Saturday, 8 May 2010

Banish those negative self destructive thoughts!

You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, or so the cliche says. Actually I just can't make an omelette full stop or much else edible, which as we've got six people round for dinner table tonight is unfortunate.
I had thought Puppy Contracts would unite us all, that no one would be grumpy about them, but there's always one - isn't there. And if there's one who comments anonymously there might be 10 more at home all going, "it'll never work".
So for those who missed the comment on the last blog - here it is again with my reply. It does probably all seem too good to be true, too shiny and new, but please dog lovers, just for a moment open your heart and start to believe this might just be a very good idea!

Puppy contract cant work, as no cross breeds/mongrels would ever use them, the vast majority of show breeders already use a form of (or even better type) of puppy contract. Where it will fail is that none of the vets will want to set themselves up to be sued if they give a signature on a form to say the dog will never get ill, after all HD is only 25 hereditary and can be as a result of many other factors ie diet, over exercise, injury. Indeed even if its parents have 0/0 scores it still can end up with hip dysplasia. The same can happen in many other conditions. The puppy contract will end up like a cars MOT and mean its only valid and statement of condition for that puppy on the DAY it is sold. Anonymous

Oh anonymous, you really are a glass half full person aren't you!
The Puppy Contract is already working perfectly well in Sweden. Every niggle you can think of to make it not worth even trying has already been chewed over and overcome.
The puppy contract would apply to everyone, Labradoodles, pedigrees, mongrels - anyone selling a pup. It puts the power in the hands of the consumer and ignites existing legislation.
The contract will be thoroughly legalled and will be a fair contract between puppy buyer and puppy seller, the contracts used at the moment by the TINY number of show breeders compared to the general dog population are all individually written and unlikely to stand up in court if challenged as they don't protect both sides in the sale. They protect the breeder not the buyer.
And the attitude that says we're not interested in ALL dogs, 'we're already doing something else and we're happy with what we do back off' is incredibly short sighted. If there are 10.5 million dogs in Britain - the KC only register 250,000 a year. There are millions of dogs being bred outside their jurisdiction.
Puppy Contract would be for EVERY transaction, not just the elite.
The vet doesn't sign it, either!
It's a transaction between the breeder and the puppy buyer.
It is elegantly simple but beautifully effective - and someone else has thankfully trialled it and ironed out the problems.
Time for all standing behind something that changes the way dogs are bred in this country.
Unite don't fight!
If a breeder has done all they can to avoid a problem they have nothing to fear. Plus the insurance world will have a product for good breeders just like they do in Sweden.
It will just make breeders responsible for producing poor quality pups that run up massive vet bills - and that responsibility will make running a puppy farm or selling dogs in a pet shop simply uneconomic.
It will also make pet owners perfectly aware of what's expected from them, too.
Impulse purchasing from dodgy outlets should become a dim and distant memory.
Which dog lover would not support this?
Beverley Cuddy

To address the latest comments about not wanting too much litigation and that we're all adults etc and we should just stop being so silly, the puppy contract is unlikely to see a vast amount of people going to court. And sadly at the moment after years and years of education, puppy retail outlets are getter bigger rather than smaller!
It's the threat of court that will dissuade people from trading in misery. After one or two precedent cases I think we will see things calm down and people choosing other less stressy ways to make money.
We will never get any political party to outlaw the sale of pets in pet stores, everyone has tried - but they'll no do something that stops someone trading. But give the power to the consumer to insist on higher standards and the pet trade has a clear choice, reform or change jobs.
In Sweden there are very, very few dogs in rescue. Passive ownership and passive breeding seems to stop when you make it obvious there are consequences and responsibilities. Yes there are probably are some people who object to the Swedish system, it's a free country, but I'd love to be living somewhere you only have to bitch about the tiny little details that you think need a tweak! Let's hear from Swedes - I've yet to find someone who doesn't support the puppy contract in Sweden.
The puppy contract here would merely extend the normal consumer laws to the trade in dogs, nothing extra. Just tightens up some of the loopholes that have made bad breeders able to side step their reponsibilities. If you like, this is like an extended warranty just like you'd get on your car or your fridge.
If you sell something that is defective it is obvious you should pay to repair it.


ScotchEgg said...

im not being negative here, but all these references to sweden make me chuckle. i must as my swedish friend if all is as rosy there as you describe. as far as these contracts go 'knowing me and knowing you' (sorry for the bad abba pun) they will never take hold on a large scale. and do they only apply to dogs sold directly from a breeder, or is everyone who has to rehome or sell an older pup or adult expected to have a new contract?

i have a radical about people doing their homework before taking on a puppy, finding out if their breeder does health tests and if so the results of their puppy's parents...and understanding that they are not purchasing a new hd television that can be sent back to china to be repaired, but a living animal. i dont want a piece of legislation to buy a pup for the an adult and know that there are risks involved no matter what. less legal/government intervention in our daily lives, please. not more.

alfmcmalf said...

