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January 18, 2011 > Ohlone Humane Society: Pet stores take the pledge

Ohlone Humane Society: Pet stores take the pledge

By Nancy Lyon

Pet stores are great when it comes to finding just the right comfy bed for your canine companion. However, if they are also selling puppies then it's time to think of what you are supporting and consider giving your cash and business to a more enlightened establishment.

Prospective families never see the truth behind the faŤade and have little knowledge of the industry of shame they are supporting by purchasing puppies from pet shops or on the Internet. Puppies that make it alive to the shops often carry genetic problems from interbreeding, over-breeding, and socialization problems as a result of being taken from their mother and litter mates too early in their young lives.

The unwary may be captured by the entreating little faces with the big price tags, but behind the scenes the vast majority of these innocents come from an industry that mass produces puppies and the "breeding stock" spend their entire lives in miserable cramped cages and kennels without any thought of their need for love or companionship. When they are no longer capable of producing pups or die from neglect or disease, they are tossed aside like yesterday's trash.

It's a case of Buyer Beware. The truth of the puppy's origins is not always evident and unscrupulous merchants will tell consumers that a local and "reputable" backyard breeder is using them as an outlet. That should be a strong red flag that something is wrong. No reputable breeder will sell puppies to potential families through pet stores, on the Internet or newspaper ads. Many pups end up costing huge veterinary bills for illnesses, inherited problems or exposure to diseased and filthy surroundings.

All of this is pretty sad for the pup who may not survive to lead a healthy long life he or she deserves but also for the heartbroken family that has come to love them.

The Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) current campaign to encourage pet stores to pledge to not sell puppies has exceeded its goal. Melanie Kahn, HSUS campaign director, stated, "These companies set a positive example of corporate responsibility for other businesses to follow, more than 1,000 pet stores across the country have now taken an official stand against puppy mills by pledging never to sell puppies in their store; an important step towards combating puppy mills across the country."

In addition to the 1,000 plus independent pet stores, Pet Food Express with 36 California stores and a longtime advocate for not selling puppies in pet shops, has taken the puppy support pledge to not sell puppies. Instead, they support local companion animal adoption programs. These stores will provide prospective puppy parents with information on how to avoid puppy mills and get puppies from ethical sources.

Mike Murray, director of community relations at Pet Food Express stated, "As the eighth largest pet specialty retailer in the U.S., this business model has been very successful for us. We're glad to join the Puppy Friendly Pet Stores program to help spread the word about responsible pet acquisition."

Participating pledge stores receive a placard to display in their store that proclaims, "We love puppies; that's why we don't sell them." So look for the "puppy-friendly" sign that encourages prospective adoptive families to find just that right little special pup from trustworthy rescue people that think puppies are the best thing since sliced bread and not a cash crop.

For information on participating Puppy Friendly pet stores in your area or to sign the pledge to help end the cruel cycle of puppy mills, go to

"Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened." - Anatole France

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