As I glanced through Section One on my way to work Monday morning, something caught my eye. It was page 41, a page that was dedicated, in prose as well as photograph, to the many charms of the ubiquitous Let's Pet ("Doggies in the Window," January 26). Ubiquitous? Yes, indeed. You see, Friday morning I was on my way to the large animal shelter where I work, and damn if I don't see evidence of Let's Pet every day. When puppies or young dogs afflicted with hip dysplasia, a vicious temperament, or a myriad of other congenital disorders associated with careless breeding are surrendered to us, quite often they began their exciting journey at Let's Pet. And they end it in our euthanasia room. Because although a person may shell out a couple hundred dollars for a Shihapoo (come again?) or a dalmatian when it's a two-month-old puppy, when it hits six months and is charging at their child with its teeth bared or can barely walk up the stairs because improper breeding has rendered it crippled, it's a different matter. I also see Let's Pet when I roam the shelter and look at the reasons people have surrendered their dogs to us: "It got too big." "Moving where dogs aren't allowed." "Too much responsibility." Why do people give up dogs they spent hundreds of dollars on? Because pet stores such as Let's Pet sell sentient creatures to inappropriate people for a huge profit. Despite their statements to the contrary, Susan and Mary Sopiarz, proprietors of Let's Pet, are not "dog lovers"; anyone who breeds sick or temperamentally unstable animals, which they in turn sell to whoever can afford it, when there are animal shelters practically overflowing because of their selfish and irresponsible actions, is absolutely, unquestionably not a dog lover. I hope your fluff piece didn't convince anyone that they were.
PS: Mary Sopiarz refers at one point to the shih tzu that she "saved" from an Indiana dog pound. The irony of this is staggering when one considers that pet stores such as Let's Pet are major reasons why animals end up at shelters and pounds to begin with. My question is, who is going to save the dogs from her?