After a 2019 Humane Society of the United States undercover investigation revealed sick puppies and a pile of dead rabbits at a Fairfax, Virginia, Petland store—capturing disturbing footage that included an employee saying, “When they’re sick, they’re sick. We just let them die.”—the location was quickly closed and its manager charged with animal cruelty. It wasn’t the first instance of bad actions at a Petland store. Petland’s puppy-selling pet stores have a long history of being shut down, cited or sued after alleged instances of animal mistreatment and consumer deception, including a recent lawsuit filed by seven South Carolina families asserting that they were duped into buying sick puppies.
Now, a judge has ordered the Kennesaw, Georgia, Petland store to pay animal welfare activist Karen Paul $100,000 in legal fees after the store sued Paul when she spoke out about its sick puppies, citing Petland Kennesaw’s bad faith legal action and noting that the store “abused the legal process to harass Defendant.”
“Petland has been sent a clear message that they cannot abuse the court system to silence activists,” says John Goodwin, senior director of the HSUS Stop Puppy Mills campaign. “Pet store puppies almost always come from puppy mills, and the HSUS stands with advocates like Karen Paul as we work together to close the market that sustains this cruelty."