What Happens to Pet Store Puppies That Don't Get Sold?

I received this very fine question on the To the Rescue! Facebook page, and know that this is the sticking point for many on the issue of puppy mills. While many people understand that the purchase of puppies from pet stores enables the puppy mill industry to thrive (see this article for a non-graphic explanation of puppy mills), well-intended people may yet consider making such a purchase because, they figure, at least the puppy is saved from the pet store.

After all, doesn't a pet store puppy have just as dire a need for a home as an shelter or rescue pup?

This is exactly the kind of dilemma puppy mill breeders and pet store owners hope you experience, even if you are morally and ethically opposed to the industry.

Compassionate people want to save, and that can include saving puppies from being in pet store cages. But looked at from the industry side,  you can call it saving all you want but a sale is a sale is a sale.  Every sale perpetuates the current model. Period.

For help on understanding how to navigate this very difficult issue, I contacted Dee Santucci, Co-Chair of the Education Committee at The Puppy Mill Project.

Pet store puppies are treated as any other retail merchandise.  Dee explained,

 "The pet stores put the puppy  on sale and keep reducing the price until they sell. They may also send them to a different store where they might sell better."

The price dropping will continue until the puppy either gets sold or grows to a point that the store feels it must cut its losses. At that point, they may  give puppies away to employees, friends or rescue groups.

This little peanut was a puppy mill mom. She is wearing a diaper as spinal cord damage from the conditions she was living in require it. Happily she has been regaining the use of her back legs after many months of hard work and medical care.

This little peanut was a puppy mil mom. She is wearing a diaper as spinal cord damage from the conditions she was living in require it. Happily she has been regaining the use of her back legs after many months of hard work and medical care.

What is a compassionate animal lover to do?

According to Best Friends Animal Society, you may just need to institute a 'Do Not Enter" rule for stores that sell retail pets. It will release you from the temptation to buy that any animal lover would experience but more importantly, nothing, but nothing, gets a retailer to examine its business model like an empty store.

Dee Santucci points out, it really does boil down to simple economics.

The bottom line is, we won't get rid of the puppy mills until people STOP buying the puppies. It's supply and demand.

Interested in getting involved as a volunteer with The Puppy Mill Project? Their next orientation session is February 20th. Visit their event page on Facebook for details.

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Filed under: Puppy Mills

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