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DESIGNER DOG BREEDING DISASTER

DESIGNER DOG BREEDING DISASTER

Sunday Mail
October 27, 2007 11:30pm

DESIGNER dog disasters are flooding animal shelters, dumped because of deformities,
disease, and overshot jaws.

The fad varieties, which include cross-breeds such as Labradoodles, Cavoodles
and Pugaliers, are too often being bred with genetic faults, experts say.
And a surge in demand for designer dogs has resulted in production-line breeding,
causing health problems for dogs and their puppies.

The Animal Welfare League and South Australian Canine Association have called
for regulations on cross-breeding to stamp out the health problems.

Animal Welfare League spokeswoman Donna Sullivan said its shelter received
designer-dog disasters daily, including puppies with genetic defects and others
that had been used excessively for breeding.

"Their reproductive systems are so overworked to feed the want for `designer
dogs', their mammary glands are loose or enlarged and occasionally the uterus
of an overworked dog sits outside the body," she said.

"They are abandoned when they are unable to produce more pups."

Ms Sullivan said the designer crossbreeds came from unregistered breeders who
were under no obligation to limit the number of litters they forced their dogs
to have. "The parent dogs in many cases have no paperwork to guarantee
they have no genetic health disorders," she said.

Sue Whelan, who runs the Hahndorf Interim Animal Shelter, said designer cross-breeding
was a massive industry with no rules to stop faults being bred.

"Our records over the last seven years show a dramatic increase in these
designer dogs ending up at our shelter with all kinds of defects," she
said.

"There is a whole pet farming industry and you don't really know what
has been crossed with what and a lot of these dogs aren't bred responsibly,"
she said.

"Most of the time they come in totally matted because people are buying
these cute and fluffy poodle crosses and not realising they need to be almost
sheared like a sheep at least twice a year. We clip them back and find all these
problems with their shoulders and hips and jaws."

SA Canine Association president John Carter said he was "fed up"
with overpriced crossbreeds and their associated problems.

"We have spent years literally breeding out the faults in dogs and here
these people are just putting dogs together and breeding the problems back in,"
he said.

"We're talking hip dysplasia, eye problems, temperament problems –
all kinds of things.

"And they are not under the control of anybody. Pedigree breeders are
disciplined if they breed a dog under 12 months of age or use a mother and son
or father and daughter."

Mr Carter said puppy farms had become money-making ventures where thousands
could be paid for "what is essentially a mongrel".

"These people have no conscience – they aren't dogs to them, they
are animals," he said.

State Government Dog and Cat Management Board chief executive Deb Kelly said
all breeders – whether pedigree or crossbred – had a responsibility
to ensure they were producing healthy animals.

"In relation to genetic deformities, it is something we are monitoring
and if there is a need to regulate, we would be making such recommendations
to the minister," she said.