The wrong answer is one given when somebody recently posted this question on the Internet (no surprise getting the wrong answer on the Internet). The question asked “What happens to the puppies that Pet Stores cannot sell?”. One person replied that they had asked this at a store and were told “We take them back to where we get them and they euthanize them.”.
Now, I have to tell you, in all my years in the pet industry I have never once heard of this happening – and logically it wouldn’t ever happen, here is why:
Pet stores pay for pups, then pay to have them vaccinated, checked and wormed.
Pet stores then greatly inflate the cost of the puppies, knowing that if one doesn’t sell quick they can lower the price many, many, times before reaching a point where they are not making profit.
Some pet stores are part of a chain, if a pup doesn’t sell in one location, they can move it to another.
If they could not sell a pup, even for a break even price, they would rather give it away, than return it to their supplier, because eventually a supplier would not be willing to work with that store if they kept getting unsold pups returned.
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If they needed, for any reason, to return the pup to their supplier (generally a Puppy Mill) the supplier would NOT euthanize it, they would use it as a breeding animal themselves. The suppliers are in the business to make profit by breeding animals, euthanizing animals is not profitable.
A veterinarian would not be so willing to euthanize puppies left, right, and sideways, simply because it did not “sell”, there are plenty of rescue groups that willingly take small dogs, which most pet store pups are.
Even in cases where pet stores get pups from animal shelters (see below) they are not automatically euthanized when returned to a shelter. Shelters give puppies a long time to get adopted, the stay at the pet store might only be a small part of their time up for adoption. Once a shelter has had a puppy vaccinated and so forth, they are in no rush to kill it.
Very likely the pet store employee was telling the girl this fib in an effort to get a sale. By making the person feel like pets’ life is in danger, they force the person to make a rash decision, “Buy the puppy.”.
Pet Stores are not highly ethical, they don’t do home checks to make sure the animals are well placed, they let people pay for pets on “credit”, they seldom talk people out of buying a breed not suited for their lifestyle or one with loads of health problems, and they buy from unscrupulous breeders known as “Puppy Mills”. Puppy Mills breed over and over for the purpose of profit, in some of the worst cases the dogs live in cages stacked on top one another, breeding over and over, living in filth, until they can no longer reproduce.
A reputable breeder would not sell to a store, nor would they need to hide anonymously, using a store to sell the pups. A reputable breeder always has a waiting list of names of people wanting pups before even breeding their dogs, and potential buyers can see, at least, the mother dog.
Pet Stores deny using puppy mills, but who else would sell to a store? Who else would need to? When people buy from stores they support the industry of breeding dogs (or other animals) only for profit. You can not truly be assured of the facilities the animals come from, no matter what the store says, again who else would sell to the store? Any one who has invested money into the pup would not sell it cheap enough for the store to make decent profit.
So to put an end to puppy mills people are being told to stop buying pups from pet stores. Equally they are told to stop buying other pets too, most of whom are bred in mass warehouse type situations. So if everyone stopped buying from pet stores what would happen to the puppies?
Cute Puppy, picture from Wikimedia.
Here is what will really happen to pups if nobody buys them:
The price is lowered, and lowered, and eventually the store will give it away.
That is it; a Store isn’t going to pay to have it put to sleep. If nobody buys a puppy from a pet store, they will give it away. If this happens enough, the store will realize that selling puppies just is not profitable, and will stop. However, typically some person thinks they are “saving” the puppy, and buys it. Thus the cycle continues.
Some stores have already discontinued selling pups because of public outcry, to keep up their image, and save expenses, many have turned to housing animals that are owned by the local animal shelters. While in theory this is good, and hopefully the animals get homes. It is stressful for the animals to be in a store situation. Sometimes, although Pet Stores often get the food donated, they even charge the shelter for providing this service, all the while they come out looking squeaky clean. Some big box stores use this tactic as a way of saving money, and risk, by not having to invest anything in buying puppies initially. Ideally a person looking for a “pet” would check the shelter first, the store that houses other shelter animals would be checked second, and pet stores who sell pups themselves would never be looked at.
The only time a pet store would spend money on a pup for euthanasia is if the pup was sick.