Pet stores that sell dogs and cats regard them as inventory, often getting their “stock” from middlemen or brokers. Though the staff may assure you that the animals in their store were raised humanely, most have little knowledge of the conditions at the kennels where the pets were born.
You may reason that because of his age, the puppy or kitten you’re considering buying may have not been at the breeding facility very long. You may think that by buying him, you will give him a good home, so where’s the harm? The harm is in perpetuating the conditions under which the animal was bred.
That pup or kittens parents may still be living in tiny wire cages with no opportunity to exercise or socialize with other animals or humans. In raids on animal breeding operations, law enforcement and animal welfare agents often find row upon row of cages, sometimes hundreds of them, so small the animal barely has room to turn around. Feces often are piled high beneath the cages where it has fallen. The stench is unbearable. Animals in mills do not receive routine veterinary care and suffer from serious health issues. They have typical docile, fearful behavior patterns. Their coats are matted and often they suffer from skin conditions. They are often malnourished and dehydrated. Untreated eye infections sometimes blind them. When their health deteriorates sufficiently to interfere with their ability to produce another litter, they are disposed of, sometimes inhumanely. Animals have been found, barely alive, in trash bags behind such facilities.
By purchasing a pet, you put money in the hands of the animal miller, thus encouraging him or her to continue breeding animals.
If you are looking for a purebred companion animal, you’ll find many by searching Petfinder.com. Many breed rescue groups post their adoptable pets on Petfinder.com, and a surprising number of pets that end up in shelters are purebred.
There are reputable animal breeders. Generally, they do not sell to pet stores because they want to insure that the animals they raise go into good homes. They care about their animals and screen potential buyers. They track the pet as he goes to a home in order to monitor any potential health problems that may develop in the bloodline. If you do decide to pursue a reputable breeder, you can contact your local breed rescue club for information.