According to the Courier-Post, Camden County, New Jersey, appears to be on the brink of adopting a resolution to ban pet store sales of purebred and specially bred dogs and cats bred, raised and sold by Class A licensed breeders or those exempt from licensure by USDA (Hobby Breeders).  Pet stores would only be allowed to sell pets were obtained from animal shelters (Shelters) or animal rescue organizations (Rescues).

the Freeholder Board announced [on Sept. 11] at the Camden County Animal Shelter a resolution to only allow the retail sale of puppies and kittens from shelter or rescue organizations.

If the freeholders in Camden County think pet stores can stay in business by selling Shelter and Rescue pets, they are sorely mistaken.  If freeholders think that the resolution will decrease the sale of puppies from substandard breeders, they are wrong.  This resolution incentivizes irresponsible, unregulated dog breeding, and exposes County citizens and their animals to infectious, contagious diseases and parasites from Rescue and Shelter pets imported into the County from other states and countries through “Retail Rescue” channels.

The freeholders encouraged local municipalities to adopt similar restrictive ordinances in their localities.  Not surprisingly, the Courier-Post reported that the “Freeholder Board worked closely with the Humane Society to craft the new legislation.”

The Humane Society of the United States has a decades-long campaign to stop all dog breeding, even from USDA licensed breeders who exceed the minimum standards of care required under the Animal Welfare Act, or from Hobby Breeders, known to provide stellar care to their animals.

According to HSUS and other like-minded groups, all commercial breeders are puppy mills, providing inhumane care.  But Congress authorized the Secretary of Agriculture, not HSUS, to promulgate humane standards of care for pets raised by USDA licensees through the Animal Welfare Act.  HSUS is not authorized to reclassify licensed breeders providing care pursuant to USDA’s humane standards, as inhumane.

Pet store bans and the national vilification of breeders and pet dealers have drastically decreased the numbers of dog breeders across the country.  Soon, it will be hard to find a purebred puppy even for those willing to travel great distances to see the pet before buying it.  For anyone with allergies looking for a pet with hair instead of fur, or other specially-bred puppy, your dog-owning days are numbered.

Assuming that the Camden County resolution, and subsequent municipal ordinances, permit pet stores to only sell pets obtained from Shelters or Rescues, this business model is not sustainable.  State law requires pet stores to reimburse owners for veterinary fees incurred when the pets sold are considered “unfit for sale.”  Pet stores should expect requests for veterinary fee reimbursements to skyrocket if they sell randomly sourced pets.  It is well known that these Shelter and Rescue animals are exposed to infectious, contagious disease, and have congenital and behavioral disorders.

In the long run, such sales will not be sustainable.  (Notably, Shelters and Rescues do not have to reimburse owners for these costs).