Puppy Mill Awareness Day is September 24 in Los Angeles, and Pet City campaign volunteers will be supporting two protests this weekend. The first, hosted by Last Chance for Animals, will take place at actual puppy mills near Los Angeles. The second protest will take place at Pet City in Stanton, as activists counter Pet City's decision to resume business with Puppy Mills by resuming our protests: bigger, stronger, and louder.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24: Last Chance for Animals Puppy Mill Protests From LCA: For Puppy Mill Awareness Day (PMAD) on Saturday September 24th LCA will be protesting at some of the actual pupppy mills where several of the puppies who are sold in L.A. pet shops come from.
We will caravan/carpool from West Hollywood Park, 647 N San Vincente, West Hollywood, CA, we are meeting at 11:00am and will leave no later 11:20am. We will be going to Littlerock, CA about 1 hr north of L.A. and will be demonstrating in front of 5 different puppy mills.
Let's let the puppy millers know they can't continue to hide in the desert. Let's make this a demo the puppy millers will never forget. It will be a peaceful demo. We have protested numerous pet stores over the years. It's time to go to the source and let them know we know all about them!
Although we won't be entering the mills, you will be able to see some of the mothers who are languishing in their kennels. Please come out and speak up for the dogs who are suffering in these mills. Water and Vegan snacks will be provided.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25: Puppy Mill Protest at Pet City Investigations at Pet City's stores in Whittier and Stanton have confirmed that they've gone back on their word to convert to an adoption-only pet store, and have recently re-stocked their cages with dozens of puppies from commercial breeding facilities in the Midwest. Join other activists to show Pet City that this behavior is unacceptable, and unwelcome in our community.
Please meet on the public sidewalk in front of Shoe City, next door to Pet City. Shoe City is also owned by Pet City owners Judy and Leedy Ying, so we will be able to educate the customers of both stores about the abuse that they support.
The protest will begin at 1:00 p.m. sharp. Signs and literature will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own sign if you'd like. If you have any questions, please ask.
Use your voice to speak up for the animals suffering in puppy mills.
If you are disgusted by puppy mill cruelty - do something.
Investigations at Pet City's stores in Whittier and Stanton have confirmed that they've gone back on their word to convert to an adoption-only pet store, and have recently re-stocked their cages with dozens of puppies from commercial breeding facilities in the Midwest.
Activists spoke with Whittier store manager George Ng during the investigation. Ng claimed that the new puppies came from breeders, not puppy mills. He said that Pet City buyers were unaware they were doing business with puppy mills in the past, but stopped when activists approached them with USDA reports, photos, and other investigations that showed hundreds of dogs living in filthy conditions, confined to small wire cages, denied veterinary care and other basic needs, and existing only to produce litter after litter for stores like Pet City.
Volunteers obtained the breeder names, locations, and USDA license numbers (if applicable) for every puppy for sale during their August 11 visit, and told Ng that they would continue pulling USDA records and other information. Ng asked that the new reports be sent to him again, and repeated that their buyers do not know this information about their suppliers unless it is sent to them.
This blatantly contradicts Ng's statement that he knows the new puppies did not come from puppy mills, as well as signs posted in Pet City stores and on their website, stating: "All our puppies come from personally known, licensed breeders." When Ng was asked how he can make these claims if he knows nothing about their breeders, his only comment was that he does not control what is posted on the website.
The statement was removed from the company's website within two days of the visit, however the claim is reiterated in a post on their Facebook page:
It is evident by Ng's lack of information that these breeders are not personally known, and it has been confirmed that some are not USDA licensed. There are puppies in the Stanton store from D. Crenshaw of Harrison, AR, and in Whittier from K. Clark of Grovespring, MD for which the USDA license space simply says "hobby."
So what about the breeders who are USDA licensed? Brandi Cheney, one of Pet City's licensed breeders, was recently sued by dog owners who claim she sold them sick puppies raised in poor living conditions. Cheney has over 120 dogs on her property, 500 pages of federal enforcement records, and animal welfare violations such as: dogs with oozing and encrusted eyes, shivering animals in 0-35 degree temperatures without bedding or weather protection, enclosures so covered in feces that dogs could not avoid walking in it, the body of an emaciated female boxer left outside of an enclosure, and dogs so badly matted with feces encrusted hair that it was difficult to determine what gender or breed they were.
