5 Ways You Didn't Realize You're Making Your Pet Hate You

#2. Shopping at Pet Stores Causes All Sorts of Horrible Problems


What kind of sick bastard could ever be sad in a pet store? There's tons of brightly colored toys lining the walls, chipper animal-loving clerks bopping around offering advice, and domesticated fauna pawing playfully at the glass, just begging you to take them home. It's the happiest place on earth! Or at least at the mall.

It's like a prison, if prisons sold their inmates to random families.

Or at least it would be, if the animals weren't trying to escape from the sordid web of torture and murder they're trapped in.

Odds are that you're at least familiar with the existence of puppy mills and kitten factories (if not, you can read the details here, because that shit's way too dark for a comedy website). These organizations sacrifice any modicum of comfort for the animals in exchange for the maximum amount of cuddly creatures catapulted out of the womb as quickly as possible. Aside from the obvious and immediate animal abuse problems, this contributes to animal homelessness by bloating the already overwhelming unwanted pet population, since there are already way more animals in need of homes than there are homes available. But hey, this is an entry on bad pet stores. Your pet store down the street doesn't buy its animals from mills, right?

"If you believe that, we've got a farm outside the city you should check out."

No, it probably does. According to the ASPCA, 99 percent of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. Even that remaining 1 percent might be full of shit: When the Humane Society went undercover in Chicago and New York, they found that the majority of pet stores that claim that they don't get their animals from mills are nonetheless pretty secretive about where they procure their animals for sale.

Even Petco -- one of the biggest pet store chains in the world, which in theory should be doing everything it can to protect its own reputation -- has been heartily sued in recent years for mistreating the shit out of its animals. So yeah, nix the pet store and get your kids a bucket full of pet rocks or one of those creepy taxidermied Victorian dogs from a flea market. (Added bonus: Both of these options allow you to sidestep that awkward "Professor Paws went to another family's farm upstate" discussion entirely.)

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"Aww ... what an adorable symbol of man's callous disregard for nature."

#1. Supporting PETA Is a Terrible Idea

Mark Cuthbert / UK Press / Getty

You likely know PETA as that "activist" organization that seems more interested in raising a media brouhaha than affecting change. They're always convincing celebrities to strip naked for their posters or releasing dunderheaded Super Mario Bros. and Pokemon knockoffs in order to make labored points about perceived animal abuse in fictional video games. Sure, PETA may be naively gung-ho about animal rights, but they're not actually bad guys, right?

Nah, they seem above board.

Well ... there's the fact that PETA is, and always has been, about killing animals. In 2011, their headquarters -- an animal shelter in Norfolk, Virginia -- killed 95 percent of the animals they took under their care (a combined 1,965 cats and dogs), whereas most other shelters only euthanize about 35 percent. They kill so many animals that they were almost denied the title of "shelter" and forced to call themselves a "euthanasia clinic." (College Application Pro Tip: Don't include "euthanasia clinic" on your list of extracurriculars.)

We understand that there is a practical limit to how many animals you can help and that, for some animals, euthanasia is a tragic necessity. But it's hard to take seriously PETA's claim that they're killing animals as "an act of love" when they've been sued for taking lost pets and adoptable puppies and kittens from shelters, killing them, and then dumping their bodies in a dumpster. But hey, at least they're not in cages anymore, right?

Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
"No, we prefer cages to gruesome death."

Why in the pluperfect hell are they doing that? Well, their official stance on the issue of pets is that "it would have been in the animal's best interest if the institution of pet keeping [...] never existed." All breeds of animals that have specifically evolved to cohabitate with humans should not, in their view, be alive.

And just to prove that they have their own special caboose on this ethical crazy train, we should probably point out that PETA opposes a drug that is proven effective in treating cancer in humans because, like all drugs, it was first tested on animals. So PETA's fine with killing animals with they're taking up too much room in their shelters -- because that's just a harsh reality -- but you want drugs for someone in your family dying of cancer? What are you, some kind of monster?

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Don't worry, there's still plenty of room in the dumpster."

You can follow J.F. Sargent on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook (but not all three, because that's dangerous).

For more ways you're a bad pet owner, check out 6 Well-Intentioned Ways You're Ruining Your Dog. Or learn about 6 Adorable Cat Behaviors With Shockingly Evil Explanations.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 6 Ridiculous Tumblrs That Yahoo Just Paid Too Much For.

And stop by LinkSTORM to discover why your animal is plotting to smother you in your sleep.

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