The HSUS is committed to shutting down puppy mills, and it’s become almost a daily exercise for us. Yesterday in Indiana and last week in Washington state, we went hand-in-hand with law enforcement through the front door, closed down the mills, and rescued dogs in distress. That’s the latest in a series of on-the-ground interventions.
A sick puppy sold by Wizard of Claws.
In other cases, we shut them down, or at least curb their worst excesses, by passing legislation—as we did yesterday in Oregon, where the nation’s strongest anti-puppy mill legislation should soon be signed by the governor. That’s the sixth state measure we’ve passed since last year, and add to that the legislation enacted last year by Congress to ban imports of dogs from foreign puppy mills.
And we also shut down mills through our work in the courts. That was certainly the case with notorious South Florida puppy dealer the Wizard of Claws, whose owner quietly declared bankruptcy last week shortly after a Florida judge issued a long-awaited ruling allowing a major class action lawsuit to proceed against the operation. The bankruptcy filing was a cause for quiet celebration among the hundreds of heartbroken former customers that had joined together under HSUS’s leadership to file suit against one of the most egregious puppy mill sellers in the country.
The case is the first class-action lawsuit organized by The HSUS in our 55-year history, and the first class-action suit ever against a U.S. puppy dealer. Members of The HSUS and other consumers have since filed a similar, much larger class action lawsuit against Petland, Inc. and the Hunte Corporation for selling unhealthy puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting consumers in dozens of states.
Although it is still unclear whether Wizard of Claws is entirely finished, or will try to limp along through bankruptcy, one thing is very clear: After years of reaping huge profits from the breeding, marketing, and sale of sick and dying animals, the party is over for the puppy mill industry.