Need More Reasons NOT to Buy Pet Store Puppies?


You should never buy a puppy (or a kitten or any other sentient animal) from a pet store. You know that, right?

Responsible breeders do not sell their puppies at pet stores. Puppy mills do.

If you’re still on the fence, though, here are two more reasons to avoid pet stores that sell pets, as opposed to selling pet supplies or maybe hosting adoption days for local rescues and shelters.

Disease Traced to Pet-Store Puppies

More than 100 people in 18 states were sickened earlier this year through contact with pets at multiple pet stores, according to Bark Magazine and the CDC. Many of them were pet-store employees. The disease, Campylobacter, was traced to 25 different breeders, through six pet store companies and eight distributors. It’s long past time to put all of those people out of business. Find a responsible breeder, rescue, or shelter … don’t support pet stores that sell puppies.

Scam Preys on Puppy Buyers

ALDF logoThe Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society are targeting a “pet-leasing” scam. What happens is, people wanting to buy a puppy at a pet store are persuaded to “finance” the expensive puppy mill product. Many fail to read the fine print, no doubt having eyes only for the adorable puppy. They end up signing a lease agreement that 1) ends up costing far more than the already outrageous sticker price of the puppy and 2) could result in the leasing company repossessing the puppy of they miss a payment. The buyers are not actually the owners of the puppy; a company called “Wags Lending” is.

California, Nevada, and New York have made “leasing” puppies illegal. Other states should follow suit. Meanwhile, ALDF and the Humane Society are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Wags, its backers, Monterey Financial Services, and this deceitful practice.

Ugh. Don’t buy a puppy at a pet store.


9 thoughts on “Need More Reasons NOT to Buy Pet Store Puppies?

    • Given that our shelters, and probably yours, are at their limits. Given that this potentially increases euthanizing as a short term solution (if fostering cannot relieve the strain) …. then I propose that adopting from a shelter is a far more humane and logical way of bringing a dog into ones family. There are so many advantages for everybody who simply wants a pet. Using our shelter as an example:

      – It creates a space at the shelter so that another unfortunate dog can be accommodated.
      – The dog you adopt will already be spayed/neutered.
      – They will have already assessed the dog and will help/advise as necessary.
      – The dog will show gratitude in ways probably unexpected once he/she knows that he/she has a permanent loving home.
      – The dog is unlikely to have a “clean” pedigree, but breed mixes can make incredibly wonderful family members. (Our Ray is primary breed German Shepherd, with Rottweiler as secondary, and he is wonderful)
      – The cost of adoption will be much less than from most breeders.
      – Anybody who wants to avoid the “puppy stage” of development, will find many mature dogs just waiting for a forever home.
      – Professional help/guidance takes nothing more than asking for it. A Humane Society/Shelter has no interest outside of finding good homes for the unfortunate animals in their care.

      For anybody who wants a purebred dog, then a breeder is necessary however, it is not necessary to buy from a breeder if the goal is to simply have a dog as a wonderful family member.


      • Wherever people get their dogs, as long as it’s the right dog for them and it’s not from a puppy mill/bad breeder, I don’t see any problem with it or reason to try and talk them out of it. People come by their dogs in different ways for different reasons. Rescues and breeders both have their pros and cons. I think that if someone is willing to spend the money and effort it takes to adopt a dog from a responsible breeder, you can assume that they have their reasons, and have already considered adopting from a shelter before they made their decision.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sadly, your assumption is not my experience. I have known a number of couples who get a dog for some image rationale, which dictates they go to a breeder. They get satisfaction from “We paid $2500.00 (or whatever) for this dog from a breeder”, or “Our dog is a pure-bred (whatever)”. These are people who have not researched dog breeds (“Why? They’re all so cute and cuddly!”), and have no interest in competitions. (“We haven’t got time for that”). Incredibly I know of a woman who would never adopt from a shelter because “I wouldn’t want a ‘used’ dog.” Ex breeder-dogs do end up in our local shelter, as do ex-shelter dogs. The origin of the dog is of little consequence when the novelty wears off and the poor dog becomes little more than a nuisance.

        The problem would appear to be educating the public that both avenues are available and are viable options. To promote breeders alone is irresponsible, unless you represent a breeder, in which case it is simple advertising. To promote shelters alone is irresponsible because breeders do have a moral purpose. Whenever dog adoptions are the subject, a balanced presentation should be the goal as that is what provides the best service to the dogs … and isn’t that the aim of all dog lovers?


      • Yes, I agree that both responsible breeder and shelters are both good places to obtain a dog, and both should be promoted.
        I think that if someone decides to get a dog from a responsible breeder, I don’t think it’s necessary to try and talk them out of it is what I mean to say. Maybe ask “have you considered adopting from shelter,” and if they say yes, then leave it at that. It’s not my job or anyone’s job to try and sway someone in one direction or the other, just give them the information they need to make their decision. Which is unfortunately not what I usually see. I usually see people being attacked by the flaming-pitchfork-weilding Adopt Don’t Shop army if they are honest enough to say where they’re getting their dog. But such is the internet I suppose.
        In the cases you mentioned above, it seems you knew the motives of the people, and I don’t think it’s wrong to be annoyed with them. It annoyed me reading it. But very often I have seen people being judged as “selfish” or “status-seeking” when their reasons for adopting from a breeder couldn’t be further from that.


  1. Actually, “responsible”, reputable breeders are not technically businesses. They may only make enough money to pay for their dog’s food. All the breeders that I have dealt with are MORE than accommodating with training advice, grooming advice and will at the drop of a hat take back ANY dog they have bred. If a breeder does not do this she/he is NOT responsible or reputable. One breeder of a dog I purchased spent hours teaching me to groom him, AND several other people besides me.

    We must remember to make a distinction between “breeders” and “reputable, responsible breeders” which I still feel is not clearly understood in our society. If you are breeding for profit and consider yourself a business, then you are not reputable or responsible. Responsible, reputable breeders’ business model is to produce healthy, genetically sound puppies for families. That’s it. You rarely make money when that is your motivation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true. If they won’t take the dog back, they’re not a responsible breeder. I’ve had people be like “nah, just ’cause they wouldn’t take a dog back doesn’t make them irresponsible.” I say it absolutely does. That’s what makes a breeder responsible; their dogs DON’T end up in shelters.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would suggest even going to a local shelter rather than a breeder, unless you have an incredibly specific reason to use a breeder.

    Our Ray came from a shelter, having been reported a nuisance at a local farm. He was estimated at 2 years old and had no social skills (suspect removed from litter too young). The trainers at the shelter supported us 110% with ideas as we ran into issues, and one trainer even came to the house to observe his behavior. Here we are 5 years later with the most lovable 80lbs of dog that I have known, and one of Ray’s favorite places to visit is the shelter!

    I mention those details because they did not charge us for any of the professional help they gave. Their interest was solely on getting Ray settled into his new home. It is highly unlikely that any store could/would offer that level of service, and I would suggest that many breeders would have limits on their “after-adoption” involvement unless a cost was involved. Breeding is a business and, like any business, must be based on a solid business model. Giving staff time away for free is sometimes difficult to offer in those circumstances.


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