March 23, 2009
Hundreds of Heartbroken Puppy Buyers Seek To Join Petland Class Action Lawsuit
Following an announcement of a nationwide lawsuit against Petland Inc. and The Hunte Corporation, hundreds of people have contacted The Humane Society of the United States to tell their heartbreaking stories of purchasing dogs they were told came from good breeders. The lawsuit accuses the pet trade giants of conspiring to sell unhealthy puppy mill dogs to the public.
"Our staff has been swamped with calls," said Kathleen Summers, director of the Stop Puppy Mills campaign. "Many of the stories would bring tears to your eyes. I just spoke to a woman whose husband purchased a Petland puppy for her on Valentine's Day. The puppy started coughing as soon as she came home from the store. The puppy has been diagnosed with lung and heart problems and has been hospitalized for the past several days. The family is not sure their puppy will survive. What should have been a heartwarming story for this couple is turning into heartbreak."
A number of callers reported spending up to $10,000 on veterinary bills to treat their dogs' infectious diseases or congenital defects. Others said their puppies died shortly after purchase.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court this past Monday, alleges that Petland and mass commercial broker The Hunte Corporation are violating federal and state laws by misleading customers across the country into believing the puppies sold in Petland stores are healthy and come from high-quality breeders, when in fact many of them come from commercial dog producers known as puppy mills.
Puppy mills are commercial-breeding facilities that raise dogs in shockingly poor conditions, placing profit and a low overhead above the health of breeding dogs and their puppies. The dogs are often kept in wire cages, stacked on top of each other, with no exercise, socialization, veterinary care, or loving human interaction. After their fertility wanes, the breeding animals are destroyed or discarded.
Petland continues to deny it supports these substandard breeding facilities, and claims to follow "Humane Care Guidelines" developed in conjunction with the U.S. government. However, the USDA recently informed The HSUS in writing that it has no record of any such guidelines.
Consumers who have purchased sick puppies from Petland can contact The HSUS by filling out an online form at humanesociety.org/puppymillstory.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. 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.