For many, it’s a fond memory from adolescence and maybe even adulthood: the joy of visiting a pet store. The allure of cute kittens, puppies and other animals is a powerful force most are unable to resist – myself included. Throughout my childhood, the pet store at the local mall was one of my favorite places to visit. Often times, it was my sole reason for going to the mall.
It wasn’t until years later, as I began to establish my career as an animal welfare professional, that I learned the upsetting truth behind where pet store animals come from: Puppy Mills and other large-scale, irresponsible commercial breeders.
These sources provide pet stores across America with animals that have been mass produced (often to their genetic detriment) and housed in horrific living conditions. The quality of life for these animals is miserable and often marred with medical complications caused by poor breeding practices. In addition to the mass production of animals being inhumane, it also undermines the work being done to address animal overpopulation across the globe.
As harsh and heartbreaking as this reality is, most people remain largely unaware about the source of pet store animals. I, too, used to be one of them.
But the good news is: awareness is spreading and tremendous progress is already being made right here in San Diego to end this inhumane industry.
By working with several city councils in our region, San Diego Humane Society recently helped pass legislation banning local pet stores and other commercial businesses from selling dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, and rabbits that are obtained from puppy mill farms, commercial catteries, and other large breeding establishments. Pet stores that wish to house animals at their facility must work with rescue groups, animal control agencies and humane societies to showcase their adoptable animals.
It’s a mutually beneficial partnership that thwarts the commercially sanctioned cruelty of the Puppy Mill industry while also encouraging people to consider shelters and responsible breeders when looking for a pet.
So far, this ban is effective in the cities of San Diego (proper), Encinitas, Oceanside, Vista and San Marcos, with plans in place to further expand this list. You can help ensure that all of San Diego County is a place where the humane treatment and thoughtful placement of pets is encouraged. To learn more about how you can help pass this important legislation in your city, click here.
– Christina is a proud dog mommy to Sally and passionate about pit bull advocacy and animal welfare.