library-journalI’m thrilled to share the news that the February 15 issue of Library Journal will include the following review of The Dog Merchants:

The common theme among breeders of registered American Kennel Club champion dogs, large-scale commercial “puppy farms,” backyard hobby breeders, dog rescue groups, shelters, dog auctions, and pet stores? Money.

Kavin, a journalist and author (Little Boy Blue), presents a fascinating journey that begins with her attending a dog auction in Wheaton, Missouri, then on to tours and inspections of a wholesale distributor of dogs to pet stores, mostly Petland. The author doesn’t shy away from the horrors of filthy, overcrowded puppy mills; she also covers the myriad kinds of rescue groups, from well-organized types to sketchier one-person operations posing as legitimate organizations. She takes on shelters with the same sharp eye, pointing out the challenges they face. Also discussed is the influence of the annual Westminister Dog Show on breed selection and Internet sales, in which buyers simply point, click, and pay without ever seeing a puppy.

The book’s primary focus is an ­investigative examination of the business practices of dog sales, and it is clear that ­Kavin’s intent is for conscious consumers to use their pocketbooks to force all breeders to produce healthy dogs that are ultimately good family members.

VERDICT ­Essential reading for all dog lovers, this balanced work will become the standard on this topic.—Susan Riley, ­Mamaroneck Public Library, New York