This week, the HSUS Puppy-Friendly Pet Stores conversion program surpassed a milestone: participating pet stores have adopted out more than 10,000 shelter and rescue dogs since we started the effort.
After launching this campaign in 2013, we’ve worked with 20 pet stores across the country to stop selling puppy mill dogs and to make homeless dogs available for adoption instead (just as PetSmart and Petco have long done). Our staff helps identify shelters in need and match them with pet stores willing to convert; we then assist with transporting homeless animals from the pre-screened shelters to the pet stores. We are working with several stores now to convert their model to an animal-friendly one. This is a very practical example of the workings of the humane economy – with The HSUS driving action and business owners responding and adapting to the new consciousness about animals
While 10,000 lives saved (and 10,000 sales opportunities denied to puppy mill operators) is a big number, it happens one at a time. Take Clarabelle, who was left behind with her puppies when a family left their foreclosed property in Georgia. Clarabelle and her puppies were transported to Pets Plus Natural by Animal Aid USA (a humane transport rescue group), with financial and logistical assistance from The HSUS.
When Clarabelle arrived at the Pet Plus Natural quarantine area, she underwent an intensive antibiotic treatment for a severe paw injury, while the puppies were cared for separately. The veterinarian required a number of surgeries for her foot, and had to remove a small portion of her pad. Despite these challenges, Dawn Bateman, the adoption coordinator at Pets Plus Natural, personally fostered Clarabelle, got her back to health, and succeeded in delivering her to a new adoptive family. Clarabelle has only loving people around her now, and she’s a happy and healthy dog in this new phase of her life.
By offering puppies for adoption from nearby shelters and relying on pet supplies to drive revenues, stores can save the lives of animals in search of a home, and appeal to a public ready to support a company with that kind of heart and soul. This is a critical part of our overall campaign to rescue dogs from cruel puppy mills, shut down Internet sellers and outdoor flea markets, set standards for the care of breeding dogs, and drive the market toward pet adoption and responsible breeders.
Pet stores are getting a push from us in the humane direction, but they are getting a shove from local lawmakers who are banning the sale of puppy mill dogs. In fact, local lawmakers have adopted some 220 local ordinances to ban or restrict the sale of puppy mill dogs, and that’s providing quite an incentive for pet stores to switch to a humane model. (Meanwhile, our Shelter Pet Project advertising campaign, done in collaboration with Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council, continues to generate millions in pro bono advertising to promote the concept that there’s nothing wrong with shelter animals and they deserve adoption.)
Pet stores that have signed onto our program include Alsip to the Rescue in Indiana and Illinois, and Pets Plus Natural (which completed its conversion of all stores last year) in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Together these two chains account for more than half of the rescued puppies adopted out so far under the program.
We are pleased with our role in partnering with these stores to save the lives of homeless animals while supporting the humane economy. We invite the other stores and national chains to join us and to be part of the humane solution.
Here’s to the next 10,000!