I was recently asked this question:
"Why would you oppose a ban on pet shop sales? One would think you'd support such a ban."
A more interesting question might be why one would think we should support such a ban?
Two reasons spring to mind.
(1) You believe that there is an overpopulation of pets, and that the breeding for sale of dogs and cats contributes to this overpopulation, or
(2) You believe that the dogs sold in pet stores (or their parents) are mistreated.
We know that both (1) and (2) are essentially false.
The myth of pet overpopulation (1) has been thoroughly debunked. (See links to references below).
As for (2), dog breeding, transportation and sale are heavily regulated --
at the federal level, by the Animal Welfare Act, and
at the state level by the Polanco-Lockyer Pet Breeder Warranty Act (H&S Code, Sec. 122045, et seq.),
Lockyer-Polanco-Farr Pet Protection Act (H&S Code, Sec. 122125, et seq.) and
the animal cruelty statutes (Penal Code Sec. 597, et seq.).
As a result, purchasers at pet shops can determine the history of the dogs offered for sale and be assured of the standards of care in which the pet was bred, raised and sold. Violators of these laws are subject to civil and criminal penalties.
Given the protection and disclosure required for the sale of dogs in pet shops, why would I support a ban on pet shop sales?
Education, not legislation, is ultimately the most effective weapon against impulse buying. While I believe the wisest choice is to purchase a dog or cat directly from an ethical hobby breeder, some people choose to obtain a pet from a pet store. Others may select a pet from a shelter or rescue group.
Sales bans usually exempt animals obtained from "rescues" and shelters. Such bans create an artificial market for "rescued" dogs, to be filled by black market suppliers who breed underground or outside the continental US.
Laws and policies that ban the sales of purposely-bred dogs send an extremely negative message about dog breeding. We would be foolish to perpetuate such negative stereotypes and misperceptions.
Mom-and-pop pet stores find it difficult to compete with the Pet Smarts and the PetCos, and even more difficult to compete without the ability to sell pets. We know that these days it is difficult for any business to remain afloat. We have even seen organized protests, threats and intimidation used against businesses selling pets. This type of activity is in violation of the Federal Animal Enterprise Terrorist Act. There's also a section in the California Penal Code (Section 602.1) that makes it unlawful for any person to intentionally interfere with any lawful business by obstructing or intimidating those attempting to carry on the business or their customers.
Isn't it ironic that anyone would consider banning the sales of pets, yet no one is suggesting that we ban the sale of pet foods containing toxic ingredients that have killed these same pets? What has happened to our priorities? Are we allowing the animal extremist groups like HSUS and PETA determine what our priorities should be?
We have become a nation bent upon controlling every action of our citizens. When perfectly legal possessions like pets are legislated into contraband items comparable to street drugs, we have to wonder where it will all end. Pet extinction, perhaps?
"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."