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Retail store switches to selling shelter dogs

January 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
One pet store is taking a stand by not selling pets that come from so-called puppy mills. It's teaming up with a national pet organization and only offers dogs and cats from animal shelters.

For the first time, many shelter dogs will be permanently displayed front and center at a local pet store window in a mall, displacing their commercially bred counterparts who typically get top billing.

This pet store will no longer sell commercially bred dogs, and people who avoid shelters because of their stigma will be able to adopt a dog or cat that otherwise might have been euthanized. It's all thanks to Pet Connections Inc., a national organization that devised the Pet Transport Program.

The pilot program went so well, the rescue dogs were so popular, that come March 1 a Barkworks store here in the Westside Pavilion will become an official adoption center for rescues.

"I just think it gives us a great opportunity to help the county and the city of L.A. and surrounding areas diminish the amount of dogs that are euthanized every year," said Barkworks General Manager Darren Letterman.

"The idea is that change is in motion here," said Marlene Walsh, Pet Connections Inc. "Whether it's ordinances that cities are passing, regulations that malls are implementing, where they no longer want commercially bred puppies in their stores, or simply public pressure to stop the puppy mill, the commercially bred dog industry. Whatever the case may be, the time is ripe for us to get this program under way, and we're very proud to be able to facilitate this."

If it goes well at this Barkworks store where rescues will be adopted out for a $300 to $500 fee, owners say they will convert the rest of their stores into adoption centers.