Hi Scotch Egg

Go into one of the puppy "superstores" sometime and view the puppy kennels at the back. See pen after pen of sad, thin, mangey looking "pedigree" pups who have been taken from their mum too early, who are not getting any proper socialisation let alone health checks and who were born in who knows what undescribable mass production line. Hang around for a while to see the hapless people wander in and think hey great I want a pup like that Paris Hilton has or whatever, get out their credit cards and purchase on whim, like they might a fake Prada handbag this poor wretched creature.

Spend an afternoon doing that Scotch Egg and then tell me we don't need the simple safeguards in place that would come with the Puppy Contract.


ScotchEgg said...

Hi Alf, im not sure if you were eating your Weetabix too quickly and misunderstood (or took immediate defensive stance) what my post said.

I did not imply that selling ASDA brand puppies was a good thing or acceptable. In fact it is a practise that should be banned full stop (for kitties too!) And how about banning the importation of truckloads of pups from abroad? These are sensible measures.

What I DONT want to see is a culture of litigation, accusations and misinformation about the purchase of animals, namely dogs.

Beverley Cuddy said...

Scotch Egg, I've addressed your recent post in the blog by adding a couple of paragraphs. Just in case you don't spot it!

ScotchEgg said...

Beverly, thank you for posting the additional comments to explain you're point further (coz I'm thick.) I think you are being extremely naive to think that contracts will ''unlikely'' see an increase in litigation. What's your first reaction to an unexpected bill, particularly a large one (and most vets only deal in large sums)? I'd say mine is ''Oh, crap, could really do without this added expense..'' And many people would follow that up immediately with ''How can I get out of it?'' and then a thought which leads to ''who can I blame/sue and get out of this bill??''

Your thinking is flawed when you compare the purchase of a puppy to that of a fridge.....the latter was made under factory standards, by men (and women, for balance) and any flaws or faulty wires can be traced directly to the source.

A puppy (or kitten, or pony...) is alive! As much as we wish to control its future there are limitations on what we as breeders, owners, scientists and magazine editors can do. The last line of your revised comments is what makes me cringe the most....the bit about if you sell a defective product you should be forced to pay.....................
exactly WHOM determines what a defective puppy is? Is it one who gets parvo and dies an early death. Yes, that is something that proof of vaccination should prevent from happening. Is it one that has an upset tummy after a day at his new surroundings, and the new owners rush him to their vet, where (once they tick the box to say he is insured) the puppy is probed, prodded, prescribed pills and given a proposterous bill? Then is that the breeders responsibility to pick up the tab, when the trip was likely unneccessary? When a simple phone call to the breeder might have saved them the trouble? Can you not imagine the disgruntled owner (disgruntled because of the £204.85 bill they were given earlier that afternoon) pounding on the breeders door, contract in fist??

What is defective? Is it a puppy who develops an auto-immune related illness? Who is responsible for that? Will a legal battle ensue, with private detectives hired to look for clues in the breeders past, digging up past vet records of past doggies to provide a smoking gun and win their clients' case?

What about a puppy that is dysplastic at 2, although the breed doesn't normally suffer from this condition and therefore the parents are not tested?

What is defective property when we are talking dogs of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and histories? Is it up to a judge in court, who has little or no firsthand knowledge of animal husbandry, to make the decision of whether or not a puppy is damaged goods?

Beverly, science is not always something that can be bottled and sold with a shiny label.....we simply do not have all the answers to the unfathomable number of questions surrounding WHY bad things happen to dogs. Which is why adding LEGALITIES to the mix is a dangerous cocktail!

So YES, I maintain my stance that I am not in favour of mandatory contracts to safeguard buyers of puppies because of the ENORMOUS room for error. I don't want to spend my limited resources proving to a court that I am innocent when it is really mother nature who has dealt an unlucky hand.

Beverley Cuddy said...

Didn't mean to sound patronising. But we're getting to the point aren't we. You're scared of being sued if a pup you breed becomes ill and that's putting you off the scheme.
If you have done all the preventative stuff you should have done, if you're insured as Swedish breeders tend to be - what's your worry? The time taken to sort out the case? Can't you see the benefit to the majority?
What happens at the moment if someone breeds a pup that runs up thousands of pounds at the vets?
I think you are being defensive for no good reason. People in Sweden still breed dogs don't they! But the majority of people in this country who breed litter after litter from untested dogs may have to change their ways and perhaps take up another way to fund their next holiday or DFS sofa!

ScotchEgg said...

