There is a pet store across the street from my job in Chelsea. I walk past it on my way to java juice for lunch. I nearly lose my appetite every time I see the squirmy little puppies smoldering in the hot window compartment that they are stored in to get passerbys attention. Today, I was one of those passerbys that was so swayed by the puppies’ plight as to go in and see what this pet store was all about. The first thing I noticed was the heat wave that hit me upon entering. A large sign pleading in thick black letters to forgive them for the heat as the air conditioning is broken. One look at the lethargic puppies sweltering in their 12 inch by 12 inch clear plastic boxes was enough to tell me that it’s the puppies who need an apology. It was obvious by the dodgy answers of the pet shop clerks that they get their stock from puppy mills.
Among the stacks of poorly ventilated puppy pods; there was one little Shiba Inu puppy. Its appearance was that of sled dog with a dense double coat and beautiful white grey markings that looked particularly dejected and affected by the heat. Hoping to give it a few minutes of freedom and exercise; I asked to see it. The attendant hastily set up a metal cage for the puppy to be set in. Puppies are usually hyper-active, but this puppy’s activity had a desperate edge to it. His poor social skills (probably due to lack of socialization as he is locked in a box all day) and his constant chewing of my hands, feet and shirt led me to ask the attendant for a chew toy for him. The attendant curtly explained to me, in broken English, that the puppies did not get chew toys. When I asked why, he sneered, “we don’t want to spoil them.” The attendant then hinted at the fact that the Shiba puppy, which looked no older than 3 months, had been there for 8 weeks and really needed a home. He even offered up the bargain price of $695.00 if I took him home today.
I left the citipet shop with a nauseous feeling in my gut. There is a seldom seen dark underbelly in the market of puppies. The ones that aren’t sold are euthanized when they get "too old" and there tend to be a lot of 'rejects' (ones w/ genetic problems, physical defects, etc) because of the inbreeding that goes along with pure breeds. I wish there was more I could for the little guys. To be honest, the idea of buying a puppy from this place to save it crossed my mind, but doing that just tells the owners that there is a demand, and they will do anything to make a profit. It is viewing the cruelty of merchants like this that keeps me from claiming ‘libertarianism’ as my political ideology. Sometimes, regulation can save lives.