So you want to buy a puppy. But where do you go? There are different places to get a puppy. You can travel to different breeders homes to see puppies, go on your computer to buy online, visit a shelter, contact some rescues, or go to your local pet shop. Let’s discuss pet store puppies as a source. The puppies in the pet store look happy and healthy as they bounce around in their enclosures. But where do they come from? How are their parents treated? The Pet Store staff may tell you the puppies are from “breeders” or from “USDA Licensed Breeders”. The Animal Rights activists say they come from puppy mills. If you looked at the “breeder” page you will see the different terms used to label different breeders. Many states have laws in place that require pet stores to be licensed and inspected, to provide consumers with health warrantees and detailed health history, to provide consumers with TRANSPARENCY. Pet stores are also the most heavily regulated source of quality companion puppies and offer the ONLY fully transparent and government regulated provider of puppies available to the public today. Take a look at the facts and decide for yourself. Read below to take the journey of a pet store puppy, starting with the source.
What exactly is a USDA Licensed Breeder? USDA is short for the United States Department of Agriculture. They are a branch of the federal government. They are in charge of many serious things that we take for granted. They are responsible for developing and executing federal government policy on farming, agriculture, forestry, and food. Basically they are in charge of regulating farms that grow crops and farms that raise animals, such as Dairy farms. They are responsible for live stock raised for meat and the entire process it goes through to our kitchen tables. USDA oversees and regulates many things in our daily lives, including dogs in USDA licensed Kennels.
As of 2015 there were 1581 licensed USDA breeders, including both class A and B licenses. USDA breeders are required to have regular, unannounced, surprise inspections, and can receive violations for things as simple as cobwebs, grass that has grown too high, and even small amounts of rust on fencing. USDA breeders are required to have exercise and enrichment programs which breeders call a “turn out yard”. A turn out yard is a large fenced in area for the dogs to run and play, no different than your backyard. The Breeder must maintain detailed records for each of their dogs and regular vet care, exams and vaccinations, which is all strictly enforced by the inspectors. The health care is so detailed that even teething cleaning is required. Most people don’t clean their dogs teeth, but a USDA breeder does!
The kennel is state of the art in both design and technology and the breeders years of dedication and knowledge of dogs and breeding ensure that the puppies are in good hands. When you walk through these kennels you really get to see the attention to detail the breeders put into the facility to make daily tasks easy and efficient. You see automatic feeders mounted to the indoor runs, giving the dogs access to food 24/7. Water is provided in such a way that the dogs and the breeder never have to worry as water is delivered thru a spigot, similar to a water fountain, providing fresh water 24/7. Potty breaks for the dogs are not a problem since they simply walk through a doggy door to their safe, secure, outdoor area. The outdoor area provides extra space for when the dog feels like running around, laying out in the sun, playing, as well having a 24/7 bathroom.
The USDA regulates the high and low temperatures of all indoor spaces where the dogs are. The temperature cannot drop below 45 degrees or exceed 85 degrees. The heating and cooling systems installed and all the technology to operate them are a sight to behold and something that many people have never seen or heard of. Many USDA licensed breeders are utilizing something called, radiant heat, which is an expensive heating system installed in the floor. Radiant heat is considered a superior heating system that is typically only found in very expensive homes. It provides a even heat throughout the kennel and although it is initially expensive to install, is very cost effective and efficient. The space needed to run the equipment for the heating and air cooling systems looks like a science experiment with all the units and wiring and pipes.
USDA breeders are always learning better ways to care for their dogs through educational seminars and from each other and doing things the right way takes dedication. Even simple things like skylights, drains, and even artificial turf are utilized at great cost to the breeder, to provide a better environment for the dogs that they love. The grooming rooms are fully equipped with the latest technology and bathing stations to make the dogs clean and happy.
USDA breeders cannot sell a puppy until it is weaned and a minimum of 8 weeks old. Once the puppy reaches 8 weeks, it can be transferred to a transport company, also known as a distributor. A distributor is also USDA licensed just like the breeder and must follow strict USDA regulations, be regularly inspected, and receive violations for any problems found by the inspector. The distributor is responsible for the care of the puppies for the next few days.
Upon arrival to the transport company’s USDA licensed kennel, the puppies are seen by a licensed veterinarian along with one to two vet techs helping. The Transporter Veterinarian will do a complete and thorough exam. They will examine every inch of the puppy and continue the record keeping. Although this is a licensed kennel, there are no dogs here, there are only puppies, and typically they are only here less than a week.
These USDA licensed distributors are a puppy lovers dream, you will see many different breeds, all being cared for by a professional staff. With Veterinarians, sometimes many veterinarians on the payroll, the standard of care easily equals or surpasses the care and love provided by the puppy’s breeder. These state of the art distributor kennels would put your local boarding kennel to shame by comparison. The facility will have large play areas, a grooming room with everything a dog groomer will ever need, and in-house veterinarian offices. These clean and well organized facilities ensure that the puppies are well cared for.
Once the puppies are cleared by a veterinarian for transport, the puppy is placed in a USDA licensed, regulated, and inspected transport vehicle that is really a mobile kennel, that is used to transport the puppies to the pet shop. These USDA licenses are called “T” licensees, meaning transport. These mobile kennels are equipped with on board heating and air conditioning to make the ride comfortable for both humans and puppies. The technology in the mobile kennel is similar to the ones in the Breeding kennel and brokers kennel. The mobile kennel will have automatic feeders and water’s and have a built in wash out, that washes all of the puppies messes into a onboard waste tank, so there is no smell and no mess. The mobile kennel is driven by a CDL licensed driver and a Vet tech is on board to provide everything the puppies need during their trip, which is basically 24/7 room service.
After being in the mobile kennel, they arrive to the pet shop. The pet shop is also licensed and inspected as well as heavily regulated. In fact, pet shop puppies are the most heavily regulated and transparent source of puppies in the country! When the puppies arrive, they are bathed and groomed and set up in their new temporary home in the pet shop. They are also examined by yet another licensed veterinarian before being offered for sale. Many states have puppy lemon laws that protect the consumer by providing health warrantees. Some state lemon laws require that the pet shop reimburse up to double the purchase price of any vet bills for a certain amount of time. Some states require that pet shops show the USDA records of the breeder and broker and provide a detailed health and history certificate for complete transparency. But even if a state doesn’t require the pet shop to show the USDA reports, they are available to the public online for free so its easy to research for yourself where the puppy came from. And searching for good breeders licensed through the USDA shouldn’t be hard because of the 1581 current USDA licensed breeders, 1253 have no violations! Also, 1494 out of the 1581 had only one small infraction or none at all! So what is so bad about a USDA breeder you ask? Well, Animal Rights groups like HSUS and PETA want total animal liberation from humans. This means no pets, no food, no saving species in need. They lump together all of the Unlicensed illegal breeders and hoarders with the small group of only 1581 licensed, law abiding breeders in the entire country so that they can claim there are THOUSANDS of breeders breeding puppy mill dogs. This is called misinformation, or a better word for it would be a lie. So USDA licensed breeders and licensed Pet shop owners are not the bad guys, they are your neighbors, a member of your church or synagogue, they are the mother and father of your child’s school friend, and your small local business. They are also the most heaviest regulated source of quality companion puppies that offer the ONLY fully transparent and government regulated provider of puppies available to the public today.
Pet Store Puppies Is The Only Source That Has To Provide Health Guarantees By Law.
|Arizona||15 days for illness, injury or defect
60 days for congenital or hereditary conditions
|1. Return for reimbursement of purchase price
2. Replacement and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees not to exceed the original purchase price of the animal
3. Retain the animal and receive reimbursement for veterinary bills not to exceed the purchase price
|Massachusetts||14 days for disease or congenital disorder||1. Replacement
|Minnesota||10 days for health problem
1 year for congenital or hereditary defects or misrepresentation of breed
|If death occurs:
1. Replacement and reimbursement for reasonably veterinary fees up to the purchase price
2. Refund of full purchase price
If the animal does not die:
2. Refund of full purchase price
3. Reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees up to the purchase price of the animal
|Nebraska||The law requires a purchaser to have the pet examined by a licensed veterinarian within 7 business days after delivery of the animal
Remedy is available for:
7 days for serious health problems that the veterinarian believes existed at the time of delivery of the pet
15 months after the date of birth of the pet for serious health problems or if the animal has died from a serious health problem that existed at the time of delivery to the purchaser
Serious health problem means a congenital or hereditary defect or contagious disease that causes severe illness or death but does not include parvovirus if the diagnosis is made after the seven-business day requirement or any other contagious disease that causes severe illness or death ten calendar days after delivery of the pet animal to the purchaser.
