Deaf Dogs Automatically Euthanized - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 12:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hanno View Post
No, it's not simple. They can have a worthwhile life though. I realize that my personal beliefs are not common, but I do see all animals, including human, as equal and I don't separate their value. I can make adjustments in my arguements to accomodate for the fact that most people separate humans from other animals. This is why I haven't brought up my disgust for breeding in general.

If all this killing or culling or whatever is necessary when dogs are born deaf or other otherwise defective and certain breeds are well known to produce these defects, how can a responsible person breed these particular breeds knowing that it is a good possibility (or at least a much better possibility than with other breeds)? All this dog breeding business is really for human's benefit so why would they not just stick with breeds that have a greater likelyhood for a longer lifespan or less chance of illness?
Gee, I'm not sure, but if you believe all creatures are equal and none deserve to live anything but the best life and new shouldn't be created until the ones here all have loving lifetime homes....why on EARTH are you creating (breeding...afterall, lets call a spade a spade) a new human when there are so many human children without homes??
And before you say "Well hey! Thats different!" Go back to where you say you feel ALL animals including humans equal and you DON'T separate their value.

I'm sorry, but you complain that you have to clean up the mess but you also complain if the breeder takes responsibility for the mess--if the breeder is being responsible you don't have a mess to clean up. My guess is you have never seen what results in a congenitally deaf dog who isn't in the PERFECT home--and I don't mean an adequate home, I mean PERFECT. Preferably placed with a dog trainer or a very long time dog person (not someone who got into rescue 5 yrs ago hoping to make a difference)
They can't ALL be saved and the energy expenditure and resource sucking of a special needs dog means that 4 or 5 perfectly healthy dogs will die at the pound because there aren't the resources (be they manpower or be they money) to rescue them. Meanwhile, they didn't have a better than 50/50 chance of developing SERIOUS health and temperment issues--but they're dead anyway so that a dog with a sob story can go to one home.

You'll notice that of all the people here disgusted by this practice, NOT ONE of them has a dog or even knows a dog with congenital deafness.
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#62 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 12:20 AM
 
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I think I agree with Hanno on this one, the origin of the problem seems to be continueing to breed very artificial dogs. By artificial, I mean breeds that are drasticly removed from the basic dog genes, and based on genetic deformities to produce the key characteristics of the breed. I know Joanna that you have said that one of reasons you quit breeding danes is do to all the ingrained health problems and short health span in the breed.

I realize there are lots of adorable and great breeds out there, that would fall under the catagory of "artificial." But I don't know that cuteness is enough to warrant breeding dogs that can't breed on thier own, can't give birth on thier own, and are likely to have severe birth defects. I believe dogs who still have a specific jobs such as hearders, protection breeds, etc. are a different case. Although most of those breeds seem generally healthy.
I really wish there was more room for natural selection in dog breeding, although I also realize that would be basically impossible with animals that live with us and not as wild packs. Wild packs naturally restict breeding rights to the alpha pair as a way of supporting the best genes in the group, but accidental breeding in our modern world is more a matter of happenstance and irresponsibility and not natural selection.
Culling is as close as we can come in civilized society to natural selection. Can you imagine the uproar if breeders started letting puppies who could not survive on their own just die slowly? Culling closely mimics natural selection. The dogs being spoken about here are most often albino, most are blind by the age of 5 (if that), most if they happen to live long enough develop life threatening seizures. Abinoism and the resulting deafness is a screw up in the DNA. It CAN happen in any breed but yes it's more common in some.
Keep in mind, I think what you are imagining are dogs that hear a little (most dogs deemed deaf by their owners actually have SOME hearing--just like most deaf people--same with blind people) These dogs hear NOTHING--not even certain high pitches. Dogs have an ultra basic fight or flight response, hearing things allows them to plan flight, a deaf dog often only sees the option of fight and that's a very SAD way to live.
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#63 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 12:21 AM
 
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I've noticed a tendency to anthropomorphism in some of these posts. Dogs are NOT humans - they don't think, they don't act, they don't react, and they don't feel the way a human being does. They're also NOT on an equal ground with humans. A human is responsible for his/her dog - not the other way around.
If you have suspected anthropomorphism from my posts, please know that is a misunderstanding. I fully understand that dogs are not humans. Part of respecting another's equality is respecting their differences. Thank goodness dogs don't think, act, react or feel the way a human does. Dogs are wonderful because they are dogs--and in some ways inferior and other ways superior to human. I believe with all my heart that my dog's life is just as valuable as mine and therefore, she is equal. As for responsibility, try telling her she's not responsible for taking care of me, or my husband, or the cats. Any time any of us are feeling less than 100%, she keeps constant vigil until we're better. If Klaus sneezes, Beka is quick to run to him to make sure he's okay
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#64 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 12:22 AM
 
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While I hate the idea of culling, I do agree that it is necessary. I did have several congenitally deaf dogs come through my store for training. It is almost never a happy ending

I guess a response would be but give them a chance for a happy life, maybe they wont have other issues (very unlikely) and will find the perfect home (just as unlikely). IMO, there are already too many dogs like that out there from puppy mills and backyard breeders who dont cull. A good breeder would not be responsible by adding to the problem.

