What is Today’s Model? Many pets are purchased from pet stores … especially small pets, including rabbits, rodents, birds, reptiles, fish & more Adoption rates are low HSUS (Humane Society of the US) estimates that 3-4 MILLION cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters every year Only 19% of pet dogs are adopted from shelters Only 22% of pet cats are adopted from shelters Most consumers are unaware that there is also an overpopulation problem with other pets Most consumers do not think “Adoption First” when it comes to smaller or more exotic pets Most consumers think they already know how to care for a pet or that it’s relatively easy
Pet Trade Fallout—Life & Death Pets in breeding mills (not just cats and dogs) suffer from back-to-back breeding, poor care & crowded conditions Many pets suffer to varying degrees due to poor living environments & substandard care in stores and in homes … due to lack of knowledge and “after the impulse” disinterest Pets are killed in shelters for lack of a home Some treatable pets in shelters are being euthanized because they do not meet “health standards” for adoption Domestic pets are “set free” outdoors … not realizing or caring that a painful death is the outcome Many pets are not spayed and neutered ... proliferating the overpopulation problem
Pet Trade Fallout—Consumers Many people do not enjoy their pets as much as they could simply due to lack of knowledge of proper care Purchase of sick pets can cost unknowing pet guardians a small fortune in vet bills Purchase of pregnant & wrongly-sexed pets fuels overpopulation … and consumer disenchantment Many people are unwilling to spend $200+ on vet care for a $20 guinea pig (for example) Many consumers do not understand their pet’s real requirements and lack commitment beyond the original purchase
Pet Trade Fallout—Pet Stores Care information given to consumers is incomplete, inconsistent, out of date, frequently inaccurate … and tailored to move product The primary objective is to sell product, not to screen or educate prospective pet guardians Pet store employee turnover is high … quality training across multiple species is a huge challenge Most pet stores purchase animals from distributors – whom they’ve never visited Marketing targets children, spurring uninformed impulse purchases of pets
Pet Trade Fallout—Wholesale Most distributors are their own breeding mills Most distributors augment their “stock” from other breeding mills, backyard breeders, animal auctions, hobby breeders & hobby shows (these other sources are NOT regulated and have no enforced standards of care) Minimum USDA requirements for breeding facilities are low (providing for baseline survival and safety only) … and not well enforced Animals are packed into crowded crates and driven hundreds of miles for deliveries to the pet stores
Pet Trade Fallout—Shelters Shelters are funded by tax-payer dollars, donations and grants Some shelters strive to be no-kill, which requires significant community involvement, especially from rescue groups – but this shifts the cost and burden to private individuals, without addressing the underlying problem! Statistics on shelter surrenders and euthanasia do not reflect the real numbers of animals at risk – they do not include private rescue surrenders nor the animals released outdoors The problems are large … but poorly documented
Pet Trade Fallout—Rescues Rescues are funded by the rescuers themselves (a punitive burden!) … and by donations Rescuers rarely last for a decade due to financial strain and physical and emotional burn out Rescues are thinly staffed and focused on the animals … they do not have the resources to do adoption days in a consistent manner at pet stores or other locations Rescues do not want to be in the rescue “business” … they are compelled by ethics Some initially well-meaning rescuers turn into hoarders whose animals in turn need rescuing!
Pet Trade Fallout—Society What price does society pay for the current business model that treats our pets—sentient beings—as an expendable commodity? The Pet Industry is over $47 BILLION … big business with many stakeholders Taxpayers, rescues & donors are subsidizing many MILLIONS to those who profit from pets by dealing with the fallout issues The MODEL is BROKEN, so how do we fix it? We must change the supply and demand process itself!
Change through Regulation? The public & the media are historically dismissive of constraints on pet ownership and pet sales The Pet Industry has well-funded, business-oriented lobbyists and PACs Agendas vary widely across animal welfare advocacy groups Achieving consensus for well-intentioned legislation gets watered down through political compromises made to gain passage Government regulation and enforcement spending is not well-suited to moral imperatives like pet welfare advocacy
The Market-Driven Challenge We must find a solution that:
Works for everyone involved … balances animal welfare vs. pet trade concerns … without alienating consumers
Saves lives & improves quality of life for pets
Becoming “Pet Ready Certified” would not be burdensome.
Similar to traffic school … questions to prove that you watched a video clip and understood the basics … while being exposed to more advanced care topics.
The course would be a fun experience … visually rich and stimulating (available in multiple languages) … building excitement, responsibility and commitment.
Certificates would be good for a period of time (e.g., 3 years) to incorporate updated care standards
Multiple pets of the same type could be obtained through a single certification.
