May 26, 2010


From the San Diego Union Tribune:
USDA fails to crack down on puppy mills
By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 at 9:51 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators have uncovered grisly conditions at puppy mills around the country where dogs were infested with ticks, living with gaping wounds and in pools of feces, according to a disturbing new report that placed the blame on lax enforcement.

Investigators say the Agriculture Department agency in charge of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act often ignores repeat violations, waives penalties and doesn't adequately document inhumane treatment of dogs.

In one case cited by the department's inspector general, 27 dogs died at an Oklahoma breeding facility after inspectors had visited the facility several times and cited it for violations.

The review, conducted between 2006 and 2008, found more than half of those large kennels - known as puppy mills - had already been cited for violations flouted the law again.

The report recommends that the animal care unit at the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service immediately confiscate animals that are dying or seriously suffering, and better train its inspectors to document, report and penalize wrongdoing.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday the department takes the report seriously and will move to immediately improve enforcement, penalties and inspector training. He noted the investigation was conducted before his time in office and called it troubling.

"USDA will reinforce its efforts under its animal welfare responsibilities, including tougher penalties for repeat offenders and greater consistent action to strongly enforce the law," he said.

The investigators visited 68 dog breeders and dog brokers in eight states that had been cited for at least one violation in the previous three years. On those visits, they found that first-time violators were rarely penalized, even for more serious violations, and repeat offenders were often let off the hook as well. The agency also gave some breeders a second chance to correct their actions even when they found animals dying or suffering, delaying confiscation of the animals.

The agency placed too much emphasis on educating the violators instead of penalizing them, the report added.

"The agency believed that compliance achieved through education and cooperation would result in long-term dealer compliance and, accordingly, it chose to take little or no enforcement action against most violators," the report said.

In the case of the Oklahoma breeding facility where 27 dogs died, the breeder had been cited for 29 violations, including nine repeated violations, from February 2006 to January 2007. The inspector returned in November 2007 before any enforcement action had taken place, according to the report, and found five dead dogs and "other starving dogs that had resorted to cannibalism."

Despite these conditions, the inspectors did not immediately confiscate the surviving dogs and, the report says, 22 additional dogs died before the breeder's license was revoked.

The inspector general also noted that some large breeders circumvent the law by selling dogs over the Internet. Inspectors said they identified 112 breeders in the eight states they monitored that were not licensed by USDA and thus not eligible for inspections.

Wayne Pacelle , president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the report confirms what animal rights groups have been charging for years.

"Enforcement is flaccid, the laws are weak and reform needs to happen," he said. "We have long criticized having the animal welfare enforcement functions within a bureaucracy dedicated to promoting American agriculture. There's a built-in conflict of interest."

Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and David Vitter, R-La., said Tuesday that they are introducing legislation to close the loophole in the law that allows breeders to operate online. Both senators said they will work with USDA to ensure changes are made throughout the agency.

The inspector general's office conducted three previous reports in the last 20 years, the latest in 2005, all of which also found shortcomings with the agency's enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act.


May 17, 2010


Watch the just released documentary about the puppy trade and pet stores on Animal Planet. This film concentrates on the chain of pet stores called Petland. Some of the puppy stores in San Diego use the same breeders and brokers!

May 14, 2010

We Are Making A Difference!

Shelters biting pet-store sales hard, poll finds
By Sue Manning, Associated Press

Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.

LOS ANGELES — Remember the old song “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” For most Americans, it seems that it’s no sale.

More than half of people in an Associated poll said they would get their next dog or cat from a shelter, nearly seven times the number who said they would buy their next pet from a store.

And more than four in 10 said they thought store pets could have hidden medical or psychological problems. That’s significantly more than those who expressed the same concerns about pets from animal shelters or breeders.

“I believe they overbreed the pets. I believe they couldn’t care less about the pets; they’re really in it for the money. I think you are more likely to get a pet at a pet store that is ill or has problems,” said Sandra Toro, 62, of Colton.

