“Virtually 100% of the sweet puppies we see in fancy store windows were born in anything-but-fancy puppy mills”
That’s what the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) tells us. We’re told the same thing by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and every single organization involved with animal advocacy. Can this many reputable organizations be wrong? Of course not. So why are there so many puppy mills and pet stores still in business? Because it’s not against the law.
The USDA regulates “commercial breeders” with minimum standards that could hardly be called humane. That’s why it’s so important that the laws be changed. House Bill 2525 and other new legislation around the country are a start. But for the moment, the fact is that commercial breeders housing dogs in conditions that would be considered abhorrent to any sane person can pass USDA inspections. It seems to us that the most reliable way to identify a puppy mill is to have someone who isn’t a USDA inspector visit the property.
The HSUS has listed breeders that have been associated with the Petland Corporation and failed USDA inspections. The names of the breeders and the inspection reports are listed on the HSUS puppy mill website.
Below are links to more evidence that many Petland stores around the US do deal with what most people would call puppy mills. We’ve tried to place related news items in chronological order.
- May 2010: An Animal Planet Investigates special on puppy mills exposes the commercial breeders providing puppies to Petland stores around the country.
- October 2009: The HSUS has listed some breeders who have provided pups to Petland stores around the country. The list is divided into states. Pennsylvania information can be read here.
- March 21, 2009: Prompted by the recent lawsuit placed against Petland, more and more people are wondering if animals they purchased at stores around the country were ill because they were bred at puppy mills. Such stories have been reported in Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. Read about similar stories on the HSUS website.
- March 17, 2009: Consumers have filed a federal lawsuit against Petland, claiming that the company sold sickly puppies to unsuspecting customers. Several of the plaintiffs claim that dogs they purchased from Petland stores have congenital defects that will require lifelong treatment, and these health problems were concealed by Petland staff. An investigation by the HSUS last year showed that tens of thousands of puppies sold by Petland stores around the US originated from substandard commercial breeding operations, commonly known as puppy mills. Poor living conditions and inbreeding in puppy mills are the cause of many genetic problems found in puppies bred in these facilities. Read about the lawsuit and the complete claim on the HSUS website.
- November 20, 2008: HSUS releases video evidence and tells us that the Petland Corporation does support puppy mills!! They tracked nearly 17,000 puppies around the US and found that they were all delivered to Petland stores around the country. Watch the video at the HSUS website and read the story. The HSUS warns consumers against buying a puppy at Petland in a comprehensive story on consumeraffairs.com.
- Tom Steffensmeier in Iowa is an “elite breeder” according to an Austin Petland representative. This link leads to a whole page of commercial breeders with USDA violations cited against them. Scroll down the page to read Mr Steffensmeier’s inspection violations.
- This page on petstorecruelty.org leads to complaints about puppy mill pups being sold at Petland stores in Sarasota, Florida; Tallahassee, Florida; Kennesaw, Georgia; Joliet, Illinois and Henderson, Nevada (scroll down the page until you find these entries).
- This page on petstorecruelty.org leads to complaints about puppy mill pups being sold at Petland stores in Fairfax, Virginia.
- A former Petland employee recounts her observations and admits that the puppies came from puppy mills.
- The organization In Defense of Animals has documented shipments of puppies from puppy mills to Petland stores around the country.
- August 2008: Kathy Bach owner of the Pick of the Litter and Puppys on Wheels breeding kennels, is being charged with several counts of animal cruelty, torture and practicing veterinary medicine without a license (August). Her kennels have over 900 dogs. She is known to sell her dogs through several online sites and to many stores, including Petlands in Rockford, IL and Medina, OH.
We will update this page as we find more information.
(Last updated November 2009)