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#65 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 12:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Nyima View Post
Gee, I'm not sure, but if you believe all creatures are equal and none deserve to live anything but the best life and new shouldn't be created until the ones here all have loving lifetime homes....why on EARTH are you creating (breeding...afterall, lets call a spade a spade) a new human when there are so many human children without homes??
And before you say "Well hey! Thats different!" Go back to where you say you feel ALL animals including humans equal and you DON'T separate their value.
Nope, it's not different. Not at all. If you want to know a little bit more than you need to about my personal situation, I was told by several doctors that I was infertile and had unprotected sex for well over a decade with no baby. He was a surprise. My husband and I planned on adopting older and special needs children and we still do. As many as we can afford. That being said, it never even crossed my mind to kill my fetus because his life is very, very valuable.
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#66 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 12:35 AM
 
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Culling is as close as we can come in civilized society to natural selection. Can you imagine the uproar if breeders started letting puppies who could not survive on their own just die slowly? Culling closely mimics natural selection. The dogs being spoken about here are most often albino, most are blind by the age of 5 (if that), most if they happen to live long enough develop life threatening seizures. Abinoism and the resulting deafness is a screw up in the DNA. It CAN happen in any breed but yes it's more common in some.
Keep in mind, I think what you are imagining are dogs that hear a little (most dogs deemed deaf by their owners actually have SOME hearing--just like most deaf people--same with blind people) These dogs hear NOTHING--not even certain high pitches. Dogs have an ultra basic fight or flight response, hearing things allows them to plan flight, a deaf dog often only sees the option of fight and that's a very SAD way to live.
This is the ONLY post that has made me start to agree with proponents of culling. I was so ready to post on the side of Hanno and others till I read this. Good point.
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#67 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 01:26 AM
 
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" I think there are probably enough unprofessional (not from breeders) litters being born that we're not really in that sort of 'danger'."
No backpedaling... You said:
Quote:
"I promise that there will still be dogs in 15 years, even if every breeder went out of business today."
You said every breeder not some breeders, not a percentage of breeders ,not a fraction of breeders, you said "EVERY" breeder

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Dogs have been around a lot longer than humans have been breeding them as a profession. That's usually where the mutts come from, no?
No mutts come from the crossing of 2 pure bred breeds of dogs. Purebred breeds came from hundreds and in some cases thousands of years of selective breeding by humans from wolves. Dogs, as all truly domesticated species, are a human creation.


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Breeders and supporters of breeding should be very grateful for us 'AR' people because we're the ones who are often here to clean up their messes by caring for these special needs critters.....I was referring to people who care enough to patiently care for special needs dogs or those who would otherwise be killed.
Good breeders euthanize the genetically weak, they and those who support breeders have no need to be grateful for people that force dogs to live lives of fear, confusion, pain, and misery due to deformity, chronic illness, and neurological or mental problems. Personally I find it unconscionable when people/rescues/shelters choose the genetically weak over normal dogs, considering the "overpopulation problem" where hundreds and thousands of normal healthy stable dogs are euthanized all the time.

Hanno it seems from your posts as if you have never owned a dog that should have been culled... I have owned 2 dogs that should have been culls as puppies. I thought I could help them, change them, make them normal and be comfortable, but you cant. All it does is stretch out pain and misery for the dogs and cause a lot of heart break for the people.


Irishmommy check out this link: http://www.nokillnow.com/PETAarrest2.htm
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#68 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 01:35 AM
 
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I do agree that culling does take the place of natural selection. In a wild pack an unfit dog would either die quickly from being out competed by litter mates or be intentionaly culled by the pack because that one members weakness would threaten them all. So I see the necessity. I guess what I meant is that I am uncomfortable with the degree to witch dogs genes have been altered, and how many breeds would not exist without invitro, c-sections, etc. If more breeds were closer to the original model, there would probobly a lot less human intervention including culling. I'm not saying that the only dogs in existance should be wolf like or pariah type dogs, but maybe no to albinoism, flat faced dogs, extremes of size, dwarfism, ect. Like as much as I think dalmations are beautiful, is there anything about a dalmations purpose that can't be acomplished by a darker dog who isn't carrying the genes for albinoism.
I think that a lot of the breeds out there are thought of as living peices of history, so that even if there is no one that needs them for thier original purpose they are breed for that even if it is detrimantal to thier health and thier temperments. An Irish Wolfhound had been my absolute dream dog for a long time, so I started to research them one day and found out that they only live to be about 8 years old and shouldn't be allowed to run until the age of 2 beacause of it's proportions. As gorgeous as they are that doesn't seem fair to the dog, especialy when no one needs a dog big enough to hunt down wolves anymore.
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#69 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 01:45 AM
 
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No backpedaling... You said:

You said every breeder not some breeders, not a percentage of breeders ,not a fraction of breeders, you said "EVERY" breeder
A breeder is someone who purposely monitors/sets up/is otherwise involved in the reproduction of animals, often for profit. Dogs have been known to have sex with one another without a human's intention.
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#70 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 02:00 AM
 
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A breeder is any person who allows their dog to breed. Monitored or not.

Mom to K (06.23.06) & A (09.13.09)
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#71 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 02:12 AM
 
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A breeder is any person who allows their dog to breed. Monitored or not.
Again, I was referring to the business of breeding. Hence "If every breeder went out of business". I think you can tell that's what the conversation was about. What with all the talk of breed and culling and selection. It's not about 'My dog ran next door and started humping the neighbour's dog and now we have a deaf puppy to kill'. Get real.

