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« USDA Reports that they're not doing their jobs (& why better enforcement is more important than more laws) | Main | Ohio House passes bill to eliminate state-wide Breed Specific Legislation »

May 27, 2010



what defines a "pet store"?
Why would a rescue/shelter adopting out animals.. for which they charge "fees" NOT be a "store"?


Emily, my assumption would be that this could be fairly easily done based on whether the organization is set up as a 501c3 vs as a business.

But like I said, be careful what you wish for.

H Houlahan

I'd like to see stats over the same period from cities other than Albuquerque.

A 35% drop in shelter killing isn't that much to crow about, based on what I saw in their wretched city shelter in 2004. (Yes, their ANIMAL CONTROL SHELTER refused to take a stray puppy found within city limits, and suggested he be released where we found him.)

And given that this is in the context of their completely insane "HEART" law, which, among other provisions in its phone book of new law, criminalizes as animal cruelty the offense of walking a dog on a leash over 8' long -- the law that was supposed to make Albuquerque the Beacon on the Hill for Animal Rights -- FAIL.

Why didn't HEART make Albuquerque 100% No Kill overnight?

Glenn Massie

If you are set on buying a puppy please download and read, “How To Buy A Puppy” before you consider parting with your money. It is free at

Buying a puppy without problems is harder than most people think. Finding a responsible and knowledgeable breeder is very difficult.


As someone who tried to adopt an elderly, crippled dog through a rescue and ended up in a virtual competition with another potential home, I tend to fall on the side that *some* rescues drive people away rather than attract them. In that case, I was driven away. I *wanted to rescue* that dog but after jumping through the first dozen hoops, I was too burned out to continue on. Plus I figured hey, if there is another home waiting for the dog, at least she'll be in a home. The reason I highlight the words WANTED TO RESCUE is because many people don't in fact, want to rescue. They want to buy something "new". And if I, as someone who did want to rescue a dog, was driven away, how much success can these rescues who are overly ridiculous w/their adoption process possibly have?


Rescue/AW people need to quit worrying about the "irresponsible public" and "puppy mills" and just address their own part of ending the homeless pet problem. We'd be way further ahead if they'd stick to getting as many pets adopted as possible and quit trying to pass useless laws because they *think* it will solve a perceived problem.

How many laws do we have that have back-fired and are causing death!? Most of them...msn, bsl, pet limits, strict fostering reqs (if its allowed at all), abandonement laws (prohibits TNR), overly strict dangerous dog ords.

IMO the only thing holding us back from No Kill as a nation are all the people that say its impossible and therefore refuse to do anything different that the status quo. We don't need more laws we need fewer. Enforce cruelty and at-large laws and that's all we need.


Large and small pet stores in my area have been hosting rescue groups for years. You can't go to a pet store on a weekend and not see creatures rescued from shelters available for adoption. I'm a bit stunned to see that this isn't the norm in other areas. If a "pleasant" experience is what you're after in adopting a pet, you can find it.


Every area of the country is vastly different in how things are dealt with in regards to animals in need of new homes. What works in one city may NOT work at all in another, quite possibly. So that's a problem with saying it has to be done THIS WAY only. Saying we ALL need to do something that has worked in one city won't solve the problem, it will likely cause more. Volunteering is at an all-time low, costs are at all-time highs. Asking shelters that are barely hanging on by a thread to go out & rent space, set up a petstore image, is like asking for the moon. Most shelters in today's world barely keep the roof over their heads. Donations are WAY down due to the economy, funding is being cut drastically to state & township run shelters. We need to start at the root of the issue -- BAD OWNERS. Education in grade, middle, & high schools -- make kids accountable, teach them to go home & teach their parents if needs be. Other countries have addressed these issues -- we need to get on the ball too! If the only place to buy a puppy was from an ethical breeder who would put the buyers thru a course of education on the breed & work with them, it would stop impulse buying -- which is what fills my rescue -- impulse-bought dogs!


To KNJ: the problem lies in your last sentence and was addressed in the article at length. Banning the sale of puppy-mill dogs from pet stores will not stop people from buying puppy-mill dogs. It'll just send them to the internet where the puppy mills have even less accountability (if that's possible). Or to the newspaper to buy poorly-bred dogs that way from someone who won't ask too many questions.
We don't need to legislate the source of our dogs. We need to work on better educating the general dog-owning public so that they understand the benefits of carefully researching your purchase and developing a relationship with an ethical, responsible breeder. Most dogs in rescue are not puppies, but (as you noted) impulse-bought dogs that are abandoned once the owners are face-to-face with the reality of owning a dog.

I agree with your basic premise, education, being the root of the problem... but I disagree strongly with your proposed solution.

