In April of 2018 the Washington Post published an article by Kim Kavin called “Dog rescuers, flush with donations, buy animals from the breeders they scorn“. The article gives readers a front row seat to what Pet Rescues have turned into.

The article is centered around “86 rescue and advocacy groups and shelters throughout the United States and Canada have spent $2.68 million buying 5,761 dogs and puppies from breeders since 2009 at the nation’s two government-regulated dog auctions, both in Missouri, according to invoices, checks and other documents The Washington Post obtained from an industry insider.”

For many of us this is not new. For many of us we watched this evolve from rescues being operated by breed clubs made up of breeders. To Rescues using the cover of feel good stories of dogs being rescued to maintain their tax exemption and crowd funding abilities.

You see it all starts with the crowd funding. Using websites such as Go Fund Me and You Careing rescues have to power to gain funds from people all over the country. Once those funds reach the rescues bank account the rescue can use them how they see fit. Those funds can be used toward employee payroll, pensions, dogs, houses, Amazon shopping and etc. Yes we even say Amazon shopping because pet rescues have been caught using their donated funds for personal use.

“The money wound up in a Soaring Paws account that paid for scores of airplane rentals but also covered alcohol, haircuts, flowers, veterinary bills, fast food, spa services, yard work, furniture, Apple products, $6,000 in Florida Blue premiums, $10,000 in Amazon purchases and $24,000 in payments to Capital One, bank records show.”


“The former leaders of a Mankato animal rescue organization are facing felony charges after an independent auditor allegedly found they stole over $40,000 from the charity.”


“The month following her departure, her replacement and another board member began reviewing the organization’s accounts, and found unauthorized debit card purchases totaling more than $38,584,”


These articles are just from the 6th-11th of April as we write this. The list goes on and on of animal rescue directors and board members using their non profits to gain personally. While being tax free and regulation free to conduct their business as they see fit.

Gaining donations through crowd funding platforms is big bucks for these rescues.  Rescues will use the words like “backyard breeders” or “puppy mills” combined with “stopping” “shutting down” and a picture of sad dogs or puppies. Who surfing through Go Fund Me looking for a good cause to donate to would pass up something like this? No one and the method has proven to work.  As of April 15 there is 1,500 listings pertaining to puppy mills on Go Fund Me.

With this proven method and the public thinking “puppy mills” are real and awful. Some rescues are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars. With one of the more famous being over $188,000 raised by Brittany Wilk who is now with the Cavalier Rescue of Alabama.

Now on to the fun part. Where are all they rescue dogs coming from?

According to the ASPCA 670,000 dogs are euthanized yearly in the shelter system. Compared to 20 million euthanized in 1970. Thats great improvement and we can related the drop to programs such as low cost spay and neuter. The first low-cost spay/neuter clinic opened in 1971 in Los Angeles.

As the decades go on the percent of euthanizing shelter dogs drops dramatically while the demand for puppies and dogs sky rockets.  According to Mississippi State’s research was led by Kimberly Woodruff, an assistant clinical professor of shelter medicine, and David R. Smith, a professor in pathobiology and population medicine. Americans wanted more than 8 million dogs in 2016 and will want more than 9.2 million by 2036.

With the demand high and the supply low for puppies and dogs, rescue turn to the only source that can produce. Rescues take their donated money and purchase puppies and dogs direct from breeders.

Rescue use 4 ways to maintain a supply of  dogs and puppies. 3 ways they are purchasing from a dog breeder. The same dog breeders they call “Puppy Mills” or “Backyard Breeders”. While claiming the are “Saving” or “Rescuing” these dogs and puppies.

  1. Rescues will buy direct from breeders using breeder specific websites such as Puppy Find.
  2. Rescues will attend the only two auctions in the US and bid and buy puppies, dogs and pregnant females from breeders.
  3. Rescues will go to breeders outside of the country and import the dogs and puppies into the country.
  4. Rescues will actually rescue animals from shelters or situations.

Once the puppies and dogs are purchased. While still using the attention grabbing headlines like “Puppy Mills” and “Backyard Breeders” rescues will do another round of funding for the “medical care” needed to get these dogs healthy to sell.

After the second fund raiser the rescue will now look to sell these puppies and dogs. Rescues will list ads on PetFinder.  According to PetFinder there is over 130,000 dogs available for sale right now.Adoption fees range from a few hundred to over $1,000.