Across the nation, cities, towns, counties, want to ban the sale of cats and dogs from pet stores. They want to crack down on regulations in an effort to put breeders out of business.
Why? Because animal rights groups like HSUS and PETA have manipulated the public with sob stories, using specific language in their campaigns designed to stir up emotion. They’ve slanted statistics and believe it or not, have resorted to lobbying. This has all been done in an effort to convince the public that pet stores and breeders are the reason for the deaths of shelter animals.
While it’s true that there are irresponsible breeders out there, there are also strictly regulated licensed breeders who abide by the federal laws concerning animal health and welfare. Because of these animal rights groups, responsible and licensed breeders have to shoulder the burden of this propaganda.
If you’re worried about weasel words like “overpopulation” and “puppy mills” that are thrown around, then it’s time to dig deep and take a look at the facts and figures.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Studies show that euthanasia rates have not dropped, nor have adoption rates increased in any tangible numbers in the local shelters where puppy and kitten sales have a ban in effect. (NAIA Online)
Studies also show that less than 5% of pet store puppies end up in shelters. (NAIA Online)
According to American Humane, 10% of adopted shelter dogs don’t make it more than six months in their new “forever homes.” They’re surrendered back to the same shelter, artificially inflating shelter intake numbers, contributing to the “overpopulation.”
Also according to American Humane, the dogs “obtained for little to no money,” i.e., shelter rescues, have the highest risk of abandonment. Additionally, most of these dogs that are surrendered back to the shelter are the “dogs older than six months of age.” Interestingly enough, licensed pet stores and breeders typically place puppies in homes when they are 8-12 weeks of age.
On top of those facts, American Humane also states that there is no difference in the retention rate of a pet between the pet owners who took the time to research the specific breed and its requirements versus the pet owners who decided to spontaneously adopt.
Studies provided by NJ State show that the dogs entering shelters are not surrendered due to any health issues, but rather due to personal reasons and excuses on the owner’s part.
So, the questions we must ask ourselves are:
- If euthanasia rates and adoption rates are no different in banned areas, why are local governments still banning?
- If less than 5% of pet store puppies wind up in shelters when upwards of 10% of rescues are re-surrendered, why are pet stores and breeders being blamed for “overpopulation?”
- If there’s no difference in retention rates between those who adopted with knowledge and those who adopted on a whim, how is that the fault of licensed pet stores and breeders?
- If it’s the dogs that are six months or older—and not the puppies of 8-12 weeks—that have a higher risk of being abandoned, why are the pet stores and breeders being punished?
- If the reason behind dogs being surrendered to shelters is due to the owner’s own personal reasons or negligence, how is that the responsibility of the pet stores and breeders?
In case it isn’t obvious, the real culprit here is poor pet owners. This is especially true since most pet stores and breeders have policies that allow buyers to return the puppies if they aren’t a good fit for the home.
The Top 10 Reasons For Pet Abandonment
Whether the dog owners research their specific breed of choice or rescue a shelter dog, there’s always a chance that it won’t work out. Sometimes it’s just not a good fit for the family or lifestyle, and sometimes the responsibility and commitment is just too much of a burden.
Here are the top 10 reasons why pets end up in shelters:
- The owner is moving
- The owner’s landlord doesn’t allow pets
- The cost of pet maintenance is unaffordable
- There are too many animals in the house
- The owner has no time or is having personal problems
- Inadequate facilities (i.e., small apartment, big dog)
- Pet illnesses
- No homes for littermates
- Issues with biting or aggressiveness
- They’re incompatible with other pets
The list of reasons for owners surrendering their pets goes on and on. All of the above can generally be avoided if owners plan responsibly—and long term—before welcoming a new pet into their home.
Stop Blaming Breeders and Pet Stores
It’s easy to cry “puppy mill” when you look at all the dogs and cats hoping to be adopted from shelters. However, the truth is, licensed breeders aren’t interested nor are they allowed by law to mass-produce puppies and kittens. The fault is of the pet owners who adopt without truly committing to their new four-legged family member.
Regardless of whether you’ve owned pets in your lifetime or not, every new cat or dog is a commitment and responsibility. If you can’t rise to the occasion or afford to take care of an animal, you shouldn’t be adopting.