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Animal Cruelty Hotline:

1-855-622-7722

For all other calls and inquiries
see our contact details.

Find a BC SPCA location in your area:

​Should I buy a puppy from a pet store?

Read our position on the sale of pets from pet stores (PDF).

Puppy dog looking sad behind a gate cage

What are the concerns with buying from a pet store?

  • You don’t know where the animals came from. What if they were living in filth and their mothers were abused or neglected? They might have costly genetic (PDF), health and behaviour problems their entire lives. Learn more about good and bad breeders.
  • Many stores carry animals that they have no expertise or knowledge to care for. These animals are not given the Five Freedoms. Many just want a safe place to hide and rest and enough space and things to do. Often, cramped housing conditions don’t meet even their most basic needs.
  • When animals are transported to the pet store, they are often in cramped containers. Many animals, especially small animals like fish and gerbils, will die during transport.
  • If you buy from a pet store, you are creating a space for another animal to be brought in, continuing a cycle of pain and suffering.

What happens to pet store animals who aren’t sold?

Just like with inventory in retail, animals go on sale. If the animal is marked down and no one purchases her, the store may give the animal away or try to return her to the breeder. After a very low cost sale of an animal that has high care costs, the store will think twice and will not purchase another, be it a puppy, turtle or gecko.

Cute rat in cage with hands over bars looking over opening of cage

Are you worried about the well-being of an animal you saw in a pet store?

If you believe an animal you have seen may be in distress, call the BC SPCA Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722.

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