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December 14, 2012

More than 2,000 Pet Stores Take a Stand Against Puppy Mills

The Humane Society of the United States announces milestone number of puppy friendly pet stores nationwide

  • The HSUS encourages adoption from local shelters or rescues as a first choice when adding a pet to your family.   Ben Sarle

The Humane Society of the United States reached a milestone for its Puppy Friendly Pet Stores program with the  2,000th pet store agreeing to take a stand against puppy mills by refusing to sell puppies. Within hours, three other stores added their names to this growing list – meaning that  2003 stores, spread across all 50 states, are standing up for the welfare of breeding dogs and puppies.

“These stores have made the responsible decision to pledge not to sell puppies now or in the future, and some of them have even transitioned from selling commercially-raised puppies to an adoptions-only model,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of The HSUS' puppy mills campaign. “The Humane Society of the United States applauds these businesses for being leaders in the humane economy.”

The majority of pet stores in the United States that sell puppies utilize puppy mills, mass production facilities that churn out large numbers of puppies under inhumane conditions. Again and again, such stores have been found to be misleading consumers with stories about getting puppies from responsible breeders, when in fact puppy mills are a key part of their supply chain.

Just this week, The HSUS released its third annual investigation of pet stores, linking dozens of pet stores in the Chicagoland area to more than 2,000 puppies shipped from puppy mills.

Increasingly, owners of pet stores are realizing they don’t need to sell puppies to run a successful pet-related business, and they are saving lives almost every day. In October, The HSUS worked with two pet stores in Wyoming to help convert them completely from puppy sales to supporting local shelter adoptions.

The HSUS encourages shoppers to purchase pet supplies at stores displaying the Puppy Friendly Pet Stores sign, which states, “We Love Puppies, That’s Why We Don’t Sell Them.” Store owners who sign The HSUS’ Puppy Friendly Pet Stores pledge receive free literature for their customers on how to find a puppy from a reputable source, and encouraging pet lovers to support local shelters.

A list of all the participating stores is available at humanesociety.org/puppystores.

The HSUS encourages adoption from local shelters or rescues as a first choice, and also provides tips on finding responsible breeders at humanesociety.org/puppy.

Puppy Mill 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; meanwhile 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year for lack of homes.
  • 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 websites to hide the truth and to dupe consumers into thinking that they are dealing with a small, reputable breeder.
  • Puppy mills contribute to the pet overpopulation problem, which results in millions of unwanted dogs euthanized at shelters every year.

Media Contact: Niki Ianni, 301-548-7793, nianni@humanesociety.org

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