Colorados love their pets. Fortunately, our state is one of the most pet friendly in the country.
We know this better than most; as one of the few remaining regulated and licensed pet stores in the state, we are not only animal lovers ourselves, but we dedicate our lives to ensuring long-term health, happiness and well-being. run of the puppies, kittens and other pets we sell.
We are also our company’s best weapon against puppy mills and unscrupulous breeders who put quick profits above animal welfare.
Periodically, almost like clockwork, concerted but misguided efforts are made to prevent licensed pet stores from selling dogs and cats, efforts that would lead to driving the pet market into the unregulated basement and beyond. the scope of the law.
There have been several attempts in this direction at the level of the state legislature and, as now, at the local level. An ordinance is being presented to Colorado Springs City Council that would effectively shut down pet stores, benefiting unregulated, unlicensed and potentially unethical breeders, dealers and others who would prefer the pet industry to operate out of business. The shadow.
We would prefer the sale of puppies and kittens to remain in the light, where pet stores like ours hold breeders and dealers accountable, where the history, health and other details of the puppies are known and followed, and where the facilities are regularly maintained and inspected. .
Pet stores are strictly and effectively regulated by the Colorado Department of Agriculture through the Pet Animal Facilities Care Act (PACFA), as well as by laws such as HB 1102 enacted this year. When a person visits a pet store, they know that the pet they are considering is from a responsible and ethical breeder with whom the pet store has a close enough relationship to ensure that the facilities, care, treatment and breeding protocols are well suited. exceeding the usual moral and legal standards.
Licensed pet stores work hand-in-hand with state regulators almost on a daily basis to ensure that not only are we following the details of the law, but the pet industry as a whole maintains the standard of care for people. highest and most human animals possible.
Unfortunately, licensed and regulated pet stores represent only a small fraction of the animals sold in Colorado. The rest goes through parts of the pet industry that are isolated from the same oversight and regulation that we are.
Pet stores like ours sell pets to people with special needs.
The reasons people seek to buy a particular dog, cat, or breed are as varied as they and the animals themselves. Eliminating pet stores as an option to purchase these pets will not eliminate demand.
People will research the type of dog they need on their own, with the best of intentions but without the expertise and knowledge to fully and correctly assess the source of these animals. Driving this market underground, like banning pet stores from selling puppies and kittens, only serves to empower and enable the kind of nightmarish puppy mill breeders we all want to see eliminated, and that an integrated and regulated pet industry, with retail pet stores in large part, has helped to track down and eradicate.
We want every segment of the pet industry to be as diligent about animal care as pet stores are, but unfortunately it is not.
And ordinances banning the sale of pets, like the one envisioned by Colorado Springs City Council, are at best distractions from the real issues that still plague the pet industry, and at worst, allow the dark underbelly. industry to escape exposure.
Some of the proponents of these types of prescriptions are well-meaning and mistakenly believe that they have the best interests of animals at heart; others probably hope to gain a market position by eliminating the competition.
In any case, the result of eliminating the ability of pet stores to sell puppies and kittens and to exert influence and responsibility over breeders and pet dealers will be to eliminate the best offense that we as a society stand against the depraved and inhumane puppy mills that have been the cause of so much cruelty and suffering.
Colorado Springs city council should not deprive their citizens of this weapon and can better reflect their love for animals by rejecting the anti-pet facility ordinance.
Bree Maestas is the second generation owner of two Pet City Pet Shops in Colorado Springs.
Bree Maestas is the second generation owner of the Pet City Pet Shops in Colorado Springs.