The following article appears in the November issue of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s “Animal Welfare Focus”.  Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore is director of Veterinary Medical Services at the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore and Mr. Glenn Kolb

The Challenge

Puppies and dogs are increasingly being transported over long distances across the United States in response to societal interests. A shortage (or sometimes the perception of a shortage) of certain types of dogs available for adoption in a particular area creates a demand for puppies and dogs that may outstrip the local supply. Shortages may be the consequence of spay and neuter efforts that have substantially reduced the unwanted dog population resulting in few adoptable puppies or dogs in the community. In other cases, there may be locally available puppies or dogs, but good communication or transportation is lacking to get the dogs from under-resourced shelters or municipal facilities (pounds) to sites where adoptions can occur. Or, the types of dogs available for adoption (e.g., larger breed, energetic, poorly trained adolescent dogs) may not fit the profile of the type of dog adoptive families are seeking. The availability of purpose-bred dogs in the community may or may not impact demand, because people looking to add a puppy or dog to their family may feel strongly about ‘rescuing’ a dog rather than purchasing one. Please click here to continue.