My main points are:
-disabled animals can, with patience, live good lives
-the lives of animals are just as valuable (to me) as the lives of humans, but I recognize that not everyone feels this way
-professional breeding is unnecessary and we are not going to run out of dogs any time soon if professional breeding stopped
-culling by professional breeders is sad
-professional breeders choosing to breed types of dogs where culling will likely come up fairly often is very, very sad and pretty unethical

Finally, the crack at my pregnancy hurt and it makes me wonder why it makes some people feel big to make others feel small.
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#72 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 02:16 AM
 
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The problem, i see it, with deafness, dalmatians, and culling, is that the breeder doesnt really have a choice. This is the policy of the Dalmatian Club of America:

(I've excerpted parts the whole thing can be read here: http://www.thedca.org/deaf1.html

"Responsible breeders NEVER knowingly sell, place or give away deaf pups to pet homes. Deaf pups should ALWAYS be humanely destroyed by a veterinarian. In the event that a deaf pup is inadvertently placed, it should be replaced with a hearing pup. Many breeders have their deaf pups put down at three to four weeks, though some choose to wait a few weeks longer. Dalmatian pups normally start to hear at fourteen to sixteen days of age, and hear by five weeks of age if they are going to hear. " (bolding is mine)

and

"The Dalmatian Club of America Board of Governors feels very strongly that deaf pups should NEVER be sold, placed or given away, and most certainly should not be bred from. Deaf Dalmatians are hard to raise, difficult to control ( they are often hit by cars when they "escape") and often become snappish or overly aggressive, especially when startled. " [no allowances are made for dogs that happen to have a good temperment despite their deafness, and who are NOT behavior problems. It is stated as a fact that all deaf dals ARE this way, and its simply not true.]

and

"IF YOU ARE THE OWNER OF A DEAF DALMATIAN, and are having problems with the dog, don't feel"guilty" about it. Consider starting over with a healthy, hearing pup. (And DO have the deaf dog put down.) [euthanization is not listed as a last resort, or one of many options, but rather as the ONLY responsible thing to do.]

The breed club doesnt leave room for ANY special circumstances. Let's say a breeder does have a suitable home for a deaf dog. Lets say they have a dog that has a fantastic temperment, and they have an appropriate home for that dog. The parent club basically says they are a horrible, unethical, irresponsible breeder for not killing the dog. There is alot of debate about this in the dal world (or at least there was when i was involved in dal rescue several years ago.) According to the stance of the breed club, if a rescue gets in a dog who has a GREAT temperment, doenst seem "snappish or aggressive" at ALL, but happens to be deaf....their advice is to ALWAYS kill the dog. NO room for exceptions. THAT i have a problem with. Deaf dals can (and have)been successfully placed. There are rescues that focus exclusively on deaf dogs. It *can* be done.

I do not have a problem with an ethical breeder doing their best to breed OUT deafness, and culling the puppies that are born deaf. A breeder makes a lifetime committment to a dog that they breed....and i can understand why a breeder would choose to euthanize the puppy if they cannot guarantee it will have a suitable home. However, i think its really sad that breeders would be made to feel guilty or irresponsible if they *choose* to place that puppy in a suitable home, provided one could be found.


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#73 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 02:44 AM
 
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queenjane, thank you for the solid information, as unsettling as it is.
Are there any numbers on the incidence of deafness, or is it just too variable from breeder to breeder?
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#74 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 02:47 AM
 
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queenjane, thank you for the solid information, as unsettling as it is.
Are there any numbers on the incidence of deafness, or is it just too variable from breeder to breeder?
This is according to the DCA:

"It has been estimated that from 10% to 12% of the breed is deaf. Recent discoveries in the genetics of deafness have made it possible to reduce the incidence of deafness, with the possibility of virtually eliminating it in the future. Hearing research is currently being financed by the Dalmatian Club of America, various regional Dalmatian clubs and interested individuals. However, for the time being, it is important that deaf pups be dealt with in a responsible and HUMANE fashion. "

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#75 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 03:14 AM
 
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I typed in "dalmatian deafness culling" into yahoo, got some interesting hits. There is a book someone wrote specifically about deaf dogs. Interesting quote from this page(http://www.greatdanerescueinc.com/deafdogs_book.html:

"After being in touch with over 1,000 deaf dog owners, she could account for only ten aggressive deaf dogs, certainly not enough to support the "aggressive deaf dog myth." In her book, she writes, "I also contacted the Dalmatian Club of America to ask for the club's own statistics on aggression. I assumed they would be a definitive resource for these figures, because their stance to destroy deaf Dal pups is partially based on their claim that deaf dogs are aggressive. But they, too, admitted they have no records (or even letters) of attacks or bites that they can share." As with hearing dogs, Becker believes that aggression is the exception rather than the rule."

A link to an article from a boxer breeder on culling:

http://www.boxerunderground.com/feb_bu_99/knevius.htm

An interesting site about "Lethal Whites" (aussies), with a beautiful song (be sure to click on the link to see all the lyrics as you listen):

http://www.aussielads.com/lethal_white.htm

The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund:
http://www.deafdogs.org/contents.html

The DDEAF has a particularly informative page on myths about deaf dogs (the link on the first page actually diverts to another page), and i think its well worth pointing out what they say about those who advocate culling due to all the "problems" associated with deaf dogs: "The vast majority of these people have never allowed a deaf dog to live long enough to actually discover if their beliefs have any validity."

I don't have really strong feelings one way or another, but i just think its worth mentioning that culling IS debateable in the dog world, its not just "responsible breeders" on one side and "overly emotional dog lovers" on the other. There are breeders who don't cull, and hide the fact that they don't. There are lots and lots of people successfully raising deaf dogs. Check out the links.

