Letter writer: Dog breeders’ hostility was appalling

Graphic by Lori Deaton

On May 29, several members of the Asheville/American Voice for Animals and I held a peaceful protest at an event sponsored by the Hendersonville and Spartanburg kennel clubs. We are opposed to kennel clubs’ support of breeders.

Breeding brings yet another dog into the world when there are already 7.6 million entering shelters every year. Roughly half of these dogs will never find homes and will be euthanized. Adopting a dog from a rescue or shelter instead of a pet shop or breeder saves a life. If anyone still prefers to own a purebred, I would let them know that about 25 percent of shelter animals are purebreds who need homes just as much as other dogs.

While we were spreading this message to the public, I was appalled by the hostility of some of the kennel club members. Many of them stopped their cars to curse and make rude hand gestures at us.

The worst abuse, however, came from the breeders. One breeder came up to us and swore and yelled in our faces, while another drove off the road to nearly hit us, all while she was blowing the horn and holding up her middle finger.

If breeders show so little regard for people, I can only imagine how they treat the animals! The bottom line is if you or someone you know is considering adding an animal companion to your family: Don’t breed or buy while pound pups die!

— Jeremy Sagaribay
Eighth-grader
Asheville

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15 thoughts on “Letter writer: Dog breeders’ hostility was appalling

  1. Stewart

    Jeremy, your parents must be so proud to have raised a child that has such compassion for others. And is so articulate, too, this is a great letter to the editor.. I am sorry you met with such hostility, don’t let it discourage you. There are some nasty people in the world, and you may never change their minds. But you did a good job of informing others about the overpopulation crisis, both by attending the demonstration and by writing this thoughtful letter. Your efforts have no doubt caused some people to adopt rather than buy. So you have saved some lives! Know that you are on the right side of history. Some day society will look back at the senseless killing of dogs and cats and shake their heads, wondering why we continued to allow people to breed when so many were in need of homes. Thank you for your efforts!!!

  2. boatrocker

    Trust me, rescue/pound dogs rule. They know you are getting them out of a bad situation and they call you their “Some of my best friends are human” friend to other dogs when they congregate. They just say it in dog language that we humans do not understand.

    You’ll appreciate that statement once you start to vote and have to put up with adult problems.

    I cannot verify this statement, but I’ve also been told dogs tell other dogs
    “All humans look alike”.

    I would also like to give you an online high five for having the ‘stones’ to use your name for posting as Mtn X’s recent policy for under 18 types is to treat underage LTE writers as ‘writer lite’ for not posting a name. I also hope you were not forced to write this letter under duress for a grade for English class.

    Remember, just like DJ or a superhero who must maintain a secret identity, there is always the possibility of using a posting name here that utilizes a pun.

  3. Elizabeth A Brown

    This same letter appeared in the Asheville Citizen Times with regard to the Memorial Day cluster of dog shows – and these folks were also at the gate of the Asheville Dog shows on June 11th.

    Lets just day that I don’t believe that a minor wrote this without a lot of help from an adult.

    Regardless of the actual writer, my intent in writing is to educate, not to castigate. The folks who were at these two dog show weekends are serious, responsible breeders and exhibitors. I would wager that not one of the dogs they produced ever ended up in a shelter. Please differentiate between the ignorant and careless people who don’t spay and neuter their pets – pets that would never be in an organized and professional breeding program – and t hat they bought either from a ‘backyard’ breeder (the ones who have a purebred, usually from a casual breeder, and think their dog is so great he or she should have a litter. Then, they can’t sell them, so they give away those puppies, and those are the purebreds that end up in shelters. The crossbreds in shelters are the product of the same ignorant and careless people who didn’t spay or neuter their pets. We, the dog fancy, adopt and rehome purebreds from shelters through our parent clubs – every one of them has a Rescue Foundation. We adopt them ourselves, and crossbreds in danger, too. Our performance events are open to non-purebred dogs. We encourage those who have adopted dogs – from anywhere – to get training to train their dogs, and to participate to the extent they wish to in Obedience, Rally, Lure Coursing, Dock Diving, Hunt Trials, Barn Hunts and Agility events put on by the various local dog clubs. You can demand that people adopt from shelters all you want, but if you don’t educate them about what fills up the shelters, you are fighting a losing battle. We do that, and we don’t stand outside a dog show waving offensive signs and then complain that people are being rude. Frankly, we think the protesters are pretty rude – and pretty ignorant of the issues. We can work together to solve the problems of overloaded shelters – but not by calling the dog fancy names that are totally untrue and inappropriate.

    • Jeremy Sagaribay

      I think you misunderstood the point of this letter. When you buy a dog from a breeder, it takes away a home from a shelter animal. We have no issue with people buying purebred shelter dogs and reselling them. The first step in ending overcrowded shelters is to make adoption the only option, and obviously, breeders are not helping to achieve that goal. This letter is in fact, all my work, and frankly I think you underestimate the skill sets and power that young people can have if they set their minds to it.

