There is a chill in the air today in Washington, D.C. that is a reminder of the coming holiday season. That means pet stores across the country are gearing up to cash in on the busiest puppy-buying season of the year. But for those who profit from the sale of puppy mill dogs, we’ve just thrown a wrench into their plans.
A moment ago HSUS wrapped up a press conference in D.C. to break an 8-month HSUS investigation into America’s largest chain of puppy-selling pet stores, Petland, Inc. Our investigation exposes the Petland chain as the nation’s largest retail supporter of puppy mills.
© The HSUS
In the largest-ever puppy mill investigation, HSUS investigators visited 21 Petland stores—in Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio and elsewhere—and traced the origins of about 17,000 puppies shipped to the stores. They also visited many of Petland’s breeders and suppliers. Our findings contradict assurances by staff at Petland stores and on Petland’s corporate website that the company deals only with breeders who have "the highest standards of pet care."
We discovered that many of the “breeders” who sell to the Petland stores investigated are actually puppy mills, where hundreds of dogs are kept in cages their entire lives, churning out puppies for the pet trade. At many of these facilities our investigators saw appalling conditions: dogs and puppies living in filthy, barren wire cages reeking of urine, with no socialization or adequate care.
Reports from USDA inspectors confirm our findings, documenting myriad—and sometimes repeat—abuses at some of Petland’s suppliers. One facility in Minnesota provided such a lack of adequate care, according to a USDA inspection report, that a dead dog and puppy weren’t removed in a timely manner. Despite the serious violations, Petland stores continue to buy from these unscrupulous mills.
The HSUS is committed to stopping puppy mill cruelty and we’re committed to exposing pet store deception. Last year, our investigation into a trendy Hollywood pet boutique, Pets of Bel Air, revealed that even the rich and famous can be duped by pet store lies. Now, this latest investigation shows that the deception occurs at national franchises as well. The evidence is clear and proves once again what we’ve been telling puppy buyers for decades: if you buy a puppy from a pet store, chances are you’re supporting a puppy mill.
Today, please take three minutes to watch our Petland investigation video. Then make your voice heard by sending an email to Petland’s corporate headquarters and spreading the word to your friends and family. We’re also asking for your pet’s support—add their picture to our “Pets Against Puppy Mills” photo album, if you would.