Impulse buying has always been a cherished hallmark of American society. But news that loopy Manhattanites have been purchasing puppies while loaded on booze scandalized the Internet world Tuesday. The uproar began following a crack investigation by hyperlocal news site DNAinfo, which uncovered that local Manhattan pet stores were implementing bans on the sale of puppies if the customers appeared to be drunk. Was this really a pressing problem?
Yes! the report unveiled:
"I feel like they always come in drunk," said Fernanda Moritz, the manager of Le Petite Puppy at 18 Christopher St. which has implemented a policy against letting customers buy — or even hold — animals if they've been drinking.
The shop is surrounded by bars, and Moritz said many of her would-be customers stop in after happy hour around 6 p.m.
"They come from there and say 'let's stop by to see the puppies,'" said Moritz.
Amazingly the store... isn't the only one in the neighborhood forced to implement the ban.
Another store named Citipups has imposed a similar ban. Sometimes pooches get dropped. Sometimes hungover customers simply return the animals the next day. And a worse case scenario, the puppies come back barely alive.
Moritz recalled selling a Chihuahua some years ago to a woman she thought might have been drunk, only to have the dog returned the next day — in a near-dead state.
"We took it to the vet and he found five pills in the dog's stomach," she said. "It almost overdosed."
The Chihuahua's stomach was pumped, and it survived.
While a number of bloggers admitted to participating in drunken shopping themselves, everyone drew the line at inebriated puppy purchasing. "This is okay when it's a hat or a thousand-dollar watch or some shoes you'll never wear, a puppy is a living creature, and drunkenly buying one is not okay!" wrote Jen Doll at the Village Voice. "We can't say that we've never gotten tanked and then gone shopping (hey, we have a whole column on it)," confessed Tiffany Yannetta at the shopping intelligence site Racked. "But our wasted remorse usually only extends as far as a ridiculous pair of shoes or spending $200 at Duane Reade."
Advancing the story, Sarah Anne Hughes at The Washington Post alerted readers that this brand of intoxicated, adolescent behavior isn't confined to Gotham.
In a few cities across America, it’s already impossible for people who are drunk and sober to take home a furry companion. West Hollywood banned pet stores from selling cats and dogs last year, in the hopes of hurting puppy mills. Stores are still allowed to offer up pets from shelters.
San Francisco is once again considering a ban on purchasing pets of all kinds — yes, even goldfish. Proponents of the Human Pet Acquisition Proposal hope the ban would stop animals from being taken to shelters and being euthanized.
Finally, Maureen O'Connor at Gawker called for an establishment of basic ground rules regarding the consumption of alcohol and random pet shop encounters: "If you walk by a pet store while drunk, avert your eyes. If you see a lady selling puppies from a grocery cart, turn around and run. If you see a dachsund tied to a stop sign outside a bodega, just call 911 and report yourself now."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.