Retail versus Rescue

Steven Roman from Liberty Humane Society. Picture from

By Anthony Miles—

Think back! Where did you get your dog from? Did you buy him or her from a pet store or breeder? Or did you adopt Spike or Lulu from an animal shelter? Most people don’t recognize the benefits of adopting a pet versus purchasing one. Clearly, saving money isn’t the only reason for choosing to adopt.

Some people believe that buying a dog from a breeder is just the better and safer way to get that the dog or puppy that they’ve been waiting for.

Eric Goebelbecker, who wrote the article “Choosing a Dog Part One: Adopt or Buy?” says, “Buying a ‘pure breed’ dog as opposed to adopting from a shelter or rescue can be a contentious issue. I think a lot of this contention comes from not fully understanding why someone might want one instead of the other.”

Getting a pet is a hard enough choice without their being more options to fool around with. Most people struggle with what breed or type of dog to get, but few delve into where they should actually get their pets from.

Steven Roman, dog care supervisor at Liberty Humane Society (LHS), is an adoption advocate.

Roman who feeds, cleans, and vaccinates dogs at the shelter, has run a rescue group with his mother for the past eight years. He even had his very own dog adopted from the shelter.

The decision seems to have been a righteous one for this youthful dog lover. He says he decided to get his pit-bull adopted because he works long hours.

Steven says when he is not working at LHS that he “works at a clinic in Bayonne…I’d rather not have [my dog] pee all over the house.”

Roman then confessed that people buy dogs when the shelter is full of loving animals that deserve a second chance and a good home. The idea seems to have a negative effect on him.

He then revealed, “A lot of these dogs are put down. People can come here [to the shelter] and spend half of what they pay.”

The shelter also provides health and wellness for dogs that people adopt as well as provide food for them from donations that people from all over provide.

Buying a dog from a breeder or a pet store is an assumption that comes with a hefty price tag.

Roman insists that people buy dogs instead of deciding to rescue them because people want dogs that have fewer problems. He says, “They want dogs that they can get along with…bringing them to the house and changing them takes a lot of time.”

Steven was very forceful in his answer as though to caution any person looking to by a pet.

Roman says, “You have to be experienced, especially working with rescue animals.”

He then pleads, “You gotta know what you’re doing…if you don’t know what you’re doing… things can happen.”

Advice like that may scare potential dog owners from buying a rescue dog, but it shouldn’t. The staff at Liberty Humane Society make sure that the dogs people purchase are not only going to a good home, but going to a good home that is the right fit.

The process can be lengthy, but talking and working with people who have experience with adopting a pet would be the best place to start.

Good luck!



See more stories by Anthony Miles “Liberty Humane Society: Jersey City’s Animal Shelter”