Animal Health & Welfare

Buying a Pet


Animal Care Services supports adopting a pet from your local shelter over buying a pet from a pet shop or breeder. This pet sale commercial explains why. 

Courtesy of one of our partners, Best Friends Animal Society, here are some very good reasons why choosing to Adopt…Don’t Shop! is the right thing to do:

  1. Buying a pet can easily cost $500 to $1,000 or more. Adoption costs range from $50 to $200, depending on whether the pet comes from ACS or a rescue group that has spent money on boarding, vets and grooming.

  2. You’re getting more for your money if you get a mixed breed. Based on the well-established principle of “hybrid vigor,” a mixed-breed animal is likely to live longer and cost less in vet bills than a pure breed. Many purebred dogs are prone to developing health problems ranging from breathing difficulties to hip dysplasia to an enlarged heart.

  3. A pet purchased from a pet store is a complete unknown. And, once you walk out of the store, you are on your own. Most pet stores don’t provide any support if you have questions or problems with your new pet. When you adopt, especially from a rescue group, you know what you are getting because the group has a history on the animal. The rescue group will also help you through the familiarization period because they are invested in providing a good home for that animal.

  4. When you adopt a pet, you are saving a life. When you buy a pet, you not only deny a homeless pet a home, you are supporting an industry that thrives on short-changing the welfare of animals. Puppy and kitten mills (which sell to pet stores) are in business to make a profit, so they churn out puppies and kittens as fast as they can. These animals are often in ill health and have problems like poor socialization skills due to lack of human companionship and genetic defects due to inbreeding.

  5. If you adopt, you get your choice of any age. Though puppies and kittens are cute and cuddly, they can also be a handful. An adult or older pet may be a better fit for you. For example, adopting an adult dog who’s already house-trained and knows basic cues is often much easier than adopting a puppy, who must be taught these things.

  6. You get just as much love (if not more). An adopted pet is every bit as loving, intelligent and loyal as a purchased pet, even if you get an adult or older animal.

Breeders & Retail Pet Shops

If you do decide to go with a breeder, do your homework. Research the breeder online, ask friends and family, read reviews, even check out the Better Business Bureau for reliable recommendations to ensure you are healthy pet. Insist on getting copies of all veterinary records, previous history, and your new pets parents, litter mates (when at all, possible). Reputable breeders will provide these documents and may even allow you to return the pet for a full refund, if the placement does not work out.

While there are reputable, well intentioned breeders who use online social media such as Craigslist, Facebook, and Internet Ads as legitimate marketing tools, prospective buyers are encouraged to use extra caution to ensure the reliability, credibility, humane care, and safety of both you and your new pet when purchasing from these avenues.

Any person whose female dog or cat has a litter must obtain a litter permit prior to or within ten business days of the litter’s birth. No more than one litter per female dog in a 12-month period is allowed (Chapter 5. Sec. 5-107.).

Any person who sells or offers for sale one or more puppies must obtain a seller’s permit (Chapter 5. Sec. 5-108). A seller's permit is not required if a litter permit has been purchased.

Illegal pet sales are a problem in our community and while there are reputable breeders who genuinely care for their pet's well being, there are many others who are only concerned about profits. Anyone who advertises or sells puppies in S.A. without the required permit is breaking the law and current ordinance allows ACS officers to confiscate the animals as a result. If you choose to buy a pet through a breeder, ensure they are reputable and your new pet is in good health before making your purchase.  

Did You Know?

  • Did you know it is against the law for any person to sell, trade, barter, lease, rent, or give away, any animal on any roadside, public right-of-way, commercial parking lot, garage sale, flea market, festival, park, community center or outdoor public place (Chapter 5. Sec. 5-11.).
  • Did you know that it is against the law for any person or organization to give away, or offer to give away, any live animal as a prize for, or as an inducement to enter, any contest, game or other competition, or as an inducement to enter a place of amusement, or offer such animal as an incentive to enter into any business agreement whereby the offer was for the purpose of attracting trade (Chapter 5. Sec. 5-10.).