Day-um. Humane societies are getting serious this week. First, the Atlantic City ASPCA busted a Wal-Mart for cruelty to birds; now, the Lake Tahoe Humane Society & SPCA has taken a bite out of puppy mill crime. At the urging of the humane society and other animal advocates, the South Lake Tahoe City Council voted this week to ban the retail sale of dogs and cats. Two non-opposable thumbs up to you, South Lake Tahoe!
The law bans pet shops from selling animals; instead—fabulous, fabulous—they can display animals who are up for adoption from local animal shelters and rescue groups. Animal defenders pushed for the ban because they know that, despite pet shop owners’ protests that they “only buy puppies from ‘brokers'” and “licensed facilities,” this is just code for “we’ve never actually laid eyes on the kennels we get our dogs from so they could be seeping cesspools of toxic sludge, for all we know.”
Next time you’re passing by a pet shop, play this fun game: Pick out a puppy at random and ask for the address of the kennel where he or she came from. I guarantee that you’ll get some run-around about brokers and dealers and AKC papers. Keep pushing—you want an address, and you want to know if anybody in the store has ever personally visited the kennel. What do you want to bet that, if you ever do get a straight answer, the kennel is hundreds of miles away in some puppy-mill–enabling state like Missouri or Pennsylvania? Go ahead—give it a try, and let us know what you turn up. Thanks!
Written by Alisa Mulins