Midway through another report on a northeastern shelter importing nearly two thirds of their dogs to meet the public’s demand for pets, we came across this comment from a representative of the AVMA and rejoiced:
There are no federal laws regulating the state-to-state transport of animals for adoption and that has some animal welfare advocates worrying about pet trafficking and the spread of diseases. Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, Chair of the Animal Welfare Committee for the American Veterinary Medical Association and Vice President of animal welfare for the Animal Rescue League of Boston, says guidelines should be developed by veterinarians to ensure the welfare of transported animals.
“There are people who would take advantage of people’s desire for a puppy and so there are some organizations that are simply bringing up truck loads of puppies because they can be sold – even a mutt – can be sold for $400, $500, $600 hundred dollars,” said Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore.
It is so great to hear somebody from the AVMA say this. Dog trafficking is a topic we have long been passionate about at NAIA, and for numerous serious reasons:
- The emergence or reemergence of communicable diseases into new areas from sick dogs
- Adoptable local dogs being displaced — maybe not as small or cute as the dogs coming in, but they need homes too!
- Unknown, non-communicable diseases in adopted dogs
- Temperament issues
- It sustains the myth of pet dog overpopulation, rather than the far more nuanced and regional population issues we face today.
- A general lack of transparency
- Transports that don’t (and don’t have to) follow the humane transport laws that govern others who ship large numbers of dogs
- Ethical questions raised: are some transporters “profiting off the misery” of source areas with overcrowded shelters by moving a few “choice” (i.e. easily adoptable) dogs, while doing nothing to reduce or end the problem of unwanted adoptable dogs at its source?
- There are also, coincidentally, a large number of pets stolen from source areas, a concern that is tied to “a general lack of transparency.”
We have been beating this drum for more than 15 years. In 2003, when NAIA was quoted in a front-page USA Today article on humane relocation, people called us crazy (and worse!), but concerns have gone mainstream as the public has become more educated and experienced negative consequences.
For further reading:
- Redefining Pet Overpopulation: The No-Kill Movement and the New Jet Setters
- Humane or Insane?
- Disparage – Regulate – Prohibit – Monopolize
- No-Kill Shelters Save Millions Of Unwanted Pets — But Not All Of Them
- With Rescue Dogs In Demand, More Shelters Look Far Afield For Fido