Report: Puppy mill revenues decline as states, localities move to end pet store dog sales

By on May 29, 2020 with 0 Comments

A recent industry publication paints a grim picture for the future of puppy mills, after several hundred localities and three states have banned the sale of puppies in pet stores in recent years. According to a report from IBIS World, a market research firm, fewer pet stores selling puppies led to a 12.2% revenue decline for commercial puppy breeders in 2017, with continued declines expected for the foreseeable future.

This is great news, and it shows that our broad and tough-minded campaign against puppy mills is paying off.

Importantly, the authors of the report note a year-to-year reduction in the number of kennels raising puppies, and attribute that directly to the poor reputation the commercial pet breeding industry has earned for itself.

The research also directly contradicts industry lobbyists and trade groups, who have downplayed the effect that humane pet store ordinances have had on puppy mills. But anyone with a basic understanding of economics knows that when you shrink the marketplace, production has to shrink as well. With fewer outlets selling mill puppies, greedy dog mills churn out fewer puppies. Meanwhile, responsible breeders, who breed sparingly and never sell to puppy stores, will still be able to keep breeding healthy animals in caring home environments. That’s how it ought to be.

The animals trapped in puppy mills are often denied adequate food, water and even the most basic veterinary care or enrichment. They will almost never know a kind human touch. Every year, we witness this cruelty dozens of times first-hand, when we assist with puppy mill rescues or help shelters flooded with puppy mill animals after a rescue. The animals we see are often emaciated, many suffer from untreated diseases and infections, and often their spirits are broken. While dogs are incredibly resilient and many of those we rescue bounce back after weeks of TLC, no animal should have to endure such misery in the first place.

That’s why we fight puppy mills so hard, and work with such energy to end them. We have been the driving force behind successful bans on puppy mill sales in pet stores in the states and localities, and we are pushing others to do the same. We are also working to advance the passage of bills in Congress that would regulate puppy mills. Last week, we released our eighth annual Horrible Hundred report, which lists problem puppy breeders and sellers in the United States. Our researchers work tirelessly all year, scouring state and U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports to pull this information together so lawmakers and consumers are aware of puppy mill cruelty wherever it exists.

Through our undercover investigations of Petland, the largest national chain that still sells puppies, and that often sources animals from puppy mills, we have focused attention on how pet stores contribute to and exacerbate the puppy mill problem. In fact, several of the puppy mills featured in this year’s Horrible Hundred report sell to Petland. One breeder in Clark, Missouri, who supplied puppies to at least five Petland stores in Florida, was keeping his dogs in enclosures with excessive feces. The animals had dirty and matted fur and the breeder even sold dogs without the proper vaccinations. Another breeder in Middlebury, Indiana, who supplied to a Petland in Olathe, Kansas, had a wheaten terrier with a softball-sized vaginal prolapse. The breeder had reportedly known about this condition for six weeks but had not notified a veterinarian. A prolapse is painful and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

The news that this cruelty is on a decline is exciting, and satisfying, but we cannot stop now. Soon after the coronavirus crisis began, our investigators documented a surge in sales at puppy-selling pet stores. This is especially unfortunate, given that shelters around the country are receiving more surrendered animals and need folks to foster and adopt as this crisis continues. Responsible breeders, shelters and rescues should be the only sources for a new pet. To truly get the problem of puppy mills under control, we will need each animal-loving American on our side, keeping an eye out for puppy mill abuse, raising their voices in support of laws that regulate puppy mill excesses, and helping members of the broader public to make the right decisions when they decide to bring a companion animal home.

HSUS, HSLF urge federal consumer protection agency to crack down on Petland and other dishonest puppy sellers

By on May 28, 2020 with 0 Comments
HSUS, HSLF urge federal consumer protection agency to crack down on Petland and other dishonest puppy sellers

Pet stores like Petland and internet puppy sellers routinely deceive unsuspecting customers into buying animals who are bred in inhumane puppy mills and who could be sick or even dying. Today, we are calling on the Federal Trade Commission, the agency charged with consumer protection, . . . 

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Missouri proposes opening its small black bear population to trophy hunters

By on May 27, 2020 with 16 Comments
Missouri proposes opening its small black bear population to trophy hunters

Missouri has proposed a hunting season on its small and still-recovering population of black bears, who were once nearly wiped out because of overhunting and logging, which decimated their habitat. The Missouri Department of Conservation estimates that there are now approximately 540 to 840 bears . . . 

