News recently broke regarding the potential ban on pet stores selling dogs or cats in an effort to stop unfair business practices. As a pet owner of two rescue pets myself, I have some opinions on this (Click here to read more about this push to ban pet stores from selling dogs and cats).

First off, I'm a firm believer in rescuing pets above all else. Yes, it's true we may not know the entire backstory of where the pet came from, but we also have to look at that from a different lens.

You have to ask yourself, did the poor dog or cat ask to be in that situation in the first place? It's not their fault they were born into a situation that required them to be rescued.

And sometimes, breeders are to blame for the reason these animals need to be rescued. That was the very case with the rescue dog that we have today.

Portrait of a bernese puppy at home

Our dog is a very well-mannered little pup that gets along great with the family. And from what we learned about his background, he came from a breeder.

But if that's the case, how did he end up as a rescue? From our understanding, it had something to do with an overbreeding situation and unfortunately, he wasn't wanted by the breeder.

Luckily for him, at just 8 weeks old he was saved from that situation and ended up with a very reputable rescue organization that operates in the tri-state region of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.

Before he was allowed to be adopted, he had to get all his shots updated, along with all the proper medical examinations. Fast forward and he eventually was ready to be adopted, and we couldn't be any happier.

Kittens Rescued from Bookbag at Recycling Center
Sunny (Burlington County)

We also have a rescue cat that was found by some dumpsters abandoned in Ocean County. Fortunately, she was so young when she was found that she doesn't seem to have any memory of those early days.

Same as the rescue before, she got all her shots and medical visits up to date. And when the time was right, she was handed off from the foster family to our family.

Again, I'm a firm believer in rescuing pets as opposed to buying them from pet stores because dogs and cats that were tossed aside by no fault of their own deserve to be with a loving family.


What about the proposed bill?

Even though I 100% support adopting a pet, whether through a rescue organization or a shelter, I do have some reservations about this latest proposed ban.

Yes, any business that supports puppy mills should be shut down, no question about it Any breeder who takes part in running a pet mill for profit should be punished to the fullest extent, along with the pet shop.

But does that mean reputable breeders should also be punished as a result? No, but it does mean more rigorous inspections and requirements should be put in place.

As for restrictions? A flat-out ban on pet stores selling puppies, kittens, and rabbits, could be problematic for breeders that do follow the law and don't overbreed for profit.

I also hate seeing businesses being told how to operate, but overbreeding is a problem, and pet shops tend to keep that vicious cycle going. Not all of them, but enough.

NJ rescue animals from Texas arrive via Wings of Rescue (St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center)
Dogs and cats arrive via Wings of Rescue (St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center)

Pet stores with rescues

Perhaps a partnership with rescue organizations and shelters is something New Jersey could consider mandating for pet stores. Most rescues are not-for-profit organizations and could use the support any way they can get it.

As for breeders? I do agree with the argument that pet stores present on this issue. At least, when it comes to purebred pets.

The danger here is that some families might blindly try to shop online for a pet not knowing if it's coming from a reputable breeder or not. It's something our lawmakers need to take a very close look at to ensure this doesn't create an even bigger problem when it comes to pet mills.

Maybe a better way to go about this is to ban how many pets are allowed to be bred to ensure none of them end up in a rescue situation. And if pet stores can't legally sell them, then reputable breeders in The Garden State should have all the proper licenses and inspections before being allowed to sell.


Not all rescues can be trusted

One thing I learned is that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. And this is true when it comes to rescue organizations.

If we're going to put a ban on pet stores selling animals from breeders, we also need to make sure we crack down on illegal rescue practices.

Sadly, there are some folks who call themselves rescue organizations but don't do anything to ensure the safety of you or your pet. On top of that, they might skip medical care and proper vaccinations altogether.

I know someone who was taken advantage of by a fake rescue organization. They got their puppy only to learn that it had no chance of survival.

Upon digging deeper, it turned out no medical checkups were ever done and that the dog was just sold for profit almost as soon as it was found. It's very sad, but it does happen and is illegal.

All the more reasons why it's vital to do your homework and research whoever you're thinking of getting your pet from.

A bill would allow judges to appoint animal advocates in some criminal cases. ((Comstock/ThinkStock, inset by Luke MacGillivray/Unsplash)
Comstock/ThinkStock, inset by Luke MacGillivray/Unsplash

Not a total ban, but a bigger crackdown

Again, I would only rescue animals, but that's just me, and do understand why some might prefer a purebred from a breeder. With that said, perhaps a full ban on pet stores selling dogs and cats isn't the right answer.

But at the same time, how do you stop this cycle of pet mills? If a partnership can form between a rescue or shelter with a pet store, why not a breeder?

If this ban does help stop the practice of mills, then I'm all for it to an extent. There are way too many bad actors out there who only care about money and not about the well-being of these animals.

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

Gallery Credit: Elena Kadvany

The 10 most searched pets in the US

The website took a look at internet search trends to see what the most in-demand pets are in the US. The results may surprise you.

Gallery Credit: Bob Giaquinto

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 Sunday morning host Mike Brant. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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