San Diego County is one of the pet-friendliest communities in the nation, so it’s important that we set the standard for the humane treatment of animals and for animal welfare issues nationwide. Yesterday was National “No Pet Store Puppies Day,” serving as a reminder of the importance of stopping the sourcing of animals from puppy mills. We know puppy mills are the shear definition of animal cruelty, and I hope we can see an end to them in all of our lifetimes.
Unfortunately, most consumers getting pets from pet stores are unaware of their new pup’s true origin. Behind that adorable puppy is a mom who lives in unimaginable conditions, doesn’t have space to get up and move around, never touches grass or ground and is nothing more than a breeding machine, making litter after litter with no time to recover between them. Because puppy mills focus on profit and profit alone, puppies typically have health issues due to a lack of adequate care in their early weeks of life. We believe we have a responsibility to spotlight the truth about the puppy mill industry and its exploitative practices. For all of us who care about animals, we know we have a responsibility to be their champions. Shopping for pets in a pet store is the ultimate form of turning our backs on that responsibility. If you want a purebred dog or cat, check out a shelter first—we often have them. Or go to great rescue group—we can help with that introduction too if you need it. Or, go to a responsible breeder who cares about her animals and will stand behind them. There are so many intelligent choices to get a new pup or kitten. A pet store is not one of them.
Since 2012, seven cities in San Diego County have adopted a ban on the sale of pets in pet stores: Chula Vista, San Diego, Oceanside, Encinitas, Vista, San Marcos and Carlsbad. They join a total of 31 cities in California, and more than 160 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Instead, pet stores are adopting a humane model, partnering with humane societies to offer shelter animals in their stores. This is incredible progress, but there’s still much to be done to end this horrific form of animal cruelty.
We often hold fee-waived adoption promotions to bring awareness to the importance of pet adoption over endorsing puppy mills. Our largest adoption event of the year is coming up this weekend – Saturday, July 23rd. Hosted by NBC, Clear the Shelters Day is a nationwide movement to get pets out of shelters and into homes, where they belong. Surprisingly, only 20% of people looking to add a pet to their family consider adoption. With 45,000 homeless animals entering San Diego shelters each year, we needas many adopters as we can get. At least start at a shelter or rescue group. We can help you go from there.
We hope you’ll join us in this effort – whether it’s adopting an animal this weekend or sharing this important message so we can continue to bring awareness about the cruelty that occurs in puppy mills every day. The animals rely on your support. Thank you for being the advocates, the voices and the true friends they need.