“HARDLY A LITTER”
These were the key words on the phone that greeted me when I returned home from a Thanksgiving vacation involving too much to eat and too much shopping on Black Friday. It was this conversation that prompted me to write this column.
The woman called me to complain about a stud dog owner who refused to reimburse the stud fee when her female had a litter of only two puppies. “That is hardly a litter,” she said, “and I should get my money back.” I explained to the caller that she was on entitled to her stud fee.
The owner of a stud dog often has a lot to deal with. A breeding often takes precedent over any personal plans. Sometimes the owner has to adjust his schedule to accommodate the timing of a particular bitch coming to stay, and he is responsible for the well being of the bitch while she is in his care.
The bitch owner, on the other hand, pays several hundred dollars for a stud fee, plus vet bills, and might only get two puppies. What if the litter is not good, and all that money was spent, and there is the stud owner laughing all the way to the bank? This was the point of view that the caller gave me.
I think it is important that each party involved in a breeding should take responsibility. The bitch owner should contact the owner of the stud as soon as the bitch comes into heat. The bitch should be in healthy condition at the time of the breeding, and the stud fee should be paid at that time. When a breeding is performed, the stud has fulfilled his responsibility. He cannot guarantee the size of the resulting litter or the quality of the puppies. Two puppies or even one pup constitute a litter, and no refund of stud fee is necessary for litters of this size.
Of course, an individual stud owner may want to make an exception in a particular situation. Rational people can agree on terms.
The stud owner is responsible to make sure that the bitch is properly bred --- and that does not mean a dozen breedings, in one heat cycle. It used to be that two breedings were the usual, and that was sufficient.
In closing, I want to mention that one may request providing the stud owner with a puppy back instead of paying a stud fee. If the stud owner feels that the bitch is worthy and he is interested in a puppy back as payment, then fine. However, if this were to be a routine practice by a bitch owner so that she can have puppies to sell with no financial outlay, because of not wanting to spend anything, then I say this is not a practice that should be encouraged. Ideally the stud owner is interested in his stud being bred, but not in allowing the market to be flooded by breeders who seem to have financial motivations foremost.
Amelia Averil, 8 Willow Brook Rd., Hillsdale, NJ 07612.