The sale of animals in pet stores encourages the continued existence of puppy and cat mills as well as animals who are genetically or physically defective. Stopping the sale of dogs and cats by pet stores will also help animal overpopulation and crowding in local shelters by encouraging more people to adopt animals and insuring that animals adopted are spayed and neutered.
Puppy mills and cat mills account for the vast majority of the dogs and cats sold in pet stores. Even those stores claiming that their animals come from "USDA Inspected Breeders" are still selling animals whose parents live in unspeakable conditions. The Office of the Inspector General of the United States released a scathing report in 2010 concerning the lack oversight of commercial breeders and dealers. (http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/33002-4-SF.pdf)
Pet stores selling dogs and cats also contribute to genetic and physical problems because the animals are bred solely for the reason of economics and not to insure healthy and disease free animals. Furthermore, sale of these animals negatively affects the adoption of needy animals from shelters and rescue groups and can account for a high percentage of animals turned in to shelters.
Pet stores selling dogs and cats also create a disincentive for them to work with rescue groups and local shelters to place needy animals in good homes. Pet stores engaged in sales of dogs and cats see rescue groups and local shelters as competition and threats to their profits.
It is time that Pima County join the national movement to ban sales of dogs and cats at pet stores. Most of our major retailers have already voluntarily stopped selling dogs and cats and have, instead, partnered with local rescue groups. However, we still have a small number of stores in the area who continue to sell puppies and kittens from puppy mills. It is time to take action to make Pima County a safe and progressive home for all of our companion animals. It is time to ban the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores.