Dear Editor, 

Kudos to the Westfield Town Council for passing their ordinance banning pet stores from selling puppies and kittens!  The Council should be commended for promoting shelter and rescue animals and not supporting the atrocities that occur at puppy and kitten mills.

Puppy mills are mass breeding operations that keep their dogs in small, wire cages outdoors their whole lives.  They are not provided exercise, socialization or medical care.  When they are no longer useful for breeding, they are discarded.  These dogs are not like the dogs who lay at our feet or sleep on our beds.  They are commodities.  They are not allowed to run in grass or chase balls.  They receive no human affection.  They are subject to brutal weather conditions and lay in their own urine and feces.  It's a cruel life that's purported by pet stores selling animals.

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The article stated, "Bark Avenue Puppies store owner Gary Hager argued that unlike pets purchased from his store, rescued animals often come with limited medical history."  This is absolutely untrue.  Many rescue animals were given up by their guardians and medical and behavioral history is provided.  Reputable shelters and rescues do an incredible job of procuring any necessary medical care and assessing behavior.  Rescue volunteers who foster animals can tell a potential adopter how an animal will act in a home environment.  Pet stores cannot.   

Rescues want to place their animals in the right home and go to great lengths to ensure they are a good fit for their adopters.  That's why it takes a little time to adopt from a rescue.  Rescues speak with you to find out what you're looking for in a companion animal.  They ask for references from your veterinarian and do a home visit.  Volunteers foster these animals in their homes and care for them until permanent homes are found.  They are fully invested in making sure both animal and adopter are happy.  Pet stores don't care about making a good match.  The only qualification to adopt is a credit card.  


Shari Wexler