by: Suzanne Fourmigue
Founder of WeimRescueTexas.Com
Reprinted Here by Permission
There are many people in weimaraners who are very responsible breeders and many who are very responsive to the needs of rescue. They donate their money, time, knowledge and resources to help with rescue efforts all over the country. My comments are not meant to overlook what everyone already contributes, but rather to show that the problem is so far out of hand.
We all love the breed. We would not be having this discussion if we did not. From all I have read about this breed, I have learned that the weimaraner became so special because of the highly regulated and restrictive breeding practices in Germany when the breed was being developed and refined.
Here in America, we have a market economy and far more individual rights for humans than other parts of the world. Animals are property with basically no rights. In this country the fundamental belief is that animals are here to serve humans and to be used by humans. In Texas you can shoot your dog, but not severely abuse or neglect it. It is almost impossible to stop people from breeding dogs. Breeders destroy what they can't sell or dump them in the animal shelters to make room for new puppies on the way (weimaraners included). Dogs are a cash crop.
I have contacted breeders who are members of the Weimaraner Club of American (WCA) and the local weimaraner clubs, to notify them that one of their offspring was in rescue. They have been "unable" to take the dog back in because they are too full of puppies. In some cases, they have offered to have the dog euthanized if it is old or if the behavior is slightly questionable. They never gave the dog a chance to come back into their home for an evaluation or to make an effort to find the dog a new home.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates around 15 million cats and dogs are destroyed annually in this country because there are no homes for them, yet we continue to breed, or allow to be bred, millions more every year.
In the Dallas/Ft. Worth area we used to rescue 3-4 weims per month, now we average 10-12 monthly. There are usually 5-7 litters advertised weekly in the papers costing $250.00 - 450.00. Frequently the pet stores in several malls in our area have weim puppies for $700.00. WCA members around the state and many members of the three Texas weimaraner clubs regularly have puppies for sale, usually for $500.00 & up. Many must be shipped to homes out of state because we are so over-saturated with weimaraners in Texas. Weimaraner Rescue of North Texas has 15-20 dogs available at any given time for a $175.00 adoption fee. You can find an adoption form elsewhere on this website.
In addition to all the dogs available locally, piles of adorable weimaraner puppies are for sale everyday on the internet. Most of the internet ads offer to "ship the dogs anywhere". It is extremely difficult to insure a safe and reliable home to a puppy being shipped across the country to a virtual stranger.
In the animal shelters, we are seeing weim/labs, weim/dobes, weim/pitbulls and some that look about one-quarter weim and who knows what else. I used to be astounded by the volume of dogs in Lab Rescue and Golden Retriever Rescue in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Now our numbers exceed theirs every year.
If you are reading this and thinking, OKAY, I TRY to be a responsible breeder, what ELSE can I do to help save this breed that I love so much?
Here are some suggestions:
- Cut in half the number of breedings you planned for the next 2 years, including dogs that you co-own and dogs offered for stud.
- Use the time and energy you would have spent on producing new puppies and showing your dogs and pitch in to help clean up the breed for the next 2 years.
- Perform an extensive follow up on all your off-spring including first, second and third generations. Find out where those dogs are and do everything in your power to get all of them spayed or neutered.
- Sell all puppies on a spay/neuter contract and a limited registration. If you don't have a good spay/neuter contract, please send email to Weimaraner Rescue of North Texas (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will send one to you.
- Put a clause in your contract that any dog you sell MUST be returned to you if the purchasing family cannot keep the dog, at any time in the dog's life.
- Keep space in your home or kennel for the specific purpose of taking your own offspring back if they ever need to come back to you.
- Keep only the absolute "best of the best" intact for showing and breeding purposes.
- Lobby the AKC to allow ALTERED dogs to be shown in conformation.
- Support your local weimaraner rescue with your money and your time. Offer to foster, transport, do home checks for new adoptive families, and counsel new weimaraner owners with their problems.
- If there is not a weimaraner rescue in your area, contact Becky Weimer, National Rescue Chairperson at (616) 236-1466 and she can put you in contact with someone near you that helps with Weimaraner Rescue.
- If your club does not have an active rescue program, get together with your membership and start one. It is everyone's problem.
- Set up a program in your area to contact people selling puppies in the newspaper to provide pertinent literature on the breed and animal care information. In your conversations with these people, you may be able to get them to curtail their breeding as well. You may also get a look at the pedigrees to find out where their breeding stock is coming from and contact those breeders too.
- If weimaraner puppies are for sale in pet stores in your area, visit the store and ask to see the pedigrees. Find out where the puppies are coming from and contact any kennel names that you recognize on the pedigree and tell them that their off-spring are winding up in pet stores. Tell the pet store that you won't shop there as long as they are selling puppies and you intend to tell all your friends to stop shopping there as well. Visit the shopping center manager and all the other tenants and tell them that you disapprove of puppies being sold in a pet store and tell them why. Puppies in pet stores typically come from out-of-state puppy mills that keep dogs in horrible conditions. These puppies are often sick and have endured a beginning in life that none of us would want to witness.
- For a real dose of reality, visit your local animal shelter and ask them how many of the dogs you see there will be adopted and how many will be euthanized in the next few days. Without Weimaraner Rescue this is where hundreds if not thousands of weimaraners would end up every year.
Reputable breeders, WCA members, and local club members that breed have the most to gain from keeping this breed healthy. It is my opinion that weimaraners are rapidly "going to hell in a hand basket". If people are serious about the welfare of the breed, now is the time for serious action. Please have the courage to ask yourself, "Am I a part of the problem or a part of the solution?"
If you want to be a part of the solution, there is much work to do.