This is in regard to the proposal to ban the retail sale of dogs and cats in Burbank. Best Friends Animal Society wholeheartedly supports this proposal.
Pet mills supply nearly 100% of U.S. pet stores. In these factory-like facilities, profit and maximum productivity take priority over the health and welfare of the animals. Pet stores that obtain their animals from mills are not an asset to the community. There are frequent reports of these animals having congenital or communicable diseases that cause heartache for unsuspecting customers who believe they are buying a pet from the best source possible.
Those who benefit most from pet sales in pet stores are the retailers themselves. While they may profit from buying inexpensive puppies from out-of-state brokers and then selling them at a high price, typically without first spaying or neutering them, it is the taxpaying public who pays for animal control to house and euthanize unwanted animals in the community.
Pet stores that sell milled animals could be part of the solution rather than the problem simply by converting to a business model that offers profitable products, services, and space for rescue organizations to adopt out animals from their stores. Best Friends has partnered with several of the many pet stores that have made this transition. We have found this "humane" model to be both viable, and to be embraced by the community. Thus, a ban on the retail sale of pets would not preclude pet stores from staying in business, and could, in fact, alleviate a significant burden on the city by increasing pet adoptions.
Best Friends applauds Burbank for taking this compassionate, common sense initiative toward a more humane community.
Editor's note: The writer is national manager, Puppy Mill Initiatives, Best Friends Animal Society.