Originally Posted by srrh
No, they are not really different. It's just that most shelters do not accept small animals. The ones that do are full of them, and the ones they don't have room for.. well, we all know someone who "let their guinea pigs go" or something along those lines. The plight for small animals is the same as for cats and dogs. Birds too! If there is no shelter near you that accepts small animals, the best thing to do is to look into a reputable breeder, or look for a rescue that specializes in just the one animal you are interested in. Trust me, they are out there!
This, however, is a wonderful thing! The Petsmarts and Petcos around here also have agreements with local shelters and adopt out cats and dogs, and do not sell any. The more exposure animals that need rescue can get, the better! It is just as good to adopt from Petsmart as from the shelter directly -- if they don't get adopted from Petsmart, they go back to the shelter they came from anyway.
As far as I know, PetLand is the only major pet chain that sells puppies (maybe kittens too? I'm not sure). I am 100% sure that Petland has been linked to puppy mills.
For the most part, however, the stores selling puppies and kittens (rather than adopting out ones from shelters) are small, local stores.
Petland does sell kittens, at least they did when I worked there. This was the mid 90's. As well as ferrets, rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals, reptiles, fish, birds, if it can sell, they sold it. And yes, the puppies came from a mill. Usually with fresh spay scars, still with stiches, and far too young.
As employees, we had quotas to meet every month, which were stictly enforced. Our jobs threatned if we did not sell, sell sell! The lives of the animals, or the homes they would go to meant nothing, it was all about making money. We were taught to sell, not care for the animals.
I quit, walked out. The final straw was a puppy that had blood in it's stool, it was pointed out to me by a customer. (I was bird dept) I told the manager immediatly, and was asked "Is it visible from the (sales) floor?"
This manager hated me, mostly because I did care more about the animals than money. This was on a Friday. I was off the weekend and came back on Monday to find the puppy still with blood, a fever, laying in its cage half dead, and had not been vetted.
I told one of the employees to take the dog NOW to the vet (who was a joke, but the only one we could take the animals to) and don't worry about getting in trouble, blame me for it (No managers there at that time) as she left, so did I. Couldn't take it anymore.
I could tell many more horror stories about this chain of stores