Pamela A. Davol, 76 Mildred Avenue, Swansea,
Why Prospective Puppy Owners and Dog Owners In General Should Avoid Patronizing Pet Stores That Sell Puppies
Unfortunately, many people in search of a companion dog for their families will wind up acquiring a puppy from a pet store. These newcomers to the dog world may not know that by doing so, they are inadvertently providing an outlet for puppy mills (please refer to this NBC Dateline Report for specific information on puppy mills and the Hearts United for Animals article "What is a Puppy Mill?"). However, although many current dog owners are aware of the atrocities associated with puppy mills and openly abhor the thought of purchasing a puppy from a pet store for this primary reason, these same dog owners may also be indirectly supporting puppy mills by patronizing these same pet stores for purchase of dog food or supplies.
Pet specialty stores that sell puppies ( a.k.a. "commercial pet retailers) are a serious concern because they provide a major outlet for these puppy mills: a source of dog abuse, irresponsible breeding practices, the dog overpopulation crisis, and pet homelessness. Additionally, these businesses provide a poor source for pet purchase for the following reasons:
1) Commercial pet retailers take in puppies for sale with little else than documents for AKC registration. AKC registration alone does not substantiate breeding quality of the dog, as such, commercial pet retailers offer an outlet for "backyard" breeders and puppy mills that randomly breed dogs with no consideration to issues such as health, genetic "soundness", temperament, or finding responsible puppy purchasers who will ensure the same;
2) No documentation of genetic testing/clearances are required to be presented in proof that the sire and dam of the puppies are healthy, genetically "sound", and temperamentally "sound" individuals capable of passing on similar "sound" traits to their offspring;
3) Commercial pet retailers do not sell on "Limited Registration", a policy of the AKC which allows breeders to prohibit pet owners from indiscriminately breeding their pets, thereby serving as one means for assisting in control of the dog overpopulation crisis;
4) Commercial pet retailers do not socialize puppies and since they do not demand high standards from the breeders of the puppies they obtain, these dogs are often deficient in socialization skills with adults, children and other dogs. As a result of these deficits, many of these dogs end up abandoned, in overcrowded animal shelters, or as the premise of a new "dangerous dog legislation";
5) Commercial pet retailers do not screen prospective puppy buyers to ensure that each puppy is placed in a loving home compatible to the traits and requirements of the breed, which will also provide necessary veterinarian care, training and socialization, and responsible pet ownership;
6) Commercial pet retailers do not take back dogs that have not "worked-out" in their new homes, or assist pet owners in finding new suitable homes for these dogs. As a result, these dogs end up in overcrowded animal shelters awaiting euthanasia.
How Everyone Can Make A Difference:
1) Take time to educate prospective puppy buyers and others of the cons and hazards associated with pet shop puppy purchases;
2) Before making a purchase (food, supplies) from a pet specialty store, inspect the premises to be sure that the business is not also a commercial pet retailer;
3) If the business you patronize on a regular basis for dog food and supplies is not a commercial pet retailer, let the staff and manager know that you are pleased by this and that it is for this reason that you have chosen them to make your purchases;
4) If you visit a pet specialty store and notice that they are also a commercial pet retailer, politely inform the manager that you had intended to make a purchase but will now take your business to the competitor who has chosen not to sell puppies (be sure to mention the amount of money you usually spend on a weekly or monthly basis for pet food and supplies so that the manager will be aware of just how much the store is losing to its competitor)
Join the Fight Against Puppy Mills
Breeders: Visit the Headquarters and join Infodog's Fight Against Irresponsible Puppy Breeders
Pet Owners: Visit the Doris Day Animal League* and The Hearts United for Animals Site's "Prisoner's of Greed/Campaign Against Puppy Mills" to learn how pet owners can take an active part in the crusade against Puppy Mills
Need further encouragement? Please read "Pet Shop Girl" by Walt Zientek.
* In 1998-99, Wing-N-Wave took an opposing stand to the DDAL petition to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (Wing-N-Wave's Letter to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture in Response to Proposed Rulemaking on Licensing Requirements of Dogs and Cats) . I believed and still believe that the petition targeted the wrong group of breeders for control and regulation. Nonetheless, Wing-N-Wave recognizes the commitment and role of DDAL to increase public awareness in the battle against puppy mills. (View Wing-N-Wave's personal letter to DDAL-8/10/98)
Copyright © 2000. Pamela A. Davol. All rights reserved. Copyright & disclaimer.
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