Puppies at the Supermarket
Posted at 05:08PM - Comments: (11)
As I approached the front of the supermarket, I saw about six or seven people standing in a circle. Uh oh, I thought, and sure enough: There was a couple there with three pit-mix puppies. The pups looked like they were about 8 weeks old; they had the pudgy, unformed bodies and the stoic/exhausted expressions of very young pups.
“Are you selling them or giving them away?” I asked. The man answered, “Selling them! $50 apiece. They’re purebred Pits!”
Never mind the “purebred Pits” claim . . . what do we do about people who persist in producing and selling dogs in this manner? With zero regard for whether the buyers are ready or equipped to properly care for a spur-of-the-moment puppy acquisition.
I had a strong impulse to tell the people fawning over the puppies that the puppies at the local shelter are the same price, but they have been spayed/neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, and microchipped. Whereas these ones – goodness knows whether they’ve ever had a single vaccine, or if their mom has ever had a single vaccine. And the price of all that care from the local vets would run them at least $300. But I was tired; it was Sunday night and I had worked all day, and I just needed a few items from the store so I could make something for dinner.
I have the pleasure of being acquainted with our town’s sole full-time animal control officer. Of course, he was off-duty on a Sunday night, and would be called out only by the police and only for an animal-related emergency. I texted him from inside the market, just on the off-chance that he, too, was out shopping for dinner and would take it upon himself to have a little chat with the puppy sellers. In California, it *is* actually against the law to sell dogs in this way. But this is not a priority call for any overworked small-town cop on a Sunday night, and the officer (fortunately for him) was snug at home. He texted back, “You can tell them they are in violation of 597.4 – but they are probably out there on a Sunday night knowing that the cops won’t come.”
There are a number of things I could have done to try to convince the couple not to breed and sell dogs in this way, but I just went home and stewed. When I wonder why we can’t ever seem to stem the incoming tide of unwanted and/or accidentally produced puppies and dogs at the shelter where I volunteer, I’ll try to write down the things I should have said and done, for those three tired young puppies, their mom, and all the other irresponsibly owned dogs out there.
Addendum: As I attached this file to email it to WDJ's Web Master, so it would be posted on this blog site, I happened to see another file labeled Puppies on the Roadside -- a blog I wrote about another, similar event -- dated 12/6/2011. My resolve to respond better and more energetically to these events is now hardened.