Is it unethical for an animal shelter director to buy from a breeder or to breed pets?

This is a discussion on whether it’s a conflict of interest for an animal shelter director to buy from or breed pets. Whether it’s a cat or a dog involved, do you believe it’s unethical for a shelter director to purchase from a breeder or to breed cats or dogs?

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Most people hold the director to higher standards than those simply out to adopt a pet. We see posted signs in the shelter requesting those who wish to add a dog or cat to the family to “Adopt don’t shop.”

Yet there are shelter directors out there who defend their decision to ‘shop’ by claiming no animals that are in the shelter meet the high standards they’re looking for, literally forcing them to visit a breeder.

I feel sure there are at least a few shelter directors out there who are involved in breeding cats and dogs or who purchase their new pet from a breeder. There’s nothing illegal in doing either.

I’m sad about all of the homeless, unwanted animals who end up at the local shelter. Are you sad or angered? Sound off in the comments.

Comment from Admin: Thanks Elisa. A good question but one that has an obvious answer and I believe almost everyone would respond in the same way. It is hypocritical. Shelter directors have a wider duty which is to promote the adoption of rescue animals over purchasing purebred animals from breeders for the simple reason that it helps reduce the rescue animal population and therefore saves lives in the long term. A shelter director undermines their own position and authority if they purchase from a breeder. It may affect them at their workplace.

In fact some employment contracts (perhaps most of them) demand that the employee does not bring their employer into disrepute through their actions outside work. Buying from a breeder calls into question the ethical standards of the director and therefore also calls into question the standards at the shelter. Such a director may find her position untenable under their contract.

4 thoughts on “Is it unethical for an animal shelter director to buy from a breeder or to breed pets?”

  1. Without reading the article or other comments, my first thought on it is not technically unethical, because the director isn’t (so far) influencing others to do the same. Once it’s known, then yes. I think at best it’s an indication that they could be unethical in doing business, still more actions on their part would need to be witnessed. However, and having no other word for it, it is immoral! It’s a conflict of interest within him or herself and they would need to double check each and every decision they make or have someone else do it. It’s a bad sign and which gives pause. Bottom line, they could still be a good with both kinds of pet animal philosophies, but not their best at either. Now I’ll read and see if I missed anything.

  2. I’ve been messaged about several such cases but I don’t want to call anyone out by name because that tends to lead to death threats against them. Even the topic of food (cats or people) can start a big argument on social media. Since we switched our cats to better food their URI’s have been almost non- existent.

  3. I agree that I see it as unethical, however, since it’s legal, there isn’t much we can do. We don’t want to boycott the shelter.

    It’s sad that so many animals end up in shelters; it’s a matter of people being educated about what’s really involved in pet care. I know of situations where people shouldn’t have been allowed to adopt, but because of the need to get pets in homes and out of the shelters, they don’t investigate thoroughly, and the pets get returned or abandoned.

    My focus remains on educating anyone I come across who’s having pet problems, especially with cats, which I know more about.

    Many people don’t understand (or care) how diet affects health. (their own or their pets) Eating junk and feeding junk to their pets usually catches up with them, and also affects their finances big time.


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