Best Friends Q&A: Pet Shops Adopt

by Mary Haight on July 21, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 15:  Chihuahuas awa...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Questions arose from my previous post about giving pet shops and puppy mills the boot  program that Best Friends designed and is now being implemented in several states. There was concern voiced from some involved with shelters that if all the prime dogs are transferred to the boutique adopt shops, shelters would lose significant revenue. Here are some answers to that and more.

1. Can you walk us through the process of how dogs are turned over to the new pet shops that adopt?

I can’t speak for all of the “humane” pet stores nationwide, but of the ones I know of, either (1) independent rescue groups come in and host mobile adoptions whereby they showcase their own adoptables, or (as in the case of WoofWorx)  the store pulls animals directly from the shelters, paying the same adoption fee as anyone else. [read more on  WoofWorx in Best Friends Take the Road Less Traveled]

2. If all the highly adoptable dogs puppies kittens are at the boutique pet shop, what’s going to attract people to the shelter?

The ratio of rescue-only pet store animals to shelter animals is such that there are thousands of adoptable animals still remaining in the shelters even after a humane pet store pulls the few they do for their own adoptions.  The reality is that many people will never go to the shelter, no matter how much they would like to adopt, and if humane pet stores offer a venue for those animals to be seen by people who would otherwise never be exposed to them, then great – they’re receiving an opportunity to be adopted that they would not have in the shelter.

3. Won’t pet shops simply move online, where it’s still the wild west, with no regulations?

That is certainly a possibility, although their sales would undoubtedly be much lower, as most people are not as willing to spend several hundred or thousand dollars on an animal they can’t see or interact with in person before committing to.

4. People say pup my ride is a success because BF is already a no-kill shelter with infrastructure and financial backing in place to care for and rehome the less adoptable dogs – the majority of the shelters in this country can’t afford to operate the same way. In what ways does BF help cash strapped shelters join in this project?

Pup My Ride is a success because we are able to save thousands of dogs that would have been destroyed in shelters (or by commercial breeder)s by networking them out to rescue groups throughout the country.  We only take a few of those dogs back to the sanctuary.  Thus, we are alleviating the burden on the shelters, not alienating them.  For more information about the national puppy mill Pup My Ride program and the Los Angeles shelter Pup My Ride program, please visit our website: 

5. What  successes/trends are you seeing so far with the possible closing of puppy mills due to this program?

The Puppies Aren’t Products campaign seeks to address the pet overpopulation crisis by promoting adoption, relieving the burden on shelters through programs like Pup My Ride, educating the public and advocating for better legislation regarding commercial breeding and pet store/internet regulations within the pet trade. 

We have seen significant success within each of these components, from pet store bans to the increase in rescue-only pet stores, to higher adoption rates, to a greater public awareness of puppy mills and the pet store connection.  We anticipate that these successes will continue, and we will continue our efforts until we have achieved our mission of No More Homeless Pets.

Many thanks to Best Friend’s Elizabeth Oreck, the National Campaign Manager of Puppies Aren’t Products, for her considered answers to these questions, and to Barbara Williamson, Media Relations Manager, for facilitating the request. 

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lori Smith, Doggy Bytes. Doggy Bytes said: Best Friends Q&A: Pet Shops Adopt via @dancingdogblog […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anthony Holloway, Edie Jarolim. Edie Jarolim said: Great information RT Best Friends Q & A on Pet Shops via @dancingdogblog #dogs #killpuppymills […]

  3. […] I like this phrase: Don’t Shop, Adopt!” It means getting your next pet from a shelter or rescue and not from a pet shop whose “inventory” is generally supplied by puppy mills. The relationship between shelters, pet shops, and puppy mills is tenuous. Read how so in Giving Pet Shops and Puppy Mills the Boot by @DancingDogBlog. There’s also a great follow-up post here. […]

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