Adopt Don’t Shop. It has become a catch-phrase known to those on the front lines of eradicating the overwhelming homeless pet population for years. Dogs and cats sold in pet stores, whether in malls or private businesses, are largely supplied by brokers associated with inhumane puppy mills. Some store owners, like Renee Karapidian of Glendale, California were led to believe the dogs he sold in his store were from reputable breeders, but when he learned what he was supporting- the torturous life and circumstances inherent in puppy mills- he chose a new model. Renee, the owner of Pet Rush and Pet Rush Inn, learned that dogs in mills, treated as property, never feel a loving touch or the soft grass beneath their feet; they suffer grave indignities, broken bones and loss of teeth on a daily basis. They are exposed to disease every day and many puppy mill dogs are so ill they don’t even make the long trip on the trucks that transport them to the pet store buyers on the other end waiting for them. Yet, the truth is, many are warriors that can thrive in a new life when given the chance.

With the support of his community, Renee decided in 2010 to discontinue the sale of any dogs at his establishment and become the first pet store in Glendale to have only rescue dogs available for adoption. In 2011, the Glendale City council chose to ban any sales of dogs or cats in pet stores and they are not alone. West Hollywood had led the way with this kind of ordinance in 2010, the city of Los Angeles has voted to support this ordinance also. Albuquerque, New Mexico is another city that has implanted a similar ban with positive results along with many others that are awakening to the importance of leading with humanity.

Lessening demand for dogs bred under such intolerable circumstance is one step toward eradicating this practice. Large corporations are also taking note of this conceptual sea change. Shopping mall developer, Macerich, a Santa Monica based company has banned the sale of live animals in at least 70 malls across the country. They will no longer renew leases to pet stores who insist on selling live animals. They fully support stores working with rescue organizations to offer only rescue animals for adoption. This kind of policy is a huge step in creating less demand for the dogs languishing for years in the filth and ravages a puppy mill existence brings.

Pure bred puppies, juvenile and senior dogs are all available in rescues and shelters, and also in progressive stores devoted to creating a new model that can be profitable and humane at the same time. To learn more about how a pet store in your community can convert to a model based on financial feasibility and compassion contact: www.glendalerescue.org.