The hashtag “adopt don’t shop” has become quite a big deal on social media over the last few years. It’s not just a phrase meant to save shelter animals across the globe, it’s also a plea to boycot an industry that thrives on animal cruelty. Yet sadly thousands if not millions of people still buy puppies from pet stores.

Perhaps these people don’t know exactly what they are supporting when buying that cute doggie in the window, or perhaps they just don’t care. We can all hope it is not the latter, but perhaps with some education on the topic of why it’s better to adopt than to shop we can convince at least a few people to live by this hashtag motto.

It is estimated that around 3.9 million companion dogs enter the shelter system each year ), so there is definitely not a lack of great animals to fill our hearts and homes. There are plenty of myths around shelter animals, that could be one reason why people are hesitant to adopt. But shelter animals are not broken, they are not rejects and they certainly can be amazing pets.

So what exactly are you supporting by buying puppies from the pet store?

Let’s take a closer look at the pet trade industry.Pet stores are required by law to buy only from licensed breeders. That’s a good thing, right? Wrong! Being a licensed breeder does not mean that the puppies are not from a puppy mill, as what is legal is still considered cruel and inhumane. It is entirely legal for a breeder to keep a dog in a small cage twenty-four hours a day. It is also legal to keep these cages outside in all weather conditions including snow and extreme heat. These cages also often have wire flooring to minimize cleaning efforts, but can cause considerable pain and damage to the breeder dogs.

If this is not awful enough for these breeder dogs, the rate at which the females have puppies is astounding. At the age of five a momma dog might have had and nursed about ten litters, which wears her out physically and emotionally. These dogs often develop major health issues which the puppies often contract as a result of the unsanitary conditions in which they spend their first few weeks. The puppies are then taken from their mother as early as six weeks old to be sold in a pet store.

When the adult dogs outlive their mating capabilities they are killed, sold for testing or abandoned and left for dead. Most of these animals die young without ever having experienced a loving human touch or having had a toy or a treat. Apart from all the health risks they face, no dog should be forced to live in a cage for profitability only to be killed or abandoned.

Once the puppies are taken from their mother they are shipped to pet stores and sadly many don’t even make it to their destination alive. The puppies that do make it to the store alive often develop serious illnesses shortly after and unless treated by a vet, they don’t live a very long happy life either

Sadly it is human nature to care more about the money than providing these animals with adequate and sanitary living conditions, and as long as this industry is supported by the consumer these animals will suffer. So perhaps think twice before you buy that cute puppy from a pet store. You could help put an end to the cruelty that is the pet trade industry.

IMG_3899Article by Zerelda Daniels

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