By Leah Sankey
The Cape Coral City Council is introducing an ordinance that could ban the retail sales of cats and dogs in pet stores. The proposal is intended to decrease the demand for dogs and cats from puppy or kitten mills and encourage adoption. Cape Coral City Council members will hold a public hearing on the ordinance during their regular meeting on Oct. 1 at Cape Coral City Hall.
Hundreds of cities and counties across the U.S. have enacted these ordinances, and there are many more in the works. It is still legal to sell cats and dogs in Fort Myers, however, so voting with your dollar by not supporting these businesses is how you can help.
Puppies and kittens are irresistibly and undeniably cute. If you’ve ever been inside a pet store that sells puppies or kittens, then you know it’s typical for your mind to immediately start telling you that you need one of those furry balls of love.
What is less cute is the fact that nearly all puppies and kittens sold at pet stores come from mills. Pet mills are commercial breeding facilities that operate for profit. It is not uncommon for the animals that are bred to be kept in negligent and often dangerous conditions.
Cats and dogs are treated like family members by pet owners. In mills, they are unloved, unsocialized, and often discarded when they can no longer reproduce, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Pet stores tend to say that all the puppies and kittens sold there come from responsible USDA registered breeders. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), even if a breeding operation is USDA or government inspected, it can still legally house dozens or even hundreds of breeding animals in small wire cages for their entire lives.
Buying puppies and kittens helps pet stores stay in business, which in turn, helps keep mills in business. Pet stores operate like any other business that sells goods; they have inventory, and the animals are simply a part of that inventory. Every puppy or kitten sold means more will be ordered.
If you’re a compassionate person, like me, who can’t stand to see animals in cramped cages, avoid entering pet stores, even if it’s just to look or buy supplies. Vote with your dollar, and don’t inadvertently support the continuation of puppy and kitten mills.
There are plenty of animals available at shelters, and you’ll be saving a life if you adopt. The HSUS says that a whopping 2.7 million adoptable animals are euthanized in the United States each year because of lack of space in shelters. There’s good reason animal lovers will tell you “adopt, don’t shop.”