From all over the country, animal advocates in favor of pet adoption over purpose bred pet sales at retail stores arrived to speak at a May 11th public meeting to urge commissioners to ban retail pet stores from selling pets. The commissioners have the job of sorting through all of the information being thrown at them from both sides, those in favor of adoption only, and those that believe in consumer choice.
Allegations thrown at the retail pet stores were the idea that sick dogs, bred in poor conditions are being sold to an unsuspecting public. The solution being a ban of pet stores selling puppies to protect consumers, and promote adoption instead. As their defense for justifying the ban, it was announced that altogether, the 7 pet stores sold 8 thousand puppies in 2020, and complaints against the stores that were counted by county employees from a variety of sources amounted to 149 unhappy customers.
So 8 thousand puppies sold resulted in a 149 complaints, quantifying an unsatisfactory rating of 1.8 percent. County employees admitted that not all of the complaints were related to health issues and not all of the complaints represented just the year 2020, so that 1.8 percent dissatisfaction rating may be much lower. But the bottom line is, 98 percent of pet store customers are satisfied.
When comparing that number to the taxpayer funded shelter in Orange County, according to its website the Shelter sent home 6435 pets in 2020, and has double the complaints of pet stores, 383 complaints spread across multiple review platforms. That reflects a 5.95% dissatisfaction ratio. More than triple the dissatisfaction rating of the pet stores.
Complaints against the shelter ranged in issues such as dogs being sent home with easily detectable health problems like serious heart murmurs and heartworm that weren’t disclosed to the new owner, to health problems like Parvo and pneumonia that cost new owners hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to treat. Disturbing and concerning though, were reviews like the one that mentioned an aggressive dog with a bite history that attacked its new owner shortly after arriving home and numerous allegations of neglect and mistreatment at the shelter by staff and volunteers.
If a pet store ban were to be passed in Orange County, the public would be banned from obtaining their new pet from a business model with a 1.8% problem rate that is licensed and inspected and required to provide veterinary certification and health warrantees. Instead, they would be encouraged to obtain their new pet from a business model that has triple the number of complaints and offers no health warrantees, no consumer protections, and no veterinary certification of health.
The good news is that whether the public chooses to adopt or shop, 98% of pet store customers are happy, and 94% of shelter customers are too. The public should be free to choose where they obtain their next pet.