Pet store faces boycott for dealing with puppy mills

January 10, 2011

Standing on a street median in front of Pet City in Torrance, a protester calls attention to oncoming drivers about the suffering dogs endure in puppy mills. Activists are urging a boycott of the pet store because it purchases its dogs from puppy mills that are known violators of state and federal regulations. (Marc Korgie / LA Activist)

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.”

On Nov. 21, 2010, Goetz and other activists began protesting Pet City. Nearly one month later an early victory seemed at hand. According to the campaign’s website, Boycott Pet City, the Torrance Pet City store manager signed a Humane Society-authored pledge to stop selling dogs from puppy mills within 90 days. The store further promised to sell only dogs from local animal shelters.

As customers enter Pet City protesters chant: “Shame, shame, shame. It’s time to go humane.” (Marc Korgie / LA Activist)

However, according to Boycott Pet City, the pledge was never received by the Humane Society and said the signing was “a ruse to interrupt their campaign during the busy holiday season.” The protests continued shortly thereafter.

Pet City did not reply to requests for an interview in time for publication. However, according to the store’s website, they say it is their “priority to provide the best companion puppies” for their customers.

“All our puppies come from personally known, licensed breeders,” the website states. “Each puppy receives a routine check-up by a veterinarian, is current on vaccines and de-worming, comes with a one year warranty with a complimentary vet exam.”

Approximately 25 activists attended Saturday’s demonstration. Protesters received much approval from passing motorists by way of horn honks, along with some derisive comments from the store’s manager and a few customers.

“These people who have puppy mills are in it for only one reason: the almighty dollar,” said protest-attendee Charmaine Namon, who has been active in animal rights issues since the late 1970s.

“People have to learn they can get wonderful animals from a shelter,” she added.

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4 Responses to Pet store faces boycott for dealing with puppy mills

  1. shannon maraghy on January 10, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Nice article Dan! Very informative. I was there, but now I feel like I really know what went on that day! ;-)

  2. noal on January 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    We need to stand up for the injustice of animals and end puppy mills. This is inhumane and cruel. Please boycott any pet store that does not get dogs from a shelter. We are euthanizing Puppies everyday, yet puppy mills are legal, and those dogs are being abused and suffering. We need to change this and end puppy mills.

  3. Shannon Benecke on January 10, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Thank you for the article! Charmaine said it perfectly: “People have to learn they can get wonderful animals from a shelter.”

  4. Mindi C on November 26, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I am really glad to read this! I am currently protesting a petstore here in Ames, Iowa. The owner gets his puppies and kitties from a USDA licensed breeder that has had up to 500 dogs on their property in the past two years. Black Friday was our “kick off” protest and we were met with positive praise! The owner was shocked and much to his disapproval, we plan to be there every Saturday through Christmas Eve. You can read more on my blog “Occupy Dyvigs!” Thank you and, as always, ADOPT, DON’T SHOP!

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