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June 29, 2009

More on How Petland Continues to Support Cruel Puppy Mills

The Humane Society of the United States

HSUS investigators used interstate shipping records to trace more than 15,000 puppies shipped from puppy mills or from large "middleman" brokers such as the Hunte Corporation in Missouri and Perfect Puppies in Iowa to 126 Petland stores.

Brokers are dealers who buy puppies from a multitude of different kennels and puppy mills and then re-sell them to pet stores. These findings cast doubt upon the Petland Corporation's promises that Petland buys only from breeders with "the highest standards."

Our research 

Our research included most of the Petland stores in the U.S. as well as Petland's new store in Mexico. HSUS investigators studied a selection of transport records of more than 15,000 puppies shipped to Petland stores during a six-month period ending in May 2009. The puppies were shipped to 126 different Petland stores across the country.

Dozens of the stores were buying directly from out-of-state commercial breeders while the vast majority of stores simply purchased via large-scale puppy brokers like The Hunte Corporation, Mid-American Pet Broker Inc., Tracy's K & J Pets, and other "middleman" dealers that transport thousands of puppies per year. Brokers buy puppies from various kennels and puppy mills and then re-sell them to pet stores.

Proof in the paperwork

The investigation also found that many of the breeders and brokers traced to Petland this year have been cited for serious animal welfare violations, according to USDA inspection reports.

Some of the violations that Petland's largest brokers have been recently cited for include: improper veterinary oversight, cramped cages that did not provide the required minimum amount of space for puppies, and unsafe animal transport vehicles.

Several of Petland's largest brokers were found to be purchasing puppies from unlicensed individuals, according to USDA reports.

In addition to tracing broker shipments, The HSUS also traced puppies from more than 100 individual breeders to Petland stores scattered across the U.S. and studied their latest USDA inspection reports. We found that almost half of the breeders had been cited for violations of the Animal Welfare Act at least once during the previous three years.

No way to live

Some of the USDA breeders' documented violations included: puppies caged outside in freezing weather; sick or injured dogs who hadn't been seen by a vet; puppies caged on wire flooring with spaces wide enough for their legs to pass through the wire and become entrapped; inadequate sanitation, rusty cages in disrepair; severely matted or underweight dogs; improper medications on hand to treat or prevent disease; and outdoor runs without shelters large enough for the dogs to escape the sun, wind, or rain.

"When we released our first investigation, many Petland stores claimed that it didn't include them," said Stephanie Shain, senior director for the HSUS puppy mills campaign. 

"This follow-up investigation reveals that not just some, but almost all of Petland's stores are buying either directly from puppy mills or from massive commercial brokers and not directly from small breeders, as their sales pitches would have you believe. It's time for Petland to stop making false claims about where their puppies come from.

"Petland needs to do the right thing and stop selling puppies."

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