Arizona dog breeders causing deafness and blindness in puppies

Double merle dogs often suffer from deafness and blindness according to the Arizona Animal Welfare League.

PHOENIX – A dog-breeding practice in Arizona is not only unethical, but could also be very harmful.

The practice, called “double merle breeding,” uses a gene that causes the kind of pigmentation you see in dog breeds like Australian Shepherds and Border Collies.

The merle gene gives pets a multicolored coat and striking blue eyes.

Having the merle gene is great, but becomes problematic when two dogs with this gene are matched. Birth defects in litters can occur when two dogs with this merle gene are mated together, hence double merle breeding.

“This merle gene is this kind of gray and black coloring on Willy here and if you breed two dogs that have this gene it can cause a 1 in 4 chance for the double merle. That’s a 25% chance the pup will be born with it. blindness, will be deaf, or both,” said Kimberly Vermillion. She is a spokesperson for the Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL).

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Some breeders are aware of the harms, but still breed them together to get more money for the specific coloration it causes.

“Willy is partially blind and deaf and has been with us for almost a year at AAWL and there are a lot of misconceptions about that,” Vermillion continued. “But that’s all he knows and it’s really about taking that extra time to work with him and our behavior team has been working with him to help him with techniques using scents and touch so that knows how to navigate his world.”

What is the breeding frequency of the double blackbird in Arizona?

“We see a few cases here and there in our shelter and any disreputable breeder they will because they can get more money for these puppies so make sure you buy from a reputable breeder or, more importantly, adopt don’t shop.”

Husbandry practices have little to no regulation in Arizona. There are no regulations regarding how many dogs a person owns, how they are bred, or how they are sold.

Vermillion said to be sure to ask for his medical history and do his homework when buying a puppy.

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