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Rescue Group Raises Awareness About ‘Backyard Breeders’

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Tinkerbelle (credit: CBS)

Tinkerbelle (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Many people have probably heard the term “backyard breeders.” It’s commonly used to describe when dogs are bred for fun, to make money, or simply to create purebred pups.

A Colorado rescue organization is raising awareness about a breeding practice they call dangerous that involves the genetics of a dog. It all has to do with the color and/or the pattern of a dog’s coat.

The color of a dog’s coat can lead to big money for a breeder. In a case CBS4 found, the dogs are dachshunds. Veterinarians say dachshunds and even Great Danes have genetics, that when people mix certain patterns of their coats in order to achieve a specific outcome, it can lead to deadly consequences where the risk is not worth the monetary reward.

Tinkerbelle acts like a typical young pup.

“Very much an explorer,” Georgia Cameron with Life is Better Rescue said.

She’s playful and curious. But Tinkerbelle isn’t a typical dachshund for a few reasons.

“Being that she’s solid white is very rare, so this would be a very desirable trait,”  Cameron said. “The problem is that genetically this doesn’t really play out well for the dog.”

She was born without eyes and is deaf. It was the result of bad breeding practices, according to Cameron. She says Tinkerbelle is a “triple dapple” dachshund. Veterinarians say it’s a color combination that can result in severe birth defects and stillborn puppies.

“Her issue is related to inbreeding and over breeding of certain traits of dogs,” veterinarian Dr. Angela Piccoli said.

In an attempt to create the pure-white coat, Piccoli says the breeder took big risks.

“It’s very irresponsible. Breeding any animal that you know has a genetic fault with another animal with a genetic fault is irresponsible. You know half, if not more, is likely to have something wrong with it,” Piccoli said. “Why would you want to do something like that to an animal just for your own personal profit?”
space Rescue Group Raises Awareness About Backyard Breeders

Cameron rescued Tinkerbelle from Kansas after seeing an ad on Craigslist. It didn’t appear to be the first time that breeder had created flawed dogs. The owner of Sparta claims he is from the same breeder. Sparta is deaf and his eyes are too small.

“It’s not illegal. We don’t have any laws that govern how people breed their dogs,” Piccoli said.

In many states the Department of Agriculture will license, regulate and inspect dog breeders. In Kansas it’s the Animal Health Department. They say they don’t have any jurisdiction over genetic issues.

CBS4 did a check on Tinkerbelle’s alleged breeder and found no violations or issues of concern. But it’s a concern to the rescue community.

“Nobody monitors breeding practices. You could have daughters breeding back to fathers,” Cameron said. “There’s nobody that’s going to police that and if anything, the American Kennel Club is going to register it.”

CBS4 checked with the American Kennel Club. They say dogs are registered according to their bloodline and that a dog can have a genetic defect but still be a purebred. They say it’s up to the breeder to distribute a sick dog like Tinkerbelle, and the new owner to choose whether or not to register it.

“Papers don’t give her eyes back. Papers don’t make her hear,” Cameron said. “Tinkerbelle didn’t have to be born this way.”

Life is Better Rescue wants to maintain their relationship with the breeder to continue rescuing dogs from being euthanized. That’s why CBS4 didn’t identify the breeder.

The rescue community hopes the big takeaway from CBS4’s report is to spay and neuter pets. Animal shelters are full of pets needing a good home.

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