Pet store puppy policy helps dogs across U.S.

January 11, 2011

San Francisco Chronicle

With the recent addition of the Bay Area's Pet Food Express, more than 1,000 independent pet stores in 42 states and the District of Columbia have now signed The Humane Society of the United States' Puppy Friendly Pet Store pledge, committing not to sell puppies and to support local pet adoption programs instead. The pet stores also provide free literature to help customers learn how to avoid accidentally supporting puppy mills by ensuring that their dog of choice comes from a reputable source.

Store owners who sign The HSUS' pledge receive a placard to display in their store proclaiming, "We love puppies. That's why we don't sell them." Pet lovers can find a list of the participating puppy-friendly pet stores in their state here.

The majority of pet stores that sell puppies get them from mass production facilities that churn out large numbers of puppies under inhumane conditions. The breeding dogs at these puppy mills spend their entire lives in cramped cages or kennels with little or no personal attention or quality of life. Consumers who purchase puppies from pet stores or over the Internet without seeing a breeder's home firsthand are often unknowingly supporting this cruel industry.

Public education materials for the Puppy Friendly Pet Stores program are paid for in part by the The Michael Wiseman and Helen Garten Foundation Fund for Puppy Mill Education and Outreach.

Here are a few facts to consider before purchasing a puppy:

  • Approximately one-third of the nation's 9,000 independent pet stores sell puppies.
  • The HSUS estimates that 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States.
  • Documented puppy mill conditions include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor food and shelter, crowded cages and lack of socialization.
  • Dogs kept for breeding in puppy mills suffer for years in continual confinement. They are bred as often as possible and then destroyed or discarded once they can no longer produce puppies.
  • Pet stores and online sellers often use attractive websites to hide the truth and to dupe consumers into thinking that they are dealing with a small, reputable breeder.
  • Reputable breeders never sell puppies over the Internet or through a pet store and will insist on meeting the family who will be purchasing the dog.
  • Puppy mills contribute to the pet overpopulation problem, which results in the unnecessary killing of millions of unwanted dogs at shelters every year.

 
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