Tale of two pet stores: No need to sell puppy mill dogs

Tale of two pet stores: No need to sell puppy mill dogs
Rihanna was a breeding mom in a puppy mill prior to her rescue by the National Mill Dog Rescue. The photo on the left is Rihanna at the mill and on the right is after rescue. Before purchasing a dog in a pet stores, look at the dog on the left. Photo courtesy of The National Mill Dog Rescue.

It’s Christmas and that means it’s time for retailers around the country to cash in. The pet stores that sell those cute puppies in the window are no exception. With puppies on so many little kids Christmas list, it’s officially time for the money train to pull into the station all at the expense of the breeding dogs in puppy mills. Yep, it's time to sell those puppy mill puppies in pet stores.

So, imagine what I was thinking Friday when I stopped by a new location for one of our referring clients and realized I was parked about six car lengths away from none other than Happiness Is Pets. I went into my client and had my visit and returned to my car.

Then, I was faced with a dilemma – do I go in and check it out? You know, do a little recon about those cute little puppies and where they really come from? Do I go in and investigate whether or not this store is in compliance with the Illinois Pet Store Disclosure Act? Do I check to see how healthy or unhealthy the dogs look in their store?

I sat in my car for a while and debated what to do. This was, after all, one of the locations that delivered the ultimate gift at Christmas three years ago – puppies sick with distemper. Christmas gifts that ended up dead shortly after delivery.

The Happiness is Pets in Arlington Heights. Photo Courtesy of the Daily Herald.

The Happiness is Pets in Arlington Heights. Photo Courtesy of the Daily Herald.

It is one of the stores located in Cook County that should have been prohibited from selling puppy mill dogs on October 1st when the Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Act was slated to become law. But they've gotten a reprieve while a federal judge considers the merits of a lawsuit filed by this store, two others and the Missouri Breeders Association. No surprise, but that lawsuit wants business to go on as usual - duh.

What was a girl to do?

As I strongly considered getting out of my car and walking across the small parking lot, I became sick to my stomach. The deal is this – I know the answers to all those questions. Enough of my own friends have already walked into this very store and done their homework. They’ve gotten the breeder lists and done a copious amount of research tracking those dogs back to the vile puppy mills where they were born.

I opted not to go in.

I ended up driving instead to a different pet store to drop off flyers for a pet food drive we are conducting where I work. At this store, they don’t sell pets. At this store, they hold adoption events. At this store, I was met by Leo the English Bulldog – rescued from a puppy mill by the Chicago English Bulldog Rescue just two years ago when he was around 10 weeks old. Leo is the official greeter at the Kriser's in Kildeer.

I didn’t know that when I walked in the door.

Dogs in puppy mills produce dogs for sale in pet stores and online pet sale sites. Most American pet stores no longer sell dogs and cats.

Dogs in puppy mills produce dogs for sale in pet stores and online pet sale sites. Most American pet stores no longer sell dogs and cats.

I did know that Kriser’s is one of the fastest growing pet store chains in the country and it’s achieved that by selling quality products, not pets. When I walked in to this particular Kriser’s, I met Leo and his mom and was charmed by Leo…and heartbroken by all he’s been through to get to the place where he is know. He’s had numerous surgeries and over $18k in vet bills in two years as they’ve worked to get him whole.

This is a dog that could have ended up at Happiness is Pets or any other pet store for that matter. This is a dog that could have cost an unsuspecting family a fortune. This is a dog that could have been killed instead of rescued if his life had played out differently.

So, I’ll continue to avoid Happiness Is Pets, Furry Babies and Petland and the cute puppies in the window. And, since it is the holidays, continue to get my reminders out about pet stores and puppy mills and the heartbreak ahead for those pet store puppies and their families.

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Filed under: Pets, Puppy Mills

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    Raining Cats and Dogs

    I am a crazy cat lady and puppy mill warrior that blogs to advocate and educate about pet issues. In American animal controls, millions of pets are abandoned each year and an estimated 4 million die just because there are not enough homes. It truly seems like it’s Raining Cats and Dogs.

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