Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

Pet Stores Selling Shelter Dogs

Phoenix requires pet stores to sell only shelter dogs.

In Phoenix, Arizona, a new law has been enacted and upheld by a federal judge. The law mandates that all dogs that are sold in pet stores must come from a shelter. Phoenix joins about 60 cities in the US with laws like this.

These types of laws are designed to fight puppy mills and save the lives of countless shelter animals. In Phoenix alone, it is estimated that 23,000 dogs are sold in pet stores yearly. Ensuring that these dogs come from shelters rather than puppy mills will save tens of thousands of lives.

Why Should Puppy Mills Be Stopped?

Puppy mills are businesses that breed dogs for the sole purpose of profit. The conditions in which the breeding dogs and puppies are kept are usually horrendous. The dogs do not receive any love, attention, toys, treats, or exercise. Rather, the breeding dogs live in cages 100% of the time, usually for life. They are required to breed and carry litters as often as possible, and when they become too sick or old to breed, they are usually destroyed. Puppy mills are not in the business of caring for dogs; the health and happiness of the animals are not considerations. Keeping costs low and profits high are the only goals.

Puppy mills are a form of animal cruelty. When you consider puppy mills alongside the reality of shelter life for dogs, where many thousands of animals wait months or more to find homes or are euthanized due to overcrowding, it's easy to understand why it's necessary to make a change and put an end to puppy mills. Laws like the one in Phoenix are a huge step in the right direction.

But I Thought Pet Store Dogs Came from Breeders

It is a common misconception that pet store dogs come from reputable breeders. The reason many people probably believe that is because it is what many pet store staff members tell customers. However, reputable breeders don't sell dogs to pet stores. They want to meet the future owners of their puppies to ensure that they are going to responsible, loving people. That is part of being a breeder and working to enhance and grow a dog breed.

Pet store staff members will often claim that the dogs come from a good breeder because they have "papers." Unfortunately, puppy mill dogs often will have registration papers, which do nothing other than state a dog's lineage. They do not guarantee that the dogs come from a humane environment.

If your pet store sells or adopts out shelter dogs, they will advertise that, but if they say the dogs come from reputable breeders, use skepticism and caution.

You can read more about puppy mills and the Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) efforts to put an end to them here.

What Can I Do?

If you want to fight puppy mills:

  • You can write to your congressmen and women, asking them to develop and pass legislation similar to that adopted in Phoenix, Arizona, requiring pet stores to sell shelter dogs or support their adoption.
  • Contact the HSUS and ask them for information on stopping puppy mills. Visit your local pet stores and share the information with them. Ask them to stop carrying puppy mill puppies and support shelter dog adoption instead.
  • Visit your local shelters and ask them to develop relationships with nearby pet stores.
  • Ask your veterinarian to provide information to pet owners about puppy mills and how to find reputable breeders or adopt shelter dogs instead.
  • Visit the HSUS page on ways to fight puppy mills for more ideas and access to valuable materials.
  • Spread the word in your social circles by sharing information and articles on puppy mills with them.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Mutts: Mixed Breed Dogs and Why They're Great - Slideshow

Animal Cruelty: Signs and Prevention of Cruelty to Dogs

Microchipping Dogs

Facial Recognition Apps for Lost Dogs

How to Prevent Separation Anxiety in Your New Dog

Crate Training

Dog Adoption: What You Need to Know

Retractable Dog Leashes: Know the Risks

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with

Notice: Ask-a-Vet is an affiliated service for those who wish to speak with a veterinary professional about their pet's specific condition. Initially, a bot will ask questions to determine the general nature of your concern. Then, you will be transferred to a human. There is a charge for the service if you choose to connect to a veterinarian. Ask-a-Vet is not manned by the staff or owners of, and the advice given should not delay or replace a visit to your veterinarian.