A couple of years ago in Iowa City, a new pet store opened in a part of town near our house. It was called Petland, and I was interested. The only decent pet store around was a PetCo all the way up in Cedar Rapids. I took a look online, and discovered a whole new world of animal welfare issues. It appears that there are a number of organizations and individuals dedicated to boycotting Petland. They allege that Petland buys their puppies from puppy mills.
See the end of this post for links to information about puppy mills.
Petland argues, in various places, that they do no such thing. Instead, they will tell you that they get their puppies from “local breeders” or “brokers.” The Petland boycotters argue that when pressed, Petland owners rarely produce breeder names, and those that are given out turn out to be “volume breeders” with several hundred dogs. Petland never suggests that they don’t buy from brokers, just that these sources aren’t “puppy mills.”
I volunteered at the ASPCA animal shelter in NYC when I lived there. I worked in adoptions, and it was one of the most difficult things I have done. Before you start volunteering, you are required to attend an animal euthanasia procedure. I’d always been an animal lover, but my time at the ASPCA cemented in me an anger at people who would abuse or neglect an animal. Still today it turns my stomach and makes me see red.
It does not matter to me if Petland’s suppliers are puppy mills in the strictest definition. I would never buy a dog from a pet store because they treat their animals like commodities. Not healthy enough, throw it back. Didn’t survive being trucked from Missouri, well too bad. At least it was cheap. Oh, and they offer to let you return the dog if you’re not satisfied. Like a vacuum cleaner. That blatant disregard for life, that is abuse, in my book.
I refuse to even set foot in the store.
What should you do? Educate yourself with the links below. Go to Petland and take a good look at the animals, the conditions they are kept in, ask some questions about where they came from, and where those people got them.
And if you just want to play with the doggies, remember that the shelter lets you do that, too.
Extensive linking is expected with this kind of issue, so here we go. These links were updated on March 31, 2008. Petland Rockford’s site had disappeared, and Petland’s Official site had changed. Some other links were updated, too.
The best links:
See: Inside a Puppy Mill Video
and: How to buy a dog
and: 5 Easy Steps to Avoid Puppy Mills
Petland’s side of the story
See: Petland’s Pet Welfare Questions
and: Petland Rockford used to have an “Animal Extremists” page (now via Wayback) but now they have a sanitized Petland Brand web site.
See: The Voice For Dogs — Petland Campaign
and: The Voice For Dogs — Story of Tiva
and: The Voice For Dogs — Former Petland Employee
and: IDA’s Boycott Petland Site
and: Recent news articles on Petland and Puppy Mills
General Puppy Mill Information
See: Facts on puppy Mills, from HSUS
and: Stop Puppy Mills, by HSUS
and: What is a Puppy Mill
and: Prisoners of Greed