Just this week, the city of San Diego joined the ranks of the enlightened by passing a law banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores throughout the city. Beginning one month from now, commercial retailers can only sell animals that come from city and county shelters or other rescue organizations. This is another victory for the anti puppy mill movement who campaign tirelessly to stop the sale of pets that from mass commercial breeding facilities.
And before the breeder community raises a fuss about how this new law will undermine their business, everyone should understand that the restrictions will only apply to commercial (i.e. pet stores) businesses selling animals. There will be no change which would affect responsible breeders who raise and sell puppies privately. Instead, this move will target those heartless thugs who may raise puppies and kittens as livestock in puppy mills privately but now have nowhere to sell their ‘wares’, since the usual backstop of the pet store option will be taken away.
Puppy mills and breeding facilities for other household pets breed in bulk and for profit with no concern for health or temperament. The breeding dogs and their puppies are kept in appalling conditions and given minimal care and attention. Puppies and kittens are taken away from their mothers and littermates too early and are shipped off to pet stores where they are sold to unsuspecting consumers. Many of these young animals are sold with or go on to develop debilitating health conditions as well as exhibiting behavioral issues as they age. Lack of proper care and socialization can render many pet store puppies into reactive, unconfident and sometimes dangerous individuals.
The decision in San Diego should be celebrated by animal lovers everywhere. While the pet store owners, the puppy millers and their middlemen will undoubtedly resent the decision, the concerned citizens of San Diego are celebrating a decision that will help reduce the vast number of animals euthanised in their shelters every year.
But beware! The puppy millers will try and find a way round this ban. There might be many new ‘rescue’ shelters and 'rescue' websites that suddenly pop up around the county providing a front for what is still a commercial breeding operation.
As a general rule, adopt – don’t shop, and if you now see a cute rescue puppy, kitten or dog in a San Diego store window, do your research as to which rescue facility or organization they came from.