Cities Banning Sales of Pets

Discussion
Mar 19, 2010
Tom Ryan

By Tom Ryan

The city of Richmond in British Columbia is considering
banning all sales of dogs in an effort to reduce impulse buys as well as
to crack down on puppy mills. Adopting from animal shelters and buying from
private breeders would still be allowed.

The move follows a law passed last year by the town of
South Lake Tahoe, CA to ban the retail sale of dogs and cats. Last month,
West Hollywood, CA passed a law banning retail animal sales, though pet
stores will be permitted to offer animals for adoption.

“Banning sales from retail stores is a first step in sending
a message to puppy mills and will reduce the number of dogs surrendered to
shelters,” said Richmond City Council member Ken Johnston according to the Globe and Daily
Mail.
Under a law that takes effect April 1, bunny sales were to be prohibited
in Richmond due to Easter-driven sales that had caused a rabbit population
explosion in the past.

The two major U.S. pet stores, Petco and PetSmart, don’t
sell dogs and cats in their shops but offer them up for adoption.

The Richmond ban would apparently be the first of its
kind in Canada and it has met opposition from the city’s three pet store owners.

Mr. Johnston pointed to a Canadian television documentary
that showed that some dogs sold in pet stores were from puppy mills, which
are large-scale commercial breeding facilities known for producing unhealthy
dogs under deplorable conditions. The Humane Society of the U.S. has
also linked sales in pet stores to puppy mills. Finally, the Richmond Animal
Protection Society notes that shelters see a steady stream of surrendered dogs,
originally bought from pet stores, whose owners lose interest after their purchase
outgrows the puppy stage.

“The pet stores don’t screen their prospective owners,
and they can go buy a pet the same day,” said Helen Savkovic, an employee
at the Richmond Animal Protection Society. “We’re not in favor of impulse
purchases of animals.”

But pet store owners contend that they provide a reputable
selling environment and offer guarantees. If pet selling is banned
at retail, the alternative is selling dogs over the internet, classified
ads or roadside sales that often have little oversight.

“Banning the sale of dogs in stores will drive consumers
to other sources that do not offer the benefits and accountability pet stores
do,” said Louis McCann, executive director of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory
Council of Canada.

Discussion Questions: Do you think
retail store sales of dogs and cats should be banned? Are there ways
to improve on the current system so that all retailers perform to a standard
that provides for the welfare of animals sold in stores?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

12 Comments on "Cities Banning Sales of Pets"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
David Livingston
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

Pets are like drugs. There will always be a market with plenty of buyers and sellers. Even if pet sales are banned, pet sellers will just ignore the law and sell pets anyway. There are too many loopholes to get around this. One way is to not sell a pet, but rather have someone adopt a pet and pay a huge adoption fee. I volunteer for a humane shelter. Do we sell pets? What I can say is we don’t give them away.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

I’m with Bob Barker: retail sales of pets should be banned. Period. From there, solutions should be directed toward going after puppy mills and backyard “breeders,” strengthening and standardizing ownership accountability laws, requiring spaying and neutering, and solving deplorable shelter situations and alarming euthanasia rates.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

As a board member of a pet rescue and the husband of a full-time rescue volunteer AND the owner of way too many rescued pets, I believe adoption at retailers is the best way to communicate the critical need for the stopping of breeding and enormity of euthanasia. I wholeheartedly applaud those retailers that do not sell pets in their stores, but welcome those rescues to solicit their pets at their retail locations.

The caveat is to restrict the potential adopter from taking the animal at that moment at the store. A home check MUST be performed by the rescue prior to the release of any animal. That way, the odds of an impulse decision are reduced, and the chances of the animal being returned to the rescue are diminished. Do I have an opinion on this? Perhaps.

Rick Moss
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

While the most expeditious way to solve the problem may be to ban retail sales of pets–and in this economy, perhaps the only method government can afford–is this the right solution for retail business? Are there not legitimate, responsible retailers who will be put out of business due to the disreputable practices of others?

Do we ban all street merchants in order to fight the sale of counterfeit merchandise? Do we outlaw sushi because of the many restaurants that misrepresent the kind of fish they’re serving?

I’d say first define what a puppy mill is; outlaw them; and then outlaw the sale of puppies bred by them. Wouldn’t regulation and enforcement be the proper solutions? And as far as the consumer goes, they should be screened by retailers just as prospective pet owners are screened by breeders and rescue organizations. None of this is easy, but when has responsible retailing ever been so?