There are so many breeds in which deafness is a problem, from my quick research just now i found danes, dals, aussies, boxers, jrts....i'm sure there are more. Thats ALOT of newborn puppies to kill based upon their lack of hearing. If there is a chance that some of these puppies can be placed into homes that will allow them to lead wonderful lives, the breeders should be allowed to give a puppy that chance if they so choose.


Katherine

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#76 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 05:10 AM
 
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OK, there are RAMPANT misunderstandings here.

First, this whole idea of "professional breeders." As I have repeatedly said on this forum, there is NO SUCH THING as a responsble breeder who is making ANY money. It would honestly be almost impossible. If you put money into care, into showing, into health testing, and into all the activities that we consider absolutely necessary to being a good breeder, you're basically throwing money into a huge dog-shaped pit. I would literally have to charge about three grand per puppy (which I would never do) just to break even on my relatively modest activity level; if you are a top breeder who is specialing dogs and showing every weekend you'd have to ask ten grand.

SO--if a breeder you are looking at is making money off the dogs in ANY WAY, he or she throws up every red flag I know. ANY breeder making money is almost sure to be cutting corners and therefore not be a reputable breeder.

I would say, as a conservative estimate, that 80-90% of breeders of popular breeds are BAD breeders. Careless, cheap, don't care to prove the worth of their dogs, don't health test, don't temperament test, don't take dogs back, bad breeders. If you want to rail against those breeders, be my guest. I rail against them too, and spend HUGE amounts of time trying to convince people not to buy from them. I do so on this board, fairly frequently.

Responsible breeders not only keep their own dogs and every offspring from their own dogs from EVER hitting rescue, we devote huge amounts of time to getting even badly bred dogs out of rescue and into new homes. Good grief, you should have seen the response on my Cardigan board when a Cardi showed up in a shelter in the Southeast. That shelter probably had 30 calls in the first day, from people as far as California making sure that the dog was NOT TO BE put down, that we'd be there as soon as they would release the dog to our rescue group.

Animal Rights organizations do not clean up the messes that good breeders make. For one thing, we don't leave messes. We are adamant that no dog ever hit rescue. I have, on three occasions, taken a Dane back when the owners could no longer keep it. In each case I got the call, got in the car, and drove straight there--one time ten hours, two times three hours EACH WAY. I have that commitment, in writing, to every single dog I sell, no matter the age or condition, and that is a basic requirement of any good breeder. It's so basic that if anyone refuses to take back a dog from their breeding, or if it goes so far as to hit rescue and they refuse to pick it up or pay its bills, they can (and are) ejected from the breed club. This is across all breeds I am aware of. Animal Rights people do tend to make deep and abiding enemies of the responsible breeding community, because they would like us to live as though we are criminals, subject to automatic government inspection and taxed with huge fines, our dogs confiscated for any invented reason, when the responsible breeding community has not only insisted on spay/neuter of our pet placements but rescued and placed tens of thousands more dogs than PETA ever has.

EVERY HUMAN who allows a bitch to get pregnant is a breeder. The number of bitches truly without any human responsibility is incredibly small, confined to the feral populations in the Carolinas and elsewhere. You are not off the hook if you're too stupid to keep your schnauzer-poodle-maltese cross away from the neighbor's basset; you are just as much a breeder as I am and you are under the same moral and ethical responsbilities. If you fail at those responsbilities, you should be blamed. That I have no issue with. But you CAN'T say that breeding is bad because some, even many, breeders are bad. Those people are failing at basic breeder behavior, so by all means get after them, but don't get after me because I'm doing it right.

"Created" breeds: They're all created. And yes, some of them are unhealthy. But you've got to realize that in the wild, an entire pack of wolves, over its entire lifetime, will only have six or eight puppies survive to reproduction if the population is stable. The VAST majority of wild populations die. So our "interference" is definitely on the side of life; we manage to keep the overwhelming majority of our puppies alive. Where we must cull, we do so for defects that really do render the lives of the dogs substantially sub-par, and when we do not have exceptional owners waiting for them.

Some breeds have more health problems than others. Sometimes this is related to the literal body of the dog (Danes are technically giants, so just like eight-foot-tall humans they cannot live as long). Sometimes it is because there is a genetic bottleneck in the breed that has concentrated certain types of cancers. However, in no case has the responsble breeding population just abandoned these dogs to misery. They weep and wail and try like the dickens to breed only to healthy members of the breed, and sometimes they end up moving to another breed, but through it their commitment to the quality of life of every dog, regardless of how long, is there.

Some breeds are so stylised that they can't breed naturally. That's very true. However, these dogs do not therefore have a reduced quality of life--in fact, many of them live longer and healthier lives than much more "natural" breeds. An AI'd/c-sectioned/tube-fed/snorting-all-the-time pug is actually going to outlive the average Golden by a good three to five years (and, knowing pug owners, will be adored and pampered the whole time). So do I really have any right to insist that the more exaggerated breeds go out of existence?

And dwarfism, good heavens. Go toe to toe with my dwarfed corgi and then tell me that there's ANYTHING wrong with her or her quality of life. Dwarfism in dogs is not associated with major health issues and in fact it can be seen as a real blessing. When you take advantage of naturally occuring acrondroplasia to downsize a working dog, you frequently get a dog who is substantially easier to live with and more likely to get the kind of exercise it needs. There are not many homes that can handle a Bloodhound, but plenty can handle a basset.

Now deaf dogs. As you can tell, quality of life is a BIG deal to me. I also don't think that disabled dogs should be approached under the same philosophical tent as disabled humans. Disabled humans can remember, think, plan, hope, and gain many blessings completely apart from whatever their disability is. They can separate "themselves" from their understanding of their disability. They can communicate pain and be soothed; they can communicate confusion and be educated.

