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."