Pet City's new suppliers are still being researched, but similar complaints have already been found. Direct quotes from their USDA inspection reports include:
"There is an excessive accumulation of feces and spilled food on the cement outside the building. The owner stated that cleaning hasn't been done for about 4 days. The dogs must walk through the feces because there is so much of it. This affects 23 adult dogs and 10 puppies." Darold Jay Headings, Oak Ridge Kennel, Summersville, MO. License #43-A-4754
"A brindle Chihuahua male was staying back toward the back of the enclosure. The dog's tongue was hanging out the side of its mouth. The dog appeared frail and lethargic. Owner advised the inspector that the dog was over ten years old. The dog was observed being bumped and knocked around by the other dogs in the enclosure. When the dog walks he sometimes lifted his back left leg." Clifford Lansdown, T L C Kennels, Hartville, MO. License #43-A-5453
"The dogs had matted hair on their backs and matted hairballs hanging from their legs. This matting could cause skin irritations or other skin problems if the coats aren't properly maintained." Rachel Davis, Davis Kennel, Seymour, MO. License #43-A-3433
Other complaints include:
Strong odors of ammonia and feces, including in shelter buildings that housed young puppies. Exposure to this strong odor can cause damage to puppies' mucus membranes.
Enclosures made of exposed wood that were soaked through with urine, unable to be properly cleaned and sanitized.
Sick dogs with no records of vet care. One facility had no written record of vet care for any of their animals.
Senior dogs that were no longer used for breeding being neglected and ignored.
Broken fencing allowing dogs to exit their enclosures, and leaving them vulnerable for wild animals to enter.
These are the suppliers that Pet City wants the community to believe are reputable, family breeders who care about animals. It's simply not true, and not surprising considering Pet City's history of misleading their customers and other concerned citizens. In December, store manager Barbara Hopkins presented protesters with a signed copy of the Humane Society's Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge, claiming they would cease the sale of non-rescue puppies within 90 days. However, activists followed up with HSUS to find that they had never received their signed copy of the pledge, and the store continued selling puppies. Additionally, during a recent call-in campaign, Pet City representatives told multiple people that 90-100% of their puppies come from shelters - but store visits showed it was actually less than half.
One of the most devastating of Pet City's lies is that they cannot convert to adoption-only because there are not enough dogs in the shelter. Six to eight million dogs and cats end up in shelters each year, and half of them are euthanized. 25 percent of dogs in need of homes in the US are purebred. In this time of overwhelming pet overpopulation, there is no excuse for pet stores to offer anything but rescued animals. And there is NEVER an excuse to support the egregious cruelty and neglect of the puppy mill industry.
What you can do:
Participate in the call-in campaign and send a message to Pet City that businesses who support puppy mills are not welcome in our community.
Forward this page, post on Facebook and other social networking sites, and tell your friends and family. It is important that the community is aware that Pet City has, and continues to support puppy mills. Do not let them continue to deceive the public about where their puppies come from.
Never shop at a store that sells puppies, even if you are only shopping for food or supplies. Spend your money at a store that supports your values. If you need help finding a humane pet store, look for a Centinela Feed & Pet Supplies near you, or find a local pet store in Stanton, Whittier, or Garden Grove on Yelp.
Look to this page for updates on future protests, events, and other information regarding the campaign. Our efforts will persist until Pet City stops doing business with puppy mills for good.
And, of course, next time you're looking for a new companion dog, cat, bunny, mouse, guinea pig, turtle, hamster.. or ANY animal.. always look to your local shelters and rescues. Adopt and save a life.
When: Saturday, February 12 · 9:00am - 11:00am Where: Pet City, 14718 Whittier Blvd., Whittier
Twenty activists gathered at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning to protest Pet City's support of puppy mills. They arrived when the store opened, and stayed through the store's vaccination clinic, which took place from 10-11 a.m.
Pet City manager George Ng opened the store that day, and store owner Judy Ying later drove down Whittier Boulevard to videotape the protest.