And hey, maybe if the HSUS spread some of their giant, vast loads of dough to local rescues to help them in these projects (instead of using it to lobby for laws that harm reputable dog breeding and ownership) maybe they'd actually be doing some good here in the real world. That ain't gonna happen, though. Wayne's retirement plan needs padding more than your local rescue needs help, apparently.



I am a big believer in looking at what worked in other parts of the country and re-applying those principles where I am and on the flip side, not trying to make ideas work that have failed elsewhere. Interestingly, the same ideas do seem to work from coast to coast - -and the same ones seem to fail in the same way.

I realize that things are tough for non-profits right now. I know that volunteers are hard to come by. But one thing that seems constant around the country is that if shelters perform shelter operations in the 'right' way, the community will support them.

Around the nation, there are huge amounts of retail space that is vacant that might be available for lower-than market rates for a charity (good for offsetting taxes). PetSmart Charities seems to be open to the idea. If nothing else, there are countless opportunities to do offsite adoptions for virtually nothing.

We can adopt our way out of this RIGHT NOW -- not later. Now. And that's a cool thought. But we have to be innovative in our thinking and approach to how we get it done instead of saying "we just can't do that here".


I wonder if PETA & HSUS are largely behind the banning of pet sale in pet stores?

The culture in most shelters remains the same: it's easier to kill than re-home.

We just saw that here in NZ where the SPCA shelter manager killed a dog which had been offered a foster home and all the time in the world to find her forever home. That is just bloody-minded.

NZ is still in the dark ages too, and it's not about funding or resources, it's about ATTITUDE.


As stated in the article...people do an impulse buy at the petstore...picking up an animal that they didn't intend to get...80% of those animals wind up in the shelter because it wasn't thought through. Leave PETA and HSUS out of it, there are so many rescue groups that are merging together to voice, they are not even part of the picketing that you see at some pet stores, or the petitions that are started, or letter writing campaigns. Rescue groups on their own are getting this awareness out, as they are the clean up crew...getting dogs/cats out of hell hole county shelters and hoarders to fosters and new families that are completely checked out, with a home visit and references before they can adopt. Once in the rescue, if it doesn't work out, they go BACK to the RESCUE, as it should be, and IS with good, responsible breeders, who are NOT mass producing puppies that are ill and have genetic defects that will devastate the heart and wallet of the new owner. Those dogs are treated as family members and live in the home as do the puppies. If you have to do your homework when getting a dog, you will give that dog a better life, and your life will be easier. These puppy mills are not doing it for the love of the breed....keeping genetic disorders and bad tempraments out of their lines and breeding the best and healthiest for their breed...they are doing it for money, and the Amish communites in my state and the state I used to live in are major players in puppymills.


I think there is one thing everyone here is missing. There is only one reliable place that a person can go to to get a great dog or puppy and that is a RESPOSIBLE BREEDER!
Here is a place where you can go and see the dogs in a home. You can see the parents and grandparents and the environment they live in and how they act.
No one will no more about the breed you are interested in than the responsoble breeder you take the time to find. IT is a little work in the beginning but in the end it will be worth it.


Tracey -- I would tend to agree if you have a need for a real working-type dog.

But for most people, who just want a casual pet, there are many great pets with great health available in shelters throughout the country that make great fits for most homes.

Ruth Cooper

I'm not really a pet lover, but we have a cat at home we adopted her from a neighbor, instead of buying expensive cats why not adopt instead! nice blog.

Paws Pet Supermarket blog

Pat F.

Brent, in response to your post to Tracey that implies one should only go to a responsible breeder if one has "a need for a real working-type dog"...

Not really or necessarily true. Yes, one can get real working-type dogs from responsible breeders. One can also find 'casual pets'. I have; starting from the Labrador Retriever my parents bought (from a breeder referred by my mother's friend) when I was a teenager (a wonderful, loving, healthy dog) to the English Cocker who shares my life now, and a few dogs in between. There are many breeds of dog who are not necessarily hard-wired working dogs; and going to a responsible breeder to get one is an intelligent choice. At dog parks, I see many lovely mixed-breed dogs, the ubiquitous "doodle" mixes (don't get me started on what I think about their breeders), purebreds; there doesn't seem to be a preponderance of one type over the other. I support a person's right to get a mix or purebred from qualified rescue organizations, shelters, and, in the case of purebreds, responsible breeders (or rescue groups, most national and regional AKC clubs have them for their breeds). I can't really prevent people from buying dogs off the internet or pet shops, sadly, but I do try to gently discourage them.


Pat, there are a lot of reasons may choose to get a dog from a breeder -- and if they need a working dog for a real working purpose, then that makes sense. If people are looking for a pet, then there are a great number of those at their local shelter. That doesn't mean that bought dogs can't and don't make good pets, it's just that in my opinion, there is really not a lot of need to go buy a dog just to have a pet dog.

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