I would like to clarify several of the comments made by Elizabeth Kunzelman, Director of PetLand Public Affairs, concerning my letter to the editor published two weeks ago.
The reason the Fayette Humane Society severed its relationship with PetLand was not, as she stated, because PetLand was finding homes for dogs not from our shelter. PetLand never worked with us on dog adoptions. The reason we left was clearly explained to JR Badger, Director of Company Stores, in two separate conversations totaling 90 minutes.
The Fayette Humane Society will not be associated with a business that sells commercially bred dogs when healthy, adoptable dogs are euthanized daily. We will also not be associated with the inhumane treatment inherent in the breeding, transport, and caging of puppies. Rather than an emotional decision, this decision was made by myself and the Fayette Humane Society Board of Directors after carefully considering the Society’s mission and our own personal morals.
We applaud PetLand’s desire to find homes for unplanned litters of puppies and kittens. However, we cannot endorse the purely commercial sale of puppies raised only for their monetary value. A reputable breeder would never send their puppies through a broker to be distributed to pet stores, with no control over the adoption process. As I previously stated, United States Department of Agriculture regulation, licensing and inspection is so minimal as to offer next to no protection to the puppies or, more importantly, their parents.
Yes, choice is good. Twenty-five percent of dogs in shelters are purebreds, and nearly all breeds are available through breed-specific rescues. Purebred dogs are available, usually at lower cost and already sterilized, temperament checked, and house-trained.
We know that our decision is best for the homeless and abandoned pets in Fayette County. We continue to work with two pet stores that do not sell commercially raised puppies (PetSmart and PetCo.) These companies also have strong charity programs which support animal charities, unlike PetLand. The Fayette Humane Society will find homes for over 700 kittens, puppies, cats and dogs in 2015, all of them unwanted animals from Fayette County.
I ask every person considering adding a puppy to their family to truly consider the cost of a pet store puppy. Not just the excessive monetary cost, but the cost to the parents, who are still living in the breeding facility with little chance of every leaving, as well as the cost to the puppies who are rejected and die along the transport trail from the breeder, through the broker, on the semi-trailer, to the cage in the store. If we don’t buy them, they won’t be bred. The puppies in the process now will find homes, but let’s not reward people for bad behavior.
We can stop the massive animal abuse that is commercial dog breeding. It’s easy – just say no to pet stores that sell puppies.
Lee Schrader, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Executive Director, the Fayette Humane Society