Ban Pet Store Puppy Sales in Tempe

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Pet stores and puppy mills are synonymous:

First and foremost, a puppy mill is a large scale breeding facility, where profit takes precedent over the welfare of the dogs.  Of course, no one calls themselves a puppy mill.  The preferred term in the industry is “commercial breeding facility”.  All across the country, dogs of desired breeds are bred in large quantities at “commercial breeding facilities” and distributed to pet stores.  The USDA regulates these commercial breeding facilities, and the dogs that occupy them are classified as livestock. 

The USDA regulations, in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act, are minimal at best.  Not only are breeders allowed to provide the most minimum quality of food, water, and veterinary care, but the regulations allow for the cage size to be no bigger than 6 inches beyond the dog’s body.  As profit takes precedent over the welfare of the dogs, these minimum standards are common practices in the breeding industry.  Also, there are only 120 USDA inspectors for all 7,000+ animal breeding facilities across the country.  On the rare occasion that a breeding facility receives an inspection, there have been documented cases where facilities that violate the Animal Welfare Act were met with little or no punishment.  Their violations were noted time and time again, and they were allowed to continue on with business as usual.  In some cases, breeding facilities that lost their USDA license were allowed to simply change their name, put the business under a family member’s name, and continue on with their abusive practices. 

Puppy mills exist because, every time there has been a motion to require better standards of care, the motion has been blocked by none other than the American Kennel Club (AKC).  The AKC receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in registration fees from these large scale breeding facilities.  They have lobbied time and time again to prevent any and all further regulation of the commercial breeding facilities.  The AKC continues to protect and endorse these abusive practices, and they show no concern for the welfare of the dogs that bear the title of “AKC registered”.    

So, who buys these dogs?  The puppies produced by commercial breeding facilities are sold to pet stores across the country.  Those wonderful puppies that you see at the mall – they came from puppy mills.  Often, breeding facilities work with brokers, who act as the middlemen between the pet stores and the breeders.   The pet stores tell the brokers what they need, and the brokers find a breeder, usually in the Midwest (puppy-mill-states), and they transport them to the storefront.  Unfortunately, I never knew this when I, myself, used to love looking at the puppies at the mall.  I had no idea that the parents of those puppies lived in pain and filth in some far-away state. 

How do we know the pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills?  If you ever doubt where a pet store puppy came from, try to find out the actual physical condition of the puppy’s parents.  Often you cannot, because they are located in other states.  Pet stores will tell you “we don’t get our dogs from puppy mills: we get them from USDA licensed facilities.  Our dogs are AKC registered.”  I have already explained what it means to be USDA licensed and AKC registered. It means very little, and no one with a business to run will call themselves a puppy mill, or claim to associate with a puppy mill.   Pet stores are transporting puppies from other states because they are coming from breeding facilities, otherwise known as puppy mills.  The parents of those puppies are not someone’s pet that they decided to breed.  They do not sleep in warm beds at night, and have space to roam.  They do not have the social interaction that they were bred over thousands of years to have.  A good breeder would NEVER allow their special breed to be “sold” on a whim to anyone that walked by a storefront.  A good breeder would want to make sure that the puppy’s family knew about the breed, and were able to take care of the breed.  A good breeder often has a contract with the adopters, agreeing to take the dog back at any time, so that their champion dogs do not end up in an overcrowded shelter somewhere.   A good breeder often has a waiting list, and they do not overbreed their dams.  Good breeders do not sell to pet stores.

In December of 2013, the City of Phoenix joined the (now over) 100 cities across the country in passing an ordinance to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores.  They did this because of the fact that pet store puppies come from puppy mills.  They did this to encourage adoption from rescue, to reduce the homeless pet population, and to reduce the number of shelter pets that are euthanized every year.  They did this because it is the right thing to do.

Please help me to ensure that Tempe is willing to do the same, so that this horrible industry is no longer supported by its citizens.  Please help Tempe join Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, and many other great cities that have banned pet sales.  Please help me ensure that my dog, June, doesn't have to live in a city that supports the abuse that she endured for 7 years in a puppy mill.

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