I have gotten my cattledogs from responsible breeders, a breed rescue and a shelter. I have also (briefly) fostered one.
A good point was made that yes, an abundance of ACDs in shelter are geographical. For instance, in S. Ohio, you'll see many more than say in NE Ohio.
Also, it must be taken into consideration: different shelters have different criteria.
Some take owner surrenders.
Some automatically kill a certain type, look, age of dog.
Some are so antiquated that they kill black animals automatically, because statistics have shown that all black cats and dogs are the last to get adopted.
Some take the stray off the street.
Some only take abused, abandoned and neglected animals.
Secondly: a lot of dogs that are being labeled ACDs just aren't. They are mixes of ACD and something else. Granted there ARE a lot of fine looking purebred ACDs out there, but I'm sorry, if it's mostly body spots, narrow headed, thin-tailed, weedy-legged, pale-eyed it's not my idea of a cattledog; wonderful doggy though it may be.
Third: A responsible breeder will ALWAYS, ALWAYS TAKE THE DOG BACK. If they aren't dead, they'll take it back. They may, after watching it, caring for it, analyzing and consulting other trusted folks (vets, behaviorists, etc.) about it's behavior etc. rehab it, wisely, carefully rehome it or humanely euthanize it.
Responsible breeders keep track of all their dogs and all the ones I know have spay-neuter contracts.
A responsible breeder microchips their dogs and most hold co-ownership with any intact dogs they sell, say for show. Twenty years ago, my first cattledogs were tattooed.
When I owned a dog bred by the late, great Deb Clark, if WE (she and us) had decided to ever breed him (which we never did) she had the final say over who he would be bred to, as she knew bloodlines better than I did. When his hips came back OFA fair, we decided to not pass that on and neutered him. He was a champion of record and that was enough.
Very rarely does some responsible breeder's baby end up in a high kill shelter. And boy, if it does, there's going to be hell to pay!
A good breeder doesn't just breed 2 litters a year to the same bitch.
A good breeder has AT LEAST TWICE as many approved homes for even the largest litter they'll produce.
A good breeder doesn't over-breed their bitch either.
A good breeder almost always DOES breed rescue; they help breed rescue in some manner, way, shape or form.
For many of you reading this, The Hershey puppy mill bust where so many ACDs were found is a faint memory. Note this: ACD people from all over the area converged to help those dogs. Two years ago, over 200 Rottweilers were found in Texas in horrific conditions. ARC (the national breed club) and devotees of Rotts from all over the country and even Canada banded together to save those dogs. These were BREEDERS and show people for the most part, folks.
If we put a moratorium on breeding:
A) we lose the breed
B) you will never, ever stop BYB*. Ever.
Can we stop puppy mills? Absolutely. And yes, it's horrible that even one dear ACD ends up in a shelter. Yes, the numbers are appalling. 6,000 estimated is too much.
But look at all the Chihuahuas inundating shelters in California, tens of thousands of them are killed every year.
And pits or pit types??? Those poor dogs? Talk about crappy breeding! So many of them have bad legs, bad backs, horrible teeth, skin conditions, mental screws loose. That's what BYB and money grabbers have done, just in the last 15-20 years, to American's Dog, The Nanny Dog, the dog breed that gave us Sgt. Stubby, the most decorated dog in US military history, still. If you talk to responsible breeders of APBTs and AmStaffs, those people have such a tight grasp on where their pups go it puts most ACDs breeders to shame (and that takes some doing.) Plus they must fight the daily onslaught of idiot bully owners and Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), an evil which even touches our beloved herding breeds.
Do not blame the responsible **COE breeder. Talk to them instead.
Rescues, Kennel clubs, National, Area and State breed clubs MUST learn to work together to help dogs and help owners who are overwhelmed, need help with training, in financial difficulties, have severe health issues etc. We all need to remember that this is not necessarily a "dog problem", this is mainly a "people problem." If we all band together, instead of flailing each other (and rescue groups are NOTORIOUS for infighting and flailing) miracles can and do happen.
*BYB: Back Yard Breeders
** COE: code of ethics