“Oh… You don’t sell dogs? What kind of pet store are you!?”

Believe it or not we get this question at least once a week, and people are always surprised when we say: actually no, we don’t sell dogs here. How by not selling dogs we aren’t a pet store, is beyond us. Many pet stores don’t even sell PETS anymore.

Their reactions are always the same, some or less vocal about it, but for some it’s hard to hide their disappointment (which sometimes turn to anger: “WHAT KIND OF PET STORE ARE YOU!?”). People often forget that things are fluid, things change, and in some cities it is required by law to only sell rescued dogs.

The main staple reason as to why we, The Urban Zoo, do not sell dogs is quite simple: KIJIJI.

A wonderful and free advertising website has given the ability to people to promote their animals for sale, and when it comes to dogs in particular, effectively ruins our market. Though we are more than capable by law to sell dogs in our store the truth is KIJIJI has simply granted anyone the ability to advertise and sell whatever they want.

There is also a stigma attached to pet stores, especially with dogs, that these animals come from inhuman living conditions, such as puppy mills. Which, quite frankly, is less frequent today than it was twenty years ago. Though puppy mills do still exist today, and it’s a tragedy, just because a pet store is selling a cat, or a dog or even a bird, doesn’t necessarily mean that these animals come from such places. Unfortunately, that is the popular stigma and misinformation people have when we did sell dogs or cats–that we were selling animals from mills or similar conditions.

Many of our animals come from local breeders and our community (such as our cats), but many of our animals as well are also bred and hand raised by us (specifically our birds). The odd animal we can’t get in through our community or ourselves, come from reputable breeders, companies and organizations.

Yet, people still hold this stigma. Making it difficult to sell dogs.

We’re also not as big as we were in the old store, we don’t have the room to effectively manage and care for dogs properly. Puppies require time, effort, training, veterinary check ups and space. Unfortunately, at this time, we don’t have a facility equipped to take care of dogs effectively and efficiently–though we have in the past taken dogs that have been dropped off on our door step and raise them back to health in our store, but that’s a whole other topic for a later date.

These people that drop off these dogs at our doorstep are the same people who are selling them on KIJIJI most of the time. We’re not saying all KIJIJI members who sell dogs are like this, far from it, many are local breeders and people who want to find their animals the right home… but what happens to those animals that AREN’T sold? Sometimes people do cruel things, like leaving them on our doorstep only for us to find these animals in a box the next morning.

So when people ask us: Why don’t you sell dogs?

We tell them it’s for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is KIJIJI, we can’t compete with prices like those–unfortunately people also don’t realize that those cheap dogs also don’t come with the many benefits that we provide for our own (like shots, flea treatment, deworming etc.). KIJIJI has effectively ruined our market for dogs, but unfortunately not everyone can understand that.

There are those underlying problems and threats as well, it hasn’t been the first time where we’ve got phone calls from the SPCA or similar groups asking about the puppies we’ve had sold–you know the ones that have been dropped on our doorstep? Luckily, for us we know the members of these groups, we can show our paperwork, run them through our routine when things like this happen. Phone calls like that, however, can really slow us down, give us a bad reputation and stop us from doing the good work we do.

So whether it be KIJIJI ruining or market, or misinformation and a lack of education on bystanders who come into the store when we do happen to have puppies, it’s simply a hassle worth avoiding altogether.

To best places to get a puppy or dog is the SPCA. Not only do have so many animals (not just dogs folks) running around our streets our shelters are struggling to maintain and keep these animals alive due to overcapacity–which leads to euthanization of these animals that are struggling to find a home.

People looking for dogs should seriously consider the SPCA and adoption programs they have at your disposal. Who knows, you just might find what you’re looking for.

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