Why We Aren’t Trying to Close Pet Stores or Shut Down Commercial Breeders

Article by Ron Sturgeon, Founder of Reform Canine Breeders and Auctions (RCBA)

We know there are a lot of ways to try and make sure dogs being bred are treated better. We have chosen to work on the supply side of that problem, the breeders, not the sales side. Read my article about that strategy here.

Some reformers want to close pet stores and/or prevent them from selling dogs because the dogs the pet stores sell come from “puppy mills.” Forget for the moment that many who want to see dogs treated better do not agree on what makes a breeder a puppy mill or a hobby breeder or a backyard breeder (More on the definition issue). Is the problem really the pet stores? They are meeting the public’s demand for dogs and their shareholders’ requirements for sales and profits.

Isn’t the real problem the bad breeders? I bet we could agree on that.

If we succeeded in closing all the pet stores, would the breeders go out of business? Seems unlikely.

Would fewer people want to buy dogs? Seems unlikely.

Educating the public on how and where to buy a dog is also a huge task (More on education’s limits). Efforts to restrict commerce will be met by big opposition, because that solution is focused on money, not the health of the dogs. As ubiquitous as the sales and distribution channels are, can we really solve breeding problems by closing pet store sales?

Instead, our strategy focuses on the problem: the bad breeding practices. Closing pet stores and trying to control sales channels is a red herring. It keeps us distracted, I believe.

Ready to throw tomatoes at me?

Why don’t we encourage pet stores to sell dogs? Yes, I said it. Every cage would be marked with the information about the dog. Where it was raised, the health practices used when breeding, who its parents are, and WHERE to meet the parents. This is about the breeding practices for the dogs, right? Not the sales practices by pet stores. And that sign on the cage would also include the REGISTRATION INFORMATION ABOUT THE BREEDER.

And, hold your tomatoes for a moment.

The stores should be encouraged to sell dogs from the local shelter. Allow them the same profit margin they get on new dogs or even more. Why not let the pet store sell a dog for $500 and pay the shelter its rescue fee, typically around $125. That’s a big margin, one the store owners would like. And, for it to work, the marketing alliance with their local shelter has to be good for business and good for dogs that need to be adopted.

Why aren’t we fighting to close the puppy mills? First, different size breeders should be regulated differently. Some commercial or for-profit breeders are much better than others. Many in our community expect that the commercial breeders should treat their animals like pets. That’s a dream, and it would be nice. We want to see the dogs treated with kindness, humanely, and bred only with sound medical practices. And different size breeders should have different regulations. The USDA can’t possibly manage all of the breeders. Common-sense regulation should be in place. The fact is, dogs will be bred, somewhere, somehow, for profit. You can read my article about that here.

Efforts to outright close breeders will be met with fierce opposition, fueled by MONEY. And why close any breeder? We want everyone that wants a dog to have one. a healthy happy one. The breeders of all sizes meet a need, it’s why they exist, and we can’t change demand. Read my article about limiting sales and demand here. We do want their practices to improve. Really, and I am not kidding, breeders should want to register and support reform, because it’s good for business and profits.

If you are passionate about closing puppy stores or commercial breeders, we encourage you to continue that effort as you see fit. We won’t be critical of you. Your initiative is different from ours, but that doesn’t make one of us wrong and one of us right. Let’s hope that everyone’s efforts help to achieve the goal we agree on: dogs being bred should be treated with kindness, humanely, and with sound health practices.

It’s about the dogs. Too often, our discussions on Facebook become about how not to adversely affect breeders or how regulations will put breeders out of business. Why don’t we talk about how to make life better for the dogs? This really should be about the dogs, right?

Join us if you think we are on the right track. Register for no-obligation updates, or volunteer to serve by submitting the form our website, www.ReformCanineBreedersAndAuctions.com.

Comments(5)

  1. Connie Mincy says

    . Why not let the pet store sell a dog for $500 and pay the shelter its rescue fee, typically around $125. That’s a big margin, one the store owners would like. And, for it to work, the marketing alliance with their local shelter has to be good for business and good for dogs that need to be adopted. Great idea.

  2. Connie Mincy says

    A link needs to be included so we can share this article in Facebook.

