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Some pounds, shelters and humane societies may sell "surplus" dogs and cats to Class B dealers and/or research facilities - a practice commonly called "pound seizure." To date, only 13 states have outlawed pound seizure. They are: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. In those states where pound seizure has not been banned, it is up to each city or county (depending on whether a facility is city or county run) to decide whether or not to allow or mandate Pound Seizure.

Whether or not a state-wide ban on Pound Seizure exists, some pounds or shelters practice pound seizure illegally--some even acquiring pets illegally. There are known cases of family dogs and cats being picked up as "strays," being "laundered" through the pound, shelter or humane society system (by withholding them from view or taking them to an out-of-town facility to fulfill the required five-day holding period), and later sold to a dealer or research facility. Having a pound, shelter or humane society that practices pound seizure in your area means that every pet is worth money, and increases the chances of pet theft occurring in your community.

For a sample letter that you can send to your elected officials regarding pound seizure.

Dear Elected Official,

I am writing concerning your proposed ordinance which would regulate Animal Control within the city/state/county. We understand that you are planning to allow "Pound Seizure," the sale of pound animals that have not been claimed or who have been relinquished by their families to the highest bidder. Please allow me to explain why I am in opposition to this practice.

According to In Defense of Animals, who has investigated the thefts of thousands of dogs and cats since 1995, they have found that when a local animal shelter decides to sell pound animals, a much higher rate of pet theft occurs in those areas. This occurs in part because there exists a profit motive to sell animals. High demand animal research has created a market for dogs and cats and has insured animal dealers hefty incomes.

While many animal shelter workers are ethical and hard working, the temptation to sell homeless animals by the back door for quick cash is an all too familiar reality across our country.

No one can be certain their own beloved pet will never fall into the hands of researchers as long as pets from pounds are allowed to be research subjects. A lost or stolen pet may not be located or rescued in time to prevent tragedy. Pound seizure can also result in a loss of revenue for many reasons. Where there is public awareness that impounded animals will be sold for research, public trust in the Shelter is tarnished. People abandon animals, which creates more work for animal control personnel, adds to the formation of dog packs and the destruction of livestock, and creates health and safety problems. Pound seizure actually increases the cost of tax-supported animal control.
Please reconsider and not allow animals to be sold from the XX Shelter (or in XX County or city).