More than half of American households have at least one pet. Birds, cats, dogs and fish are the most popular pets. Small animals like hamsters or guinea-pigs are also common. Some of these animals can be adopted at local humane societies. However, most pet owners purchase their pets from retail stores. Many welfare issues arise because so many animals are housed in retail pet shops, such as the availability of proper housing and food, proper sanitation, and veterinary care.
It is important to ensure the safety and health of pets in pet shops. There is no federal law that regulates the care of pets in pet shops. You must check the state laws to find laws that regulate pet shops. At the moment, fifteen states do not have laws that regulate pet shops. There are many differences in the pet store laws in all thirty-five states and the District of Columbia.
Twenty-eight states and D.C. require that pet shops obtain a license in order to operate their business. The license must be applied for by the business owner. The application will often ask about the proposed methods of sanitation, animal housing, waste management plans and whether the animals will be given veterinary care. The cost of a license varies from one state to the next. An inspection of the premises is required before a license can be issued. A license will only be issued if the premises comply with state law.
Once a pet shop is open, there are many welfare issues. These include the feeding and watering, availability of veterinary care for sick animals and whether the housing provided accommodates their safety and space needs. Not all states have the same laws that regulate the welfare of pets sold in pet shops. In fact, less that half of all states require that pets be fed and water. Eight of these states only require that water and food be available for cats and dogs.