Thanks for your prompt reply....but to get to the heart of my question....who determines what is, by defenition, a defective pup?

I partake in the relevant tests for my breeds, and thankfully genetic anomalies are not common.....but getting back to the variety of loopholes surrounding what is, or isn't, the responsibility of a breeder....please elaborate on what this ''contract'' would hold breeders responsible for, and would it vary for different breeds (i.e. a Weimaraner with syringomelia), and are there cut off someone who has herself bred dogs I am baffled that you cannot see the grey areas here and the potential for these contracts to be abused.

Mina said...

I thought dogs were already covered under the Sales Of Goods Act if they are sold in the course of a business? Whether breeders are classed as a business is one issue that might need addressing, so wouldn't cover the 'accidental' mating and sale of pups, so yes I agree that needs to be dealt with, but any pet shop or puppy farm can in NO WAY claim that they aren't a business.

After 6 months any condition, say, HD diagnosed at two (as my dog was) as mentioned, would be down to the OWNER to prove that they hadn't over-exercised the dog and that the dog was sold 'faulty'.

So the onus would only be on the BREEDER for the first 6 months.

Where it needs changing is that there aren't many people who would send their puppy back to the breeder for a refund if it was not fit for purpose, ie they made it clear they wanted a pet dog to pootle to the shops and back and maybe once round the park and the breeder sold a working Springer Spaniel. Sadly lots of people give such dogs up to rescue at around 8-9 months. It would be better if they could be returned to the breeder so the breeder would learn to be more careful who they sold what dog to!

cambstreasurer said...

My tuppence worth would be that it would work with puppy selling outlets with an address (pet shops & so on), but not where the daft purchaser has met the seller at a motorway service station.

I would have thought that requiring proof of vaccination would go some way towards meeting ScotchEgg's objections re the pup whose upset tum is due to change of diet rather than parvo. If you were a vet and knew both the pup and its dam were vaccinated you'd be fairly unreasonable to kick off with all the expensive elements of treatment for parvo.

Beverley Cuddy said...

Scotch Egg
It's no that I can't see wrinkles that need to be smoothed, it's just that I am optimistic that the Swedish precedent will help us look as we can look at their solution and how it works.
The good breeder will end up with a very comprehensive insurance policy so the fault clause will have less of a sting if it is a grey area. There will be preventative tests that need to be done and agreed best practise on rearing, but when a pup is just a defective pup congenitally - a bit like a Friday afternoon car, then it's not the puppy buyer's fault and that's when the breeder's insurance will kick in. I know you don't like me comparing this to other consumer law, but if you brought a TV that didn't work would you want to know why specifically before you got it fixed and working? The pup needs to be a of merchantable quality according to the Sale of Goods Act. The Swedish contract looks at the first 3 years of the dog's life. If the puppy owner hasn't broken the dog in some way by dropping it or getting it run over, or starving it or feeding it chocolate and grapes, then it is reasonable to assume that the dog will survive at least three years without having a major health problem. The bad breeder will not bother to health test or insure and then the full force of the legislation will kick in and the knowledge that this can happen will dissuade them from breeding without thought in the future. A three year warranty isn't so much to ask.
Mina asked if we don't already have consumer legislation, which of course we do. Sales of a Goods Act and Trade Descriptions Act both apply, but very many dogs are bred by people who aren't officially traders even though they may be making a small fortune of undeclared income. These people side step the courts and any responsibility. And from talking to pet owners who have had horrible avoidable things happen to their pets it's often not the money at issue, it's recognition for the suffering their pet has been too and the reassurance the breeder has learnt something from their distress. That would help them move on knowing they've saved another dog from the same suffering. The puppy buyer is not the enemy, please remember we are trying to prevent bad practise here and educate.

kate price said...

when referring to the breeders doing the necessary health tests, are these the recommended/compulsory health tests put forward by the kennel club?
Will the contract cover cover genetic and conformation related disorders in breeds for which there are no recommended health tests?
If so, for my breed (pug), there ARE tests that can be done, and are done by the very responsible breeders, but NOT by the majority.
The puppy contract would hopefully encourage more pug breeders to health test.

In the pink said...

The bottom line for me is that anything which potentially alleviates any animal abuse or suffering should be given a try. Sitting back ang giving up is not an option.

ScotchEgg said...

In the pink....when you pose the question that way, of course it seems like the obvious answer....however when you realize the potential for misinformation and litigation to run riot you realize that perhaps it should be thought out a bit further........ironically all of my puppies go with a contract, so its odd that I seem to be speaking out against them.

What Im against is treating dogs like microwaves and putting breeders at risk of being exploited by well-meaning (or not) puppy buyers. I would replace or refund any puppy of mine that was stricken with an unforseen illness.

