A new undercover investigation (PDF) released by The Humane Society of the United States links pet stores in Georgia to puppy mill operations inside and outside the state. With hidden cameras, HSUS investigators visited 13 of 17 puppy-selling pet stores in the state during fall 2015.

The investigators discovered that some breeders found selling to Georgia pet stores have serious Animal Welfare Act violations on their federal inspection records, including dogs with untreated, open wounds; severe eye discharge and heavily matted fur. Inspection reports also noted feces found in food bowls.

The HSUS regularly receives complaints from customers who have unknowingly bought high-priced puppies who were sick and/or died shortly after purchase, from pet stores across the country. In almost all of these complaints, the consumers indicate that they were not told the truth about the breeders who supply to the pet stores.

Despite the claims made by puppy store sellers, most dogs sold in pet stores currently come from puppy mills, which are inhumane, commercial dog breeding facilities where puppies are bred in factory-like environments for the pet trade. The HSUS recommends that consumers adopt dogs from shelters and rescue groups, or find a responsible breeder (PDF) and visit them in person.

Some pet stores, including national and regional chain stores, operate adoption centers in their stores and facilitate adoptions from shelters and rescue groups instead of supporting inhumane puppy mills. The HSUS is also urging the pet industry, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to adopt meaningful standards of care for commercial, large-scale dog breeding operations.

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