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Metropolitan Washington Area Pet Stores Take 'Puppy Friendly' Pledge

The Humane Society of the United States

At the request of The Humane Society of the United States, several Washington, D.C. area pet stores have signed puppy friendly pledges — a commitment to reject any dealings with the cruel puppy mill industry and not to sell puppies, but instead support local animal adoption programs. The HSUS applauds these socially responsible independent retailers because their actions prove it is not necessary to be part of the puppy mill trade to be successful.

The HSUS Puppy Friendly Pet Store initiative asks animal lovers everywhere to encourage local pet stores to implement an official policy of not selling puppies because this business sustains the cruel puppy mill industry. Instead, stores are asked to support homeless pet adoptions.

Store owners and managers who sign The HSUS' pledge receive a placard proclaiming, "We love puppies, that's why we don't sell them," to display in the store, as well as materials about adopting a dog or finding a responsible breeder. The HSUS encourages shoppers, for the sake of pets everywhere, to patronize establishments displaying such a sign.

"These stores have set a positive example of corporate responsibility for other socially conscious businesses to follow," said Stephanie Shain, senior director of The HSUS' puppy mills campaign. "Pet stores that profit from the cruel puppy mill industry need to step up and do the right thing by stopping their puppy sales. Shelters and rescues are brimming with dogs in need of homes." 

The independent retailers in the metropolitan Washington area that have most recently signed the puppy friendly pledge to not sell puppies are: 

  • Washington, D.C.: The Big Bad Woof; Chateau-Animaux; Pawticulars; PetMac; Pro Feed
  • Maryland suburbs: Animal Exchange; Bark!; Bethesda Pet Shoppe; Central Dawgma and The Dawg Wash; Gabby's Pet Depot; MacArthur Pet Shop; Mighty Healthy Pet; Pawlitics; Pet Barn; Pro Feed; Whole Pet Central
  • Virginia suburbs: Chateau-Animaux; PetMac; Pro Feed; Whole Pet Central

Policy Helps Dogs Across the United States

The majority of pet stores that sell puppies carry dogs from puppy mills, which are mass production facilities that churn out large numbers of puppies under inhumane conditions. The breeding dogs at puppy mills spend their entire lives in cramped cages or kennels with little or no personal attention or quality of life. Consumers who purchase puppies from pet stores or over the Internet without seeing a breeder's home firsthand are often unknowingly supporting this cruel puppy mill industry.


  • 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.
  • 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 online sellers often use attractive Web sites to hide the truth and to dupe consumers into thinking that they are dealing with a small, 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.


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.