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:

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