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Saturday December 4th, 2021 5:52AM

Local dog breeders offer insight on selecting a responsible breeder

By Lauren Hunter Multimedia Journalist
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All dogs deserve a good home, but purchasing a puppy from a responsible breeder instead of a puppy mill can spare a new owner expensive medical bills and a lot of heartache.

As breeders who have been in the business for more than 20 years each, Holly Crumley, owner of Cavaliers by Crumley in Lula, and Clyde Wylie, owner of Canis Magnus Kennels in Gillsville, know what it takes to raise healthy litters.

Both breeders register their litters with the American Kennel Club. In order to do so, they must each follow a strict set of guidelines set by the AKC and undergo regular surprise inspections by an AKC representative.

In addition to the nuts and bolts of being a breeder that are required to pass inspection, both Crumley and Wylie have a heart for what they do and for the dogs they breed. 

In fact, Crumley said looking out for the welfare of the animal is one of the most obvious signs of a responsible breeder. 

"That means making sure that you're breeding dogs that are breed-worthy, that are worthy are being bred and producing offspring that are even better than they are. That's the first thing," said Crumley. "I think you're responsible also if in the event you sell a dog to somebody and they are unable or unwilling to care for that dog down the road, you're willing to take that dog back at any time in its lifetime."

Crumley's sires and dams go through a very selective process to ensure they are suitable for breeding, including a DNA test. Crumley said she also has her dogs checked for certain health issues like episodic falling and degenerative myopathy (equivalent to Lou Gehrig's disease in humans, according to Crumley). 

In addition, each of her dogs is taken to a cardiologist and ophthalmologist before a final decision is made on whether or not to breed them. When Crumley's Cavaliers are not either breeding or delivering, they live in a foster home for their comfort.

Like Crumley, Wylie said breeders should be there for the dog and their new owner throughout the dog's life.

"I tell [buyers] tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, 10 years from now, if you have a concern I want to know as a breeder, if there's something wrong with something from my kennels," said Wylie. "And if there's a breeder that's not following through with that, yeah, that would be a pretty big red flag."

Wylie started his career with breeding German Shorthaired Pointers, then added Bloodhounds, Vizslas and Bracco Italianos. 

Like Crumley, Wylie said he ensures a high standard of life for his dogs by providing superb vet care and quality food.

Wylie's breeds are sporting dogs, meaning they need plenty of outdoor air and exercise. Therefore, Wylie's facility provides just that with plenty of room for adult dogs to run, and a clean, separate area for mother and puppies to rest.

While it is important to take note of breeders who go above and beyond like Crumley and Wiley, both breeders said it is equally important to know some red flags.

Some of the clues they mentioned - which are also recommended by the AKC and the Humane Society of the United States - are lack of communication, no contracts and not allowing a potential buyer to visit the facility.

"Ronald Reagan said trust but verify...during Covid we had lots of people that would just do a drive by and a drive by was sometimes all they really wanted to see. Did it look clean? Was it neat? Was it well-kept? Because what you see on the outside is generally what you're going to see on the inside," said Crumley. "The other red flag is [them meeting] you somewhere - that's a red flag. That means they don't want you to visit, they don't want you to see the facility or anything like that."

"If [buyers] have the opportunity to visit the facility, I think they should. If they don't have the opportunity to visit the facility, then being able to FaceTime or get recent videos is really important," said Wylie. "As far as the breeder qualities or characteristics or things to look for, I think that their ability to communicate with you is very important...because some people only want to email, they only want to text, they only want to have limited interaction or communication."

If a potential buyer encounters a breeder that seems less than reputable, Crumley and Wylie recommended a couple of ways to warn other shoppers.

One of the first avenues many shoppers may consider is writing a bad review online. However, Crumley does not recommend it unless the potential buyer witnesses something incredibly cruel when visiting the breeder. Rather, she recommended reporting the breeder to the Georgia Department of Agriculture if they are licensed through the state.

"Once you report it to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, reach out to them and find out - did they find it was inhumane? Because they may dig a little deeper and find out what's inhumane to you is definitely not inhumane," said Crumley.

Both Crumley and Wylie also recommended reporting the breeder to the AKC.

"If they're a member of the AKC, definitely report it to the AKC and let them investigate because they do take that very seriously," said Wylie.

"So with the AKC, if you suspect they are not being treated humanely, or they're not being housed correctly, or they're overbreeding their dogs, or they're just not doing something right, report it to the AKC and the AKC comes and does an inspection," said Crumley. "And they're very strict as well, and when they do an inspection they'll say, 'You're not doing this right and I'm going to give you two weeks to straighten this out, and if you don't, then I'm shutting you down,' and that's what they do."

More information on searching for a responsible breeder and selecting a good breed for the owner's lifestyle is on the AKC's website.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: dogs, breeders, Bracco Italiano, German Shorthaired Pointer, Bloodhound, Vizsla, Clyde Wylie, Canis Magnus Kennels, Cavaliers by Crumley, Holly Crumley, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
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