The New Year has just begun and all is not quiet on the Western Front – the West suburban front that is. Heartbreaking photos of more emaciated dogs from one of my favorite pet stores the Naperville Petland have hit my inbox. Is this deja vu all over again? You betcha…and the paper trail leads back to the very place where the store owners claim they don’t get their dogs – a puppy mill. What a shock!
It all started when a young woman and her fiance decided to check things out in the Naperville Petland. When they got in the store they found dogs that were emaciated and had deformed ears, hair loss, poorly cut tail, excessive dandruff, runny ears and nose and so on. They asked to see them more closely and then asked for documentation about the “breeder.”
You can finish the story for yourself here. The dogs didn’t come from a good breeder as Petland claims but from a Missouri puppy mill – a puppy mill so bad that it’s been on the list of the worst puppy mills in the United States - Pamela Baldwin’s Sample Creek Kennels.
But how can that be?
Last summer, when Naperville was all up on arms about being called the puppy mill outlet capital of America by some blogger (OK, me)…the city council decided to hear public debate on pet stores, puppy mills and rescue. All kinds of people spoke up at the meeting – regular citizens, officials from the local humane society and rescues, The Puppy Mill Project and…the owners of local puppy mill outlets – Petland and Happiness Is Pets.
And, the owners of Petland got up before the city council, media, concerned animal lovers and impressionable kids and stated that all their dogs come from good breeders. They testified that they didn’t use puppy mills – not a single one - just good breeders. And, since they testified publically and all, it must be true…at least that’s what they wanted everyone to believe.
And, it wasn’t just in a public hearing that they made this type of claim. It’s posted all over their store. They tell anyone that asks – we get our dogs from the best breeders.
Now, a dog lover does a little digging and low and behold what do we find out - that Naperville Petland gets their dogs from puppy mills (duh), really bad puppy mills. The documentation that they are required by law to have in the store (but that they make you ask for) gives the name and address of the mill.
When you Google and hit the USDA website, you find out that Sample Creek Kennels has quite the track record. It’s a puppy mill with over 150 adult dogs and over 50 puppies. And, it has a long list of violations. It was also supposed to be re-inspected in August of 2014 – in the heart of the time we were debating puppy mills in Naperville. And, the USDA didn’t come back for a follow up.
Can this be correct? Would the pet store employees and owners misrepresent where they get their product? Are they hiding the truth? Is this really a puppy mill outlet?
And, it’s bad enough that the dogs came from a puppy mills. But, once they came into the hands of the good folks at Petland, life didn’t get any better for them. I don’t know how emaciated or injured they were when they came in the door, but they were put out on the floor for sale to unsuspecting people wanting a healthy puppy while they were in sad shape.
While some of you may be surprised by this story, I’m not. When the pictures came into my inbox, I thought they were from the blog post I did a year and a half ago – Naperville Petland and the puppies in the pictures. They were emaciated and sickly and one was a Weimaraner just like before. But, they were new photos and different dogs. It’s the same vicious cycle.
The good news is that when the couple started to ask questions and Google the breeder and had a public discussion about the puppy mill dogs in the store…other people heard them. And, walked out of the story saying they were done.
Now, they are sharing their photos and stories with other people. Sooner or later they’ll all get the message and take their business elsewhere – like Dog Patch Pet and Feed where they adopted out over 400 dogs last year…all rescued from open access shelters. But, that is a post for another day.
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