I work at two local shelters with the rabbits, but I recently became aware that one of the shelters that I volunteer at now has over 600 cats for adoption. This is insane!
Being a registered Libertarian for over 35 years, I am against over-regulation by our government, but I believe that in this case the problem needs to be addressed by them.
When we have way more cats available for adoption than there probably are in all the pets stores in the county, why are we allowing pet stores and breeders to continue to add to the population? Breeders and pet stores for the most part are completely unregulated and I feel that they add to a huge problem in our society.
Tens of thousands of animals are put to sleep every year, while we allow breeders to replace them as fast as they are euthanized. I feel the cost to the public is much more than these “businesses” profit from their adding to the problem.
The few thousands dollars a year that a pet store or breeder makes from selling animals is overshadowed by the cost to our society, in dollars and more. The pet store down the street from my house which was recently raided and closed by the local Humane Society put more than 50 animals into their custody. The store never had very much business and I am sure the paltry profit that they made from their business venture is nothing compared to how much our local shelter will now spend to spay/neuter, provide medical care and house until they become adopted.
The problem is that most of these companies must simply obtain a local business license and they are in business. There are no inspections for for them to ferret out abuse or the horrible living conditions that most of their animals live in. We hear about stories in the news all the time about puppy mills and pet stores being found to have animals living in terrible conditions. I think that this is probably the case for all animals sold in pet shops, not just dogs.
I think that at the very least, these businesses should have to obtain licenses for what they do, just as any other contractor would have to do. Standards could then be enforced through regular inspections and also the numbers that are bred can also be addressed.
When you have 600+ cats in just one local shelter, there is no real reason for more kittens to be bred and sold in the stores. Yet, that is exactly what is happening here in my city right now. I am sure it is the same where you live.
This also applies to rabbits. We have 4-H groups all around this area who are involved in breeding hundreds of rabbits a year, when we have some bunnies who have been sitting in our shelter who have been there for close to 2 years. I can say without reservation that I am sure some of these very bunnies were bred by 4-H people.
Why isn’t the 4-H teaching our children about RESPONSIBLE breeding, where every animal that you produce has a purpose and a home? I know there is a need for this organization in areas where most people work on farms, but here in our city there is not a farm for dozens of miles. The chances of one of these 4-H kids working or living on a farm is slim and none. Shouldn’t we be teaching them to be helping solve this problem of animal over-population, instead of how to add to the problem?
Personally, I would like to see animals being sold in pet stores in only special and tightly controlled situations. I think that anyone that makes more than a certain amount of money from animal breeding needs to have a license and be subject to inspection. There was recently a bill in front of our California legislature to license and inspect all dog groomers. If we can consider this for groomers, why not for breeders? Animal breeders incur a much higher cost on our society than a wayward dog groomer.
I believe that if we were to assess how much money is made from these businesses and then track how much it costs the public in shelter costs, over-population and money spent on these problems, we would find that the expense is much more than the profit.
Our government representatives seem to be on the side of the businesses, but not the public on this issue. We should tell our local representatives that we want steps taken to reel in these pet stores and animal breeders who are currently running amok.
Our local PetCos and PetSmarts no longer sell dogs, cats or rabbits because the public has convinced them that it is a bad idea. They have done this voluntarily, but it should be the law. If we are going to ever solve the pet over-population problem, this very key facet of it must be addressed. Tell your local congressman!
The Bunny Guy