HIGH DEMAND FOR CERTAIN BREEDS
Pet breeding can be a lucrative business, said Putu Dewi, who has been breeding dogs since 2008.
“I have sold puppies for as much as 15 million rupiah (US$1,018) each. Older dogs, particularly ones with certain characteristics and those which have won numerous dog shows and contests, can command as much as 50 million rupiah (US$3,395),” she said.
Demand for pet dogs has spiked, particularly during the early days of the pandemic.
“There were times when you had to put a down payment for a specific breed of dog because breeders cannot keep up with the surging demand,” dog lover Kiara Suseno said.
Suseno noted that trends for a particular breed come and go. “When the movie Cruella came out (in 2021), everyone wanted a dalmatian. The same thing happened when the movie Hachiko came out (in 2009), everybody wanted an akita. The problem is what happens to these dogs when that trend has passed,” she said.
Suseno added that the trend to own a pet is starting to pass now that the pandemic is easing.
“For some, the only reason why they got a pet is because they spent a lot of time at home. Now that it is no longer the case, there are cases of neglect and abandonment,” she said.
Dog lover Gunawan highlighted another problem which seems to be proliferating during the pandemic: first-time dog owners adopting breeds which are unsuitable for them.
“There are people who want big, aggressive dogs because they look cool. However, some of these people have never owned a pet before and once they know how difficult these dogs can be, they give them up to a shelter,” he said.
Gunawan also noted the number of instances where dogs had to be put down by their owners.
“Some dogs are inherently active. When they don’t receive the care and attention they deserve, they get stressed and misbehave and sometimes bite humans or other animals,” he said, adding that such cases are rising.
Dog breeder Dewi also acknowledged the problem but claimed that she is picky about the customers she accepts to make sure that the dogs will not end up being abandoned or abused.
She is also happy to buy back a dog from owners experiencing buyer’s remorse, Dewi added.
“Not all breeders would do that and not all breeders are so choosy and discerning about the type of dog and who they sell them to,” she said.
“Some breeders are also tricksters, trying to pass a sick dog for a healthy one. These things are why many dogs end up in a shelter.”