There’s a time and a place for everything. When you need food, you go to the grocery store. When you want to find a mean deal on household items, you head for a flea market. Neither of these places are good places to get your next pet, however.
It may seem innocuous enough to pick up that adorable puppy in the parking lot, but think about what you are doing. Grocers put the candy in the checkout aisle for the same reason people give away puppies in parking lots. They’re hoping for an impulse purchase. However, getting a pet on a whim is often a big mistake. And it’s why an estimated 50% of the animals you see being given away in parking lots and flea markets end up at animal shelters.
When you get a pet from someone in a parking lot, you have no idea what conditions that animal has been living in. The animal may be ill or housed in squalid conditions. Even if the person giving away animals says they’ve vaccinated the animal, you rarely, if ever, get any proof. And that person will be gone tomorrow, so if there’s a problem, you have no recourse. Young puppies or kittens are very susceptible to disease and could be infected with such diseases as mange, parvovirus, bordetella, feline leukemia, or distemper. And when you take that cute little critter home, you expose your own animals to these contagious diseases as well.
Reputable breeders and shelters vaccinate all animals and keep their living quarters clean and disinfected. Free animals are not such a bargain when you consider that you will have to go to a veterinarian to get it vaccinated, at the very least. If the animal is already sick, you may have to spend a lot of money in medical care or have it euthanized. If you are thinking of getting a pet, take some time with the decision. Talk to reputable breeders and shelters about their policies. Most shelters have reasonable fees for adopting an animal. Your new pet has been vaccinated and you get a free vet exam to make sure he’s okay. And, if you have problems or concerns, unlike the fellow in the parking lot, the shelter will be there tomorrow to help you.