Today I read an article about a local mall in Orange County that will not lease to stores that sell puppies, dogs, kittens or cats. I can see absolutely no benefit to stores that sell pets. And, before anyone lectures me on free enterprise, I’d like to state that there are some moral implications at play here. Just like we don’t want to (or shouldn’t want to) buy things made by slave or child labor, we should not want animals to suffer so that some pet store owner can make a living. Pet store pets are the result of misery; the misery of their parents, their siblings as well as their new parents when they get the vet bills from their congenital health and behavioral issues.
Paramount to these issues, I’d like to stress that getting a dog or cat is not an impulse item. It is a commitment for 10 or more years, and if you feel like you can make that commitment after a walk through a pet store, you might just be the most unstable person I know. Understanding what it takes to give a good life to a dog is imperative to living a balanced life with your new pet. I never encourage people to buy or even adopt impulsively. And, this is where good rescues come in, they give potential adopters the chance to meet the pet and then decide.
For those who compare pet shops to ethical breeders, you have another issue to deal with as well. As I’ve learned over the years, ethical breeders are among the rarest people on earth. They care for their pets and are as stringent, if not more so, than the best rescue groups when placing their dogs. They do serious checking into the new parents, homes, as well as the right match of human to dog. Furthermore, their primary goal is the health and happiness of their puppies. They don’t make a lot of money on their dogs and offer a lifetime of support as well as taking the dog back if the owners can’t keep them. A good breeder will NEVER allow their dogs to end up in the shelter. This is primarily done by microchipping their dogs and keeping track if their dog ever gets lost by the new parents. This is a system that is also closely followed by good rescue groups. The alternate contact info on a dogs microchip should be registered to the rescue group or breeder.
Puppies should never EVER be removed from their parents before a minimum of 7-8 weeks, yet puppy-mills do it all the time so that the pet shop can have an 8 week old puppy, most puppy mills dogs are shipped cross country in small crates for days at a time. Anyone who puts an 8 week old puppy into a cage with no interaction and allows anyone to handle it obviously doesn’t have the best interest of the puppy in mind. Pet shop dogs are rarely socialized before they arrive at the pet shop and are never temperament tested to see their inherent traits, nor are they seen by a vet. Their vaccinations are given to them by a kennel attendant.
What person, who cares about animals, would put a young puppy (or all of the young puppies they are selling) into a container and ship them off – sight unseen to someone they’ve never met. NO ONE! EVER. If you are this type of person, you do NOT care about animals. Also, reputable breeders do not operate over the internet. Yes, they may have websites, but they don’t email you a picture and then send you a puppy once your paypal payment clears. These are either backyard breeders or puppy-mills, and every state has their share of them. Local animal control agencies need to take the lead in cracking down on back yard breeders because they are merely small versions of puppy mills.
When a puppy-mill or retail pet store that sells puppy-mill dogs goes out of business, all animals lovers should jump for joy. There is NO ONE who loves animals that can pose a good argument for selling dogs at a mall or in a pet shop. NO ONE… Remember, petshops NEVER buy from puppy mills – at least that is what they tell you. Puppy mills will never refer to themselves as puppy mills… NEVER! Admitting it is never an option – so if you ask and they deny, you might be on to the truth.