October 9, 2023 – In response to recent media coverage of an animal shelter partnering with a puppy-selling store and broker (puppy mill), the Humane Society of Tampa Bay is reaching out to our community to caution Bay Area residents about the cruel practice and to distinguish our position on the retail sale of dogs in stores.

Make no mistake, puppies in pet stores harbor an ugly reality; most are trucked hundreds of miles from puppy mills before arriving at the store for resale, their parents remaining behind to suffer indefinitely in puppy mills.

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay unequivocally denounces the sale of dogs and cats in stores and condemns the inherently cruel commercial dog breeding industry that thrives on the retail sale of puppies. We strongly support state legislation prohibiting the retail sale of dogs and cats in stores.

Puppy-selling retail stores obtain their dogs from commercial dog breeders, also known as puppy mills, through a pipeline of breeders and brokers. Puppy mills put profit before the welfare of the animals in their care, keeping breeding dogs confined in filthy conditions with poor veterinary care, little socialization or grooming, and ceaseless breeding for years. Consumers who purchase puppies in stores often report that their puppies were ill at the time of purchase or later suffered from congenital disease due to poor breeding practices.

The Humane Society of Tampa Bay urges people who wish to bring a new pet into the family to adopt from a shelter or rescue group. If you are looking for a particular breed, many shelters, and rescue groups have specific dog breeds available for adoption or can help advise you on finding a particular type of dog.

When adoption is not an option, please ensure that the breeder is responsible and not a commercial puppy mill. Responsible dog breeders do not sell their dogs to brokers or stores for resale. Make sure that you meet the parents of the puppy and visit the premises where the dogs are bred and raised to ensure that the breeder provides high-quality living conditions, socialization, and veterinary care for their dogs.

Thousands of homeless dogs and cats sit in shelters and rescues that deserve safety and care in a home. Please consider adoption.