Disabled dogs can do none of those things. Dogs live wholly in the moment. If that moment is miserable, filled with fear, confusing, or painful, their quality of life immediately plummets. They cannot separate their pain from their self-conception.

Dogs also live in a constant, never-ending state of communication with other living things, especiallty dogs and people. I don't think we properly understand that--dogs view themselves almost entirely in terms of their relationships with and actions/reactions to other creatures. A congenitally deaf dog has at least half of that communication cut off. It easily grows confused; it has trouble establishing stable relationships with other dogs. Aggression is extremely common because the dog isn't getting the signals it needs to get from the other dog.

An elite, experienced owner CAN overcome those challenges. She will socialize thoroughly, keep the pack together, encourage non-auditory communication, and stay on top of aggression. However, the bitter lesson learned by many, many breeders is that there are very few elite owners who actually want a deaf dog. The failure of placements is high, and each time a placement fails the trauma to the dog is nearly unthinkable. A being that defines itself only in relationship loses those relationships at great cost to its heart and soul.

So, yes, many (even most) breeders will euthanise rather than risk the utter misery (to the dog) of a failed placement. I fully support that decision. If I had an experienced adopter waiting around to get a deaf Dane or deaf Corgi from me, and I placed the dog with the adopter's full knowledge that eye and brain problems could follow, I would do it. But would I automatically keep and place deaf dogs? No, for ALL the reasons above.
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#77 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 10:13 AM
 
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Edamommy, APBTLuv is right about how important culling really is. It tends to make people get all up in arms and mad that we as breeders or rescuers do it, but the fact is that those same people are not willing to take our responsibility. Would you like me to call you if I have a puppy born without an anal sphincter? I can fix it surgically, but the dog will leak poop constantly through its entire life. Are you willing to diaper, daily wash, and constantly groom a dog like that for the next 14 years? How about if I have a puppy born with megaesophagus--will you tube feed it from birth, then put a g-button in and liquid-feed it for the rest of its life until it inevitably dies young from aspiration pneumonia?

QUALITY of life is what is important, not quantity. It is not a tragedy to gently put to sleep a puppy who has known nothing but comfort, warmth, a fully belly, and love. Putting that dog through a life it can NEVER understand; that's unacceptable to me.

If you cannot take responsiblity for the dogs YOU bring into the world. All the dogs. Then, don't breed them. I do not need to take responsibility for YOUR dogs... you do.
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#78 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 10:20 AM
 
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Disabled dogs can do none of those things. Dogs live wholly in the moment. If that moment is miserable, filled with fear, confusing, or painful, their quality of life immediately plummets. They cannot separate their pain from their self-conception.

Dogs also live in a constant, never-ending state of communication with other living things, especiallty dogs and people. I don't think we properly understand that--dogs view themselves almost entirely in terms of their relationships with and actions/reactions to other creatures. A congenitally deaf dog has at least half of that communication cut off. It easily grows confused; it has trouble establishing stable relationships with other dogs. Aggression is extremely common because the dog isn't getting the signals it needs to get from the other dog.

An elite, experienced owner CAN overcome those challenges. She will socialize thoroughly, keep the pack together, encourage non-auditory communication, and stay on top of aggression. However, the bitter lesson learned by many, many breeders is that there are very few elite owners who actually want a deaf dog. The failure of placements is high, and each time a placement fails the trauma to the dog is nearly unthinkable. A being that defines itself only in relationship loses those relationships at great cost to its heart and soul.

So, yes, many (even most) breeders will euthanise rather than risk the utter misery (to the dog) of a failed placement. I fully support that decision. If I had an experienced adopter waiting around to get a deaf Dane or deaf Corgi from me, and I placed the dog with the adopter's full knowledge that eye and brain problems could follow, I would do it. But would I automatically keep and place deaf dogs? No, for ALL the reasons above.
I agree with everything you wrote about responsible breeders. I think its clear that those breeders care about the breed, "take care of their own", and are the ones that finance the research that goes into solving the problems that may crop up in each breed.

But there still remains the question of deaf dogs and culling. The description above is not the experience of all deaf dogs. Not all dogs live with other dogs, therefore dog-to-dog communication isnt a real issue. Not all deaf dogs experience this:

Quote:
If that moment is miserable, filled with fear, confusing, or painful, their quality of life immediately plummets.
I was surprised, in that quote from the page i posted interviewing the person who wrote a book dedicated to deaf dogs, to learn that while people claim that deafness almost always leads to an aggressive, scared, miserable dog, actual research did not lead the author to the same conclusion. I'm willing to accept that there may be other reasons for that than it simply not being true (maybe all those horribly adjusted deaf dogs had already been euthanized or something) but its at least worth it to pause and wonder if perhaps a stereotype isnt being promoted.

Quote:
If I had an experienced adopter waiting around to get a deaf Dane or deaf Corgi from me, and I placed the dog with the adopter's full knowledge that eye and brain problems could follow, I would do it. But would I automatically keep and place deaf dogs? No, for ALL the reasons above.
I totally respect that position. Would you want, however, your breed club to TELL you that you MUST euthanize a deaf puppy? And if you chose not to, risk ruining your reputation within the breed?

