Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys

I spent the better part of a decade running a East Coast based pet store . This outlet was a highly successful business offering pure bred puppies, food, supplies and related services such as training and grooming. My involvement with this company started quite innocently enough when I purchased a puppy and I thought this would be the greatest job in the world. And for a time, it was.

We had an amazing location which drew a ton of traffic, many celebrities and a zany mix of staff members that were charismatic and caring. The care and attention offered these babies were first rate. We employed a licensed vet tech and were supervised by two veterinarians.

We also lied through our teeth a multitude of times daily when asked ” where do the puppies come from”. The accumulation of those lies and a moral dilemma finally lead me away from the business . Truth be told, 90% of the kittens and puppies offered were purchased through wholesale distributors , brokers and on-line auctions. Every so often a hobbyist or local cat “breeder” would sell a liter to us. We bought low and sold high, each person worked on commission and it wasn’t much different than buying a used car. At that time, most pets cost the store around $150-$200 and retailed for $850-$1,000.

One time, a beagle was sold for $2,000 with falsified registration papers depicting championship blood lines. Transactions like this were a daily occurrence and so were the multitude of health related and breed specific issues. We spent a considerable time fighting with irate pet owners when their pals developed problems and had more than our share of law suits. One time, a couple came in with a white terrier hybrid, a young dog maybe two or three. He asked if we could identify this breed, none of us could. Until he took out his receipt and registration papers claiming this pup to be a Maltese, a toy breed expected to weigh well under ten pounds with a silky, non-shedding coat. Far from the twenty pound wiry fox terrier like adult dog that stood in front of us purchased for $1500.

As much joy that one could derive, watching happy tails and purring kittens find loving homes were overshadowed by the litany of lies, deception, embellishment and questionable business practices. No matter what a consumer is told, you can rest assured that any pet provided by a pet store was bred in a puppy mill environment and prone to physical and behavioral difficulties . Some of these issues can be devastating resulting in bite histories or life threatening medical conditions. Heart breaking stuff, really.

One would be well advised not to support pet retail outlets. The Puppy Project, with it’s certification process and legitimate breeders are a better alternative for a happy, healthy pet.