Designer Dogs: Inside the Criminal Underworld of Crossbreeding

Madeline Bernstein. Apollo, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-94806-206-0
Though labradoodles, cockapoos, and teacup dogs are all the rage among pet owners, according to Bernstein, president of the SPCA’s Los Angeles branch, they are also some of the unhealthiest dogs one can adopt, due to inbreeding, overbreeding, or inhumane sellers. Although the main thrust of the book is to expose the breeders of designer dogs (as well as some accredited purveyors of purebreds) as little better than the proprietors of puppy mills, Bernstein is continually distracted from that purpose, addressing such topics as the wave of dogs left without owners by Hurricane Katrina, the smuggling of puppies from Mexico, and the bizarre rise of subprime designer dog adoption loans, while dispensing dry, rote recitations of legal decisions and regulations. Her advice on finding reputable breeders is sound and will surely be appreciated by readers interested in doing the right thing, and her knowledge of the issue and passion for animals is unassailable. But there’s a better, more focused book buried beneath the court proceedings and frequent narrative detours. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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