I went to the Great Dane Club of America site, and didnt notice anything written there about deafness--so i dont know the Club's official position on deafness. The Dal Club's position is *clear*, unless they have changed it recently and not updated their website. Breeders MUST euthanize their deaf pups. Its almost like this moral issue with the DCA, and leaves NO room for individual decisions by the breeder. I wouldnt like that very much if i were a dal breeder. The position on their website is very strongly written. They believe that deaf dogs will become miserable, aggressive dogs and should always be PTS. And responsible breeders within the club cannot actually share experience with their deaf dogs NOT turning out that way, because they can't admit to not killing them in the first place.


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#79 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 10:36 AM
 
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If you cannot take responsiblity for the dogs YOU bring into the world. All the dogs. Then, don't breed them. I do not need to take responsibility for YOUR dogs... you do.
But "taking responsibility" means different things to different people.

"Life at all costs" isnt necessarily a responsible thing. I think its ok to look at quality of life (and different people will have a different idea of what that looks like) and choose whether or not to euthanize.

The issue with deafness is that in some breeds it is SO common, that breeders end up "culling" ALOT of puppies. Solely because of deafness. Which may or MAY NOT affect that dogs quality of life. Of course it would be preferable to hear, but many (MANY) deaf dogs lead very good lives. They learn sign language.

Honestly, i dont think responsible breeders are the enemy of rescue. They help, because they love the breed. One rottie breeder drove quite a long way to behavior test a big huge rottie for me that was in a rural shelter. She didnt have to do that. But she wanted to make sure this rottie was able to be placed in a good home, and to increase his chances of getting adopted. She couldnt take him, because she was full (already had several rescues plus her own dogs), but she still cared about him. (And she said the dog had a great temperment, she wished she could take him...and he was soon adopted.) Its *irresponsible* breeders that wont take their dogs back OR euthanize their own dogs that are the enemy of rescue.

And rescues make the decision to put dogs to sleep all the time. For aggression, for serious health problems, for many numbers of reasons. I was shocked once when a cat rescuer told me she had an entire litter of three week old kittens PTS because they had simply been *exposed* to FeLV (a positive cat had walked through the room, before they quarantined it, did not come in actual physical contact with the kittens)....she said that it would take weeks for them to be able to test the kittens, and she "didnt have that kind of time" meaning, they wouldnt be able to be near other kittens or cats, and those other kittens or cats would be euthanized in shelters while these kittens waited. So she sacrifed these kittens the rescue had had since birth. I didnt at all agree with that decision...but that is one she made as a rescuer on the frontlines. And this is a VERY reputable rescue in my area, and the founders clearly love animals and have a passion for rescue.

What do you think most rescues do with most people-aggressive dogs? They euthanize them. Is that also not "taking responsibility"? If they get a dog that needs $3000 worth of surgery, do they do that, or neuter that many more dogs? Which has the greatest impact on the well being of animals? If one is going to be in the rescue world, one needs to be prepared for these hard decisions. Not everyone will make the SAME choice, but i think they should be afforded the same respect for them.


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#80 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 10:43 AM
 
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I was up for hours thinking about this when I should have been sleeping, but anyway...
I think we may be talking about two separate conditions that are both characterized with deafness. One results in only deafness and a dog that can live a fulfilling life and the other the albinoism, deafness, eye problems, and behaviour problems that would certainly make a good life just next to impossible for a dog. It seems that the Dalmation club wants to work toward ending this disability so that less culling would be done. But how?? Selective breeding just doesn't seem to be cutting it. I realize that irradication of Dalmation breeding is sure not going to happen any time soon, so what can we do to help save some lives?
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#81 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 11:00 AM
 
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Joanna and APBTLuv (and other contributors),

Thank you so much for your informed and interesting post. I have learned a great deal from this thread. As a shelter-rescue owner x 2, the knowledge of dog training/breeding I have is limited to my own life experience, and as we have owned 2 border collies, I know that some BCs are born blind, and are automatically euthanized. Instinctively, I recoiled upon having heard that, and before we adopted our first BC, I was interested in rescuing one of those guys. Thankfully, we did more research before we came home with Jack, and I cannot imagine now living with two small children and a dog who was not fully abled in every way - it's already hard enough to give everyone what they need!

I am very enlightened after this post, and I now understand completely and support the decision (however hard it is) to select those puppies who are fully abled and cull/euthanize/kill those who are blind or deaf from birth. It is still incredibly sad for me, which is one of the many reasons I will never be a breeder, and I fully respect those of you who responsibly do so.

Thank you for taking the time to put forth your thoughts and ideas here, you have really helped me understand the concept and enlightened me. I am one of those who admittedly anthropomorphizes my animals, and again, another reason why I would never be a breeder or raise any other animal (at least, at this point in my life) apart from family companions.

Thank you again, your words have not fallen on deaf ears.

And hey, Nyima!

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#82 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 11:21 AM
 
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I was up thinking about this last night, too, and I think what it comes down to, for me, is that I am (very) resistant to the idea that a dog needs to be "perfect" (in terms of breed characteristics and in terms of health, etc.) in order to be a good pet. Several of my dogs have been imperfect, sometimes in ways that would have caused other people to put them down. They have also been truly wonderful companions and the biggest joys in my life. I don't want to see that discounted.
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#83 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 12:11 PM
 
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Great post, Joanna, as usual! Thanks!

Heather, Mama to DS(10) DD(7.5),DD(6)
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#84 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, as the OP this thread has really blossomed into an interesting discussion of the ethics of when it is/is not acceptable to euthanize a puppy.

