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Dog Fight: Dog rescuers, flush with donations, buy animals from the breeders they scorn

Rescue groups generally are organized as nonprofit charities and raise money through fundraisers, adoption fees, grants and bequests. Shelters and rescue groups connected to the auction bidders have annual revenue that runs from $12,000 to $1.5 million.

KIM KAVIN: ‘An effort that animal rescuers began more than a decade ago to buy dogs for $5 or $10 apiece from commercial breeders has become a nationwide shadow market that today sees some rescuers, fueled by Internet fundraising, paying breeders $5,000 or more for a single dog. The result is a river of rescue donations flowing from avowed dog saviors to the breeders, two groups that have long disparaged each other. The rescuers call many breeders heartless operators of inhumane “puppy mills” and work to ban the sale of their dogs in brick-and-mortar pet stores. The breeders call “retail rescuers” hypocritical dilettantes who hide behind nonprofit status while doing business as unregulated, online pet stores…

Rescue groups generally are organized as nonprofit charities and raise money through fundraisers, adoption fees, grants and bequests. Shelters and rescue groups connected to the auction bidders have annual revenue that runs from $12,000 to $1.5 million, and they charge adoption fees that range from $50 to $1,850 per dog. The individuals who run these organizations receive salaries as high as $78,000, but many receive no compensation, according to tax forms.

Many people are unaware of the practice. About 50 of the 86 groups that The Post linked to auction bidders made no mention of auctions on their Web pages, 20 described what they were doing as “puppy mill rescue” or “auction rescue,” and 10 mentioned words such as “bought” or “purchased” at auction but did not say online how much they paid per dog. Leading nonprofit animal-welfare groups, including the ASPCA, HSUS and the American Kennel Club purebred advocacy group, say rescuers are misguided in buying dogs at auction because the money they pay only encourages more breeding on a commercial scale…

Rescuers at the auctions say their purchases save individual dogs and weaken the commercial breeding chain by removing, spaying and neutering dogs that would otherwise be bred again and again. They say donors ranging from average dog lovers to show-dog breeders understand, and financially support, their efforts. The rescue movement used to include only shelters, but today it has an expansive network of home-based nonprofits, too’. SOURCE…

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