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January 8, 2009

Nationwide Demonstrations Ask Petland Stores to Stop Supporting Puppy Mills

The Humane Society of the United States

On Saturday, animal protection advocates will assemble at Petland retail stores across the country to call for the nation's largest chain of puppy selling pet stores to stop supporting puppy mills.

The dog advocates will encourage Petland to stop supporting the cruel puppy mill industry through the chain's puppy sales, and instead create an adoption program similar to other large pet supply retailers like PETCO and PetSmart. Demonstrations will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at numerous Petland store locations including: Fairfax, Va.; Lansing, Ill.; Wheaton, Ill.; Naperville, Ill.; Tampa, Fla.; Sarasota, Fla.; Altamonte Springs, Fla.; Las Vegas; St. Paul, Minn.; Roseville, Calif.; Austin, Texas; Plano, Texas; Sterling Heights, Mich.; Westland, Mich.; Pittsburgh; Cicero, N.Y.; Racine, Wis.; Des Moines, Iowa; Maryville, Tenn.; Merrillville, Ind.;  North Olmstead, Ohio; and Columbus, Ohio.

In November, The Humane Society of the United States revealed the results of an eight-month investigation of Petland Inc. The HSUS investigation exposed that Petland is the nation's largest retail chain purchasing dogs from puppy mills.

Puppy mills are mass-breeding facilities that raise dogs in shockingly poor conditions. Breeding animals at puppy mills are caged and continually bred for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever becoming part of a family. After their fertility wanes, the breeding animals are destroyed or discarded. When someone unknowingly purchases a puppy mill puppy from a pet store or over the Internet they support this cruel industry.

"Dogs should be treated like beloved members of the family, not like a cash crop," said Stephanie Shain, the director of The HSUS' Stop Puppy Mills campaign. "In puppy mills, dogs can be caged all their lives with no companionship, no exercise, and no quality of life. People who care about animals can help stop this cruel industry by refusing to buy puppies from pet stores. It isn't necessary to buy from a pet store when so many great pets are available from your local animal shelter or rescue group."

There are more than 200 Petland stores worldwide, with about 140 in the United States. The stores sell tens of thousands of puppies each year. The HSUS investigation tracked the sources of nearly 17,000 puppies sold to Petland stores, proving that many Petland stores across the country have marketed puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting consumers.

Facts

  • Approximately one-third of the nation's 9,000 independent pet stores sell puppies.
  • The HSUS estimates that 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States.
  • Puppy mill puppies often have health problems, genetic defects and behavioral issues.
  • Documented puppy mill conditions include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor food and shelter, crowded cages and lack of socialization.
  • Dogs kept for breeding in puppy mills suffer for years in continual confinement. They are bred as often as possible and then destroyed or discarded once they can no longer produce puppies.
  • Pet stores and puppy mills use attractive websites to hide the truth and to dupe the public into thinking that they are dealing with a reputable breeder.
  • Reputable breeders never sell puppies over the Internet or through a pet store and will insist on meeting the family who will be purchasing the dog.
  • Puppy mills contribute to the pet overpopulation problem, which results in millions of unwanted dogs euthanized at shelters every year.

To find out more about The HSUS investigation of Petland visit humanesociety.org/puppymills.  For more information about this weekend's peaceful demonstrations, visit stoppuppymills.org/petland_rallies.html.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.

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