Purebred Pricing in the BC SPCA

One thing that has troubled me for some time is the pricing that my local SPCA has for their dogs:

Dogs $225
Dogs – Toy Breeds: $325
Dogs – Purebred (documented by appropriate paperwork): $325

I emailed them and was referred to the BC SPCA, which apparently sets all the prices and got this response:

Thank you for your email, which has been refered to me for reply. After much debate, we did increase prices for purebreds over two years ago. I agree philosophically that purebreds are not “better” dogs, but the economic reality is that the public will readily pay more for such dogs, and as a charity we must maximize our revenues. Yours is the first such comment on this pricing in two years. Thank you for sending us your concern and we will certainly consider all such input.

Best wishes,

Bob Busch

BC SPCA GM Operations

I am perplexed.  The SPCA could maximize their revenues by breeding their dogs to produce puppies that could be sold for more money than older adults, but they don’t.  Why?  They would tell you that it would be contributing to the overpopulation of unwanted dogs and they would be right.  But how is charging more for purebreds working to eliminate overpopulation?  It brings more money, true.  But it also introduces the insidious thought that, “Well, even the SPCA thinks irresponsibly produced purebreds and toys are more valuable than regular ol’ Lab mixes!  Papers must mean something!” which, if you think about it, is pretty much the opposite message that the SPCA wants to get across to people.

Here’s what I sent back to Mr. Busch:

Hi, Bob,

If I have sent you the first comment on the pricing in two years, it may mean that most of the people seeing the pricing are thinking that it’s natural for purebreds to be “worth money” and that “papers” mean that the dog is somehow worth more than other dogs.  I would submit that, contrary to maximizing your revenues, this pricing policy is actually working against them, by perpetuating the myth that these dogs are somehow more valuable than the ordinary dogs that had the misfortune to be born mongrels.  It’s difficult for the SPCA to encourage people not to breed their dogs solely for profit when the SPCA is trading on the image of the purebred dog to make more money.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my email,

Julie MacTire


One Comment

  1. I’ve never heard of a shelter charging more for purebred dogs and toys. I don’t think your local SPCA is sending out the right subliminal information about dogs. I’m not sure if subliminal is the right word, but they’re definitely not sending out the right message.

    I didn’t adopt my dog because he had papers. Our friend needed to find a forever home for Mika that our friend and his family could still visit, it just worked out that we were looking at adopting a dog (didn’t care if it was a purebred or mixed breed, a dog that fit us). We went over to our friend’s house and met Mika (didn’t know what we were getting into with the furball of trouble), and agreed to take him in. When our friend brought Mika to our house, the wife brought all of the receipts to the vet visits and Mika’s purebred paperwork. I could care less about the purebred paperwork, Mika is neutered, even if he wasn’t, we weren’t going to show him anyways. He came into our family because we wanted him to be part of our family, not to be deemed some purebred blahblah shiba that can’t touch mud! Oh no!
    Pfft, the first thing that we did with Mika when he came to our house, was let him play fetch in the backyard and explore the backyard. We encouraged him to run around, explore, get dirty.. He needed to get used to where he’ll be living (and what we didn’t know at the time… owning). If we had gotten a mixed breed dog, we would be doing the same thing, letting the dog explore his new territory and get dirty with his new smell.
    Currently, I don’t know where Mika’s paperwork is, nor do I care. He’s not better than mixed breed dogs, he’s just as lovable as those dogs. If I had a mixed breed, he would be loved as much as I love Mika. Actually, my dad’s dog is a mixed breed from the shelter. Sometimes, I love that dog more than Mika (when my darling shiba misbehaves and decides that none of my commands are good enough for him, dad’s dog is trained to a T). My dad’s Belgian Malinois/shepherd mix gets just as much loving, care, and attention (if not more) than my shiba (not my fault, Mika isn’t too big of a fan of snuggling into my leg for pets and belly rubs all the time). Really, mixed breeds are not below pure bred and toy dogs, they’re all dogs that want a forever home and someone/some family to give them lots of love. Nothing about a dog wanting a family says “this dog needs to be priced higher than that dog.”

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