The Humane Society of the United States on Wednesday released a list of 80 Los Angeles-area pet stores, including two in West Hollywood, that have pledged to not sell puppies and instead support local animal adoption programs as well as provide literature to customers about how to get a puppy from a responsible source.
"There are millions of animals being euthanized, and the adoption option is worthwhile not only from the humane standpoint but also the fiscal standpoint because animal overpopulation is a drain on the city,” said Andrew Kim, founder of Healthy Spot.
"The main reason we don’t sell puppies is because we don’t believe in puppy mills,” Collar & Leash employee Andrew Lopez said. “Puppy mills lead to inbreeding that causes problems in the dogs like poor digestion or a mutated claw, and we prefer rescuing dogs from shelters and rescue groups.”
Kim suggested adoption websites that specialize in purebred animals as an alternative to buying puppies from retail pet stores.
Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for the HSUS, praised retailers like Healthy Spot and Collar & Leash.
"These stores have set a positive example of corporate responsibility for other businesses to follow," Fearing said in a statement. "Pet stores that profit from the cruel puppy mill industry need to step up and do the right thing by stopping their puppy sales. The Humane Society of the United States is thrilled to have wonderful local advocates working in our area to increase the public's awareness of puppy mills."
Store owners and managers who sign the humane society's “Puppy-Friendly Pledge” receive a placard that says, "We love puppies; that's why we don't sell them," to display in the store, as well as materials about adopting a dog or finding a responsible breeder.
According to the HSUS:
- Approximately one-third of the nation's 9,000 independent pet stores sell puppies.
- The HSUS estimates that 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States.
- Documented puppy mill conditions include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor food and shelter, crowded cages and lack of socialization.
- Dogs kept for breeding in puppy mills suffer for years in continual confinement. They are bred as often as possible and then destroyed or discarded once they can no longer produce puppies.
- Pet stores and online sellers often use attractive web sites to hide the truth and to dupe consumers into thinking that they are dealing with a small, reputable breeder.
- Reputable breeders never sell puppies over the Internet or through a pet store and will insist on meeting the family who will be purchasing the dog.
- Puppy mills contribute to the pet overpopulation problem, which results in millions of unwanted dogs euthanized at shelters every year.
The HSUS reports 2,000 stores nationwide have joined its Puppy Friendly Pet Stores program.