  3. Teresa Norman says

    You’re article states:
    “Is the problem really the pet stores? They are meeting the public’s demand for dogs and their shareholders’ requirements for sales and profits.”
    ☆And I see your point. At the same time, these people that have pet stores and KNOW the possibility that the puppies being sold in their store are from unreptuable sources, are only doing it for the $$$$. No other reason. But in all sincerity, I understand why you cannot focus on that as well. Yes..I do like your ideas…I guess as an animal lover … I HATE seeing that anyone, even a pet store owner, would have anything to do with such low life punks! To me, that makes the pet store owner as bad as the puppy mill, backyards breeders! Good luck in your endeavors! :)

  4. Teresa Norman says

    You’re article states:
    “Is the problem really the pet stores? They are meeting the public’s demand for dogs and their shareholders’ requirements for sales and profits.”
    ☆And I see your point. At the same time, these people that have pet stores and KNOW the possibility that the puppies being sold in their store are from unreptuable sources, are only doing it for the $$$$. No other reason. But in all sincerity, I understand why you cannot focus on that as well. Yes..I do like your ideas…I guess as an animal lover … I HATE seeing that anyone, even a pet store owner, would have anything to do with such low life punks! To me, that makes the pet store owner as bad as the puppy mill, backyards breeders! Good luck in your endeavors! :)

  5. C L says

    First of all the fact that there are puppymills known to exist and they are allowed to continue to operate is truly beyond belief. The powers that be put out a list of the worst puppymills instead of shutting them down. WHY? Why are the officers who go and see these conditions walking away and allowing them to continue? Heads need to roll and there needs to be people truly held accountable for this conscious turning away, whether out of laziness, greed (bribes) whatever the reason, it is not acceptable. Secondly, about the sale of dogs at pet stores, it seems to me that pet stores are the drug dealers of the puppymill world so yes they are a huge part of the problem and actually an easy way to go about shutting down the puppymillers who supply them with their “crop” to sell, as virtually all puppies sold at pet stores are farmed in this terribly sad and abusive manner. The simplest and most effective way to shut down puppy mills is to stop their money flow. Because they breed solely for profit (not out of passion or love of the breed as does a caring home hobby breeder who spends far more on their dogs than they could ever get back from the occasional sale or adoption fee), if they can no longer make money off the backs of the poor dogs they use and abuse for profit MANY of them will stop breeding (maybe not all will stop, which is where enforcement of the animal welfare laws comes in, but for those dogs no longer being abused and bred to death by the ones that do stop breeding it is life changing!).. By stopping the sale of puppies from these mills at pet stores you stop the money flow (pet stores could still have adoption days and they could even work with local reputable small scale breeders on a referral basis, as the goal should not be to stop all breeding, as it is with the twisted and perverting ideology of extreme animal “RIGHTS” groups like PETA and HSUS (not to be confused with animal WELFARE which is correct thinking), but to ensure the humane and caring treatment of all animals, with the best first step being to stop this most egregious and cruel mindset of FARMING dogs — they are not a crop, they are living, feeling, loving COMPANIONS!). Stopping the sale of puppymill puppies at pet stores is also easily accomplished so seems a very logical place to start. It would stop the mass breeding of these poor dogs almost immediately because if millers no longer have pet stores as their “dealers” to push their puppies they have no reason to produce them. So what if the blind masses who don’t care enough about the suffering of the poor mommas bred to death to produce that cute puppy in the pet store are forced to put forth a little more effort to add a new dog to their family? People SHOULD consider beforehand all the ramifications and responsibilities of adding a new dog to their home, it should not be an “impulse” buy done with the same ease as say purchasing a sofa, so meeting that demand for immediate gratification to buy a puppy produced in such a sad, horrific environment and with such cruelty and disregard for the well being of the animals involved is not a good thing or something we as a society should encourage. By removing that emotionally driven purchase of the “doggy in the window” it provides the time and opportunity for people to consider all the options (mixed breed from a shelter, purebred rescue – like those little doggies that now have an opportunity to find a loving home after the puppymill that was abusing them shuts down once they can no longer push their farmed puppies at the pet store, or quality purebred puppy from a small sized responsible breeder), learn about the breed traits that are best suited to their home life and environment in order to make an education decision, encourages them to do their homework, be patient, find a reputable, caring breeder if they decide to go that route, and at the same time they can feel good about their decision, knowing that they are not supporting this abusive chain of greed and misery. Also hand in hand with banning the sale of farmed puppies at pet stores is stopping the sale of dogs at auction. It is the same heartless, abusive and greedy millers involved in both of these inhumane activities. Again, dogs are not a crop, they are not livestock, they are loving companions with deep seated emotional needs and deserve to be treated with all the kindness and caring and honor that that special place in our lives, in our very hearts, dictates. Thank you for caring about the animals. We are their voice.

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