Are there any good pet stores?
Yes! There are many good pet supply stores that don’t sell animals. And there are many stores, such as PetSmart, PJ’s Pets, and Petland that operate "satellite adoption centres" for humane societies, SPCAs and rescue groups. Instead of selling cats and dogs, they house and display adoptable animals in their stores. Customers who express an interest in the animals must go through the adoption procedure via the humane society, SPCA or rescue group. By supporting these types of pet stores, you are adopting an animal, saving a life and sending a clear message to other pet stores that the humane option is to operate a satellite adoption centre rather than selling animals.
If a store is not operating a satellite adoption centre, where do the puppies come from?
Many puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, which are horrible breeding operations where dogs are kept in cramped, filthy cages their whole lives, deprived of adequate food, attention and veterinary care, and forced to give birth to litter after litter of puppies until they are too old, ill or injured to continue.
While it’s unlikely that all breeders who supply pet stores treat their dogs quite as terribly as described above, any breeder who sells puppies to a pet store falls short on one important measure of a good breeder: they do not care enough about the puppies they produce to make sure each is placed in an appropriate home with an owner who has been screened to make sure they are capable of caring for the dog.
Be wary of stores that tell you their puppies all come from caring, reputable breeders – almost every pet store that sells puppies will tell you this. Just remember that no registered breeder would ever allow their puppies to be sold this way. Good breeders want to build a relationship with people who buy their puppies, and they want to stay in contact in order to be a resource for them because they care deeply about their dogs and the health of the breed.
Who is the pet store’s greatest ally?
People who don’t do their research and make impulse decisions based on the adorable puppies in the window. These are the people who keep cruel puppy mills in business. Pet buyers who are well-intentioned but are not aware of the many wonderful socialized, healthy puppies waiting for homes at their local humane society, SPCA or rescue or who don’t have the knowledge required to find a responsible breeder. So, please get informed so that you can make a smart, humane decision.
Those puppies need homes too, so why shouldn’t I buy one?
When people buy a puppy from a store that sells dogs, it only makes space for another puppy from a puppy mill or backyard breeder. This perpetuates the cycle of bad breeding, neglect and outright cruelty because it’s about supply, demand and profit. If people didn’t buy those puppies, this multi-million dollar industry would not exist.