Written by guest blogger, Sheila Kessler, Esq., principal at Animal Legal Resources

Pet Store Bans, Open Letter to Local Politicians

 Dear Local Politician,

So, you think banning the sale of dogs from pet stores will miraculously end all pet suffering and close down bad breeders.  Well it won’t. It will close down a local business and reputable breeders.  When was that last time you saw a kennel or visited a breeder? You make statements that sound as if you actually know what you are talking about, but I have seen kennels, and I do know breeders and you haven’t got a clue.

Committed dog breeders are people who stay up all night while their mothers are having babies to ensure a healthy delivery for pups and mom. They spend countless hours researching the best practices and then applying them to ensure happy healthy puppies. They install state of the art heating and cooling systems to keep their animals comfortable. They have whelping rooms with rocking chairs and baby print fleece pen pads and warming lights to make sure puppies don’t get chilled. If they have a puppy in trouble they will get up every two hours around the clock to make sure the puppy gets enough nourishment by bottle feeding or tube feeding until they can eat on their own. They run to the vet, they run to the supply store, they run, they run and they run. In the end, they have healthy happy puppies to become valued pets in a permanent home and maybe eke out a living for all of their hard work and devotion.

These are the people you are targeting with your knee jerk reaction bills. Every industry or occupation has a few bad apples. I think there might even be a few bad politicians. The breeders you don’t like, the ones who are unscrupulous and don’t care about their animals, those bad apples, they won’t give a damn about your law and will keep on breeding. They don’t sell to the pet stores anyway because no good merchant of anything will intentionally and willingly keep buying inventory from someone who sends them poor quality, broken or defective goods. The local retail stores will purchase their inventory from the breeders I know, who do it correctly with a goal of breeding happy healthy pets and have a good reputations. Should we ban politicians and choose a different form of government because a few bad apples sour the process, or do we vote those individuals out and elect reputable people?

Eventually, the dogs that will end up in your shelters and ultimately in the kitchens and living rooms of your constituents, will come from those few bad apple breeders who don’t care about rules or from random unknown sources.  Those bad apples don’t depend on maintaining a reputation with their customers. They may have diseases that people can get, some of them life altering or threatening.  If you don’t believe me, ask your state veterinarian about the risks and concerns the or she has over mass importation of random sourced dogs to local shelters.

The happy healthy ones will go to places that stand behind the animals they sell, the proprietors of reputable retail establishments who only want the people who live down the block from them and go to the same church and visit the same vet as they do, and live in the homes where their children go to play, to have the best pets possible.  Shutting down reputable merchants who buy their inventory from reputable breeders, does nothing to stop unscrupulous breeders, it only stops your neighbors from purchasing a healthy puppy with a guarantee from a local business.  Did you consider that when you thought it was a good idea to close your local businesses?