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A pet store that doesn’t sell pets may sound a bit paradoxical, but more and more pet stores are shedding the practice, focusing instead on selling pet supplies and services while promoting adoptions. This “adoption-only model” pairs retailers with local shelters and rescue organizations, helping them find forever homes for the nation’s millions of homeless animals.
Through these partnerships, retailers offer the adoption services of an animal shelter with the customer service and shopping atmosphere of a trusted store. Store owners, in return, bring in additional business, especially from concerned animal advocates. It’s a win-win scenario for consumers, shelters, businesses and, of course, the animals.
And early evidence suggests the tactic works. A Tennessee shelter raised adoption rates in 2012—with a correlated drop in euthanasia rates—thanks to frequent off-site adoption events. Meanwhile, city shelters in Albequerque, NM, witnessed similar results following a ban on the sales of cats and dogs in the city.
Individual stores, whole shopping malls, and even entire cities are now embracing the effort, replacing commercially bred animals with adoption centers. As one measure of this growing trend, HSUS recently celebrated a major milestone with the addition of the 2,000th store to sign their “Puppy Friendly Pet Store” pledge, a promise to patrons that the store promotes animal adoption and rescue.
These growing numbers suggest that, rather than paradoxical, the practice can be profitable.