California has already passed a law that prohibits pet stores from selling animals born and raised in mills. And other states are following suit.
Many cities have also enacted laws that protect animals from the cruelties of the pet trade. You can find a list of cities that have implemented laws that force big box pet stores, like Petco and PetSmart, to sell only rescued animals here: Cities that require pet stores to sell rescues.
These laws are important because they will put puppy mills out of business. And puppy mills need to go. Many breeders do not provide adequate care for their animals. And, if an animal doesn’t sell, they dump it on a rescue organization or kill it.
Recently, in the Midwestern United States, a Siberian Husky puppy was surrendered to a rescue because it didn’t have enough blue in its eyes, for example.
Animals taken out of the wild
While putting puppy mills out of business is worthwhile, even more important is cracking down on the trade in wild animals.
Parrots continue to be taken out of their nests as babies and transported to pet stores and other markets.
The United States has many laws that prohibit import of wild animals as pets. But the consumer will never know, exactly, where an animal really came from.
For example, when you buy a snake or turtle at PetSmart, you may hope it came from a responsible breeder.
But turtles, lizards, and snakes are sitting ducks and far too easy simply to trap and sell. Why would a breeder take all the trouble of mating two animals and hoping they make babies when he can simply go into the woods or swamps and pick up some red-eared turtles?
Requiring puppies to be rescues does not go far enough
In crafting legislation to save pets and wild animals from suffering, state and city legislators need to be careful to restrict the sale of ALL live animals.
Making pets of wild animals is morally irresponsible. Reptiles are far too vulnerable to poaching. The sale of reptiles should be stopped altogether.
Parrots seem like wonderful pets, and they do bond with people. But before you buy a parrot, consider that it was probably pulled from its nest as a chick. It has been removed from its habitat, where it would have flown free.
It has been deprived of its family. And it has been deprived of the opportunity to mate and raise babies of its own.
The same thing is true of other tropical birds, snakes, lizards, and turtles.
What you can do
Don’t buy animals that belong in the wild. Cats, dogs, pet rabbits, and guinea pigs are domestic animals that exist in abundance and are often destroyed for lack of a home. Adopt those animals.
If you must have a bird, adopt a muscovy from a rescue organization. Be aware that, if you get a male and female muscovy, you will soon have twenty.
Please sign this petition asking the US Congress to just make sale of live animals that aren’t rescues illegal at all pet stores:
And please also sign this petition which specifically asks PetCo and PetSmart to stop selling wild animals:
Ask the mayor or a council member of your town to enact laws that require all pet stores to sell only rescue animals. Or ask your state legislature to enact state laws.
The following states need laws that protect animals from being bred or stolen and sold in pet stores: