Retail Rescue

Retail Rescue
Photo by Karsten Winegeart / Unsplash

Chances are you've heard the term "retail rescue" being tossed around in discussions. It might sound like a good thing at first— the idea of saving pets, something we can all get on board with! But, the reality can be complicated, and even surprising. As the community has become more aware of the benefits of adopting a pet, demand has in some regions outpaced the supply. This has lead to shelters running out of pets to adopt and thus importing them from other regions, or even internationally.

What Exactly is Retail Rescue?

It's a practice where pet stores or online platforms team up with animal rescue groups or shelters to sell pets. However, the truth is that not all such pets are actually "rescued." Many originate from commercial mills which aren't exactly known for the best treatment of their animals. These pets can be sold at high prices, often with heart-tugging "rescue stories" attached.

Adding another layer to the mix is the participation of some rescue organizations in animal auctions. They often bid on and purchase animals from less-than-ideal situations, including puppy mills and auctions, with the noble intention of saving them from a cruel existence. However, this turns into a dangerous slippery slope —while individual animals may be saved, this unintentionally creates a market for the animals.

Why Be Concerned About Retail Rescue?

Retail rescue inadvertently supports commercial mills, contributing to the subpar treatment of animals. Especially when it comes to purebred animals, unscrupulous facilities will target whatever is trending, because they know that rescue groups will also be willing to pay more in order to meet demand. When you buy a pet from these places, you might end up with a pet who has health or behavioral issues that can come from poor breeding conditions.

How To Make A Difference?

We want to do the best by our pets, so education is key:

  • Adopt From Reputable Shelters Or Rescues: These organizations can provide accurate information about a pet's behavior and any health conditions.
  • Support Ethical Breeders: Responsible breeders care about the pets they breed, focusing on improving the breed's overall health and demeanor.
  • Always Ask Questions: Make sure to inquire about a pet's history, behavior, and health. Don't settle for anecdotes - insist on written proof, you have every right to know!

While the term retail rescue might seem positive, it's vital to understand the broader picture. By making informed decisions, we can all play our part in supporting responsible breeders and legitimate rescue organizations, helping to create a better world for our fluffy, scaly, or feathery friends!


  1. "Retail Rescue: Saving or Scamming? An industry insider's perspective." Quad City Times. Accessed December 26, 2023
  2. "Retail Rescue: Money, Myths, and Mismanagement." Dogington Post. Accessed December 26, 2023
  3. "How Some Southern California Drug Rehab Centers Exploit Addiction." ABC News. Accessed December 26, 2023
  4. "Retail Rescue—a Modern Menace?" Accessed December 26, 2023
  5. Streit, S. M. (2019). "Retail Rescue: A Look at the Unethical Behavior on Both Sides of Rescue Retailing." Buffalo Law Review. Accessed December 26, 2023