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Mother Dogs at Puppy Mills Have Nothing to Celebrate

Petland Continues to Profit from this Cruel Industry

The Humane Society of the United States

This Mother's Day, while honoring our own moms, let's speak out about the plight of mothers of a different species: dogs who spend their entire lives caged and tormented in puppy mills — mother dogs who are forced, over and over again, to produce puppies for profit under conditions of unimaginable cruelty.

For that reason, concerned citizens and animal advocates are gathering at 35 Petland stores around the country on Saturday, the day before Mother's Day, to call for the company to stop trading in puppy mill dogs.

Petland was exposed as the nation's largest retailer of animals produced by puppy mills during an investigation by The Humane Society of the United States and now faces a class action lawsuit filed by members of The HSUS and other consumers.

Despite their status as man's best friend, countless thousands of abused mother dogs are suffering out of sight in puppy mills across the nation. They are treated as if they are nothing more than living machines — confined in cramped, dirty structures while churning out litters of puppies to supply pet stores and online sales. Once they are past their prime, these dogs are destroyed or discarded, never having known the tenderness of human affection.

The demonstrations on May 9 will urge Petland to end its participation in this cruel industry, and instead create an adoption-only program similar to other large pet supply retailers like PETCO and PetSmart. This is the third nationwide Petland demonstration this year to draw attention to the company's out-of-step practices.  

Demonstrations will occur at Petland stores at these locations: Tucson, Ariz.; Roseville, Calif.; Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Lake Park, Fla.; Largo, Fla.; Sarasota, Fla.; Altamonte Springs, Fla.; Bolingbrook, Ill.; Wheaton, Ill.; Carmel, Ind.; Merrillville, Ind.; Des Moines, Iowa; Iowa City, Iowa; Olathe, Kan.; Westland, Mich.; Lake St. Louis, Mo.; Omaha, Neb.; Las Vegas; Manchester, N.H.; Cicero, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveland Heights, Ohio; Lewis Center, Ohio; Mentor, Ohio; N. Olmstead, Ohio; Fairless, Pa.; Pittsburgh; Austin, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Frisco, Texas; Georgetown, Texas; Plano, Texas; Fairfax, Va.; Roanoke, Va. and Janesville, Wis.  


  • Breeding dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles and are typically confined to a puppy mill for years on end, without ever becoming part of a family.
  • There is little regard for the breeding dog's health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.
  • Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life.
  • Puppies from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no regard for the dog's health, genetic history or future welfare.
  • Breeding dogs are also subjected to dog auctions where puppy mill owners buy and sell dogs for breeding. Puppy millers dump dogs they no longer want, and other mass dog producers come looking for a deal. These dogs are auctioned off like used cars with little or no regard for their health and well-being. A typical dog auction sells at least 250 dogs.
  • Consumers should never buy a puppy from a pet store or Internet site; instead visit an animal shelter or screen a breeder's facility in person.


  • April 2009 – Legislatures in Indiana and Washington State pass bills to crack down on puppy mills.
  • March 2009 - Petland demonstration held at 19 stores nationwide.
  • March 2009 – Members of The HSUS and other consumers file a class action lawsuit against Petland. The lawsuit alleges that Petland misled consumers to believe the puppies sold were healthy and came from high quality breeders.
  • March 2009 – Nearly 400 neglected dogs are rescued from an Arkansas puppy mill. The rescue is one in a series of similar cases across the country.
  • January 2009 - Petland demonstration held at 22 stores nationwide
  • November 2008 – The HSUS releases an 8-month investigation tracing the origins of 17,000 puppies shipped to 76 Petland stores and revealed that Petland is the nation's largest retail supporter of puppy mills.
  • 2008 – Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Virginia pass laws cracking down on puppy mills.

Find out more about The HSUS investigation of Petland


Follow The Humane Society of the United States on Twitter.

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.

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