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

October 26, 2011 11 comments

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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