Feel like having a bit of a cry? Watch Old Yeller. Or, you could google “puppy mills.” Then, reel in horror at the existence of so many of “man’s best friends” born into commercial breeding operations.
On the upside, it’s a practice that’s becoming a little less common over time.
In a move spearheaded by District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang, San Francisco has banned the sale of non-rescue dogs and cats in pet shops as well as prohibited the sale of animals under eight weeks in an effort to curb the cycle of conditions that farmed animals are kept in. With the unanimous decision, the city’s Board of Supervisors brought S.F. among the likes of Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and other cities that fly the #AdoptDontShop flag.
In an op-ed for the Examiner, Tang writes: “Most animal lovers are horrified at the thought of keeping their beloved family pet in a dirty wire cage for a second — let alone a week, month or even years. Yet, that is the fate of many animals at large-scale commercial breeding operations across the nation, including the mothers of many puppies and kittens sold in pet shops.”
The issues related with these unregulated commercial operations, as Tang and other critics see it, are many: from health problems due to lack of veterinary care and exposure to unsanitary conditions, to behavioral problems stemming from lack of socializing and a stressful life, to the numbers of euthanasia cases of perfectly fine animals who simply don’t get adopted.
The most effective answer to these problems is removing the demand for commercially produced animals and urging people to adopt whenever possible. It’s worth noting that under the new rule you can still buy animals directly from breeders (although this practice has its own associated pitfalls).
And while we’re talking about it, won’t somebody please think of the seniors! Older animals are frequently overlooked in shelters but can have just as much to give as their younger counterparts and are just as deserving of a comfy home to live out their remaining time.
You can follow non-profit Susie’s Senior Dogs for a hearty dose of “aww!” as they tell the stories of hopeful pups looking for forever homes.