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June 29, 2009

New Nationwide Investigation of Petland Reveals Continued Support of Puppy Mills

HSUS Releases 6-Month Study Linking More Than 95 Percent of Petland Stores to Puppy Mills

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States has released new evidence against Petland, the nation's largest chain of pet stores that sells puppy mill dogs. A six-month intensive search of public animal transport records in multiple states has revealed that more than 95 percent of the retail chain's stores are supporting puppy mills by purchasing their dogs from large-scale dog brokers and/or directly from puppy mill operations, including some of the most notorious and abusive puppy mills in the country.

The HSUS traced shipments of more than 15,000 puppies from massive commercial puppy brokers to over 95 percent of Petland stores in the past few months. Some Petland stores were even still buying from puppy mills that The HSUS named and exposed as part of its initial 8-month Petland investigation last year. Two Petland stores were documented buying puppies from the facility of convicted puppy mill operator, Kathy Bauck in New York Mills, Minn. Bauck was convicted in March of three counts of animal torture and one count of animal cruelty.

"When we first pulled back the curtain on Petland's unethical business practices , the company denied the allegations, yet provided no evidence to refute our claims," said Stephanie Shain, senior director of The HSUS' puppy mills campaign. "We've now taken a second look into Petland's procurement practices and confirmed our original finding: every Petland store we looked at is getting the majority of their dogs from puppy mills. Petland's claim that it gets dogs from reputable small family breeders is a sham."

In March, a class action lawsuit was filed against Petland and The Hunte Corp., one of the country's largest broker distributors of factory-farmed puppies. Since the original action was filed, more than 500 individuals came forward because they also acquired sick dogs from Petland.  The lawsuit alleges that Petland and Hunte conspired to sell unhealthy puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting consumers in numerous states, violating federal law and numerous state consumer protection laws.

Puppy Mill Facts

  • 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.
  • Breeding dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles and are typically confined for years on end, without ever becoming part of a family. There is little regard for the dogs' health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.
  • Dogs 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. 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.
  • The HSUS supports compassionate breeders who provide for their dog's physical and mental well-being. Quality breeders don't sell puppies through pet stores or over the Internet. 
  • The HSUS has rescued thousands of dogs from abusive puppy mills over the past 18 months.

 Additional Links

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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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