Sources of Companion Animals

Because there are homeless animals awaiting adoption in almost every community in the nation, the ASPCA firmly believes that when people decide to bring a pet into their homes, they should first consider adoption from a shelter or rescue group. Those who choose to purchase a pet should visit a responsible breeder, a term whose meaning we explain further in this position statement. This policy and position statement focuses primarily on dogs, but certainly has some application to other species, particularly cats and rabbits.  

Pet stores and Websites

The ASPCA is opposed to the breeding of dogs under conditions that fail to meet their behavioral, social and physiological needs. Although the range of care provided by breeders varies greatly, “commercial breeders,” a term we use to refer to facilities that produce dogs in high quantities, generally with the intention that they be sold through a broker, pet store, or other third party, typically keep animals in conditions that are detrimental to their health and welfare.

Therefore, we do not support purchasing or otherwise acquiring dogs from commercial breeders, brokers, or retail outlets that sell puppies (both stores and websites). While the Internet can be an effective and efficient tool for locating adoptable dogs and responsible breeders, purchasing or otherwise acquiring purposely bred dogs via the Internet – without first meeting the dogs and seeing the conditions in which the breeding dogs and their offspring are kept – unwittingly allows bad breeding practices to remain hidden and continue unabated.