At some point in time, especially if you have children, you will have considered the idea of having a pet. It is all too easy to go to a pet store in Jeddah and pick one up, however is this really the best one can do?
In this blog post, animal lover and founder of Pets in Need Sonja Svensek tackles the dilemma of buying versus adoption and guides us to the reality of the shocking conditions of animals in these stores.
As an animal lover you are probably tempted to walk into a pet store to visit the animals whether you are tempted to buy one or not, and I am sure you will walk out of there feeling angry, helpless and upset by what you find.
It is no secret that all sorts of animals can be found and bought from pet stores. From wild raccoons, to exotic snakes, to birds and cubs, pet stores are trying to cater for all individual’s preferences. However, the reality is, regardless of the animals being sold at stores, the conditions they are kept in is way below acceptable. Not only do the majority of these animals not even belong in pet shops, the cats and dogs as well as other small pets are living in atrocious, hazardous and unhealthy conditions. Upon my own investigation of visiting some of the more popular stores here, most, if not all of the stores, had cats crammed into small cages, where they don’t have enough space to even stretch or lay down. Bowls of fresh water are not always available. Food is scarcely given- if at all- and this is usually because food and water will only encourage more ‘waste’ from the animals which means dirtier cages and more work for staff members.
There are currently no laws or regulations which monitor pet stores so it’s up to the owners to sell whatever animal he likes and keep them in whatever conditions he wants. As long as there is a demand, the supply will be there. Animals are either bred through their own farms or brought in from neighbouring countries, even from as far off as Bulgaria, and as young as a month old.
The primary goal for pet shops is to be a lucrative and money making business – not one with the welfare of animals in mind. One of such example is the pet store ‘Jeddahs animals and birds’. Is this what one would accept as proper living conditions for animals? Is this the type of scene we wish to educate and teach our children about the treatment of living creatures?
It is difficult to walk into a pet store and not feel obligated to ‘save’ an animal from these conditions thinking we might be doing something worthy, when really, as soon as one is bought or taken, another will replace it. We always urge people to adopt, and not shop for a pet. There are more unwanted animals than there are people who wish to have them, and for every pet that is bought from a store, it removes the chance for an already un-homed one waiting to be adopted.
Since there are no animal shelters or certified breeders here whose primary focus is the well being of animals, the best option is to adopt from people who are part of a private animal rescue organization. Many animals have been re-homed through PIN via caring individuals and this should be encouraged amongst more people. Animals are not the property of people to own and sell to the highest bidder, hence the notion of adopting which is free and what could help every pet get a home without the incentive of ‘valuing’ it based on what it cost.
Places such as the animal souq downtown have auctions for their animals. Many of these pets were probably found and/or stolen and are sold to the highest paying individual. In most cases, these pets come with health problems and die shortly after being bought. I’ve seen many incidents where a puppy was bought from a pet store only for it to die a few days later. This could be due to the diseases it contracted whilst being kept in poor conditions, but also because a lot of the puppies sold are removed from their mother far too young.
If you are considering including a pet in your life, then please look into the more humane pet adoption avenues, and make a difference in more ways than one.