Unsold Pets
August 27, 2006 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Pets filter: What happens to those who remain behind?

My gf, who cares deeply for pets, knows of one public shelter whose explicit policy, sadly, is to destroy animals that aren't adopted within X days. In a city as large as New York is, this shelter simply can't find quick placements for the many abandoned animals it rescues.

Her question though, is this: What happens to the pricey purebred Persians and Pomeranians that aren't immediately sold by high-end retail stores? Do they live at these store until buyers do come along? Are they traded to the owners of other stores in different neighborhoods? Or are they, too, killed, to make way for others?
posted by NYCinephile to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)

At one store I knew of that sold these purebred puppy-mill beasts, they would just lower the price on the puppies as they got older; puppies are easier to sell than half-grown dogs... until the price was so low -someone- would buy them.
posted by Rubber Soul at 9:31 AM on August 27, 2006

until the price was so low -someone- would buy them

Which is a trap my brother fell into many years ago, and got the most unmanageable dog ever.
posted by cabingirl at 10:23 AM on August 27, 2006

My sister worked in a pet store which sold dogs and cats. Lots of the unsold pet store puppies and kittens get returned to the puppy/kitten mill or puppy/kitten mill broker (or backyard breeder, which is just a lower-volume mill) they were obtained from, where they are either turned into babymaking machines, put to sleep, or otherwise disposed of (being sold for medical testing is far from uncommon). Others are sent around to different stores.

The pets you see in pet stores are never, ever from ethical breeders (and aside from the health and temperament problems commonly encountered in pet store pets, they're normally much more expensive than buying a purebred from an ethical breeder. I find it hilarious that pet stores regularly get away with charging more than $1000 for a mutt like the various Poodle crosses, when you can go to a shelter and get the same or similar mix without the moral bankruptcy involved in buying from a pet store for a tenth the price), and buying from a pet store to "rescue" a pet simply encourages the unscrupulous millers to keep up their horrible practices. Most breed clubs' codes of ethics specifically state that puppies and kittens are never to be sold to pet stores. I won't even go into pet stores which sell puppies and kittens, let alone buy anything from them.
posted by biscotti at 11:03 AM on August 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

(obviously, pet stores which host shelter adoption drives don't count as stores which sell pets)
posted by biscotti at 12:11 PM on August 27, 2006

Sign of the Times Filter: Along the lines of readers who misinterpreted the toughness of joe spleen's Snaggletooth, I assumed your question concerned the pets of those who had been swept up in the Rapture.
posted by rob511 at 1:36 PM on August 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

I've heard first hand accounts of unsold puppies and kittens being drowned out behind the store.
posted by knave at 1:36 PM on August 27, 2006

I worked at a vet clinic that provided care for two pet stores (the mall variety). We had to euthanize the ones that were "too old", and we also ended up with a lot of 'rejects' (ones w/ genetic problems, physical defects, etc). It was a large clinic, so a lot of the animals that they brought in to us were adopted by the staff. We also made an effort to place animals with breed rescues. All four of my pugs and my persian cat are rescues.

I totally agree with biscotti about the puppy/kitten mills. A truly ethical breeder won't even advertise in the newspaper. Those who do are backyard breeders.
posted by bolognius maximus at 3:40 PM on August 27, 2006

posted by LordSludge at 1:50 PM on August 28, 2006

a truly ethical breeder won't advertise in the newspapers? how on earth am I supposed to find one, then?
posted by macinchik at 2:01 PM on August 29, 2006

A good way to find an ethical breeder is to go to a dog show which has the breed you're looking for. Even purebred dogs will vary in appearance depending on what the breeder is working towards; for example, in Samoyeds, there are big, bearlike Sams and small, foxlike Sams and long Sams and stocky Sams and Sams with poofy coats and Sams with long lush coats... all within breed standard, but all breeders, and all judges, vary in what they think is "ideal", so there's a wide variety out there, and you'll get to decide what _you_ like, when you see them.

So go to the show, or to several shows; watch the dogs, watch how the owners handle them; find ones you like the looks of, and ask about where the dogs are from. Many show people are showing dogs they've bred themselves. Most will be happy to talk about the dogs; after all, these dogs are their lives! You'll learn a lot, and what you learn may turn you off the breed entirely, or it may cement your belief that your life will not be complete until you have a Purebred Sidling Wisehound of your very own.

Now then, the thing is, an ethical breeder won't sell you a puppy if they don't think you're going to take good care of it, or if you're just someone who's looking for the latest fad pet, or if you clearly have no idea what you're getting into. So if you fall into these categories, you need to get out of them, and do your homework first. Be able to say, "Yes, I know they need brushing every day. Yes, I have a fenced yard. Yes, I've been thinking about this for a long time and yes, I am prepared to make the commitment, in time, money (lots of it) and in emotion." If you can thus earn the respect of an ethical breeder, they will help you find a dog; either one of their own breeding, or they will be able to put you in touch with other breeders.
posted by Rubber Soul at 4:36 PM on August 30, 2006

News about activism in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, reportedly "the epicenter of Pennsylvania’s dog breeding industry, and [regarded as] the “puppy mill capital” of the eastern United States by animal-rights advocates."
posted by NYCinephile at 3:33 AM on September 3, 2006

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