When PETA saw newly purchased dogs popping up on the Instagram feeds of stars such as Channing Tatum, Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez, Shia LaBeouf, J Balvin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and James Charles, all of whom bought puppies in just the last few months, we knew we had to take action.
So this week, PETA will be debut a full-page letter in The Hollywood Reporter with some help from “Max the shelter dog,” who begs “famous people” to stop hurting dogs like him by purchasing puppies. PETA will also debut a billboard in Hollywood, with a very simple message for all to see: STOP. BUYING. DOGS.
In the midst of a global pandemic, these influential celebrities have made a national crisis even worse by purchasing dogs.
These stars and influencers are setting a dangerous example for their millions of impressionable fans and fueling demand for purpose-bred dogs, while millions of animals await adoption in shelters as we speak, desperate for good, loving homes. The U.S. faces a companion animal overpopulation crisis, as an estimated 70 million dogs and cats struggle to survive on the streets. And that staggering number doesn’t include the more than 6 million companion animals coming through our country’s shelter system every year.
“I guess I just want to know what’s wrong with me,” writes Max. “My days are numbered. When you buy a dog, you hurt me. … You could so easily adopt a homeless dog like me and influence so many others to do the same. But when you buy a dog and post a photo of your new ‘purebred’ puppy online, it makes things so much worse for dogs like me.”
Like unicorns and “humane meat,” there is no such thing as a “responsible breeder.” There’s nothing responsible about bringing more dogs into the world when so many are already here, dying for homes. And purchasing from a “private breeder” is no better than going to a pet shop or puppy mill. If you buy a dog, you are killing another dog’s chance of finding a home. Period.
For celebrities used to getting everything they want, when they want it—guess what? They still can! There’s a beautiful thing called petfinder.com, where everyone from A-listers to mere mortals like us can identify an animal who already exists and is in need of a good home—one whose age, temperament, and activity level are a fit to our lifestyle. Shelters are full of dogs, many of them “purebreds”—frequently impulse purchases by folks falling for the latest Instagram or TV show trend. There are also plenty of breed-specific adoption groups looking to find homes for dogs like golden retrievers and goldendoodles.
Caring for an animal companion takes commitment and work. If you don’t have the patience and time to commit to the adoption process, then you certainly won’t have what it takes to give an animal the care they deserve. Please pledge to help end the homeless-animal crisis by never buying an animal and having your animal companions spayed or neutered.