Malthusian dog markets in everything

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.

But for years, they have come together at dog auctions where no cameras are allowed, with rescuers enriching breeders and some breeders saying more puppies are being bred for sale to the rescuers.

Here is more from Kim Kavin at WaPo, substantive throughout with photos and video.  In essence, somebody has solved for the equilibrium.

For the pointers I thank Tom Vansant and Alexander Lowery.


Dog rescuers: not good at economics. Got it.

Wrong conclusion. Dog rescue has become big business. Big, successful business. So successful that dogs are being imported from overseas into the US. For the "rescue" trade. If you go to the article, you might note that this market has changed over the last 10-15 years. It has now reached a point where the rescue trade is starting to see public blowback over their single-minded pursuit of control of the dog market. Not sure where it will all go.

+1. Non-profit does not equal altruistic disregard for money.

Shouldn't that be "Coasean" rather than Malthusian?

Yes, Coasean would be a better word, as I expected the read the profits were zero for such rescues, when they are not.

Bonus trivia: we eat the more intelligent pig but keep as pets the dog? That's hogwash.

You ever keep hogs? Probably not, if you're wondering why dogs are preferable.

Cobra Effect.

To save you from Googling it: The term cobra effect originated in an anecdote set at the time of British rule of colonial India. The British government was concerned about the number of venomous cobra snakes in Delhi.[3] The government therefore offered bounty for every dead cobra. Initially this was a successful strategy as large numbers of snakes were killed for the reward. Eventually, however, enterprising people began to breed cobras for the income. When the government became aware of this, the reward program was scrapped, causing the cobra breeders to set the now-worthless snakes free. As a result, the wild cobra population further increased. The apparent solution for the problem made the situation even worse.[2][4]

Aha. Thank you, Ray. I would not have even bothered to google it, but understanding the origin makes the intended meaning clear. This would actually be a mistaken conclusion. Since the rescue/re-home effort began in earnest, approximately 30 years ago, the numbers of commercial dog breeders are down, and the numbers of dogs euthanized (in the US) for lack of a home are way down. Like 10M annually down to .75-.8M annually. The rescue/re-home effort has been a massive marketing success - which is why it can support these rescues going to the auctions and buying dogs at the prices they sometimes do.

Dare I mention Gun Buybacks?

Where? I have old, broken gubs for sale.

"JoAnn Dimon, director of Big East Akita Rescue in New Jersey, says that buying breeding-age dogs not only cuts into overbreeding but also makes it harder for commercial breeders to profit in the long run.

“That breeder is going to make thousands of dollars off that [female dog] if he breeds her every cycle,” Dimon said. “I just bought her for $150. I just took money out of his pocket. I got the dog, and I stopped the cycle.”"

Perhaps she should consider why the breeder was willing to sell the dog for $150 rather than keep her, and explain how that took money out of the breeder's pocket or stopped some cycle.

Your answer is more politic than mine. That particular quote was spoken by an idiot who has no idea (economically or business-wise) what she is talking about. If a commercial breeder sells a dog, he just breeds another. For every one they buy, one can be produced to replace it, if it wasn't already. She can buy @150 until the cows come home, and the breeding supply will not be reduced.

"“I just bought her for $150. I just took money out of his pocket. I got the dog, and I stopped the cycle.”""

I wonder if it ever occurred to her to pay the breeder $100 to have the dog neutered.

It's like subsidies for child care (no, I'm not equating children and dogs), or for college, or subsidies for most anything. The target doesn't receive the benefit. I finished college and law school (at my state's flagship) with no college debt, none. But I never paid $1000 for a full year's tuition. Today's arrangement is absurd, but has so many stakeholders that it's impossible to change. Then there's Medicare. Who receives most of the benefit from Medicare? Seniors? Or doctors and hospitals? By the way, I have a dog, and I love my dog. She's not a rescue. I paid full price. And she has been worth every penny. The return on my investment is very high. Almost as high as the return on my investment in a low cost education at a public university.

Baptists and bootleggers.

We need Planned Parenthood
For dogs
To solve this problem.

That would be animal cruelty.

What? Animal cruelty? What is spay and neuter!?

The new


Has ruined

Bill’s Haiku

No, I don't need to
Doublespace to get a line break.

Perverse incentives => perverse response

Anyone that ever played chess ought to be able to think ahead a few moves and see that as a possible outcome. Unintended consequences never deter emotive actions.

It is funny to think about how much harm is done by sentimentality, or the practice of putting the heart before the head. The road to hell is definitely paved with good intentions.

While I personally don't like the attitude or holier-than-thou attitude of some rescue/re-home people, I don't believe your conclusion is well founded. The rescue/re-home effort is a massive business success. See my reply under "Cobra effect" for a couple of details - or go read the original article. It is an excellent article, although it doesn't cover the whole situation. For instance, "rescue" dogs are in such high demand that we import them from overseas - true story.

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