Two recent news stories show that anyone getting a puppy needs to be careful to avoid puppy mills and scams. CBC reported that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating the arrival of a Ukrainian Airlines flight with 500 French Bulldog puppies, 38 of which were dead and many others seriously ill. Separately, CBC reports an alleged scam across Canada in which people handed over money for puppies they say they did not receive. (The BBB received over 6,000 complaints about puppy scams in Canada in 2019).
Source: Chevanon Photography/Pexels
Incidents like this occur because of the high demand for puppies. The laws around the sale of puppies need to be tightened up, but in the meantime there is something else the dog-loving public can do: be very, very careful where you get a puppy from.
Dr. Scott Weese (Worms and Germs Blog) writes of the Ukrainian Airlines incident that,
“As long as people are willing to buy imported dogs, or dogs from large volume commercial breeders (i.e. puppy mills) that buy in cheap breeding stock from overseas, the problem isn’t going to go away.”
It’s easy to fall in love with a puppy from a cute photo, but taking great care to choose one is good for the puppy and good for you. Puppies should be raised in a home environment, and research shows this will make them a better pet (Majecka et al 2019). Puppies from pet stores (sourced originally from commercial breeders) are more likely to have behavior problems such as aggression (McMillan et al 2013; Pirrone et al 2016; Todd, 2020). And when puppies are bred in large scale operations, the health checks necessary for good breeding are not done.
If you’re going to get a puppy, you should make sure