INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Bringing a pet home is a major life decision that requires years of commitment and often a fair amount of money. But it can go wrong for consumers who don’t have all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Before Rebecca Abshire brought home her Great Pyrenees dog, she did her research and knew he’d be a costly addition to the family.
“I had to put in five foot fencing, so that was rather expensive,” she said, “He’s over 100 pounds so he eats a lot.”
Even a trip to the vet for shots costs twice as much than with a standard sized dog, but that’s something she was willing to take on.
“There’s a lot of Great Pyrenees out there. People get them because they’re beautiful big polar bear dogs and they don’t realize how much care they take,” Abshire said.
Her dog’s veterinarian, Dr. Melissa Newcomb, said that’s a very common occurrence when people get pets.
“I am impressed with some people who do a lot of research and that’s wonderful, but we do have some people who don’t do the research and get something that they’re not expecting,” Veterinarian at Hillview Veterinary Clinic Dr. Melissa Newcomb said.
She said every breed has certain medical issues and behavioral traits that people need to consider.
“Most veterinarians do pre-purchase counseling so if you think you want a Jack Russell Terrier but have three small children, we’d love to talk to you about that before you get them,” Newcomb said.
If you don’t want to keep the dog, Johnson County Animal Shelter Director Michael Delp said you should be able to return the dog to its breeder.
“A reputable breeder will be willing and offer to take any animal back that is either not working out or has some health issues that were unforeseen,” Delp said.
Most of the time he said people keep dogs through the puppy years, then decide they can’t put up with the breed traits anymore. In those cases when people don’t do their research, Delp said those breeder puppies often end up at the shelter as adult dogs.
“Typically 30-40 percent of the dogs and cats that are in an animal shelter are pure bred dogs and cats,” Delp said.
“You have to understand those traits and I think a lot people when they buy these dogs from the breeders they end up at the animal shelters or humane societies because people don’t understand what they’re getting,” Johnson County Commissioner and Dog Owner Brian Baird said.
Baird sees many of the animals that end up in the shelter and has adopted several of them himself over the years.
“I would go up there for inspections and things and every time I was up there I’d see a dog that I really wanted to bring home,” he said.
He’s also purchased breeder dogs in the past and had good experiences.
Now, all his animals are from the shelter and he hopes before anyone heads to a breeder, they check the local shelter first.
“What I really like about the rescue dogs or animal shelter dogs is their loyalty,” he said, “They’re just really, really loyal when they find a loving family that wants to take care of them.”