The vaccination clinic attracted many customers and their dogs to the Pet City parking lot. During the clinic, activists provided flyers for alternate low-cost vaccinations in the area, including clinics conducted by LA Animal Services. Customers had the opportunity to review the puppy mill literature provided while they waited their turn for the clinic, and while many were reluctant to pack up their animals and leave the store on Saturday, they said they would go elsewhere for vaccines in the future. Customers were especially interested to find out that other clinics were cheaper than Pet City - a rabies shot, for example, is $12 at Pet City and only $6 at the local shelter.
The reverse of the vaccine flyer promoted a 3-Day Valentine Adoption Event, hosted at PetSmart and featuring animals from SEAACA. SEAACA also provides the puppies for "adoption" at Pet City, but customers were confused about why Pet City charges $290-$490 for shelter puppies, when the same puppies would be available at SEAACA for only $100. SEAACA's animals for adoption are also listed on Petfinder.com.
Like other holidays, Valentine's weekend is big for puppy sales. Activists were pleased to be able to educate the public about puppy mills, and Pet City's customers were happy to find out alternatives for vaccines and animal adoptions, which will save them money - without contributing to the cruel puppy mill industry.
WHITTIER, CA - Pet City is a chain of four pet stores that currently supports some of the worst puppy mills in the country. Local activists began protesting the chain in November, when attempts to communicate with the owners were unsuccessful. After weekly protests persisted, including protests at multiple locations on Christmas Eve, the Torrance store announced on January 12 that it would be closing it's doors in February. Pet City also has locations in Whittier, Stanton, and Garden Grove.
The ASPCA simply defines a puppy mill as "a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs." In these facilities, hundreds of breeding dogs may be kept in dirty conditions in small wire cages or rabbit hutches, and are denied basic needs such as protection from the elements, opportunity to exercise, regular veterinary care, socialization, and affection.
Federal reports for Pet City's suppliers were obtained using their USDA license numbers. One facility, owned by the Cheney family of Huntsville, MO., has over 500 pages of violations. Complaints include "dogs with oozing or encrusted eyes, dogs with bleeding lacerations, puppies attempting to stand on wide-spaced wire flooring, an underweight and unresponsive poodle, and some dogs so badly matted with feces-encrusted hair that it was difficult to determine what gender or breed they were."
Copies of these reports have been sent to Pet City owner Judy Ying, who has not been available for comment.
Activists urge Pet City to stop buying from these facilities immediately, and only sell dogs from local shelters. Pet City has increased the number of shelter dogs in their store since the start of the campaign, but activists are unhappy with the store's continued support of puppy mills.
Lisa Goetz, an activist from Torrance, says she will continue attending weekly protests until Pet City stops buying from puppy mills altogether. She says, "There are currently 31 puppies for sale in the Whittier store, and only 6 of those came from shelters. Every non-shelter puppy for sale at Pet City represents a set of parents who will spend their entire lives suffering on a puppy mill. Every puppy that Pet City continues to buy from these breeding facilities directly takes a home away from a shelter puppy, and will cause a puppy in overcrowded shelters to be euthanized. Pet City can stop contributing to this problem now by no longer purchasing puppies from puppy mills, while joining the trend of humane pet stores that only promote adoption. Until that happens, regular protests and community education will continue."
Animal rights activists are calling for the boycott of Pet City, a Los Angeles and Orange County chain of pet stores, for purchasing its dogs from abusive puppy mills.
According to activists, four of the store’s suppliers are on The Humane Society’s list of some of the 12 worst puppy mills in the country. The report is based on the number and severity of a breeder’s state and federal animal welfare violations.
Documents, which the Humane Society obtained from the USDA through a Freedom of Information Act request, tell of dogs kept in near zero temperatures without adequate protection, with untreated lesions, feces-encrusted fur, illness, injury and malnourishment.
A protest was held on Saturday, Jan. 8 in front of the Pet City in Torrance to call attention to the issue.
“We want them to stop doing business with puppy mills,” said campaign organizer Lisa Goetz. It was Goetz who sounded the alarm on Pet City and began the boycott.
“I did research to determine where Pet City’s puppies came from, and traced them back to some of the most deplorable puppy mills in the country,” she said in a news release. “Once I had this information, I couldn’t sit back and do nothing.”
