A June Saturday mid-day, quick stop at the San Mateo, California Pet Club* store, the first location south of San Francisco with a decent inventory of puppy foods and fortunately, without the now six month old puppy along on this day. Get a cart and navigate the angles into the store…a lot of yipping for just customers’ dogs. A few dog crates and a card table… is it a training class?

A closer look reveals a total of 13 crates, 11 dogs. A seventy-ish white lady customer asks the woman near the table if this is “Poodle Rescue?” “No, these dogs were taken out of shelters in Southern California and were strays with no identification.” replies the archetypical rescue lady, going on to say she had two of these at home for herself, and they bantered on that some people should never have dogs.

What’s the deal? The sign says $400. Lots of dogs to choose from.
Who got this many dogs and all their crates to the store? In the parking lot was a late model long cargo van with identifying license plate and the “rescue lady’s” own compact SUV. Who keeps all these dogs where when they’re not at the store? These are not dogs from San Mateo County, where Peninsula HS&SPCA has been able to successfully place all of our own plus some outside intake for many years, nor are these from local rescue groups or adjacent counties. A handwritten note on one crate did say “single pet home, not good with children” but is this outreach adoption such as we’ve seen done by local shelters and rescues or is it something else?

* Pet Club in the San Francisco Bay Area is a local chain, non-membership — cash, ATM or checks only with a good inventory of practical products and dog foods including puppy foods. The “big box” pet stores carry almost no puppy foods, what they do stock is priced double, and dog food inventory is heavy on “overweight”, “geriatric”, skin and other allergies, and more treats than worth sorting out. Pet Club actually has a step on scale for customers’ dogs and does not sell dogs itself.


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