The Asamblea de Madrid (Madrid government) have proposed banning the display of cats and dogs in pet shops in the province.
The change in the Law for Protection of Companion Animals in Madrid, which will be debated on the 14th July, proposes the ban, suggesting instead the sale of pets via a catalogue system or similar means. Pet shops will no longer be allowed to keep cats and dogs on display as is currently commonplace. This means the end of cages full of puppies and kittens prompting impulse buying and purchasing without researching decent breeders. In many pet shops, the heat in the glass cases can soar to unbearable temperatures, and animals are sometimes left without water. Last summer, in La Gavia’s HobbyZoo I told the shop assistant that I noticed the puppies in the window didn’t have any water. I was told that they had knocked over the bowl, and that they had to learn a lesson from it. I refused to leave the shop until the bowl was refilled.
Although the shops will not be banned from selling pets, the customer will have to go through the internet, or a catalogue system, which means that the dogs and cats don’t have to physically be kept in the shops.
The amendment was submitted for consideration by the Ciudadanos political party, and was supported by the PSOE and Podemos, and voted against by the PP. The details of the change are yet to be determined, as are the species to be banned from the shops. It’s unsure yet if the ban will stretch to chinchillas, ferrets, hamsters, birds, even fish, or if it will just apply to cats and dogs.
Although this is a step forward, we still have a long way to go. Hopefully without those begging eyes pleading through the glass, owners will be less likely to impulse buy, which will hopefully in turn reduce the rate of abandonment in the province as the pounds and rescues are already far beyond breaking-point. Many pet shops are supplied by puppy farms, and are notorious for selling sick puppies or puppies who are too young to be away from their mother and siblings which can lead to future problems with health, behaviour and socialisation issues. Buying from a pet shop also means that the puppy has no medical history, or confirmation of health tests undergone on the parents. Often, although the shops sell the dogs or cats as purebred, no pedigree is available, which means the parents and breeders are untraceable.
While I will never recommend buying a pet over adopting, here’s hoping that the law will encourage people to purchase responsibly from reliable breeders who put the animals’ welfare first.