As the holidays approach each year, the number of dogs and cats bought at pet stores goes up. Many are given as “gifts” that end up forgotten and unwanted. Meanwhile, animal shelters continue to be overfilled with animals in need of homes.
Animal welfare groups are calling for a boycott of stores that continue to sell puppies. According to Huffington Post Green, the ASPCA has launched a campaign with forty billboards throughout Los Angeles asking people to help stop puppy mills by not buying puppies from stores or websites. “We are not just saying `Don’t buy a puppy,’ but `Don’t buy anything in a pet store that sells puppies. If pet stores are not able to turn a profit, they will stop selling puppies,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of ASPCA’s anti-puppy mill campaign. The ASPCA also provides a list of don’t-shop stores at nopetstorepuppies.com.
Some pet store owners are fighting back. Jens Larsen, owner of Perfect Pets, claimed “I obey the law. So do my breeders and the kennels I deal with,” and that “radical and fanatical” animal activists just want to put his store out of business. Meanwhile, other groups are joining in the fight along with ASPCA, including the Humane Society of the United States and Best Friends Animal Society. HSUS recently filmed an anti-puppy mill video featuring Lorenzo Borghese and has investigated pet stores and breeding facilities.
Menkin said that about 200 million puppies are purchased online and in pet stores every year. Due to the improper breeding and lack of care, the dogs are often left with genetic conditions and poor health. Serina Brant purchased her dog Ali from Larsen’s Perfect Pets store and says that she has spent $8,600 in vet care. She says that her next dog will be adopted from a shelter. Will yours too?