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While you work in a pet store, I work for a Foundation that rescues some of the puppies you may have sold.
You claim to guide shoppers into choosing the right breed for them.
Most stores--regardless of what they sell--are profit-oriented. Many of you pride yourselves on steering shoppers from one breed to another in the best interests of the puppy. However, you DO sell them a puppy, whether the buyers would be responsible owners or not. And you do so based on one conversation with them. This type of "screening" doesn't compare with the interviews, written screening tools, and home checks that reputable breeders do, nor their puppy contracts that ensure the welfare of the dog and that the dog be returned to them anytime if the family can no longer keep the dog, not to mention the limited registrations with non-breeding agreements that goes with every pet quality puppy. I'm wondering if your store requires spaying/neutering, and if your stock is even registered with a responsible registry, such as the AKC or UKC. (Sham registries, such as the American Canine Association--ACA, American Purebred Registry--APR, the Continental Kennel Club--CKC, or the World Wide Kennel Club--WWKC, do nothing more than allow mass-producers to circumvent the requirements of a legitimate registry. Some registries don't even require that the dog be purebred!) So indeed, I see a huge difference between pet store placement and responsible breeder placement of puppies.
You claim you are providing a service to the public.
Selling Kerry Blue Terrier puppies is not good business, and working in a pet store is not helpful either. I think many stores employ people like you who may think they have the welfare of the puppies at heart, and may read the standard breed books to learn the breed basics, and may even think that every puppy they sell is going to a good home. But, if you'll pardon the expression, you are "clueless." You may have no idea what role you are playing in the puppies-for-profit industry, and how you are partly responsible for all those unwanted dogs euthanized in shelters (30%-40% of which are estimated to be purebreds), and for so many of those dogs that end up in breed rescue groups like mine.
You claim YOUR puppies do not come from puppy mills.
Where do you think your store's dogs come from? Every breeder Code of Ethics I've seen for my breed states that responsible breeders do NOT sell puppies for resale, to or through pet stores. So, if every responsible breeder refuses to sell to a pet store, where does your stock come from? The answer is backyard breeders, puppy mills, and large commercial breeders that mass produce puppies. All of them breed for profit. Responsible breeders breed to (1) improve the breed, and (2) win at dog shows where conformation, temperament, and health count. Mass producers indiscriminately breed their bitches at every season, over and over again, until her health is ruined and she can no longer produce (and in some cases, even stand up). Responsible breeders do no such thing!
I suggest you visit some of your store's puppy suppliers. See for yourself whether the puppies are being raised in an environment suitable for companion animals. Are they being socialized with people at an early age, in preparation for a life with people? Are they kept with their mothers until at least 8 weeks old (10-12 weeks is better) for proper development? Are they clean, given proper nutrition, room for exercise, and veterinary attention? Are the parents given the standard pre-breeding tests for congenital and heritable diseases? What is the for-profit breeder doing to ensure good conformation, temperament, and health? (Indeed, why would he even care?)
In the meantime, you may want to check out the following web sites: