I am utterly disgusted. I went to the local pet store in the mall to look at puppies, something I do every now and then. Usually, I only try to stay for a short amount of time as I knew that these dogs were probably overwhelmed and tired of getting so much attention every day, all day. After what I witnessed a few months ago, I will not be returning to a pet store again.
It was a Saturday afternoon, and the mall was a busy place to be. This particular pet store is quite small and as I walked in, the room was packed. To one side of the store, all the puppies are lined up in cages too small and too uncomfortable for them to be constantly living in. They do not have proper bedding; they lie on metal racks instead. They are constantly being handled and stared at by hundreds of shoppers each and every day, and one can easily tell that these dogs are distressed and frightened. The first dog I saw that day was hiding in the corner of its cage, shaking violently with its tail in between its legs. This is not acceptable behavior for a puppy in this type of environment. These dogs are exposed to children screaming and running around, the constant noise of the crowd and being picked up even when they are asleep. There are short periods of time when an employee will place a card on their cage stating that they cannot be picked up, but it is not enough. These dogs need safe, quiet spaces to retreat to.
We walked past the cages where there are small play areas for dogs to run around in, and people are allowed to pet them. Only three are allowed out in these cages, but I was horrified by the picture. These dogs were running around and sitting in their own waste. There has never been enough help in this pet store. Every time I have ever been to this store, there are only ever two employees for over twenty dogs. This is not enough, especially when they are taking care of purchases and trying to hand puppies over to impatient shoppers. By this time, I knew I needed to leave the store. I was on the verge of tears, and I was angry over the helplessness I felt in this moment.
As I was walking out of the store, I saw a dog that a family had just bought, but this did not bring me relief so much as it made me angry. I could visibly see the ribs protruding from this dog’s side. I had to wonder how these dogs are taken care of, whether they are fed and bathed properly, whether they are given the love and attention they deserve. Unfortunately, like many pet stores, I know the answer to this is probably no.
To this day, I feel helpless and afraid for what is to come to these dogs. I want to reach out to someone and demand better lives for these dogs, but I am afraid no one will listen. If you have ever witnessed this, I encourage you to speak up and provide better futures for dogs and animals alike.