Friday, May 14, 2010


Hopefully dealing with the German Shepherd community, you never have to find yourself ending up in court with them. However, before they were German Shepherd people, they were just people like any other people. There are good people and then there are bad people and most people fall in the middle of the two. Owning a German Shepherd doesn’t change any of that.

We live in a “sue happy” culture today. It seems if you look at someone the wrong way, you’re going to get slapped with a law suit. I think most people try to live a good honest life and do their best to be fair with people. I don’t think that too many people go out of their way to “put the knife” to somebody. However, there are those few…..

The best way to protect yourself is to make sure that you have a contract for ANY negotiations that you have with someone else. Make sure everything is spelled out in easy to understand language. Now is the time to ask questions BEFORE signing on the dotted line. If you don’t understand something in the sales contract, then say you don’t understand it. Rather be thought the fool now than be the real fool later.

Sometimes a sales contract is only as good as the people that are signing it. I have heard of stories of some people in the breed that are not living up to their sales contract. And please, whatever you do, don’t take someone’s word for anything! I don’t care who they are, or how long they’ve been in the breed or whatever other positive “adjectives” they use to explain themselves. Even if you’ve known them all your life………..get EVERYTHING in writing! Many a friendships have been lost due to a small “misunderstanding!”

A sales contract can cover puppy sales, stud dog breeding, bitch leasing, hire for work, designing websites, purchasing a used van or motor home, etc. Know ahead of time what it is that you are contracting to buy. Watch out for words that sound nice in a sales contract for a puppy for instance. Do you know the difference between a “show quality” puppy, and “show potential” puppy? Can anyone truly guarantee how the puppy will grow up and turn out? Be careful if they say that they can! It doesn’t matter how well “they know their bloodlines.” The puppy that you may be buying from them may have other “plans” according to his own DNA!

If a breeder is a signer of the breeders code and he’s not living up to that code, then a complaint can be made against him to the Parent Club (The German Shepherd Dog Club of America).

And what about the pet buyer? What do you guarantee to him? If you guarantee good hips and elbows, it needs to be stated in the contract. Do you guarantee the puppy will have good health? Did you give the new owner a window of time to get the puppy checked by a vet? Will you take the puppy back throughout his life time?

And what about the stud dog contract? Don’t think you need one? The two dogs “do their thing” and now everyone sits back and waits to see what these two “superstars” are going to produce. The bitch whelps two puppies……one alive and the other dead. The bitch owner demands another breeding (free of charge). Did the stud dog owner guarantee a certain amount of live puppies or did he just say two puppies….period? Perhaps, and most likely this wasn’t even discussed ahead of time. Does the stud dog owner expect payment at the time of the service? Perhaps he takes half of the stud fee now and the other half when the litter is born. Maybe he’d like a puppy from this well bred litter. The stud dog owner definitely needs to have a contract stating what his responsibility to the bitch owner is and what he expects. The bitch owner needs to discuss what she expects as well. Again, “my word is good enough” is not good enough!

If you hire someone to design and set up a website for your kennel or other business, do you get a contract from the designer or do you verbally discuss what you want and then let him start working on it for you? What happens if you don’t like it? Will the web designer continue to maintain the site for you? Will they do upgrades for you? How much is all of this going to cost? It’s it one set price or does the upgrades cost you more? You need to know all of this BEFORE you hire the designer. He needs to know what it is you expect and you need to know that you are getting the best value for your dollar.

If a person is doing business on the internet by designing websites or selling merchandise and is not giving you what you paid for and not looking to make it right by you, then you can contact The Internet Crime Complaint Center at:

If you are purchasing someone’s used vehicle to drive back and forth to the dog shows, are you making out a sales contract with the seller? Can you take the vehicle to your mechanic ahead of time before your purchase the automobile or do you take the word of the seller that everything is in tip top condition? If you don’t have a sales contract then you have no one to blame but yourself if the “clunker” drops dead in the middle of the highway on your way to that five point major show!

I read about and talk to people that have told me their “nightmare” stories when dealing with certain people. They have come to these people in good faith with money in their pockets. Now that money is in someone else’s pocket and the buyer is not a satisfied customer. After many failed attempts to rectify the situation, some buyers are left without any other recourse but to take the offending seller to court! This is normally the last resort the buyer has. No one enjoys doing this. It isn’t any fun. However, the buyer came to the seller with good intentions and the seller didn’t live up to their part of the bargain.

Besides all the hard feelings involved in messes like this, not to mention the financial loss, the seller is now “black listed” among their peers. Word carries far in the dog world. If you are not standing behind your puppies, studs, bitches, work, merchandise, etc. you just might find that not too many willing hands are knocking at your door anymore. Treat people with respect and honesty and you’ll get repeat customers time and time again. After all your reputation is on the line. It’s not just the quality of your animals, work or merchandise that you’re selling; it’s your integrity as well. Nobody wants to hear the words, “See you in court”……….except maybe a lawyer!”

My rating: contracts: (4), Hearing the words, “You got my word on it!” (1)

From the book: THE CRIMINAL LAW HANDBOOK: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS, SURVIVE THE SYSTEM: "An easily navigated, plain-English resource for laypersons, including accused criminals and their families, victims and their families, and anyone looking for information about how the criminal justice system generally operates...An excellent and balanced guide to the state court criminal justice process...This easy-to-understand book contains everything you need to know about criminal law. Indispensable for anyone who wants to understand exactly what goes on in a criminal case......Quite simply, this volume should be on everybody's bookshelf... Bergman and Berman have created a guided tour of the criminal justice system -- intended both for the curious and for those who find themselves caught up in it."

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