      • Jeremy Sagaribay

        And how is standing on the street corner holding signs, while you yell at us rude?!

  4. The Real World

    “don’t believe that a minor wrote this without a lot of help from an adult.”
    — Yes, there seems to be a bit of this going on these days. Adults fronting their views through the writing of kids to local papers. Not a nice way for parents and teachers to use children. It’s cowardly and bad role-modeling.

    “We can work together to solve the problems of overloaded shelters – but not by calling the dog fancy names that are totally untrue and inappropriate.” — Oh. thank the universe, that there are a few others that see this as the way to find solutions! There are just too many hijacked brains out there…..adults by age but toddlers by their simple thinking and shrieking behavior. The media and ‘divide and conquer politics’ feed those very tendencies. And around, and around we go……..

    • Jeremy Sagaribay

      I would like you to know that this letter is my work and not my parents writing under my name. I think you misunderstood the point of this letter. When you buy a dog from a breeder, it takes away a home from a shelter animal. We have no issue with people buying purebred shelter dogs and reselling them. The first step in ending overcrowded shelters is to make adoption the only option, and obviously, breeders are not helping to achieve that goal.

      • The Real World

        Good for you, Jeremy….truly. You are very articulate. And, at least you are a concerned citizen as we don’t have enough of those.

        But, “The first step in ending overcrowded shelters is to make adoption the only option”, is incorrect. Educating owners about the importance of spaying/neutering is a far more relevant factor in curbing animal over-population than professional breeders are. One easy way to confirm what I’m saying is to go take look at the dogs in any and all shelters — over 80% aren’t purebreds, are they? No, the majority of dogs in shelters are a product of willfully ignorant owners who don’t fix them or arrogant ones who think they can be a superior “breeder” or simply must have an offspring of their fabulous Fido but that leaves 5 or 6 more pups to farm out and, no doubt, plenty of those wind up in shelters. (I’ve known people that fit all 3 of those categories).

        If you want to solve a problem, Jeremy, make sure you know what the primary issue actually is. Otherwise, you’re spinning your wheels plus everyone else’s AND still not solving the problem. I believe you did your own writing but I also believe it is the adults in your life that sent you down this inaccurate road. And, taught you to accuse people of misunderstanding your point when you didn’t like their responses. Give it all a re-think as it’s never a waste of time to do so.

        • Jeremy Sagaribay

          Since virtually no breeders require every puppy or kitten they sell to be spayed or neutered, these animals can soon have litters of their own, further exacerbating the overpopulation crisis and denying homes to animals who already need them. Breeding and spay and neutering are directly linked together. Both are important, but by ending breeding we can also increase the number of spayed and neutered animals.

          • The Real World

            You are barking up the wrong tree while also chasing your tail and will achieve results commensurate with that.
            To ensure the most success:
            — check your premise about where most of the over-population is originating and be willing to change course if you realize the facts are different than what you first decided they were.
            — instead of attacking and trying to pick fights with people (breeders) — go talk to them, learn how breeding works and why it exists, extend them the same respect that you would want to receive and ask how you can work together with them to solve over-population.

            You are being directed to fight biased, uninformed battles against people who are not your enemy and you will achieve poor results accordingly. Think about that, Jeremy, think about it a lot. Try understanding people and working WITH them. If you insist upon that approach to the adults in your life….well, you’ll be more mature than they are and will teach them something very valuable.

          • The Real World

            Take 10 steps back and try to look at the issue of animal over-population from a big picture perspective — include as many aspects and various people involved as you can. If you do that I think you’ll realize that the issue is broader than you realized and that there is still much you don’t know. That’s okay because you can always acquire more information.

            I feel sure most anyone would be willing to talk to you if you are reasonable, have a sincere interest in them and in truly solving over-population. But, the approach you’ve taken is to attack them by protesting outside their event. I’m sure they were offended because they know you are unaware of the larger issues, haven’t talked to them or tried to find a way to work WITH them on the problem. Do you see how that is a better approach?

            Then, this letter gets written to a newspaper in order to throw more fuel on the fire. That is attack behavior. You’re looking for fights. So, that’s my answer to your question.

            Important notes: I am not a breeder and never have been. I fully support the right to protest and there are times when it is the right way to go. Also, I do not condone the behavior that you experienced at that event. Although I do understand the breeders’ frustration with uninformed protesters, it was wrong of them to lash out as you describe. You could do alot to begin a working and learning relationship with some breeders by writing a letter to the Hendersonville Kennel Club and explain to them that you were a protester but have thought about it further and decided that you need to learn more about their perspective and what they do and would appreciate meeting them. I believe they will be very happy to talk with you if you regard them the way you would want to be. That would create the possibility of a new, informed, constructive and collaborative path to help solve an important problem. I wish you the best.

  5. The Real World

    Didn’t take long at all for the simple thinking to arrive!

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