|1. A refund of the full purchase price upon return of the animal to the seller
2. an exchange for a pet animal of purchaser’s choice of equivalent value or
3. Reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees, not to exceed the full purchase price
If the animal does not die:
1. refund of the full purchase price or
2. a pet of the purchaser’s choice of equivalent value and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees not to exceed one-half of the full purchase price of the pet animal
|Nevada||10 days for illness, disease, terminal condition, or condition requiring immediate hospitalization or surgery||1. Refund of purchase price
3. Retain the animal and receive reimbursement in an amount not to exceed the purchase price of the pet, for expenses incurred for veterinary fees
|New Hampshire||14 days for disease||1. Replacement within 2 business days of veterinary examination
2. Refund of full purchase price within 2 business days of veterinary examination
|New Jersey||14 days if animal becomes sick or dies of a non-congenital condition
6 months for congenital or hereditary defects
|If death occurs:
1. Refund of purchase price of animal
2. Replacement plus the cost of veterinary fees
If the animal does not die:
1. Replacement plus the cost of veterinary fees
2. Refund of purchase price plus the cost of veterinary fees
3. Reimbursement of veterinary fees incurred and future veterinary fees to be incurred in attempting to cure the animal
|New York||14 days for illness, contagious or infectious disease
180 days if a licensed veterinarian certifies such animal to be unfit for purchase due to a congenital malformation which adversely affects the health of the animal
|1. Replacement plus the cost of veterinary fees directly related to certification that animal is unfit for purchase
2. Right to return the animal and receive an exchange animal of the consumer’s choice of equivalent value and reasonable veterinary costs directly related to the veterinarian’s certification that the animal is unfit for purchase
3. Reimbursement of veterinary fees for curing or attempting to cure the animal, up to the purchase price
|Oregon||15 days if the purchaser has the dog examined by a veterinarian and the examination reveals that the dog is diseased
One year if the purchaser has the dog examined by a veterinarian and the examination reveals that the dog has a congenital disorder that significantly limits the dog’s quality of life.
In order to receive a remedy, the purchaser must notify the dealer within 4 days of the veterinary examination
2. Replacement; or
3. Reimbursement of veterinary costs up to the purchase price of the animal
|Pennsylvania||10 days if the dog is clinically ill or dies from contagious or infectious disease or parasitic illness
30 days for congenital or hereditary defects
2. Refund of purchase price
3. Reimbursement of reasonable veterinary fees incurred in curing or attempting to cure the dog, up to the purchase price
|Rhode Island||20 days for illness, disease or other defect
2 years for congenital or hereditary condition
|1. Return for purchase price plus veterinary fees up to the purchase price
2. Exchange plus reimbursement of veterinary fees up to the purchase price
3. Retain the animal and receive reimbursement of veterinary fees up to the original purchase price
|Arkansas||10 days for illness, congenital malformation, contagious, or infectious disease||Reimbursement of veterinary expenses to treat the dog up to the purchase price of the dog|
|South Carolina||14 days if certified unfit for purchase due to non-congenital cause or condition
6 months for congenital or hereditary disease
|If death occurs within 14 days of possession by purchaser:
2. Replacement plus reimbursement of veterinary fees incurred before death
If the animal does not die:
1. Replacement plus the cost of veterinary fees up to 50% of the purchase price
2. Refund plus the cost of veterinary fees up to 50% of the purchase price
3. Reimbursement of veterinary fees up to 50% of the purchase price
|Vermont||7 days for illness or contagious or infectious disease
1 year for congenital malformation or hereditary disease
|1. Return with a full refund including tax and reasonable veterinary fees.
2. Return and exchange for an animal of equivalent value and reimbursement of reasonable veterinary costs
3. Reimbursement of veterinary fees related to curing or attempting to cure the animal, up to the purchase price
|Virginia||10 days for contagious or infectious disease
10 days for congenital or hereditary disease
14 days for parvovirus
|1. The right to return the animal or, in the case of an animal that has died, to present the veterinary certification, within three business days of certification and receive a refund of the purchase price including sales tax; or
2. The right to return the animal or, in the case of an animal that has died, to present the veterinary certification, within three business days of certification and to receive an exchange animal of equivalent value from the dealer, subject to the choice of the consumer.; or
3. In the case of an animal purchased from a pet shop or a USDA licensed dealer, the right to retain the animal and to receive the reimbursement of veterinary fees in an amount up to the purchase price of the animal, including sales tax and the cost of the veterinary certification, incurred up to the time the consumer notifies the pet dealer of the intent to keep the animal. Such notification shall occur within three business days of certification. Veterinary costs incurred by the consumer after such notification shall be the responsibility of the consumer.
|California||15 days for illness or disease
1 year for congenital or hereditary defects
|1. Replacement plus reimbursement for veterinary expenses related to diagnosis and treatment, up to the purchase price of the dog
2. Refund of purchase price plus reimbursement for veterinary expenses up to the purchase price of the dog
3. Reimbursement of veterinary expenses up to 150% of the purchase price of the dog
|Connecticut||20 days for illness existing at the time of sale
6 months for congenital defects
|1. Reimbursement of the value of the actual services and medications provided to such dog or cat by a veterinarian for the treatment of such illness or congenital defect.
