By Amber Baltazar
At some point in our lives, we may come to the thought of owning a pet. Going about that process can be overwhelming because there are so many options. But the best, most ethical option is to adopt through an animal shelter or rescue group rather than buying from pet shops.
We all have the image in our heads of the cutest little puppies wagging their tails behind the clear glass windows of a mall pet shop. But what most of us do not know is where those puppies actually come from. Most of the pets that are displayed in a store usually come from a puppy mill or animal farm. And the conditions there are horrendously harsh. These operations are mostly unlicensed and illegal. Animals are malnourished and do not get regular veterinary routine check-ups and in return, sick pets are sold.
According to ASPCA, “Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. In order to maximize profits female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little-to-no recovery time between litters. …Because puppy mills focus on profit, dogs are often bred with little regard for genetic quality. Puppy mill puppies are prone to congenital and hereditary conditions including heart disease and blood and respiratory disorders.
In addition, puppy mill puppies often arrive in pet stores and in their new homes with diseases or infirmities ranging from parasites to pneumonia. Because puppies are removed from their littermates and mothers at a young age, they also often suffer from fear, anxiety and other behavioral problems.” They are basically mass breeding facilities that hold a vast number of animals in tiny cages to be shipped off and sent to stores to make profit. They are there merely to breed in quantity, not quality.
Adopting a pet from an animal shelter or rescue group can be the best route to take when searching for your perfect pet. You can find puppies, kittens, young, middle aged or older pets. It can be less expensive and significantly cheaper down the line as well.
Usually the cost of vaccinations, microchipping, and “fixing” (spay/neuter) are included in the adoption price, and sometimes you can find pets that are already trained. They also get regular veterinary check-ups which prevents owners from being misguided about their new pet’s health. Shelters have more background information and knowledge of a pet’s history which gives insight to a pet’s character. Ultimately, this can provide an easier process for finding a pet that matches your personality or fits in with your family dynamic.
Because the population is overwhelmingly abundant at shelters, animals are killed only to make room for others. According to the website HumaneSociety.org, “Each year, 2.7 million acceptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States, simply because too many pets come into shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet.” Adoption helps overburdened shelters to make room for other animals who have been lost or abused, and the cost of adoption goes directly towards the care and needs for the animals there.
Of course, the animals that come from a breeding facility also deserve a chance to have a loving family, but buying from pet shops enables these unprofessional and harsh methods to continue the sale of animals in a cruel way. So maybe you should research a local adoption agency that can provide a professional easy-going route when thinking of buying a pet.
Check out animal rescue shelters here:
Golden State Humane Society
11901 Gilbert St. Garden Grove, CA 92841
555 E Atresia Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90805
Seal Beach Animal Shelter Center
1700 Adolfo Lopez Dr. Seal Beach, CA 90740S
Coastal German Shepherd Rescue
23600 El Toro Rd. Lake Forest, CA 92630
Barks of Love Animal Rescue and Placement Services
PO BOX 4156 Fullerton, California 92834