No More Homeless Pets a Viable Possibility ?

Sari Reis is owner of Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services, a San Diego dog walking company.

In the August issue of “Pet Age” magazine, Cathy Foster, the managing editor, wrote an interesting article titled “Are Dogs Disappearing?”, addressing the issue of the diminishing number of puppies becoming available for sale in retail outlets. Ms Foster suggests that this potential shortage is due to new laws and restrictions which are driving commercial breeders out of the business. Since responsible breeders do not sell their puppies to pet stores, I read this to mean that the “puppy mill” and “backyard breeders” are the ones being affected.

The article goes on to quote Patti Strand, the national director of the National Animal Interest Alliance. “We have a big concern that there will be a huge decline in the number of dogs coming available …”  “People who are producing new dogs are quitting in record numbers. The future is inevitable.”

Due to new laws like the one in Pennsylvania that restricts the number of intact dogs a breeder can have on hand, and rules that “require commercial breeders to double cage sizes, eliminate wire flooring, provide unfettered access to the outdoors, institute twice –a-year vet checks, and follow a host of other regulations”, some breeders are opting to go out of business and there is a general environment which is discouraging commercial breeding of dogs altogether.

Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey and North Carolina have active legislation on the books to set new standards for commercial breeders and more states are doing the same. Jerry Kreider, a commercial breeder and board member of the Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeders Association states “Animal rights activists want to use Pennsylvania as an example and slowly go state by state to enact similar laws.”

Over 4 million healthy adoptable dogs are euthanized in this country every year due to over-population. People seeking dogs for pets can locate them on Petfinder.com and in hundreds of shelters and rescue groups across the country. If people want puppies there will always be an abundance of reputable breeders to produce the healthiest, happiest puppies and will sell their puppies directly to the public. As far as retailers are concerned, I say, make your money selling food, accessories, treats, toys, clothing, crates….etc.

Another thing working in the animal’s favor is that public sentiment is changing. As more cities start passing legislation banning the sale of pets in retail outlets more people are choosing shelters for their next pets. According to a recent poll 54% of people surveyed said their next pet will come from a shelter or rescue group. Only 8% said they planned to purchase from a pet store.

Michael Maddox, vice president of government affairs and general counsel for the PIJAC had this to say,” along with breeding restrictions and mandatory spay/neuter laws, bans on the retail sale of pets have far-reaching implication.” I certainly hope that is true and that one day in the not-so-distant future, there will be “NO MORE HOMELESS PETS”.