A sign on a Pet City cage holding a 6-month-old Pekingese says: "This is Ollie. He was born and raised by the Marshall family."
Ollie's breeder is listed as Kim and Mort Marshall of Farmington, Ark. They are repeat violators of animal care regulations, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dogs at the Marshalls' facility were found with bleeding lacerations on their paws and limbs - possibly from their wire cages. The breeders also kept some dogs packed into cramped cages with no solid floor, had dirty cages and moldy food, and had expired medications and improperly identified dogs, according to a USDA inspection report.
But Roja said the store will continue to buy dogs from the breeders it has previously done business with.
TORRANCE, CA - A signed copy of the Humane Society's Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge was given to activists on December 19th, by a Torrance store manager who claimed that they would only continue selling the dogs they already had, before converting to adoption-only. The manager claimed that all stores in the chain would comply. However, HSUS reports that they never received their copy of the pledge, and the number of puppy mill dogs in all stores has increased. When asked what their plans are, Pet City declined to comment.
Pet City is currently being supplied by some of the nation's most deplorable puppy mills. Two are on the HSUS "Dirty Dozen" report of the worst puppy mills in Missouri. One is being sued for selling sick animals bred under poor conditions, and has over 500 pages of federal law enforcement records. USDA reports are full of disturbing complaints, including reports of "dogs so badly matted with feces encrusted hair that it was difficult to determine what gender or breed they were." Pet City knows this. They have received numerous articles and documentation about these facilities. But apparently, they simply do not care.
Activists had suspected that the HSUS pledge was signed as a ruse to interrupt their campaign during the busy holiday season. Therefore, they continued their scheduled protests at both the Whittier and Stanton stores on Christmas Eve, one of the busiest puppy-buying days of the year. This weekend, they return to the Torrance store, and will continue their protests until Pet City stops doing business with puppy mills completely.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
TORRANCE, CA - After working with grassroots animal rights groups, local pet shop chain Pet City has signed a pledge to stop selling puppies within 90 days, and only adopt out animals from local shelters. This makes them part of an increasingly popular movement among pet stores who want to leave the commercial dog breeding industry behind, and join the fight to find homes for the 6-8 million animals who enter shelters each year. Pet City currently has stores in Torrance, Stanton, Whittier, and Garden Grove.
The pledge was signed by Torrance store manager Barbara Hopkins, claiming that all stores in the chain would comply. The Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge was created by The Humane Society of the United States, and participating stores receive resources about adoption, promotion on the HSUS website, and a placard to display in their store which proclaims, “We love puppies; that’s why we don’t sell them.”
Campaign organizer Lisa Goetz says, “I did research to determine where Pet City’s puppies came from, and traced them back to some of the most deplorable puppy mills in the country - facilities in the Midwest with repeated violations on their USDA inspection reports, some with over a hundred breeding dogs. I contacted store owner Judy Ying with a letter describing my concerns, USDA reports, articles on pet stores that have gone humane, and the HSUS pledge. Five weeks later, I had a signed copy of the pledge in my hand. I’m just your average college student, and I love animals. Once I had this information, I couldn’t sit back and do nothing.”
Pet City currently has 75 puppies for sale - 6 of whom are rescues. Torrance resident and activist Tyler Lang says of this ratio: “I have been involved with this campaign from the start, and I am thrilled that Pet City has signed the pledge. However, I would like to see more progress soon. Unfortunately, pet stores who sell puppies are notorious for misleading the public, and we want to be sure this one is going to stand by their word.”
According to Carole Raphaelle Davis, West Coast Director of the Companion Animal Protection Society, "With CAPS' city-wide investigation and anti-puppy mill campaign, we have succeeded in converting many pet stores to the humane business model. Our protests of pet stores that have been investigated for selling animals from inhumane pet factories have had a 100% success rate. Either the store converts by selling animals rescued from our municipal shelter system or they go out of business. No pet store has been able to withstand a protracted siege by our animal protection advocates. We prefer that pet stores stay open, do well, and save lives at the same time. It's a win/win for everyone--the consumer, the retailer and most importantly, the animals."