Just 8 percent of those polled said they would get their next cat or dog at a store, while 13 percent said that’s where they got the pet they have now. Fifty-four percent of those polled said they would probably get their next pet from a shelter, while 23 percent would opt for a breeder.

The American Pet Products Association said sales from pet stores have declined over the past 10 years.

Toro, who has a 14-year-old rescue-terrier mix named Dancer, said she doesn’t understand how anyone can buy a pet from a store or a breeder. “There are so many wonderful pets out there that will be euthanized,” she said. “There’s no reason for it.”

John Knight, 45, of Dallas got his 3-year-old mutt named Liesl (rhymes with “diesel”) from an animal shelter that was holding a weekend adoption day at Petsmart.

“There are plenty of animals out there that need good homes that don’t have them,” Knight said. “There’s no reason to continue to breed animals when there are so many that have to be put down.”

When asked where their present pets came from, 26 percent said breeders and 30 percent said shelters — a much smaller number than those said they would go to a shelter for their next pet. More than half of those polled said their dogs or cats came from places other than shelters, breeders or stores.

They might have been strays, gifts from friends or favors for neighbors. Since some people have more than one pet, the numbers add up to more than 100 percent.

“I’ve probably had 50 dogs, and all but two came walking up our driveway,” said Colleen Campbell, 71, of Fairview, Texas.

She and her husband have spent 50 years on their rural farm outside Dallas, and it has been a perennial dumping ground for strays.

The poll showed that dog owners (35 percent) were more likely to have gotten their current pets from a breeder than cat owners (5 percent).

Forty-seven percent of those polled said they were strongly concerned that an animal from a pet store would have medical issues they didn’t know about, while 38 percent had similar worries about animals from breeders and 32 percent were concerned about shelter pets.

As for psychological problems, 44 percent said they had significant worries about pet-store animals and 33 percent worried about both breeder and shelter pets.

May 11, 2010


Three cheers to ALL of you who came on Saturday May 8 to stand up for compassion and stop the sale of pet store puppies!

A mass march of the Animal Defense Team departed from Mission Center Rd. in San Diego, carrying BAN PUPPY STORES posters and banners and wearing neon yellow BAN PUPPY STORES signs on our shirts.  We were given great positive support with honking horns from shopping center motorists.

After a spectacular protest parade which progressed through Mission Valley Shopping Center to the middle courtyard, we surrounded the Puparazzi pet store and distributed educational flyers to shoppers, explaining the link between puppy mills and pet stores. At the same time four undercover team members entered the store and documented all puppies for sale. Breeder investigations are now under way.

Four million dogs each year are farmed as livestock at unlicensed kennels as well as under the juridiction of the US Department of Agriculture. The primary objective is greed, pure and simple. Greed on the part of the breeder, the broker and the pet store owners. Dogs are paying for it with their lives.

This was our second protest inside Westfield Shopping Malls, one of the primary locations of puppy store pet shops. The first was at California Pets in Carlsbad Plaza Camino Real on April 25.  Stay tuned for our next target. We are breaking new ground, insisting on our rights to protest inside California shopping centers as ruled by the California Supreme Court.

May 02, 2010

Protest Mission Valley's Puparazzi Pet Store!

Our next pet store protest is coming.

Join the San Diego Animal Defense Team to

Stop the Sale of Pet Store Puppies!

Coming Up: A day-before-Mother's Day protest at Puparazzi in Mission Valley. We will protest to speak for those who can't speak for themselves- all the mother dogs held for their lifetimes as prisoners of greed

When: Saturday, May 8
11 AM to 1 PM
Where: Mission Valley Shopping Center

We will begin at the intersection of Mission Center Road and Camino Del Rio North. Park in the Target lot close to the intersection.

Four million puppies are produced in USDA factory farms each year and most of those are resold through pet stores. At the same time, five million dogs are euthanized each year because they can't find homes. The mother dogs, who are bred time after time and never get out of their cages, often go mad from the solitary confinement and loneliness. They are then killed by the breeders. This is now a one billion dollar industry in the US. Lobbyists are paid to work on behalf of the breeding, broker and pet store corporations.
The dogs have no one but us.