It is perhaps the best slogan/advertisement. Easy enough to remember. Just three words, “adopt, don’t shop.”
I got triggered this morning, because of all ads to appear on my news feed, is the advertisement for a new pet store that is opening today. In general, I am not opposed to pet stores, just those that sell dogs and cats. And this is one that does sell those cute and cuddly kittens and puppies. It is also a chain of stores.
I am not sharing a snapshot of the advertisement because I do not want to draw attention to their disgusting business. But I noticed something when I responded to the ad, with an angry emoji, and an explanation of why pet stores that sell pets really should not be in business, a sentiment echoed by others on that same ad. Later in the day, the comments and ability to “like” or dislike the ad were turned off and the negative comments were removed. And then, more ads for the same store came across my feed, and before I could respond on those, as any advocate would do, the ability to comment was also turned off. So far I count at least six attempts for them to try and get some positive exposure. But as I mentioned, this is a chain store, and that means that people who had negative experiences will share those negative experiences in any perspective new locations.
Instead of just facing on the criticism, the most frequent complaint, selling puppy mill puppies, their first line of defense is “deny, deny, deny.”
Semantics is defined by Websters as the “language used to have a desired effect.” In other words, pet stores deny that they buy from puppy mills. And technically they would be correct. Except they have a middle man called a broker. This broker goes from puppy mill to puppy mill, then sells those cute and cuddly puppies to the pet stores. Semantics.
How can I prove this? Simple, I went through the experience.
This was Pollo, an eight week old Golden Retriever. OMG he was so cute and cuddly. I really had no business going into the pet store in the first place. I was leaving on a week long trip in two weeks. Really bad timing. But he was sooooo cute. I had to have him.
Pet stores know what they are doing. They know we cannot resist puppies. Why do you think people avoid walking into animal shelters, because they know there is a good chance they will walk out with a rescue, because we have hearts and empathy. But to be able to get a puppy and start from the beginning? They are just so cute!
And then, if you are unfortunate, you find out there is an ugly truth behind where he came from.
Pollo loved the water. At around the age of six months, he experienced an episode that I ended up carrying his limp body into the vet hospital. I never did find out what happened to him, but he did recover. To help the vet, I figured it would be helpful if I got the health history of his parents and I approached the pet store for his vet records. That is when I ran into an unbelievable roadblock and in the end, discovered that Pollo came from a puppy mill in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area.
This is not a photo of the exact Amish farm that Pollo came from, but it is very similar to the image of where he came from. I know this, because of my efforts of involving the USDA, the Pennsylvania Department Of Agriculture and Dog Warden, journalists and more. As we got close to the truth, circumstances got bizarre in that evidence of any puppy activity had been relocated, we would later discover to another family member, a common tactic to avoid regulation and discovery of these awful conditions. All because the pet store fought me on some simple and basic information. The pet store, Pollo, and I all ended up on People’s Court over this very issue. Needless to say, they lost.
Other than that one fateful day, I enjoyed nearly fifteen years with my best friend, known affectionately as “the Happy Golden,” a nickname because of his non-stop wagging tail and always giving the appearance of him smiling. My fur family member went to the Rainbow Bridge nearly seven years ago, breaking my heart, but not my resolve. I am unable to have another dog yet, emotionally. But I will still advocate for awareness of the need to adopt the many pets that are abandoned, lost, or even rescued.
It has been a long time since I got involved in this effort, the last time happened when that same pet store opened a new location where I was living previously. But as this new pet store is opening today, with lots of fun and excitement, and get this, $500 off the price of a new puppy. THIS IS DISGUSTING!!!!
The puppy mill industry is a billion dollar industry for the Amish and other groups. And the more puppies you buy, the longer they are all just too willing to meet the demand. Remember the picture above. I have seen situations way worse, and it is only because of pet stores selling their merchandise. Stop buying puppies from pet stores, and the demand stops. It is that simple.
There are all kinds of ways to adopt pets, even puppies if that is a requirement. There are animal shelters, humane societies, and even breed specific organizations. There are so many ways to adopt a wonderful fur friend who has been abandoned or lost, unable to be found by its owner.
But the demand needs to end for puppies from puppy mills, and that starts with stop buying dogs and cats from pet stores.