We get a lot of questions about our “contract” or “health guarantee” that we offer at Endless Mt. Labradors. To be honest, 34 years ago when I began to breed, I literally asked my mentor, Sally Kelly (Kelly Green Labradors) if I could use hers (I always felt doing things professionally was the best way to go). My other mentor in the breed recommended it also, as she had been scammed so many times she had to start to protect herself. So she helped me further improve the contact and health guarantee to better protect the breeder and the consumer both. Especially after a person, “posing as a breeder” tried to snow me and get a dog for another breeder (who’d I’d been warned not to sell to) by lying…yeah…that happened really early on, so it could not help but affect me. I’m SURE that’s not you…but just so you know where some of us are coming from who have made a life’s work out of our passion for our Labradors and preserving the breed.
Most breeders I talk to brag at shows that “we don’t give a health guarantee—we just show the health clearances and that’s it.” In contrast, the Cavalry Group, a group of lawyers that support and defend reputable dog breeders, recommends ALWAYS having a written contract. We keep them on retainer for issues when we have been scammed or defrauded. They also fight to protect the safety of animals of ALL kinds nationwide. We use their recommended contract for breeders and have customized it, of course, to fit Endless Mt. Labradors, and to protect our clients as well, as we believe the consumer needs to be.
The state, who we are licensed by, also requires we present their 30-day “puppy lemon law” to you when you get a pup from us. We include that in OUR contract (which is a lifetime guarantee and covers anything we can control and do health clearances). So if we didn’t have a contract you would only get the 30-day guarantee by the state and not the extended lifetime guarantee we offer, which by the way, is the most generous I know of in the AKC Lab world.
There are so many puppy scams out there, so, as a buyer, you need to see the health guarantee and contract before getting your pup. Many people pose as fake breeders, take a huge deposit, then you never hear from them again—they are BROKERS and you can ask them if they are if they seem to be “posing as a breeder” but you can’t see the dogs, or you have to meet them at a third party place, etc…(these can be red flags, and I” ve had tons of friends succumb to this horrible scam…very sad, indeed)
As a breeder, I have to protect myself, too, as I have been scammed more times than I can count. Even though we have a thorough screening process that takes place over a 1-6 mos. time period, people still lie or misrepresent themselves. Its just human nature. So that may just give you a small idea (sad, sometimes humorous) of things that made me decide the contract also protects the seller—and why it needs to.
The first story that comes to mind is of a lady who called me to tell her puppy had ‘elbow dysplasia’ and wanted her money back. (oh of course, with a good dose of “bad, bad breeder’ thrown in–even used my RELIGION to chastise me–so unclassy!) Well, as required by the health guarantee, I have to have a conversation with the examining veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis and ask about other contributing factors (weight, diet, exercise, injuries, etc). As soon as the vet got on the phone and I mentioned the situation, she replied, “Oh no! That puppy fell off of a bed!” I had another incident where the same thing happened, only the dog fell off a DECK. Yeah…I was lied to, even sent money at one point. Yeah, I’m not so quick to do that anymore, and not because I don’t want to, trust me, I have to do my due diligence.
Then, there was the person(s) who wanted me to cover thousands of dollars in PLASTIC SURGERY for their dog—nothing wrong with it…’just because’…I think the woman involved had “lots of work done herself” if I recall. (sorry, lol) It was almost funny, but NOT. I’m not kidding–I can’t make this stuff up!!!
People spay or neuter their dogs before 24 months old –before the growth plates are finished growing (see our blog on spaying and neutering your dog), and before even their heart and organs are fully developed, and tell me their dog has elbow issues—then I find out they’ve been over-exercising (which we educate people on) those first 24 months– pounding their joints for hours with tennis ball launches, zooming around in play, and doing an excessive amount of stair climbing, and descending (the hardest on elbows).
Now, sometimes people are just plain uninformed as to what “heredity” is, what “breeding” is, and how genetics work in Labradors. We have to know them inside and out and spend decades developing a line we have done extensive clearances on. REFER TO OUR BLOG ON “WHAT GOES INTO BREEDING MY LABRADOR”
Can something go wrong? OF COURSE! That’s WHY we have a guarantee. These are living creatures, and accidents DO happen. Genetics is only HALF of the equation. The other 50% is environment…that means YOU and the training and socialization your dog gets AFTER it leaves my protective arms. So if you buy a watch and it is not waterproof, don’t put it in the water! The same thing with your breeder’s recommendations—they have probably spent decades, if not a lifetime, with their breed and bloodline. They know what is best, and sometimes I even have to educate veterinarians who know nothing of breeding, except that in vet school they hear the “anti-breeder” agenda from day one, unfortunately. They know general canine physiology and pharmacology, but can’t possibly know each individual breed’s needs and weaknesses and what reputable breeders do to ensure the preservation of the breed.
We are ALWAYS here to answer questions when an issue arises no matter how small or big, God forbid, and we do require a second opinion (now that so many vet clinics are being bought up by huge corporations that are anti-breeder) So, when a health issue is reported, these vets have started scamming us and consumers. They did this by putting a couple of my dogs on the echocardiogram table who passed their heart clearance perfectly, by echo doppler, but the vets BRAGGED (and showed me!) how they can MAKE a dog look like the valve is regurgitating and make the dog appear to have TVD (works well for their anti-breeder agenda too) So basically, if they don’t “like” the dog (yes! I’ve heard this) they won’t pass it!!! . I was HOT! Never went back there again, and I tell breeders to stay away!!! So we are also VERY selective about the “bent” of the veterinarians we use, as the ones who tend to be anti-breeder and extreme animal rights activists have ruined it for most, like the scammers above that diagnose at “whim”. You wonder where they will get puppies and dogs for their practice if they want to do away with breeders. So we want them to really CARE about doing a clearance ethically, not to add to their agenda.
We also realize that issues come up that may be genetic but are reparable by surgery and make allowance for that in our contract. Most breeders don’t have the cash flow or save for situations like this, so they CAN’T give a contract they can really fulfill. Just saying it like it is. You deserve my candor.
Personally, if a breeder brags about not having a contract, it means they are NOT going to work with you should a problem arise. Or—you wonder what they are hiding (just being honest from all the ringside chit chat I hate to have to be exposed to at AKC dog shows) And most breeders just don’t want to be bothered after the sale—as a result—neither does the consumer want to work with them. It’s a lose/lose situation.
For an extended version of these stories and more “insider stories” from the past 34 years, please refer to my book, “Insider Secrets” that goes more into depth on this subject. I tell people not to buy a dog or puppy before reading this “expose” of what its like to be a dog breeder (and also a consumer) and the crazy stories I’ve collected over the years. My hope is you will enjoy it and both laugh and cry with me…but also, so you’ll have a great, informed decision when choosing your next canine family member.