Spain: “pets are sold much like groceries”

The words in the title were written by Graham Keeley a Times journalist and judging by the story he has written, he is correct. However, Spain’s unwanted cat problem is similar to other countries; so I am not picking on Spain, simply reporting a cat story which should conern and ultimately delight (perhaps) cat lovers anywhere in any country.

Pet Shop Spain
Pet Shop Spain
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Keeley describes the scene at a pet shop in pet shop in Madrid, “Animals & Cia”:

“Puppies huddle together in cramped boxes waiting for new owners…and kittens are on sale in the next aisle…”

Despite pets being sold in shops like groceries, it does not surprise me that Spain had the highest level of cat and dog abandonments in Europe last year at 33,000 cats and 110,000 dogs, at least. Just as a comparison, Los Angeles, California Animal Services report that for the period 2009-2014, they processed 104,000 cats, of which 55,000 were euthanised. It is rather strange comparing a country with a city.

With cats being sold in shops and abandoned in large numbers animal rights groups say:

“It does not make sense that the dog refuges are full and every day dogs are sacrificed by their owners, and at the same time the pet shops are full.”

Agreed. The Spanish government agreed too. A new law is being debated and drafted which will be presented to parliament this autumn, which aims to put a stop to this cycle of impulse buying and subsequent abandonments. This is the exact point I made in a recent article about risk factors in cat adoptions.

The new law will ban the sale of cats and dogs at pet shops. However, although the new legislation is welcome, I am not too sure about the suggested alternative. 

Instead of being on sale in shops cats and dogs will be listed in catalogues and then bought later from breeders. That does not sound correct to me and I wonder if Keeley is reporting it correctly. Surely it would be better if rescue cats and dogs were listed for viewing in catalogues or better still there were no catalogues and people had to attend rescue centers to adopt a cat? There is no place for breeders as long as there are unwanted cats and dogs being euthanised.

The Agriculture Secretary states:

“We are trying to stop the impulse purchase of pets by people who later decide the animal is not for them..”

Good, but please take this opportunity to figure out a better alternative.

8 thoughts on “Spain: “pets are sold much like groceries””

  1. Well I dont think that’s a good idea for the pets as just anyone could take them without really thinking about it. Its a sad life, if they are picked up in aisle. How horrible. My Last pet i ever got from a pet shop was Cassy which was 10yrs ago. I think its a horrible way to get a kitty or Pup. Something must be done. There got to be some protection for those vulnerable pets.

  2. I hate that even here we sell kittens in pet shops!! I was given a kitten once by a man in a pet shop because I created such a song a dance about this kitten he was huddled scared in a corner of the cage with noisy brats poking their fingers through the bars I nearly cried with rage at the owner!! He said for Gods sake take him so I did and found him a wonderful home.

    It should be banned and people only be allowed to take puppies, kittens, dogs and cats from shelters and rescue centres such as the CPL because they neuter the ones that are old enough before they go and give vouchers for the ones that are too young.

    It just makes perfect sense and its absolutely the right thing for animal welfare and encourages responsible pet ownership.

    Animals are not a commodity and it makes me so mad 🙁

  3. Ruth,

    I adopted two kitties from a breeder. As y’all know both were special needs. I just happen to be crazy about them- love the temperament, and I couldn’t be happier about them if I tried:)

    I totally agree with you that petstore pets should be banned. Again, perhaps this would put a huge dent on the mills.

  4. Pet shops are horrible places to sell animals! There should be a worldwide law to stop it.
    Also I can’t understand the mentality of people who buy from breeders while there are many cats and dogs killed in Shelters for lack of homes. Those people must have no conscience.
    Instead of listing animals for sale in catalogues why not have a drive on so many Shelter animals waiting to be adopted AND an educational drive also that pets are not disposable possessions, they are living feeling creatures.

  5. If laws were passed around the world to ban the sale of pets in pet stores, it would help to eradicate puppy and kitten mills for sure. These horrible, cruel industries are the main source for kittens and puppies.

    This said, I agree highly with Rudolph in his assessment that some folks would turn to pr1vate breeders IF they would be willing to pay the much higher prices that some breeders charge. At least they would have contact with the seller- and know where the pet came from. With puppy and kitten mills, it is strictly a roll of the dice and so many of these babies are very sick.

  6. If pets are not allowed to be sold at “PET SHOPS” then buyers would definitely buy from other sources, notably private breeders.This is not the solution to decrease abandonment of pats in the Western and Developed World. The mental attitude towards owning pets and their welfare should be educated into a pet owner.If a pet owner sees and treats a pet like a disposable tangible commodity then the euthanization of abandoned pets will never cease or decrease.Its akin to changing cars,bikes, etc etc once bored of the same.


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