Beware of Spencer's Mountain Aussies in MA

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Patatosalad
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Beware of Spencer's Mountain Aussies in MA

Postby Patatosalad » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:33 pm

My boyfriend was looking for an Australian Shepherd and came across the breeder from Spencer's Mountain Australian Shepherd. After a few email exchanges, he seemed thrilled with the prospect of getting the little male pup and happily mailed the breeder the signed contract and check for the $500 deposit.

Upon visiting the breeder's website I realized that several tell-tale signs of a BYB were evident:

- The price of puppies were listed based on physical traits i.e. puppies with blue eyes were listed for several hundred dollars more than those that did not

- The breeder disallowed visits claiming that they feared the puppies may get sick if someone "tracked something in" (somewhat understandable, but still a minor red flag)

- The website used of descriptors like 'nice' and 'wonderful' with respect to the dogs and puppies in the absence of any discussion of the health certifications or strength of the lineage

I asked my boyfriend to send me a copy of the contract. Within the contract, additional items triggered alarm bells in my head:

- The dam of the litter was from Timberline Kennel who, upon further googling, bred dozens of dogs together each year and is a suspected puppy mill

- If the dog got sick or passed away and all other contractual criteria were met, the breeder would provide a "replacement of equal value" (like exchanging merchandise!)

- In order for the contract to remain valid, the puppy needs to be fed a supplement of NuVet Plus for the first 24 months, which, upon googling, turns out to be an Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)/pyramid scheme

At this point, we were still trying to give the breeder the benefit of the doubt and asked her about all the detailed history and health certifications (OFA, etc.) of the pup's parents. She informed us that BOTH parents were originally from Timberline Kennel and that they had been purchased by a family who wanted to breed them together, but couldn't handle it and turned to the breeder for help (WTF! Nowhere had she previously mention these were not her own dogs, but it certainly explains why she has little to no info on their lineage and health certifications).

The breeder told us that she "understood that we wanted to have a clear history of the health of the dogs," but that we are "not obligated to get the puppy from her if we were nervous" and that she would prefer to find parents who would be "happy with the puppy."

We Noped out of there as fast as we could and luckily, since my boyfriend sent the deposit by mail, he was able to cancel the check before the breeder received it. (I can't say that anyone else who paid for a puppy in this litter was quite as fortunate, or even caught on)

We have since found a reputable breeder, well known within the Australian Shepherd community for having high quality dogs. She's been much more patient in answering our questions and keeping us updated with the pups.

Just a reminder that it pays off to be diligent in researching a dog and being patient throughout the process.

Susanhu
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Re: Beware of Spencer's Mountain Aussies in MA

Postby Susanhu » Mon Nov 07, 2016 7:15 pm

Good that you asked a lot of questions. These breeders need shut down and if they can't sell puppies, that is the best way. If there were any signs of mistreatment of the dogs, you can report them to the state or at least call the local humane agent and report them.

Wish you the best with your new breeder.
Susan with Crystal and Dusty and Cody (Collie) and Jesse (Collie)(cats: Teddy and Tara ) in Pittsburgh
with my Danielle, Torbie Cat, my Chelsea, Border Collie-mix and my Jordan, Tabby Cat, and my Candy, Aussie all at the Rainbow Bridge

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Shalako
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Re: Beware of Spencer's Mountain Aussies in MA

Postby Shalako » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:20 am

Good advice and thank you for sharing your experience. It is always good to remind folks that reputable breeders welcome people, encourage them and always perform the basic health clearances (hips, eyes and elbows, DNA screening for the primary diseases such as hereditary cataracts and the multi-drug resistant gene. Although this doesn't prevent all unwanted genetic health issues, it certainly allows a breeder to operate with a bit of background on risks and allow them to manage those risks with thoughtful, selective choices in mates.

They should be able to discuss, in great detail, the familial history of the dogs, including health, temperament, structure and so on. They will talk about both the good and bad in a pedigree, with frank honesty, because all pedigrees have health risks.

The breeder should be available to answer all questions, at all stages of the dog's life and be willing to stand behind their breeding.
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Aussiemommy
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Re: Beware of Spencer's Mountain Aussies in MA

Postby Aussiemommy » Mon Jan 30, 2017 5:14 am

I want to start by saying I completely respect your experience and your decision. We went to a breeder almost four years ago to get our first mini Australian shepherd. She is absolutely perfect in all ways. However after purchasing her I didn't feel a connection to the breeder (not Spencers Mountain) that I was hoping for. The sense of community and caring even after Mya came home with us was lacking. I wasn't looking for friendship, just a sense of these dogs being the family she talked about on her website. I did meet up with a few people who also had purchased dogs from this breeder and they had less positive experiences. So I get it. Of course after getting one Aussie you become addicted and want another.

A year and a half later we found Spencers Mountain. My experience could not be anymore opposite than yours. Spencers Mountain was and still is everything I was looking for. The breeder answered all of my questions and to this day still does. My Rusty is another perfect Aussie baby - physically beautiful, healthy and has the most wonderful temperament. He is now a little older than 2 1/2 years. In addition to the support from the breeder she also has a facebook page where I find additional support and the connection I had been looking for.

I am happy you have found a breeder that you feel comfortable with and hope by now you have your puppy and are completely in love. I just wanted to share the more than positive experience I had with Spencers Mountain.

Morgan
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Re: Beware of Spencer's Mountain Aussies in MA

Postby Morgan » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:08 pm

I read about your concerns and I have to disagree with you.
I have a dog "Morgan" from the Nascar litter of August 26, 2014. His puppy name was Jackie Stewart. I got him in superb health and he was the most friendly and engaging puppy from the second we met. We instantly bonded and he has been more than I ever could have hoped for.
I have a store and he comes to work with me every day. He greets customers and they love him so much. He's always ready for plenty of attention and belly rubs or just sitting there looking into their eyes. In fact some people make a special trip just to see him.
When I walk him through town, I am constantly stopped and told what a beautiful dog I have and how well behaved he is. When we meet other dogs on the street he immediately becomes their friend. He is also welcome in every store we can go into and people cry out a hearty greeting to him.
There is a big dog park in our town where he can run free and play with other dogs. His speed and agility are incredible. Few dogs can compete with him. He seems to have an innate ability to read and respond to dogs whether they're aggressive, timid or friendly and responds in an appropriate way so other dog owners are happy to see him. Yet he's always ready at a seconds notice to come over and give attention to whoever wants it. Also his health has been perfect.
As you can see from my effusing I believe I have the best dog ever.Spencer Mountain Aussies is,in my opinion,a wonderful place to get a wonderful best friend.

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jltruskey
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Re: Beware of Spencer's Mountain Aussies in MA

Postby jltruskey » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:42 pm

I notice that the dogs on the Spencer's Mountain website do not have hip or elbow evaluations listed on the OFA website. It's possible that the results were not made public. It's possible that they use PennHip or some other method of checking for hip dysplasia or elbow problems. A few have OFA eye exams listed.

Again, evaluate the dogs. Evaluate the owners, asking factual questions. Check the contract for your recourse in event of a health problem. If genetic problems are warrantied for less than 26 months, consider that OFA will not certify hips and elbows based on X-rays taken before 24 months (even one day!), so less than 26 months guarantee gives you fewer options of acceptable ways to validate hip and elbow problems.

Good luck in the future with all your puppy purchases!
Judi Truskey
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