From scenes in movies depicting bright-eyed and fluffy puppies and kittens being chosen by excitable children, to traditional songs such as "How much is that doggy in the window?" many of us will have grown up with the reality of seeing cats and dogs in pet stores across the country. Isn't that the best place to get a puppy or kitten from, anyway? While it's certainly true that puppies and kittens are still being sold in pet stores, authorities in many states are doing their best to clamp down on the practice, which can promote illegal puppy mills, untreated medical issues, and even cruelty. Palm Beach County has become the latest area to ban the sale of unlicensed dogs and cats in pet stores, but are authorities doing enough?
Under the new legislation, which came into effect on October 1st, pet stores may still sell puppies and kittens as long as they have been purchased from a licensed breeder that meets the standards imposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The move, heralded by pet store owners, will allow retailers to remain in business while implementing tougher regulations and supporting the work of private breeders and shelters. The penalty for violating this new legislation twice within a five-year period is a revoked permit. Other violations include failure to vaccinate, failure to isolate sick pets, and falsifying records. In addition, rescue homes and private shelters will be barred from accepting pets directly from breeders to ensure that their focus is entirely on abandoned and homeless dogs and cats. This new law will only allow pedigree cats to be bred in Palm Beach County.
If you're looking to give a loving home to a cat or dog, please do consider heading to your local shelter before being tempted by a sign offering puppies for sale. There are numerous older dogs and cats across the country waiting for new homes, as well as puppies and kittens that are thoroughly deserving of the right start in life. Regardless of where you go, official shelters will ensure that pets have been cared for properly prior to their adoption, and will offer medical treatments and temperament checks before you become pet parent to your forever friend. You simply can't put a price on such dedication.