Reimbursement shall not exceed (I) the full purchase price of such dog or cat for any dog or cat purchased for five hundred dollars or more, and (II) five hundred dollars for any dog or cat purchased for less than five hundred dollars.
3. Refund of full purchase price
|Delaware||20 days for illness, disease or defect
2 years for congenital or hereditary conditions
|1. Return and refund of purchase price plus reasonable veterinary fees not to exceed the purchase price
2. Exchange and reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees not to exceed the purchase price
3. Retain the animal and receive reimbursement for reasonable veterinary fees not to exceed the purchase price
|Florida||14 days for illness, contagious or infectious disease
1 year for congenital or hereditary defects
1 year for misrepresentation of breed, sex, or health of animal
|1. Replacement plus reimbursement for veterinary expenses (directly related to examination and certification) up to the purchase price
2. Refund plus reimbursement for veterinary expenses (directly related to examination and certification) up to the purchase price
3. Reimbursement of veterinary expenses to treat the dog up to the purchase price of the dog
|Illinois||21 days due to:
(A) illness or disease, the presence of symptoms of a contagious or infectious disease, or obvious signs of severe parasitism that are extreme enough to influence the general health of the animal, excluding fleas or ticks
(B) the dog or cat has died from a disease that existed in the dog or cat on or before the date of delivery to the customer
One year due to:
congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the health of the dog or cat or requires either hospitalization or a non-elective surgical procedure or has died of a congenital or hereditary condition. Internal or external parasites may not be considered to adversely affect the health of the dog unless the presence of the parasites makes the dog or cat clinically ill
|‚Äã1. Return the dog or cat to the pet shop for a full refund of the purchase price;
2. Exchange the dog or cat for another dog or cat of comparable value chosen by the customer;
3. Retain the dog or cat and be reimbursed for reasonable veterinary fees for diagnosis and treatment of the dog or cat, not to exceed the purchase price of the dog or cat; or
4. If the dog or cat is deceased, be reimbursed for the full purchase price of the dog or cat plus reasonable veterinary fees associated with the diagnosis and treatment of the dog or cat, not to exceed 2 times the purchase price of the dog or cat.
|Maine||10 days for health problems existing before purchase
1 year for hereditary or congenital defects
|If death occurs:
2. refund of purchase price
If the animal does not die:
1. return for full refund of purchase price
3. retain and reimbursement for half of reasonable veterinary fees not to exceed half of the original purchase price
|Maryland||14 days for disease of illness adversely affecting the health of the dog
180 days for congenital or hereditary condition adversely affecting the health of the dog or that requires hospitalization or a non-elective surgical procedure
|1. Return the dog for a full refund of the purchase price
3. Retain the dog and be reimbursed by the retail pet store for reasonable and documented veterinary fees for diagnosis and treatment of the dog, not exceeding the purchase price of the dog.
Quick Facts About Pet Store Puppies
Pet Stores are the most transparent and most regulated source to obtain your new best friend. Buying a puppy from a local Pet Store will ensure that the puppy you purchase has been well cared for from breeder to pet store and that the parents of the puppy are also well taken care of.
● The United States Department of Agriculture regulates the Breeders and the Dealer, as well as the Transportation company used to bring those puppies to the Pet Store.
● Individual States Agriculture Departments also oversee and inspect these Breeders and Distributers.
● Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates who can drive the mobile kennels that transport the puppies to the Pet Stores.
● Local Agriculture Departments and Health Departments oversees, regulates, and inspects pet stores.
● Local Municipalities and Governments also regulate Pet Stores. For example, certain states require pet stores only to deal with breeders who have no direct violations during recent inspections.
● Puppies from Pet Stores receive more veterinary care and over sight during the 1st 12 weeks of age than any other source of puppies.
● According to the ASPCA, Pet Stores are only responsible for about 2% of all dogs sold.
● Pet Stores can only source from Federally Licensed and Inspected Dog Breeders and Hobby Breeders.
● Pet Stores will guarantee their puppies, even if the state does not have a puppy lemon law.
● You can find puppies registered with all of the large dog registry’s such as American Kennel Club (AKC), American Canine Association (ACA), and American Pet Registry (APRI) .
● Pet Store Puppies sometimes come from direct champion lines or proven working lines.