Pet stores sell puppies—what’s the big deal? A lot of people buy puppies from pet stores. My parents bought our dog from a pet store and why not? The girl at the counter is friendly. The store is clean. And the puppies are so cute! The pet store has been open for several years and the owner swears that the puppies do not under any circumstances come from puppy mills.
“Well then where do they come from?”
“Oh, well, uh, we have a fantastic source in the south that breeds different kinds of puppies, but they’re not from puppy mills. They’re treated very well.”
You see? The owner of the store said that the puppies they sell to anyone who offers money don’t come from puppy mills, so then they must not come from puppy mills.
Opponents of pet stores selling puppies post videos of puppy mills and the horrible conditions that they endure: small overcrowded wire cages, injuries, diseases, and mother dogs being forced to reproduce again and again with little time in between births. These places do exist, but they are far away from pet stores in another part of the country, and your local pet store didn’t get their puppies from those places. The owner said so.
Buying a puppy from a pet store is easy. You go in, pick out a puppy to play with, and then pay for it and take it home. The shopping experience is quick and you don’t have to jump through any hoops.
I read a review once about a pet store that one of the employees “kicked” one of the dogs. When interviewed, the employee explained that he accidentally tripped over the puppy when a bunch of them were running around him in the playpen. Because of all the bad press, the store owner was forced to fire the employee and issue a formal apology.
“We fully train our staff to handle all of our animals safely and gently.”
The training includes a 30-minute video about the history of the store and good customer service.
Sometimes the puppies at the pet store get sick. An old friend of mine bought a puppy that developed a bad cough. Her eyes oozed so much mucus that she could barely open them. She wasn’t eating. She wasn’t playing. “Your puppy has kennel cough,” the vet told her, “it is common in dogs from pet stores.”
Poor doggy. It’s a good thing I rescued you.
Yes, after several accounts of investigation, certain organizations did find that some pet stores do sell puppies from puppy mills, but what are the families that bought those puppies supposed to do now? Return them? Give them away? Besides, pet stores are going to sell puppies, so we might as well buy them.
The problem with organizations like the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, and PETA is that they villainize anything and everything that makes people happy. If a child walks by a pet store at the mall crying that he or she wants a puppy, that they’ll take care of it, and that it will make them the happiest kid in the Whole Wide Universe, why would you deprive that child from happiness?
Puppies make people happy. They form a bond with their owners from a young age. And they’re cute.
So don’t worry about the puppy mills that sell those puppies to pet stores. Don’t worry about the mother dogs that are killed or tossed to the side of the road after producing their quota of puppies or the runts of the litter that are cast aside because they are not playful enough and won’t help pet stores make a profit.
In fact, don’t even think about, just go out and buy a puppy.