Practical Issues > "To Do" Index > Activism > Army of 1
Please Convince Pet Stores To Sell Pound Dogs

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The strangest day was the first. No barking. No squeals from excited kids. Just some empty cages and a stream of customers who asked the same question. "Where are they?"

The owners of the Animal House pet store on 62nd Avenue N in St. Petersburg decided this year they needed a newer, greener image. So they tacked Naturals to the end of their name and added stacks of natural products.

They also did something many smaller pet stores wouldn't think of doing. They stopped selling puppies.

"It was a family decision," said Rebecca Hearn, who manages the store with her sister, Rachel. The store is owned by their parents, Jim and Donna Nannen. "And it was a bit of a gamble."

Puppy sales can account for up to 20 percent of monthly revenue, and the markup can be huge. A purebred puppy bought for $300 can be sold for $1,000 or more.

But sales at Animal House are better now than when puppies were sold, partly because of the store's partnership with local animal rescue and adoption groups. Each weekend, a different group brings dogs to the store, where customers can adopt them. And, of course, shop for supplies.

PetSmart and Petco are among major retailers that decided years ago not to sell dogs and cats. But smaller stores often can't afford to lose a large part of their business.

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