Pet Ready Participation Two Major Levels: Level 1: Pet Ready Supporters Any type of organization: Pet Store, Vet, Rescue, Shelter Promotes Pet Ready courses, through: Pet Ready brochures available in the store or facility Info given during sales process (or included with receipt) Pet Ready Information and link on store’s website Pet Ready promoted during in-store classes or workshops And offers special promotions for Pet Ready customers Ex: Vet Office: Free/discounted 1st checkup for a Pet Ready customer Ex: Pet Store: 15% off pet & purchases for Pet Ready customers
Pet Ready Participation Two Major Levels: Level 2: Pet Ready Certified Store (for stores selling pets) Performs all Supporter activities, and Will only sell a pet to a Pet Ready Certified customer Certified Store Support provided by Pet Ready: Listing in online directory of Certified Stores Members will receive updates of Certified Store listings Rescues, shelters and others are strongly encouraged to help promote and market Pet Ready Certified Stores (on their websites, to adopters, in marketing, etc.) Special events & cross-marketing
Pet Ready Participation Certified Store Compliance monitoring by Pet Ready: Public can report instances of program abuse via websitenon-anonymously (i.e., ”certified store” observed selling a pet to a non-certified customer). Procedure established for corroboration/investigation (i.e., “X” reports needed to trigger a call to the store to ask if they are having difficulty meeting the requirements and what else they might need for support. If it’s determined that certification requirements are not being met … the store is removed from the Certified list and can move back to Supporter status.
The store’s level of commitment and participation is up to them.
By offering some discounts to Pet Ready customers, they provide additional value and motivation to the general consumer to take the course.
Pet Ready Phases
They can advertise the fact that they are a Pet Ready Supporter, capitalizing on the social marketing benefit.
Some stores may never move to being Certified.
Stores hopefully decide that there is enough business to be gained rather than lost by moving to the Certified level.
Once Certified, they enjoy additional cross-marketing benefits provided by Pet Ready.
Pet Ready’s Prospective Consumer Why will the average consumer spend perhaps $20 and an hour or two to take a course and get certified?
Many people want to do the right thing.
Great package of useful discounts and coupons … from geographically relevant Supporters (i.e., $100 worth of great discounts from a $20 course).
Social status/capital from Pet Ready achievement.
Social pressure applied by Supporters, media, Certified peers and governmental support or mandates.
Pet Ready’s Prospective Consumer
Parents can use the process as something to be earned by their children … for “impulse purchase” avoidance … and to ensure responsible pet guardianship.
It will be a positive learning experience generating viral marketing.
Builds child involvement and support of parents in optimizing the care provided to pets.
Additional levels of courses can provide further achievement status (basic, trainer and expert).
Advisory Boards of animal care and welfare experts, veterinarians, rescues and other financially-disinterested parties (specific to each animal type) will be responsible for content development, review and approval.
An open feedback mechanism will be provided for courseware (via the website) … so that content can be continuously evolving, improving and kept current.
Will include appropriate messaging on adoption, spaying/neutering, etc.
Pet Ready Results
Consumers are better prepared for pet guardianship.
Impulse purchases are converted into informed purchases.
Pets win! … Pets live and in better conditions.
Proper and consistent care information is available to all.
A better pet experience means more spending on the pet over its longer lifetime … pet stores and vets win too!
Better pet guardians become role models to their friends and family – success breeds success.
Surrenders, euthanasia and outdoor releases will decrease.
Pet Ready Results
Pet owners have a positive experience with their pets … often adding more to their menagerie – helping to relieve over-population.
Pet stores and others in the pet industry can also use the courses for training their employees.
Pet Ready Operations
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Pet Ready will be funded by:
Donations and grants Sponsorship and website advertising Certification course fees
Key areas of operations
Marketing Courseware development and maintenance Certification administration, compliance, website tech support
In process of incorporation and 501(c)(3) status Business plan development, early funding Website development
Pet Ready is designed to build a paradigm shift in the procurement and care of pets … at a national level. Pet Ready will initially focus on major market roll-outs, starting with the San Francisco Bay Area as the pilot.
City, County, or State-wide Initiatives
Government can encourage, reward or require Pet Ready compliance, as Pet Ready Supporters or Certified Stores … via mandate or other means. Pet Ready will collaborate with governmental bodies and their chosen initiatives … targeting that geography to facilitate successful program roll-out and acceptance.
Pet Ready courseware will initially be offered online CD/DVD, workbooks, and classroom guides to be developed, as alternative media offerings.
Viral marketing from early adopters, governmental and media support will build awareness and momentum. Pet Ready is focused on achieving market-driven success as the logical and satisfying “natural choice” of all parties involved. Key early stage goals will focus on capturing and building on early feedback from all parties, to ensure rapid program improvement and success.
The New Model for Pet Acquisition Are you Pet Ready?Learn more …Visit www.PetReady.org