Tue, Jun 05, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Puppy born with no eyes victim of dog-breeding trend

By Tung Han-ni  /  Staff reporter

A poodle puppy born with no eyes sits on a fleece in the office of the Kaohisung Concern for Stray Animals Association on Saturday. The defect may have been caused by inbreeding.

Photo: Tung Han-ni, Taipei Times

An infant red poodle clumsily walks around the offices of the Kaohisung Concern for Stray Animals Association. Unfamiliar with its surroundings, the animal bumps into chairs and tables, but resolutely tries to familiarize itself with its new home. The little dog was born without eyes.

The association says a man called last week seeking help in caring for the newlborn puppy.

The man — who owns a store selling roast chicken in Kaohisung’s Kangshan District (岡山) — said he would not be able to take care of the puppy due to work commitments and did not want dog-breeders to get their hands on her, fearing that then more dogs would be born with the disability. The man said he had agreed to have his poodle inseminated because a relative wanted a red poodle puppy.

Wang Hsiao-hua (王小華), chairwoman of the animal association, said that people who really want to own a dog should do so to cherish a living being rather than for just liking the look of a certain breed.

Red poodles have become a must-have item on the pet market and rushed breeding to keep up with demand has led to many puppies being born with disfiguring defects, Wang said, adding that if the poodle pup somehow ended up in the clutches of ruthless dog-breeders, she would end up giving birth to more dogs with the same defect.

These dogs would be unsellable and would most likely be tossed on a roadside and left to fend for themselves, Wang said, adding that they would almost certainly perish.

The red poodle puppy is now being kept at the association and Wang said it was destined to be its new home as chances were slim that anyone would want to adopt an eye-less dog.

Feng Tsung-hung (馮宗宏), chief at the Hungli Animal Clinic, said that in-breeding was one cause of genetic mutations. Sometimes this caused no changes in the physical appearance of the animal, but their immune systems were weaker and they had shorter lifespans compared with other dogs, he added.

Feng also said that, in addition to the eye-less red poodle, he had seen puppies missing a leg and with deficiencies in brain development.

One of the reasons dog-breeders undertake the practice, is that the genetic mutations may also produce a stronger species. However, the chances of natural defects far outweigh the possibility of having a canine with superior traits, said Feng.

“We don’t know how dog breeders deal with the pups born with birth defects and whether they keep them, administer euthanasia or cast them out on the street,” Feng said, adding that this was why he opposed in-breeding.

Household pets also exhibit the tendency to in-breed and if pups from the same litter procreate, it is very possible that a genetically mutated dog with some sort of deficiency would be born, Feng said.

Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer

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