They're For Sale, Not Up For Adoption
Responsible pet store owners sell products, not pets. Many larger brands like PetSmart team up with local adoption centers to showcase adoptable dogs and cats. Smaller pet stores are starting to jump on board, too, selling pet products and hosting adoptable shelter animals, instead of selling animals from mills or other dubious sources. If you see a high price tag on a pet, be wary.
They're All Puppies Because They Come From A Mill
Are all the animals in the store kittens and puppies, with nary an adult dog in sight? If so, it's likely this pet store isn't partnering up with a shelter to find homes, but is instead collecting animals from a mill. Research indicates that 90 percent of puppies found in pet stores come from a puppy mill rather than from a shelter.
Beware Of "USDA Licensed"
The tagline "USDA licensed breeder" sounds pretty official, doesn't it? The truth is, it doesn't hold much weight. U.S. federal law under the Animal Welfare Act allows breeders to keep animals in cages with wire flooring that are stacked on top of each other. It also lets them breed females continuously with little to no break between litters. So, a "USDA licensed breeder" in the window doesn't indicate much about where the animals actually come from or how they're being treated.