I wanted to share a little background. I have heard of culling (thought not in those terms) with regards to the cat breeding world (which I am familiar with). When I was campaigning my boy about a decade ago I became good friends with a burmese breeder. I found out later from her that modern burmese "all" threw head deformaties. Weird stuff...multiple eyes, missing eyes...can't remember exactly what it was. She told me sometimes they were born dead, but otherwise she had to instantly remove them from the mom (because mom would often freak out and cannibalize the whole litter...which was known to happen). She told me that they were taught by their mentoring breeder to put the kitten in a ziploc back, then put them in the freezer. Which was rather sad/horrifying to me. I asked another breeder who bred burmese...she told me her vet just kept her up with an injection supply so she could euthanize instantly (which sounded more reasonable, but I know most vets wouldn't do that probably).

Anyhow, in those cases these deformed babies according to the breeders always suffered and died...and if you let them live it was just letting them suffer. This all started in the 70s...back when an very extreme looking Burmese cat (which just so happened to meet the breed standard even better) was produced. These new "contemporary" burmese kicked butt in the showhall....so people started using them in their breeding programs. Of course, they found immediately that these head deformities were produced in the litters. The woman I knew told me that in her litters usually around 30% of them had the head deformities. However, she was a seasoned exhibitor, and knew that the only way she could win in the showhall was to continue to breed this type of burmese. Sadly, there are a few other breeds that have similar issues.

Anyhow, in cats, deafness isn't an issue apparently the way it is in dogs. I know that the vet that I worked with when I had my persian litters stated that he euthanized only if the condition the animal had wasn't compatible with life (I never talked with him regarding dogs specifically). I had one severely cleft palate (basically nearly the whole roof of the mouth was open...so sad) that had to be euthanized as a kitten.

If an animal is "genetically imperfect" but has the potential to live a quality life then it instead turns the decision away from culling or euthanizing to neutering/spaying.

My deaf kitty was awesome...the most friendly, outgoing, super-affectionate, super playful kitty that I've known. He loved people in a way that not many other would. Probably as he was so zoned in on physical contact to compensate for his lack of hearing. Not that I think he is necessarily comparible to a dog.

In the cat world, so many cat with genetic defects are still bred and shown...mainly as if they continue to win in the showhall people will continue to breed them. The year I showed my boy two other cats from the same cattery I had gotten mine from were shown to top wins and BOTH were deaf. Obviously, being judged on a table...not being required to do much other than be pretty, playful and have nice type is something that you can get around in the cat world.

But still, why would someone want to continue with a breed if they kept on having such severe health problems all the time? Or, why wouldn't they seek to find lines which don't produce these traits? Just my thought.

The breeder who I helped by raising some litters, I feel bad sometimes when I look back and see what she did and how essentially the good things she did to eliminate the lines which had deafness....she had focused on producing blue eyed whites...in the kittens that were produced from those litters none were deaf. She very rarely had deaf kittens. Though, breeding for other reasons was too emtionally difficult after a while and she stopped after 7 years. Sadly, the only person who is breeding for blue eyes now produces over 75% deaf...but her cats do great in the showhall: so she doesn't see it as a problem.

Probably one reason why I didn't contine with a breeding program myself. There was something about feeling like I was "playing God" in a way with living things which part of me never quite felt right about. Not that I am against breeding. I would say I have mixed feelings, bordering on negative emotions with my experience. Maybe it is because of the lack of concern over the health issues, and that so many breeders/exhibitors who I came in contact with seemed to care more about how well their cats did in the showhall rather than the underlying quality of life/health of the animals.

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

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#85 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 01:54 PM
 
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I know it's sappy, but I really liked the book Amazing Gracie by Dan Dye about his deaf dane and he and his partner's dog food company she inspired.
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#86 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 03:48 PM
 
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Again, I was referring to the business of breeding. Hence "If every breeder went out of business". I think you can tell that's what the conversation was about. What with all the talk of breed and culling and selection. It's not about 'My dog ran next door and started humping the neighbour's dog and now we have a deaf puppy to kill'. Get real.

My main points are:
-disabled animals can, with patience, live good lives
-the lives of animals are just as valuable (to me) as the lives of humans, but I recognize that not everyone feels this way
-professional breeding is unnecessary and we are not going to run out of dogs any time soon if professional breeding stopped
-culling by professional breeders is sad
-professional breeders choosing to breed types of dogs where culling will likely come up fairly often is very, very sad and pretty unethical

Finally, the crack at my pregnancy hurt and it makes me wonder why it makes some people feel big to make others feel small.
Ya know something, I'm really sorry that you feel I made you feel small. Here's the thing though--I actually WASN'T doing it with the intention of making myself or anyone else feel big--I was however doing it in hopes of showing you what your statements earlier in this thread made those of us who are either involved in RESPONSIBLE breeding, or veterinary medicine, or rescue with the intent of saving the most adoptable and most likely to lead a long and healthy life. Your post made me feel small. I'd be willing to bet that it made thekimballs feel small too (actually, allow me to rephrase, it DIDN'T make me feel small but only because I've been involved with this stuff for SO long that I'm used to it and have learned that it's a common "philosophy" for those who are only in for the top level and glory saves and also from those that just don't actually know (and often have no desire to learn) what it really means to breed animals OR to be involved with reality based rescue. The big difference though is that I can almost guarentee that YOUR post was INDEED meant to belittle others and make yourself feel superior.

