The Today Show recently covered a story from the Wall Street Journal about the latest craze – puppy parties. They specifically raved about a business, PuppyParty.com, and the Brooklyn pet shop that supplies the puppies, Puppy Paradise. Animal welfare activists and rescue folks were outraged, but the story seems to have been forgotten already. Just like the parents of those puppies. Companion Animal Protection Society hasn’t forsaken those dogs, though, and they want us to know about the origins of the adorable puppies for sale.
It does sound like a great idea, you have to admit – instead of a bounce house or dumb games, you hire a service that brings puppies to your party. Everyone has fun playing with the puppies. The puppies get some socializing. The business gets exposure and new leads for puppy sales.
Except that these puppies come from a store that gets its “merchandise” from puppy mills.
Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) has been investigating puppy mills and pet stores for decades now. CAPS has a huge library of data and undercover videos detailing what really goes on at these commercial breeders and the stores that sell for them. And they’ve investigated Puppy Paradise and its breeders.
This video provides a summary (warning: some viewers may find this disturbing) –
Puppy Paradise reassures its customers that their puppies come from quality breeders. CAPS begs to differ, and the results of their investigations are heart-wrenching and brought tears to my eyes. I honestly don’t know how these “breeders” can look at their dogs and not feel any empathy for them. Cold hearts, if you ask me.
“Oh, I’m not hurting you”
Here’s a partial list of what the mamas and papas of those cute puppies endure:
- Kevin Street, Missouri: Molly, a Boxer, was rescued in 2013 by a CAPS investigator from this breeder. Molly had signs of cattle prod burns (yes, you read that right) and suffered from a painful growth, which a veterinary specialist concluded resulted from lying on an ongoing Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Molly’s life in a confined space only exasperated the condition and caused her even more unnecessary suffering.
- Gayle’s Country Pups, Oklahoma: Numerous serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act were observed. Gayle Duncan’s brother-in-law and employee admitted to running over a dog with a four-wheeler because the dog bit him, and bragged about carrying around a gun to shoot any “aggressive” dog.
- Hurliman Kennels, Oklahoma: Investigation revealed 1,000 dogs and puppies (he claimed “500”) in poor conditions. Dwayne Hurliman emphasized his preference for breeding females that have large litters, with most of them averaging 3 litters every 2 years. One of HSUS’ 2015 “Horrible Hundred”.
- Pug Pekinpoo-tzu, Missouri: Owner Maureen Butler keeps the dogs in outdoor kennels, exposed to the harsh weather extremes. She pointed out a dog that had lost it’s toes to frostbite, blaming it on a “cold day in May”, while they jokingly refer to the poor dog as “Stumpy”. Also one of HSUS’ 2015 “Horrible Hundred”.
- Bet-ter Kennel, Missouri: Owner Betty Mings leaves the dogs exposed to the wickedness of Midwestern winters. Investigator found several AWA violations, and noted several days worth of fecal accumulation. Mings noted a “stink” to the investigator, saying that she’d been killing mice and hadn’t cleaned up dead ones lying beneath the cages. She boasted that her dogs have litters every breeding cycle, and if you’re not impressed enough by her, “I got dogs nine to 10 years old, still have seven, eight puppies.”
- Then there’s Puppy Paradise, the store behind this story. Owned by David Dietz, the dismal, poorly-lit store claimed to only use 4 or 5 breeders. The CAPS investigation found that from 2012-2014, the store’s puppies actually came from 33 breeders and brokers. PuppyParties.com is also owned by Dietz; the puppy rentals are just one more revenue source for him.
It’s clear from the information obtained about these breeders that they are manufacturing plants – churning out puppies for profit, at the expense of not only good genetics and a healthy start for the puppies, but basic, humane provisions for the parent dogs. The cruelty that is hidden behind cutesy, deceiving business names is hard to fathom.
Even harder to comprehend is how any human could be that callous toward another living being. That dogs are “man’s best friend” – animals with soulful eyes and an innate desire to please us – makes it downright impossible to justify such cruel treatment.
Pet stores like Puppy Paradise are complicit in this cruelty. And businesses such as the puppy-renting PuppyParty.com are but an extension of that. Both the stores and the puppy rentals entice us via our natural love of puppies, selling us over-priced dogs of questionable breeding and encouraging the kennels to continue in their inhumane ways.
It is up to us as individuals and as a society to put a stop to this, to speak up for the neglected dogs behind those cage bars. Just say NO to pet stores, their puppy rental businesses, and commercial breeders. Find a high-quality breeder or adopt from your local shelter or rescue organization.
Do it for “Stumpy”.
Source: Companion Animal Protection Society (press release)