Padrona, 2,5-year-old female, and Pompeya, 6-year-old female, rescued from an April 2022 auction
While most of our Mastino Royalty dogs are owner surrenders or transfers from shelters and other rescues, Mastino Rescue, Inc. has also taken in Neapolitan Mastiffs rescued from commercial breeder auctions. Since 2019, we have rescued 21 puppy mill Neos from commercial breeder auctions, which is approximately 13% of our intakes to date. Commercial breeders (“puppy millers”) and brokers attend these auctions to sell off their unwanted breeding stock to other commercial breeders who can continue to enslave and exploit the dogs, keeping them in unsafe and substandard conditions just for breeding purposes. These puppy mill dogs are merely a commodity used to produce puppies that make the breeders money when they are sold at pet stores like Petland. They live a life of misery and inhumane treatment confined to tiny, filthy cages, devoid of any love and care.
Why is it important to get these mill dogs from the auction? Because a THIRD of the owner surrendered dogs we take in come from Petland and similar pet stores. The puppies sold at these pet stores come from puppy mills and are sold for up to $10,000 to anyone who has the money or uses the store’s financing. These mill puppies have been taken away from their mothers way too young, and most inevitably have numerous health and behavioral issues. Buying from a pet store means an uninformed, unprepared owner gets a poorly bred dog with all kinds of problems, while also perpetuating the suffering of the puppy’s parents and all other mill dogs by financially supporting the industry. By getting these mill dogs from auction, we effectively reduce the Neapolitan Mastiff breeding stock in the commercial breeding industry and the number of puppies that end up at pet stores, which means we also reduce the number of sick and behaviorally unstable Neos, and ultimately the number of Neos that end up in rescue.
But imagine if we didn’t save an auction dog. For example, Mastino Royalty girl Ann was rescued from an auction when she was only 5 MONTHS OLD. If another commercial breeder had gotten her instead, she could have been bred every heat cycle over her entire life--twice a year, for six years, at 10 puppies per litter… a total of 120 Neo puppies that could have ended up in pet stores. But of course, some of the puppies will be kept by the commercial breeders to keep breeding, and the number of puppies then grows exponentially. By saving even one Neo from auction, we potentially reduce the number of puppies by thousands, thereby reducing commercial breeders’ profits by potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Some might think the money rescues use to secure these auction dogs adds to the commercial breeders’ profits, allowing them to purchase more dogs and continue the cycle, which is untrue. Removing these dogs from the commercial breeding industry means less profits for them. Commercial breeders are not breeding puppies to sell to rescues at auction; their real profits come from their puppies being sold at pet stores, like in the example above. It might cost a rescue a few hundred dollars to secure a dog at auction, but if that dog is sold to another commercial breeder, that could mean a profit of tens—or even hundreds--of thousands of dollars through the sale of the dog’s puppies. Since we started becoming involved in the rescue of auction dogs, we have seen fewer Neos at auction every year, which means fewer Neos in pet stores.
There has been criticism of rescues obtaining auction dogs to “flip” them and make a profit; however, nothing could be further from the truth for Mastino Rescue. As a rescue, we never make a profit on auction dogs, as the cost of medical care for these dogs FAR exceeds the amount of the adoption fees. These mill dogs suffer from all kinds of medical issues that go unaddressed for months or years. Last year, we spent an average of over $1800 for medical care on each of the Neos that came from auction. And for one of our auction dogs, we spent over $8,000 in medical care, while her adoption fee is less than one tenth of her expenses.
Please note that we have funds earmarked for the acquisition and transport of auction dogs and will continue to fundraise separately for it. Your donations used for medical expenses and other expenses related to the care of our Mastino Royalty dogs are NOT used toward the cost of securing the auction dogs. However, we do not know how many Neos will be at auction until about 10 days before the auction date and will have a fundraiser on our Facebook page immediately prior to the auction. It is also impossible to know how much is needed to secure their safety, so donations toward our auction fund are always accepted.
If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation toward our efforts to remove dogs from the commercial breeding and pet store industry, you may do so through our Facebook fundraisers, or by donating at any time through PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or personal check, and putting “Auction Fund” in the notes.
Thank you for supporting the best interest of this breed and helping to reduce the number of Neos that ultimately end up in rescue.