The USDA is charged with inspecting these facilities. The requirements are minimal, and violations are allowed to go on for years before any action at all is taken. These conditions, plus a long truck ride and life in a pet store cage for weeks or months, produce a lot of SICK PUPPIES. This results in suffering for these puppies and the people who purchase them, who are burdened with large vet bills.
• Problem two: contributing to the homeless animal overpopulation. The animals in pet stores are deliberately bred, which makes no sense because there's a horrific HOMELESS ANIMAL crisis that has been going on for many years. By conservative estimates, this will result in the slaughter of 3-4 million cats and dogs in shelters this year. That's seven dogs and cats killed every MINUTE, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
• Problem three: the exotic pet trade. Dogs and cats are not the only animals suffering because of the pet trade. Rabbits, birds, chinchillas, iguanas, fish, frogs, snakes, and even large wild animals like monkeys are sold as pets. They are either taken from the wild or bred in cages in conditions even worse than puppy mills. There is practically no government regulation of conditions for these animals.
Make sure you spay or neuter your animals. 7 million animals killed a year is a lot, but due to an increase in spaying and neutering, that is actually an improvement over previous years. What about getting a dog from a "responsible breeder"? They may treat their own dogs well, but why not use their time, space, and money for a better cause-saving the lives of animals who will be killed because no one adopted them?
It's tempting to "rescue" animals from a pet store by buying them because they are so miserable there, but this unfortunately rewards the very people who are deliberately causing their suffering. If you rescue one puppy from a cage, the store will immediately order another miserable puppy to put in the same cage. But when you adopt from shelters or rescue groups, the people who offer them for adoption are NOT the ones who caused the suffering. A legitimate rescue group does not BREED animals.
The law treats animals as property, but they are not products, possessions, or toys. They shouldn't be bought and sold and discarded like toaster ovens. They should be left alone in the wild if they are wild animals (unless you are helping an injured or definitely abandoned animal as per licensed wildlife rehabilitator guidelines), and protected if they are domesticated and have lost the ability to take care of themselves in the wild.
More Quick Facts to come...