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As slaughterhouses continue to spread coronavirus, plant-based foods are a safe, humane alternative

By on May 26, 2020 with 0 Comments
As slaughterhouses continue to spread coronavirus, plant-based foods are a safe, humane alternative

This week, the Washington Post and New York Times reported rampant coronavirus spread at meatpacking plants, and efforts by large meat producers to obscure the transmission rates. “As dozens of plants that closed because of outbreaks begin reopening, meat companies’ reluctance to disclose detailed case . . . 

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Missouri moves to shut down Horrible Hundred puppy mill for keeping dogs in filthy conditions

By on May 21, 2020 with 9 Comments
Missouri moves to shut down Horrible Hundred puppy mill for keeping dogs in filthy conditions

Just days after the release of our annual Horrible Hundred report, Missouri’s attorney general has sued to shut down one of the puppy mills named in it. The owners of Little Bit Ranch in Unionville, Missouri, failed to provide adequate veterinary care for their dogs . . . 

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Breaking news: U.S. will allow cruel trophy hunting practices to kill hibernating bears and wolf pups on Alaska’s federal lands

By on May 20, 2020 with 78 Comments
Breaking news: U.S. will allow cruel trophy hunting practices to kill hibernating bears and wolf pups on Alaska’s federal lands

The Trump administration has just delivered a one-two punch to Alaska’s wildlife: it has announced that it will release a final National Park Service rule allowing some of the cruelest practices for killing black bears, wolves and other wildlife on national preserve lands in Alaska; . . . 

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Breaking news: Chinese provinces announce plans to buy out wildlife breeders, end trade in wild animals for food

By on May 19, 2020 with 5 Comments
Breaking news: Chinese provinces announce plans to buy out wildlife breeders, end trade in wild animals for food

Four Chinese provinces will offer farmers a government buy-out or other financial help to stop breeding wild animals like civets and cobras for food. This move is part of a continuing crackdown by China and its individual provinces and cities on the nation’s rampant wildlife . . . 

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Roadside zoos lure in visitors amidst the pandemic, at great risk to animals and people

By on May 18, 2020 with 4 Comments
Roadside zoos lure in visitors amidst the pandemic, at great risk to animals and people

Last week, the Oklahoma roadside zoo where Joe Exotic bred tiger cubs, ripped them from their mothers as soon as they were born, hit them so they would pose with visitors for photos, and disposed of many of them when they were no longer of . . . 

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Pennsylvania teen who tortured dying deer avoids prison sentence; case highlights need for mental health evaluations in animal cruelty instances

By on May 15, 2020 with 31 Comments
Pennsylvania teen who tortured dying deer avoids prison sentence; case highlights need for mental health evaluations in animal cruelty instances

A Pennsylvania court this week allowed an 18-year-old to avoid prison time for a crime that shocked Americans when a viral video of it surfaced earlier this year: in the video, the young man and his friend were seen torturing a dying deer, kicking him . . . 

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The Endangered Species Act is in its own fight for survival; help us save and strengthen it

By on May 15, 2020 with 2 Comments
The Endangered Species Act is in its own fight for survival; help us save and strengthen it

Imagine our world and its wildlife without the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Had it not been for this bedrock federal law, the beloved American bald eagle would most likely have gone the way of the dodo or the passenger pigeon. Gray wolves and . . . 

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BREAKING: HSUS, HSLF, HSI release policy plan on wildlife markets, factory farms, companion animals and more to avoid another global health crisis

By on May 14, 2020 with 2 Comments
BREAKING: HSUS, HSLF, HSI release policy plan on wildlife markets, factory farms, companion animals and more to avoid another global health crisis

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted the world to acknowledge the pressing need to change our relationship with animals. From the wildlife markets implicated in the origin of the novel coronavirus to the slaughterhouses that have become clusters for its spread, we now know only too . . . 

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Breaking news: USDA finalizes reforms for animals in puppy mills, roadside zoos and research labs, but will it enforce them?

By on May 12, 2020 with 8 Comments
Breaking news: USDA finalizes reforms for animals in puppy mills, roadside zoos and research labs, but will it enforce them?

In a long-awaited move, the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced important reforms to tighten licensing requirements to prevent those who mistreat animals in their care from carrying on business as usual. All dealers and exhibitors, including puppy breeders and roadside zoos will now need . . . 

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