Breton Ginger Rice at the Fish and More Pet Store in Sylva, North Carolina. The store has gone from selling commercially farmed dogs and cats to offering adoptable shelter animals. Photo by Peter Taylor / AP Images for HSUS
One of the ways we are boosting animal adoption in shelters, gradually reducing the homeless pet population in the United States, and taking a blow at puppy mills is our Puppy-Friendly Pet Store Program. As part of this initiative, we are working with pet stores to help them shift from selling commercially raised puppies to offering shelter dogs for adoption.
Recently, this rescue program reached a milestone, with 20,147 puppies and shelter dogs placed in loving homes. Among the animals helped so far are dogs like Georgia. Georgia had just given birth at Lincoln County Shelter in Georgia, and the puppies were moved to another shelter with the option of adoption. Georgia, however, seemed to have no future – she lived in a petty cash fund and needed to be euthanized.
Dawn Bateman, director of animal welfare for Pets Plus Natural, was at the shelter picking up animals (the shelter is a partner of Pets Plus), when she saw Georgia and heard her story. She was in love and couldn’t let the sweet dog have a sad ending. Dawn adopted Georgia and the dog now accompanies her often to work at the Pets Plus Natural store in Lansdale, PA. The two are inseparable.
When our program started in November 2008, it looked very different. Our goal at the time was to support hundreds of independent pet stores and small chains across the United States that refused to sell puppies at all. We have provided these stores with signs for their showcases declaring their commitment and free materials for their customers on how to find a dog or puppy from a human source, such as a local shelter. We also list stores on our website and provide their contact details to consumers texting 77879 (data and messaging charges apply). More than 3,000 stores in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are now registered as participants in this program.
In 2013, we expanded the program by proactively reaching out to pet stores that sold commercially raised puppies to see if they would be interested in converting to a more human model. To avoid supporting bogus rescues or irresponsible sources, we have a carefully planned process in place that would include assistance to the pet store at every step and help the store partner with reputable rescues or shelters in the area. .
Here’s how it works: When a store asks to participate in our program, John Moyer, Outreach Program Manager for the Stop Puppy Mills Campaign, works with the store to ensure they end the sale of any puppies. breeding or puppy mill. He helps them build a good relationship with one or more of the HSUS’s shelter and rescue partners across the country, and also answers any questions or concerns from the local community regarding the origin of the rescued puppies.
In some cases, we help facilitate the transport of dogs from different parts of the country to converted stores, working with placement partners such as Animal Aid USA and Puppy Pipeline Rescue in Georgia, Natchez Adams County Humane Society and Hub City Humane Society in Mississippi, San Antonio Animal Care Services, Estill County Animal Shelter and The Way Home Rescue Alliance in Kentucky, and Humane Society of Tampa Bay in Florida.
Twenty-four pet stores in 11 states have converted to this model so far and now only offer rescued dogs, and sometimes cats, for adoption. We even have larger retail chains on board, including Pets Plus Natural, a Philadelphia-based pet store with six outlets in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, now part of the Puppy-Friendly Pet Stores program.
The Puppy Friendly Pet Stores program is a vital part of our global campaign to encourage animal adoptions, end puppy mills, help shelters, shut down internet vendors and outdoor flea markets, set standards for the care of breeding dogs and to end animal roaming. In recent years, two states – California and Maryland – and 325 localities have banned the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores. Companies that embrace our conversion model are not only smart and proactive in stopping puppy sales, they are also helping animal shelters and boosting their own image in the public eye.
Let’s take a moment today to applaud this milestone and each of these puppy friendly stores. They not only helped save over 20,000 animals, they also denied puppy mill operators 20,000 chances to benefit from animal suffering.
See the list of pet stores accepting puppies >>
Animal Rescue & Care, Pets