Home > Animal Rescue, Backyard Breeders, Blog the Change for Animals, Pet Adoption, Pet News, Pet Topics, Puppy Mills > Could You Support a Pet Store Who Adopts and Sells Pets?

Could You Support a Pet Store Who Adopts and Sells Pets?


Would you support a pet store that sells puppies and kitties from puppy mills?

What about a pet store that used to sell puppies and kitties but now only adopts dogs and cats from local rescues and animal shelters?

What about a pet store that sells puppies and kitties from puppy mills AND adopts animals out from a local rescue groups or animal shelters?

This is the discussion that is going on over at Animal Cafe and Dancing Dog Blog and Will My Dog Hate Me?.

Petland USA from a corporate standpoint, still sells puppies and kitties from puppy mills. You can read more about their history here (feel free to also sign the petition to ask them to stop). But, a few Petland franchisees are starting to implement a new business model, one that focuses on pet adoption and less on selling puppies. Some have chosen to stop selling puppies altogether while others are transitioning to pet adoption. I encourage you to listen to the full 24 minute interview with Mary Haight (from Dancing Dog Blog), Alan Caplan (a Petland Franchise Owner), and Pamela Hoebeck (Pet Match, a rescue group) to learn more about this controversial issue.

As anyone involved in animal welfare knows, there is rarely a black and white solution to pet over population and many other animal welfare issues in general. But Mary, Edie and Animal Cafe raise some serious questions for all of us to consider.

Is it okay for a rescue or shelter to support an organization that sells puppies and kitties when it also adopts animals to loving homes?

What if that organization is looking to get out of the puppy- and kitty-selling business, but needs time to transition the business AND needs local support from rescues and shelters to make that transition a viable one?

Do we as animal welfare advocates miss the chance at a possible solution because we are too stringent in our requirements? Do we need to look at this issue in a more balanced way?

And what about the cats and dogs sitting in a shelter now? Or the ones waiting in a foster home, just waiting for a chance at a new life? Do we deny them this chance because we need to stand on principle? Do we allow them to be euthanized instead, just so we can say that we took the high road and didn’t support Petland or another pet store?

These are all the questions running through my mind tonight. To be honest, I am conflicted. As an animal advocate, who happens to have pretty strong views on puppy mills, the thought of supporting a store still selling puppies from puppy mills is abhorrent to me. But, when that same pet store is also adopting dogs into good homes, well, that is quite a dilemma. Can I support such a move? And, what would it take to do so? It’s something I’m going to need to ponder a bit more.

What do you think?

I encourage you to comment on Mary Haight’s blog post at Dancing Dog Blog, Edie Jarolim’s blog post at Will My Dog Hate Me? and/or Animal Cafe.

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  1. October 27, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    Yes, I agree Mel – this is very tough discussion we need to have with ourselves and each other.. Petland has, after all, been targeted as the most reviled of corporations by animal welfare and animal rights proponents, right up there Hunte corporation and their puppy mills. We have had many years of bashing them. Has it changed anything at all at Corporate? No. The wagons have been circled in tighter formation. I think it’s time to try another approach, and it looks like some Petland franchisees think so too.

    Do we nip that kind of change in the bud by shunning them, or by telling them they are not doing enough and should just change overnight? Tough questions. Maybe we can sort a few answers out if we all think about this, discuss and write about it.

  2. October 27, 2011 at 7:31 AM

    Mel – I was quite excited to learn that some of the Petland stores in my area are working with Pet Match to help place shelter animals, and equally disappointed to hear that the local shelters are not willing to work with them – they bring the dogs in from out of state. I agree that this is not a black and white issue. Is there a way to support individual Petland franchises as they transition from selling puppy mill dogs to shelter dogs? Perhaps if animal advocates are will to working with the franchises while continuing to place pressure on Petland Inc. we can effect a change faster than just addressing one side of the situation.

  3. October 27, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m under the impression that some Petlands are corporate stores, and some are franchises. I would definitely support franchises using the adoption model, and boycott the ones selling from puppy mills. I also think it’s important to support people making the transition, because if the transition is too hard, they’ll just go back to the old model, and that’s worse.

  4. October 27, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    It is a really difficult call. Normally I don’t like supporting half-measures. I worry that if we accept little handouts the movement toward change will stall completely. It’s happened many times with government legislation, where a bill will pass that is so watered down it’s not worth the time and the effort of advocates.

    But in this instance, it’s a little different. I made a vow last January to not shop in any store that live animals and I take that very seriously. But when Pets Unlimited stunned me this year, I altered that a little. I still disagree with some of the store’s practices, and I don’t like how they continue to sell rabbits and birds and other animals, but at the same time, I want to reward them for making a very positive move. It’s important to use our money wisely. While I understand not wanting to support a store that still sells dogs and cats, if that same store is also looking to help with adoptions, I think it might be our duty to show them that is the right direction. By working with them, instead of against them, maybe we will be able to reach a larger public, a public that often tunes us out.

    • Mel
      October 27, 2011 at 10:31 PM

      All great and very thoughtful points Kristine. You’ve given me more to ponder.

  5. October 27, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    I’ve been wrestling with this ever since I saw it on Edie’s blog… I don’t think I’ve managed to come up with my own answer yet. I will say that it’s given me plenty to ponder. It’s been a ponder-ful day.

    • Mel
      October 27, 2011 at 10:29 PM

      Me too AJ. Me too. But the more I read about Petland and the Hunte Corporation the less I am favoring this deal. The waters are so muddy it’s hard to know where the muck ends and the water begins.

  6. October 28, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    Thanks for generating more conversation about this topic on your blog, Mel. I’m tending towards being less of a purist because animals’ lives are at stake and the shelters’ unreasonable behavior towards taking in pets preceded the whole Petland issue.

  7. October 31, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    I haven’t listened to the interview yet, but I’m wondering if some portion of the sales from the stores that have begun implementing the adoption model goes back to Petland Corporate. If so, I think I’d be taking a hard stance and not shopping at any Petland. Perhaps the owners of the stores that have begun doing adoptions will begin applying pressure to change the corporate policy too.

    • Mel
      November 1, 2011 at 7:08 AM

      I wondered that too Amy. I am more concerned that the Hunte corporation is behind Petland. Having read some of the lawsuit documents and the charges leveled against them, I have serious doubts that there are any plans or Petland USA to switch over from puppy mill dogs and cats.

  8. November 7, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    hey, great blog! love it 🙂

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