20,000 shelter pets adopted through HSUS pet store conversion program

Brittany Rice with Ginger at the Fish and More Pet Store in
Sylva, North Carolina. The store transitioned from selling
commercially-bred dogs and cats to offering adoptable shelter
animals. Photo by Peter Taylor/AP Images for the HSUS

One of the ways we are boosting animal adoptions from shelters,
steadily reducing the population of homeless animals in the United
States, and striking a blow against puppy mills is through our
Puppy-Friendly Pet Stores Program. As part of this initiative, we
work with pet stores to help them transition from selling
commercially raised puppies to offering shelter dogs for

Recently, this
lifesaving program
crossed an important landmark, with 20,147
shelter puppies and dogs placed into loving homes. Among the
animals helped so far are dogs like Georgia. Georgia had just given
birth at the Lincoln County Shelter in Georgia, and the puppies
were placed in another shelter with an opportunity to be adopted.
Georgia, however, appeared to have no future — she was living in
a tiny crate and was scheduled to be euthanized.

Dawn Bateman, director of animal welfare for Pets Plus Natural,
was at the shelter to pick up animals (the shelter is a Pet Plus
partner), when she happened to see Georgia and hear her story. She
was smitten and couldn’t let the sweet dog meet a sad end. Dawn
adopted Georgia and the dog now often accompanies her to work at
the Pets Plus Natural store in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. The two are

When our program first began in November 2008, it looked very
different. Our goal at the time was to support hundreds of
independent and small-chain pet stores across the United States
that refused to sell puppies at all. We provided these stores with
signs for their front windows declaring their commitment, and free
materials for their customers on how to find a dog or puppy from a
humane source, such as a local shelter. We also list the stores on

our website
and provide their details to consumers who text
30644 (data and message rates apply). More than 3,000 stores in all
50 states and the District of Columbia are now signed up as
participants in this program.

In 2013, we expanded the program by proactively reaching out to
pet stores that were selling commercially-raised puppies to see if
they would be interested in converting to a more humane model. To
avoid supporting fake rescues or irresponsible sources, we set up a
carefully planned process that would include assistance to the pet
store at every step and help the store create partnerships with
reputable rescues or shelters in the surrounding area.

This is how it works: when a store applies to participate in our
program, John Moyer, outreach program manager for the Stop Puppy
Mills campaign, works with the store to make sure they are fully
ending the sale of any breeder or puppy mill puppies. He assists
them with forging a good relationship with one or more of the
HSUS’s shelter and rescue partners around the country, and also
addresses any questions or concerns from the local community about
where the rescued puppies were coming from.

In some cases, we help facilitate the transport of dogs from
different parts of the country to the converted stores, working
with placement partners including Animal Aid USA and Puppy Pipeline
Rescue in Georgia, Natchez Adams County Humane Society and Hub City
Humane Society in Mississippi, San Antonio Animal Care Services,
Estill County Animal Shelter and The Way Home Rescue Alliance in
Kentucky, and Humane Society of Tampa Bay in Florida.

Twenty-four pet stores in 11 states have converted to this model
so far and now offer only rescued dogs and, sometimes, cats, for
adoption. We even have some larger retail chains on board,
including Pets Plus Natural, a Philadelphia-based pet store with
six outlets in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, all now part of the
Puppy-Friendly Pet Stores Program.

The Puppy-Friendly Pet Stores Program is a critical part of our
overall campaign to spur animal adoptions, end puppy mills, help
shelters, shut down Internet sellers and outdoor flea markets, set
standards for the care of breeding dogs, and end animal
homelessness. In recent years, two states – California and
Maryland – and 325 localities have banned the sales of puppy mill
dogs in pet stores. Businesses that adopt our conversion model are
not just being smart and proactive by stopping the sales of
puppies, they are also helping animal shelters and giving their own
image a boost in the public’s eyes.

Let’s take a moment today to applaud this important milestone
and each one of these puppy friendly stores. They have not just
helped save more than 20,000 animals – they have also denied
puppy mill operators 20,000 chances to profit off the suffering of

See a list of Puppy-Friendly Pet Stores >>


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20,000 shelter pets adopted through HSUS pet store conversion
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Source: FS – Pets – A Humane Nation
20,000 shelter pets adopted through HSUS pet store conversion program