Janet Poore
Guest
Janet Poore
11 years 1 month ago
This is one of the best ideas I’ve heard. One has to distinguish between dogs or cats vs. other types of pets like fish and small reptiles. All puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. Reputable breeders don’t sell their puppies to pet stores or to brokers who then sell them to pet stores. Period! The only way to shut down puppy mills is to end the market for their “merchandise” and make it not profitable for them to continue operations. If people knew how breeder dogs live in puppy mills and what happens to them when they can’t be breeding machines anymore, they would be sick. That goes for the puppies who don’t get sold and get too big or are sick too. They are merely “inventory” to be disposed of. PetSmart has adoption centers at all its stores, usually cats and kittens. They also have adoption days when the SPCA brings dogs and cats over to the store. They provide space to local shelters and rescue groups, so there is no “we… Read more »
Bill Bittner
Guest
Bill Bittner
11 years 1 month ago
A friend of mine’s favorite expression when her golden retriever comes back soaking wet and covered in mud is: “It’s a good thing puppies and kids are so cute because otherwise you would want to kill them.” I don’t think it is realistic to expect people to resist the temptation of a puppy on display in a retail store. So now we’re confronted with the same issue that has faced Wall Street. The retail store is not concerned about the puppy six months from now, they just want the commission on the sales transaction today. So how do you get them to think in the longer term? Maybe there needs to be some kind of “claw back” mechanism on pet sales. Or perhaps a “transaction tax” would work. The tax would be used to build up a fund that helps bail out bad pet owner situations. If a pet relationship goes bad, the animal can be dropped at a shelter funded by the tax. Of course towns already have revenue from a licensing fee that… Read more »
Connie Kski
Guest
Connie Kski
11 years 1 month ago
I operate an independent pet store, and I sell animals. I see my role as helping pet lovers find the pet they’ll love and assist them in sourcing the supplies and accessories they need to keep their pet healthy and happy. And gee, maybe to actually make some money. As business people, I am sure you understand that. I do not sell puppies and kittens–for a variety of reasons more related to the local labor pool and my store configuration than anything else. My store is regulated, licensed and inspected by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. I spend a great deal of money caring for the animals in my store. We screen prospective buyers carefully to help them choose a companion animal that will live out its life in their home as a beloved pet. I’ve been known to recommend the *plush* version, rather than the live version. Every animal goes home with care instructions and my personal assurance that I am happy with the health and condition of the animal. More regulation is not… Read more »
Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 1 month ago

I have to agree. This is one product that cannot be sold as an impulse item. Pets require specific care and controls must be in place to make sure the purchaser knows what they are doing and how to take care of such animals. Can you walk into a store and purchase a baby? Animals should be treated in the same realm.

Mark Burr
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

There are probably already enough regulations, laws and restrictions in place on the sale of live animals there and everywhere else. Enforce them. Don’t ban.

If communities have a concern and can’t afford enforcement on their own, it’s probably the best case for volunteerism.

Whether it’s cats or puppies or anything else including salt, there’s activism to ban almost everything. It’s a great way for any level of government to quickly lose sight of what their real purpose is–if they know that in the first place. Apparently not in this case.

In the absence of common sense, their is always the government at any level that knows what’s good for you.

Kai Clarke
Guest
11 years 1 month ago

The animal shelters and hundreds of animal rescue groups have thousands of animals to adopt. They spay and neuter and educate owners on proper care. Why are we perpetuating the abuse of animals in puppy mills when there are so many animals that can be saved every day?

Lori Castle
Guest
Lori Castle
11 years 1 month ago
Puppy mills are often “underground” or backyard operations and cannot even be identified to be regulated. There are reputable breeders that can be found through the AKC, through breed-specific rescue groups, and other humane organizations. However, most people don’t take the time to do the research, or in many cases, don’t even realize that they may be buying a puppy mill dog when they go to a pet store. Sometimes the stores don’t even know the animals have come from puppy mills. Rescue groups match the dog to the adopter so the chances are slim that a dog will be surrendered or abandoned again. They educate people about specific breed traits and the good and bad that goes with pet ownership. Pet stores–and there are always exceptions–do not. There are literally millions of dogs that go through the shelter systems each year, and that does not account for those handled by rescue groups. Being a volunteer for a breed-specific rescue group, I have seen first hand the results of puppy mills. Dogs should not be… Read more »
Connie Kski
Guest
Connie Kski
11 years 1 month ago
I have customers who have purchased a puppy from a “breeder” in the Midwest. They think they are doing something wonderful because they didn’t buy it at a pet shop because “we all know” that pet shops get their puppies from mills. Fact: they purchased a puppy from an unknown commercial breeder, who may very well be a puppy mill, but isn’t inspected or licensed because they don’t sell to pet stores, the sell direct via the internet. The new owner really has no idea where their dog came from. There are horrible places out there. There are also clean, well run commercial kennels who raise happy healthy puppies in a clean and sanitary environment, who socialize the puppies with other same-age litters, and market the puppies to pet stores for sale to the owner. The family that wants a puppy will go to a pet store for several reasons. They want a puppy–not a rescue. Every dog in the shelter is their for a reason. Some reasons you can live with, some you can’t.… Read more »
wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Do you think the sale of dogs and cats through pet shops should be banned?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...