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Another pet store rant

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  • Another pet store rant

    A local mall opened another pet store, called Pick of the Litter, selling live puppies. I started to write a letter to the mall, but it turned into a letter to the editor. It's pretty long, so I'm not sure if they'll publish, but I thought I'd show it to you all first in the hope that you'll spare me public embarrassment by pointing out any glaring errors:

    I visited South Park mall a few weeks ago and was very disappointed to see that they have leased space to a second store selling live purebred puppies. This is deplorable for two reasons: compassion and inferior product.

    Compassion, because pet store puppies generally come from USDA licensed commercial kennels which treat these companion animals as livestock. USDA’s primary mission is to promote agriculture and help farmers. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has about 140 inspectors responsible for several major programs, of which enforcing the Animal Welfare Act in thousands of commercial kennels is only a part. The Animal Welfare Act, originally passed to regulate treatment of research animals, provides for minimum standards of care and treatment for certain animals bred for commercial sale. And they are minimal; if your neighbor kept a dog under those conditions, you would avoid that neighbor.

    USDA licensing is not an indicator of quality. American Kennel Club (AKC) registration is no indicator of quality either, although the AKC is trying to provide a little guidance to puppy buyers. AKC registration merely indicates that the dog’s bloodlines are known, not that they’re any good.

    Every breed of dog comes from a limited gene pool and each breed is prone to particular ailments. The websites of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals ( and the Canine Health Information Center ( show the physical and genetic tests recommended for each breed and a good breeder will pay for every one of those tests. A good breeder will also carefully study the bloodlines of a proposed match to avoid doubling up on a flaw (and every dog has flaws).

    If you simply breed any two purebreds (of the same breed or of different breeds, as in “designer dogs”) without doing this, the probability of some nasty recessive trait popping up is much higher. Commercial kennels and backyard breeders take none of these precautions. Backyard breeders, even the nice ones, generally don’t know any better and commercial kennels have no incentive, as many genetic ailments appear only after puppyhood.

    A good breeder’s contract specifies that if the buyer cannot keep the dog, the dog must be returned to the breeder, at any time during the dog’s life. A breeder’s worst nightmare is an irresponsible puppy buyer who disposes of an unneutered dog to some dog breeding facility, where the dog will suffer constant breeding from puberty till death and the facility will claim the resulting puppies come “from championship lines”.

    A good breeder is one who has been showing the breed for years, knows the bloodlines, breeds one or two litters a year in his or her house in an attempt to create the perfect dog and who has the fortitude necessary to not breed the near-perfect dog who tests positive for a trait that should not be passed on. It can be heartbreakingly disappointing.

    If a prospective puppy buyer finds such a breeder, and they are out there, the puppy buyer must expect to be inspected with the same care and attention that the breeder used in creating the puppies. The thousand or so dollars the puppy buyer pays to this breeder will be a partial reimbursement for all the veterinary, testing and maybe some showing expenses that went into the breeding. Showing is important because its purpose is to judge the breeding stock; no one can see the flaws in their own beloved dogs. Pet stores charge about the same prices, but it’s mostly profit to the store, the pet broker or dealer and the commercial kennel. No decent breeder would ever consider selling his or her puppies to just anyone through a store. So buyer beware!
    Thanks for reading this!
    Missing Mira (7/15/03-12/17/13)

  • #2
    I think it is a very good letter!

    Just the name of that business makes me sick
    Willow and Liv


    • #3
      Is there anyway you can shorten the letter ? People have a very short attention span ....
      We had a store in the mall sell puppies and a group of people were their every day informing people about the pitfalls buying from a store . The puppy sellers moved out pretty quick
      If you get other people to write a letter also that helps. Good luck


      • #4
        You've written a great letter. I second the thought of shortening it, however.

        Near the beginning, you might mention the term puppy mill. Most people know what that means, but they may not know the negative connection with backyard breeders. I've even heard people talking as if "dogs bred in the backyard, mom and dad on premises!" Is a good thing.

        Also, you may mention that a puppy from a reputable breeder often costs less than those from backyard breeders.

        Thanks for working to snuff out the outdated and awful trend of mall pet stores.



        • #5
          I have to agree with shortening the letter I know you have good intent. These people are slick and more so than they was a couple of years ago . I see some crap dogs and they are asking from $2000 to $3000 for them. Its sad !