Pet Store Puppies


I was at a pet store the other day and saw two beautiful Border Collie pups in the window. Deciding that I couldn't stand for this, I approached the guy working there and asked him if they were good quality dogs, as it said they had no papers. He said yes. I asked him how he knew that. The answer was that they trusted the breeder! to which I rather rudely replied that I didn't see how they could as no responsible breeder EVER sells to a pet shop. The guy got rather mad at that. There were about 6 people listening to the argument, so I increased my volume and added that it was outrageous that the shop was selling pups with no papers for far more than pups that come with everything from a decent breeder. Needless to say, I stayed away from that shop for a long time. But I did get another Border Collie friend to go in and subject the owner to another barrage of questions. I'm so mad at these pet stores for selling Border Collies. What can I do?


We've had much more success with the calm and direct approach. I think the last thing you want to be perceived as is the crazy, irate lady who keeps causing a commotion. They aren't listening to you - they just want to get rid of you. They may just shoo you out the door, placate you enough to keep you quiet, or even call the cops. They only care about one thing and that's the bottom line.

So in order to effectuate change, that's where you need to concentrate. You need to be viewed as a potential customer and potential referral, not the loony lady who screams a lot (but hey, I know the feeling :-). Every dog owner knows at least 6 more dog owners and tends to talk about their dog and dog products a lot. I can be pretty influential because I can reach hundreds of dog owners here locally, obedience instructors, and tons of folks with connections to the "dog world". If we're talking about a national chain, I can potentially reach even more people nationally. I make it clear to them that if they choose to do "choice X", it will have "consequence Y". Selling a few dozen puppies a month may pale in comparison to the lost revenue of customers avoiding their pet products. They may not believe me up front but as the notes and letters start pouring in, they soon get the picture. Letters to the effect of "sorry but I'm not doing business with you anymore", not "how dare you cretins sell puppies!". And since they are concerned with the effect on their balance line, they may choose to do the "ethical" thing and not sell puppies. PetSmart isn't stupid - they do the adoption thing for a very particular reason and it's not their generous nature. It's great PR for them and people won't avoid them because they sell puppies. The same thing, by the way, applies to breeders.

So don't get mad, get even.

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Page last updated April 1, 1997. All material Copyright 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc. and Dr. Nicholas B. Carter
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