Also, WTF is that headline on the new issue.....Why are show Labs so fat? FFS, why are ALL Labs so fat! LOL, just when I think you are making some sense, you resort to your attention-grabbing tactics.

Oh well.......

Anonymous said...

so if you think insurance is the answer, what happens when after two years you have a problem with the dog you think the breeder should pay for whenyou go back and find they havegive up and have no such insurance?!?

kate price said...

if it's within the three years and the breeder has signed the contract, and have stopped their insurance, surely it's their problem and you as the purchaser are covered.

Anonymous said...

how can any one prove if a condition is just down to the way the dog has been bred or how it has been brought up and treated, it would it is weighted AGAINST any breeder. If a dog is allowed to run through bracken and then at a later date get cancer will the owner admit to it or say its they way it was bred that cancer occurred? if a dog is taught to do agility before it is 12 months of age and it wear down or damages its hips should the breeder pay? if the dog has been taught by its owner to play with a frisby (the most dangerous of all toys for a dog to have as it been shown my vets)and damages it back or cruicate ligaments should the breeder be responsible is it is a breed for other reason some consider have back problems? The idea that all should be covered by insurance is a daft one , as cross breed and mongrels have NO test, yet still have many inherited conditions (how many mongrel ever have hips, eyes or elbows tested before they produce puppies??) will the RSPCA and other who rehome also have such a contract and be financially responsible, and before you say they don’t “sell” dogs they ALWAYS do EXPECT a donation which means they are selling them. The idea sounds good in practice but like dog licences it just wont work!

Anonymous said...

Here is a typical example of someone with insurance to cover defective pups Note the end piece

"Our insurance company will deal with any claims in excess of this amount or beyond the terms of our puppy policy."

cambstreasurer said...

On the other hand Trading Standards don't seem to be having much success enforcing standards on this kennels:

When you compare that with the pet shop owner who was much more severely punished for what seems to have been a first offense selling a goldfish to someone under 16 maybe what we should be pushing for is uniform enforcement of existing legislation.

Anonymous said...

Cambstreasurer but the RSPCA are the ones who rasie the daftest of procecutions against the very people who have come to them for help with thir pets!!! but find they have a "we know best" attitude, and are then by the RSPCA fins a bad situation is made far worse!!!

Jess said...

Maybe I missed it somewhere but can somebody provide a link to the wording on the Swedish puppy contract?

Anonymous said...

i second that comment,.....would love to see one of these contracts in its full form.

Beverley Cuddy said...

Not sure if anyone does have a link to the Swedish Puppy Contract - any Swedish blog readers able to assist? I've seen a very grainy photocopy, but that's all.

And weird person who keeps leaving strange messages, please do get a life! Anony-mouses really are very, very tiresome!

Anonymous said...

I think there's a lot of glitches to iron out with this idea - but on the other hand a lot of possibilities. It's a start and a step in the right direction. What's the alternative.

A fridge is not the same as a live animal this is true. Though many research the fridge a darn sight more than the animal. An electrical item has a guarantee which is specified. Surely the contracts/insurance would have such stipulations. Plus a good breeder will remain in contact with many of her puppies new owners, as I have often heard.

I do wonder how this will affect the rescue dog and crossbreed (as in only my ancestors know what I am, as opposed to first cross). What about the first few years after it is in place. There are thousands of dogs who's history is unknown.

I would also like to see the Swedish contract when there's the info. And check out their breed standards if you get the chance. It makes for interesting reading.

Beverley Cuddy said...

ScotchEgg, I decided to delete your latest comment as there's no need to make this personal!
The effects of the Swedish Puppy contract are plain for all to see. I obtained a copy of the Swedish Puppy Contract from one of the people sitting on the Animal Welfare stakeholder group - the august body that came up with the original idea of a puppy contract specifically for this country. There is a working party working on the detail of what would need to be included in the UK version to work with our legal system so Sweden will be an inspiration.
If I had a link so you could all see the Swedish contract I would include it. I assume it is easy enough to find as it is so widely used.
I had assumed by having at least a nickname Scotch Egg would be slightly less gung-ho - but just like the other Anony-Mouses that come on just to attempt to wind me up he/she has overstepped the mark.
But as Scotch-bad-egg you claim to have Swedish friends why don't you ask them to post a link here for all to see the contract?
No conspiracy. Just don't have the link to post. And our contract will be specific to this country so it is kind of a red herring you are presenting - possibly to go with your offensive savoury picnic food.

ScotchEgg said...

HI Beverly, will try to sort out a link for you from one of my ''Swedish friends.''

But you have overstepped a mark by declaring your disgust for the delicacy known as the scotch egg.

Jess said...

The Swedish contract is not available on their kennel club web site. I also googled for Swedish breeders and while they mention using the contract not a one had the wording on their web site.