I feel like we've been having a lot of good conversations lately about what constitutes a good breeder. And it should probably go without saying, but maybe we should say it. The worst of the worst are still the pet stores puppies. Even if you get a doodle from a random backyard breeder who doesn't do all the requisite health testing - in my opinion, if they are breeding their house dogs and taking good care of their dogs, ethically (and I am not speaking to the health of the offspring - I think that's a different conversation.) I don't think it's as bad as going into a pet store and bringing home a cute puppy.
All of the pet stores will tell you that they don't buy their puppies from puppy mills. That is a lie. These puppies come from large volume, commercial dog farms. I think even the backyard breeders would object to shipping their puppies off to a store like cargo. It is quantity over quality. If some of them die that's just the cost of doing business. They use the momma dogs up and throw them away. That's how they keep their costs low.
I know there are some states that have banned retail sales of puppies. I don't live in one of them. The reason I'm bringing this up today is because I bought myself a fish tank for Christmas (okay, I bought myself two. Where's my eyeroll emoji?) And I was looking online for the hours at one of the local independent fish stores. They're supposed to have more knowledgeable employees and better fish. In their reviews I saw someone who was complaining about the puppies. Wait, what? Surely they don't sell puppies. I dug a little further, and sure enough they do. That's 4 (that I can count) very local to me pet stores selling puppies. I will not patronize them at all. Not even for fish. Not for dog food, not even just to look.
But you guys. These people are still selling puppies because someone is out there buying them. Where is the education and the righteous indignation against pet store puppies? It really disturbs me that no one seems bothered by this. There is a store that's only blocks away from my house that's been in business for almost 45 years with puppies in the same wire bottom cages they were in when I was a kid and didn't know any better. (I only know this because I happened to look in the window when I was at the store next door.) They huddle on top of pieces of cardboard because the wire hurts their feet. One of my local FB groups was in an uproar on Christmas Eve because someone was selling puppies in the parking lot at Walmart - which also isn't ideal. But I just really want people to know that pet store puppies are still out there. Please do not buy them.
And I guess I'm going to Petsmart for fish. At least they don't sell puppies.