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“The Dog Merchants” Sheds New Light on the Business of Rescuing Dogs

“The Dog Merchants” Sheds New Light on the Business of Rescuing Dogs


If you think you have a good understanding of the business of breeding, selling, and rescuing dogs, you might be surprised at what you don’t know when you read a new book called The Dog Merchants, by journalist Kim Kavin. Most of us don’t consider our dogs to be products or commodities, but Kavin explains that the breeding, selling, and buying of dogs—as well as the rescue and movement of shelter dogs around the country—is a multibillion dollar business.



Rescue dogs are becoming every bit as much of a hot commodity as purebred dogs, according to a recent article in the New York Post. Homeless dogs from less affluent parts of the country where the shelters have high euthanasia rates are being transferred by the thousands to more affluent communities where the demand for rescue dogs is high.



While most rescuers are kind-hearted and well-intentioned people, there are unfortunately some “rescuers” out there who are seeking to make a profit as they find new ways to satisfy the growing demand for rescue dogs, because commercial enterprises like puppy mills and pet stores are becoming unpopular with the public. Experts interviewed by Kavin note that while adoption fees are charged for these relocated shelter dogs, corners are sometimes cut in their care and transport.


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An even more disturbing trend is “dog auctions” which are held in certain U.S. states. While the public perception of puppy mills and pet stores is negative, potential adopters are still seeking purebred puppies. According to the book, breeders (including puppy mill operators) sell dogs at these auctions. When “rescuers” buy these dogs, they are represented to potential adopters as puppy mill rescues.



What’s the bottom line for potential rescue dog adopters? Make sure you research the rescue organization you are working with to make sure that it is legitimate. Ask for a complete history of your dog, including where she came from and her full health record, including vaccinations.


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