I joined animal lovers across the country in protesting near Petland stores yesterday.
In November The Humane Society of the United States released the results of its eight-month investigation of Petland stores, alerting the public to the company's sale of puppies from puppy mills.
The results really shouldn't have surprised anyone. Where else would Petland get its puppies except from places that churn out obscene numbers of dogs?
I don't like the term "responsible breeder," as I don't think it's responsible to breed dogs when millions die in shelters every year. "Reputable breeder" is a bit more tolerable. Reputable breeders meet the families who will buy their puppies. They also require that if the family, for whatever reason, no longer wants to keep the dog (at any point), the family return the dog to the breeder.
Petland's employees don't care who purchases the puppies. The only requirement is that the customer has the money to do so. Two years later when little Billy develops an allergy to the dog, Petland isn't going to take the dog back.
I was especially proud to protest the Naperville, IL, Petland, as 10 days earlier the local newspaper printed a feel-good story about the store. The owner had given a child a puppy at the request of the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
That same newspaper printed a great story about yesterday's protest.
After an hour standing in a snow bank, my fingers and toes were painfully cold. (Yeah, I admit I went into a restaurant for about 20 minutes to warm up.) But the response from motorists was positive, with many honking their horns and giving us a thumbs-up. One 20-something guy even rolled down his window to ask me what was going on. When I told him Petland gets its puppies from puppy mills, he said that was the end of him shopping there.
I hope hundreds of people across the country reached that same conclusion yesterday. If you'd like to add a puppy (or a dog) to your family, please adopt from a shelter or rescue organization.
(Photo by Corey R. Minkanic, courtesy of The Naperville (IL) Sun.)