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Responsible ownership


FOUR PAWS promotes responsible pet ownership. This includes that pets are bred and sold in a responsible way. FOUR PAWS opposes the sale of animals in pet shops due to welfare issues that can arise. These include the constant breeding of animals, poor treatment and housing conditions, inhospitable conditions while transporting the animals to the point of sale, and the promotion of impulse buying of pets.

FOUR PAWS advises people to think carefully of the implications of owning a pet and promotes adoption rather than buying. If for some worthy reason adoption isn’t possible, local reputable breeders can be a second source to acquire a pet.

FOUR PAWS appreciates the steps a number of cities have taken, most recently Cambridge, MA, to stop the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops. The Cambridge City Council announced that it will soon prohibit the selling of not only cats and dogs, but also reptiles, birds, and small mammals in pet shops, unless they come from an animal shelter or rescue organization.

This is an important step that can bring awareness to the issue of mass commercial breeding and exploitation of animals for profit. Even more than pet stores, the global online trade in animals is booming and poorly regulated. FOUR PAWS is taking action to tackle the many problems involved with the online selling of animals, particularly through poorly regulated websites, through a campaign to change the selling situation on online classified platforms. The aim is to regulate the market and make sellers traceable, transparent, and accountable.