So tell me. How many puppies under the age of 4 mos have you held gently while they were killed--there only fault in the world being that they were here, they were mutts and they didn't have a sob story. How many times have you felt the rage because you KNOW that if you were to break the pups leg instead of killing it, he'd get a home in a week. How many times have you killed 12 puppies all the while knowing that if you just killed that ONE disabled dog...the dog that will cost a lot for the new owners but more importantly is costing the rescue a bloody fortune in both money they don't have and manpower they also don't have that you'd save enough money to take care of all 12 of these puppies until you can place them. But the problem is, that one disabled dog, by going through pain, by going through mental issues that make life or living difficult for it, by going to a home where there is a grossly high chance it will be redumped--that dog has a story that will sell. It will get the rescue in the paper, people will go "Awwwww, that poor, poor, poor dog" and there will be a lineup to adopt that dog.

That's what I've lived and I've lived that for a very long time. I have put to sleep 300 puppies who's only fault was they were a cross that nobody wanted.
Where did these puppies come from?? I can ASSURE you it wasn't from responsible breeders.
By your logic, the solution is that the people doing it right. The people who care. The people who take responsibility for the entire life of that dog. The people who spearhead funds for research to help get rid of things like congenital deafness (and I hate to break it to you but there is just as good a chance of messed up DNA in a litter of mutts as there is in a purebred litter--the difference is the breeder of the purebred Dals is monitoring that litter from day one for problems known to the breed--if the breeder feels something is wrong at 5 weeks the breeder takes that pup in for a BAER test--the litter of mutts with the deaf puppy, nobody knows it's actually deaf until the behavior issues start to mount up) You think THOSE people should STOP breeding and the irresponsible folks, the ones who DO breed for money, the ones that cross breeds and make up a funny name so they can charge a ton for a designer dog, the puppy mills and the just downright irresponsible dog owners who let their dog get pregnant "by accident", those people in your books, they can keep going thus supplying enough dogs for everyone--you're right, that may work. HOWEVER. Quality will drastically decrease. Dog breeding will actually become about making money. Nobody will be there to shun the ones willing to breed unhealthy parents or dogs with no health testing.

So basically, in 20 yrs we will have a whole slew of mutts of questionable background, health status, temperment and workability. Dogs will become more disposable than they are now (if that's even possible) and nobody that can actually be held accountable will be producing dogs anymore. And you know what...and here's the kicker. There will STILL be serious health issues cropping up all over the place--if anything, more so because nobody will be health testing the parents of these dogs.
Sure, I guess that could work. I'd even be willing to give it a try if you're the one who will come hold the puppies that still need to be killed, cause me, I'm REALLY burnt out with it.
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#87 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 04:11 PM
 
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Are there really puppies that are being put to sleep in shelters? Because sick and old dogs are being adopted instead?
I've always assumed that the younger puppies are very likely to be adopted, so I wanted to go with slightly older dogs instead.

Becky, partner to Teague, SAHM to Keagan (7yo), Jonah (2yo)
 

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#88 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 04:13 PM
 
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Nobody is saying that dogs that don't meet breed standard should be killed!! I had a springer who was petrified of birds--he was even top hunting lines. Obviously he really wouldn't have made it as a hunting dog--but he was a great sit by the fire after spazzing out in the house for 3 hours kind of dog. A friend of mine has a lab that actually sinks when she swims. We were going on a camping trip and planned to portage out and needed to get her dog used to the canoe. She told me the dog didn't swim and I said, if she falls out and hits the water, she'll figure it out. Well that theory had me jumping into very cold water while her LAB sunk to the bottom on her back of all things. Again, this dog does NOT meet "breed standard". She has MANY other oddities as well. But none of them put her at risk of ripping off a toddlers face just because she didn't hear the toddler coming and none of them cause her to live a life that is even remotely less than full. Should she be bred?? No. Can she be a great pet to an understanding woman who thinks her quirks are cute?? The BEST.
When we look at CONGENITALLY deaf dogs we're looking at animals who have had something go wrong when it came to combining dna. 30 yrs ago, we thought these dogs were JUST deaf. As time went on, we saw temperment problems--no problem right--early training is the answer. Then we found out that they had actual NEUROLOGIC problems causing their temperment problems. We saw they often went blind and they often had seizures. Now we have to look at what we don't even know yet. Can you say for sure that a dog who's nerves behind his eyes are slowly degenerating doesn't experience migraines like people? Can you say for sure that lashing out at humans because of neurologic issues doesn't involve immense pain? The problem is we just don't know. Dogs can't tell us if they live everyday with a throbbing headache. Dogs are stoic and their way to show pain usually involves not so much showing pain, but compensating and resting the area in pain--so we don't know my dog's leg hurst because he said to me "Hey, you, my leg is killing me!!" We know because he limps. Some dogs are so stoic they try not to show pain even when we KNOW that HAS to hurt.

It's because of that and the trauma I see done to dogs that are serial returns that I am all for peacefully euthanizing an animal before he's lived a life of pain.

Btw, that research done on aggresiveness in deaf dogs was actually NOT done with true congenital deaf dogs--it was done on dogs that developed hearing problems as they grew and most aren't 100% deaf. It's a great study but think of it. How does a puppy learn bite inhibition? From his mom and litter mates. What is the first cue to that puppy that he's going over the line? A yelp, a growl, a SOUND. So even if a dog is deaf by 10 weeks--he still had the benefit of hearing during those CRUCIAL first weeks.
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#89 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 04:13 PM
 
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Nyima, :

Thank you so much for your post.

Half-marathon running Mommy to 3 spunky girls and 1 sweet boy. Spending my days and nights where my kids need me most- at home with them!!

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#90 of 131 Old 03-15-2007, 04:15 PM
 
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puppies are put down in shelters every day--most often in the age group of 6-12 mos.
Adopting an older dog without a sob story is equally important though--they get put to sleep just as frequently.
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