first time this has happened – years back, a Bulldog breeder in California lost almost every dog in their house to people who had come to ‘meet the dogs’ a few days before, and the infamous home invading Yorkie thieves gained access to the house by posing as potential purchasers. An American Eskimo breeder in Northern Ontario had a litter of puppies stolen from right out of her kitchen, and we ourselves had a puppy stolen from inside of our house – while I was at home alone with my children.

This rise in dogs stolen from right inside our homes has left a lot of breeders feeling paranoid – and a lot of puppy buyers feeling confused.

For years, we’ve told potential buyers that visiting the home of the breeder they are considering purchasing a puppy from is a great way to choose a quality breeder – and it is.  Unfortunately,  it’s also less and less common to find breeders willing to let possible buyers drop over for just a ‘meet the dogs’ visit.

Can you blame us? After all, we don’t know you – and we don’t know if your intent is to sincerely meet us and our dogs, or if you have something more nefarious in mind. Are you ‘casing’ us, trying to find out where the dogs live and what access points there might be? Are you checking to see if our doors are secure, and if there’s a gun safe sitting in our family room? As breeders, we just don’t know – and we’re all of us more and more paranoid about the possibility that your innocuous visit can turn into a house emptied of its pets.

As puppy buyers, however, it’s not unusual to want to meet the possible parents of your future puppy, in advance of picking that puppy up. As breeders, it’s also common for us to want to meet you, as well. An initial impression can go a long way to convincing us that you are the right family for one of our precious kids.

What kind of compromise can we all make, to create an atmosphere where both sets of parties get what they need?

A few options are available.

I ask all potential puppy buyers to fill out a rather detailed questionaire, and I ask that those people who want to do a ‘meet the dogs’ visit fill one out, as well. This questionaire contains information on where you live, where you work, what vet you use – and much more, as well. You can rest assured that I’m double checking it all, before anyone walks in the door. We also take down licence plate numbers of all visitors, as sort of a back up, ‘just in case’ measure. Anyone refusing to fill out a pre visit application form is welcome to not do so – and equally welcome to not visit us.

A less intrusive option is to come and meet your potential breeders at a dog show. I do this quite frequently, even though it can sometimes lead to confused moments as I juggle ring times, visitors and an arm band that doesn’t want to stay on. Inevitably, there’s downtime after classes where we can all sit, talk and get to know each other better. It’s almost always true that whatever dog I have with me is going to me somehow related to whatever future litter I’m planning, so at the very least, show visitors get to meet some of our extended family.

Potential puppy buyers are right to want to meet with breeders in advance – but breeders are also right to want to protect their homes, and their dogs. It’s up to all of us to try to compromise on a solution that will leave us all safe and feeling comfortable with each other.

7 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    I just read Ruby’s story…..I hope the guy who took her was charged and fired from his job, his wife too. I don’t know what the solution is, to the problem, I always think if a breeder won’t let you come and see the puppies they could be hiding something. Obviously that’s not always true, maybe some kind of separate entrance to downstairs so people don’t go through the house. An alarm system, video cameras. Unfortunately as much as we want to believe people are honest and trustworthy there are those who are not, and we need to protect ourselves and our loved ones. And not just against theft, remember the rat terrier breeder who was murdered in the states a few years back?

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      I always think if a breeder won’t let you come and see the puppies they could be hiding something.

      Well, I agree with this – I’m specifically thinking here of people who just ask if they can just ‘come over and meet the dogs’, with an eye to maybe getting one down the road. These are the calls and emails that now make me rather uneasy… I honestly think that for those inquiries, I’m going to limit it to meeting them at shows, unless they came as a referral from someone I know personally.

      When it comes to actual puppy buyers, coming to meet us is part of the deal. Or, in a real pinch, we’ll go to you, but that’s not my preference. Either way, we’re all meeting face to face. At that point, of course, I have a full contract and all your application info, and hey – if I’m about to hand over a puppy to you, I’d BETTER at least trust you enough to come to my house!

    • frogdogz
      frogdogz says:

      Oh, and about Ruby – since it was so long after the fact, no charges we laid, but he did lose his job. His wife/gf had already been fired.

  2. YesBiscuit
    YesBiscuit says:

    The rat terrier breeder was murdered and *had her baby cut from her womb*. I’ve never experienced any theft or violence but the experiences I have had, coupled with what I read of other breeders’ experiences, definitely gives me pause.
    .-= YesBiscuit´s last blog ..Blog Makeover =-.

  3. Susan
    Susan says:

    Such an awful commentary on society that we have to have this discussion. I guess your solution is probably the most practical one, perhaps even taking it a step further – asking social security #s and including a statement that the applicant(s) consent to a background check. There are ways on the web to do it.

  4. Emily~ DreamEyce
    Emily~ DreamEyce says:

    As a rat breeder, I’ve dealt with this dilemma for years. I don’t breed dogs (yet), but in rats, not only is there this personal safety concern, but there’s the fact we don’t have vaccines for rats, and some bacterial infections commonly harbored by humans, are deadly to rats (Such as strep B), plus there’s viral concerns such as SDA, and sendai that can be transported by humans.

    I always feel dirty meeting buyers at gas stations, or rest stops to deliver the rat babies, but between the health risks, and the fact I live in a rural area, and am often home alone, I can’t safely have random strangers come into my home, esp when in many litters of rats, I have up to 8 people I’m placing with! That’s a lot of people I meet off the internet to invite to my home. In today’s society, and with a child in the family, I can’t justify it. If someone brings an infection into my home, that’s thousands of dollars to keep my pets alive, and also the risk of loosing years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears.

    Meeting at shows, or setting up local ‘fun day’ events is a very legit way to let people meet your animals, in a public setting, and get to know people. The fun days are also educational, and promotes not only the local breeding animals, but rescue animals too. I’d love to see more ‘meet the breed’ events where breeds are promoted, and interested people can meet breeds, breeders, and rescues up close and personal. I think that we as breeders, should be moving towards that as means of meeting future puppy buyers, or in my case, future rat owners.

    I wish we still lived in the society where inviting strangers to our homes wasn’t a huge personal safety risk. Even as a child a few decades ago (I’m young ;), I don’t remember things being this bad. Maybe it’s that I grew up in a small rural town though, and was just close-minded to the problems in cities. It’s scary the frauds, and freaks out there. It’s scary that purebred animals are a hot commodity, where people want to take, and use pets for their own profit. It’s scary, and I feel that all animal owners, whether breeders, or just owners, should know the dangers, and keep alert of the risks to their pets, from peoples with no-good intentions.
    .-= Emily~ DreamEyce´s last blog ..Galaxy has something to sell you…. =-.

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