NY Stores Ban Drunk Puppy Buying

Manhattan pet stores are challenged by drunk patrons
By JoAnna Lou, July 2011, Updated June 2021

New York City is home to many trendy neighborhoods, including Greenwich Village, which is inhabited by countless celebrities and New York University students. With the area's vibrant social scene, it's not unusual for a typical weekend to start with an all-you-can-drink mimosa brunch and to end with late night tequila shots.

Given the potential for alcohol induced debauchery, two Village pet stores have started banning intoxicated customers from buying or touching puppies. As you can imagine, nearby bars can be a bad combination for drunk impulse buys.

Unfortunately, the problem isn't limited to the Village. In Manhattan, anything you need to buy, whether it be eggs, wine, or even a new puppy, is usually only a short walk away. Last week The New York Times found that six of the seven pet stores they interviewed had explicit guidelines for dealing with intoxicated visitors.

While it's good that pet stores won't sell animals to people under the influence (at least visibly), being intoxicated is just one of the qualities that would prevent me from selling a dog to someone. Lack of proper screening is one of the reasons that makes pet stores so problematic in my mind (in addition to the whole puppy mill issue, of course). Adding a pet to the family is a big decision that does not always get the necessary thought and planning that is so critical. As a business, pet stores rely on the impulse buys that contribute to irresponsible pet ownership.

Unlike responsible breeders or shelters, pet stores don't protect pets from people who may not understand the true responsibility of a dog. Making sure that puppy buyers are sober is only one small part of the equation.