For the past few years, a ban on pet store sales of dogs and cats has steadily been gaining support in cities across the country.
Originally dismissed as a fringe movement, the list of cities both introducing and approving ordinances to address the problem of pet overpopulation has steadily been gaining ground.
Last month, Pet Age, one of the pet industry trade magazines that we follow, weighed in with an article advocating the pet industry to stand up to the animal welfare movement as “puppy sales in particular are under attack”. Their position was that pet stores, even those that do not sell live animals, would suffer if more cities banned the sales of dogs and cats.
This piece generated a deluge of response in the current letters section of the magazine. The majority of writers took issue with the magazine’s position, instead advocating for controlled breeding or adoptions as primary sources for pets.
A particularly passionate response was penned by Lucy Postins, Founder of The Honest Kitchen. In her full page letter, Lucy reinforced many of the positions that proponents of retail bans have been publicizing. Of particular interest, from an industry “insider”, was the way she addressed the argument that a ban would affect pet ownership, and thereby the health of the industry as a whole.
There is a wealth of evidence which supports the position that live pet sales in stores are not critical to the well-being of the industry. Rescue groups, shelters, adoption agencies and licensed breeders have proven they can fill the needs of pet loving households in areas where restrictions have been implemented.
Puppy mills, where many retail shops have traditionally sourced their pets, continue to be a problem in many parts of the country, including Washington. Legislation restricting retail pet shop sales can be crafted to shut these operations down permanently, without affecting responsible, reputable breeders. This is being done in dozens of cities around the US and Canada.
Regardless on where you stand on the issue, it is encouraging to see this discussion now coming out of the shadows and being joined by mainstream players.
What do you think? Should retail sales of dogs and cats in retail shops be banned?