We are a loose-knit coalition of D.C.-area residents who
agree that the selling of animals by Petland and pet stores similar to it
is wrong. We don't strive to agree on other animal issues. We are not a
registered nonprofit group, so donations, while welcome, are not
tax-deductible. All donations will be used to pay for printing, protest
supplies, mailing, and other expenses incurred while fighting pet store
1) Isn’t protesting a bit harsh? Have you tried speaking to the
The Petland corporate office knows exactly
what it’s doing and doesn’t care that animals are suffering. There’s more
hope for the franchisees, who may have signed on without knowing the full
extent Petland’s cruelty and may eventually tire of selling a "product"
that is so difficult to keep clean and that horrifies the animal-loving
We have had a cordial debate with the manager of the local
Petland. He feels that selling supplies only, as we would prefer, would
not be possible in a store that small, even though he feels it is enough
space for several hundred animals (that number includes fish). He does not
believe his puppies are coming from puppy mills and chooses to think they
are coming from more spacious kennels, although he has visited only one or
two, from a select list provided by the Hunte Corporation.
not find the cages in the store extremely small or uncomfortable, as we
do. He does not believe he is contributing to the homeless animal crisis
but feels he is instead providing a choice for shoppers looking for a
particular animal at a particular time. We respectfully disagree on these
issues and hope that he will change his mind before more animals are
2) Many rescue groups have adoption days in
cooperation with pet stores. Do you think rescue groups should work with
If Petland sells 100 animals in a week and finds
a home for 1 homeless animal during the same week, have they done a good
thing or a bad thing overall? We feel that Petland’s sale of animals does
so much more harm than good that rescue groups would be better off going
elsewhere to adopt out their animals, giving positive public relations to
someone more deserving. Besides, Petland’s cages are so small, most rescue
groups would not want their animals housed there.
3) Do you
think your protests are doing any good?
Yes, we think
they are doing a lot of good. We have handed out literally thousands of
fliers explaining that Petland gets puppies from puppy mills. Virtually
every weekend since mid-July of 2004, hundreds of cars have seen our very
visible "Boycott Petland" signs as they drive along Pickett Street. We are
spreading the word everywhere we go. We have seen the shock on the faces
of people when they learn about the connection between pet stores and
puppy mills. People who were planning on buying animals at Petland walk
away with information about rescue groups and shelters instead. When we
protest, former employees and people who bought sick animals at Petland
come up to us with valuable information. People who had their suspicions
about Petland are reassured by our presence and our information--yes,
puppy mill puppies are being sold HERE, in Fairfax, at this store, not
someplace far away. They wave, honk, give us a thumbs-up, and tell their
friends. There are a million residents of Fairfax county. That is not an
infinite number. We reach more people every day.
been to some of the stores in your "Hall of Shame," and the owners seem
pretty nice. Why don't you limit your list to the worst stores?
Animals are living creatures with feelings who find
themselves alive on this planet just as we do. We do not feel humans
should be buying and selling them for fun and profit. We feel people
should know better, and that's why this list is called the Hall of Shame.
Beyond that, there are so many variables to weigh to decide what stores
are the worst, we're not going to attempt it here. Here are some issues
that people take into consideration, although we don't agree with all of
1) Is it a chain store that sells hundreds of thousands of
animals or just a Mom and Pop operation that sells a few hundred a year?
2) How are the living conditions at the breeding facilities,
during transport, and at the store?
3) If cages in animal shelters
are sometimes small because of the constant surplus of homeless animals,
does that mean it's OK for pet stores, whose motive is profit, to bring
more animals into the world and then house them in small cages?
Do some of the animals in the store appear sick or in distress? How many
of the animals must be sick or in distress before we consider it a bad
5) What happens to the sick or unsold animals?
Does the store do anything positive for homeless animals, such as inviting
rescue groups in to adopt out animals? Is that enough to offset the harm
the store does by selling animals? It is just a token gesture for public
relations, or is it more substantial?
7) Does the store make more
money by selling animals or by selling supplies?
8) Does the store
make a big profit or is it just squeaking by?
9) Do the owners take
good care of some of the animals but not others? Is that good enough?
10) Is the store truthful about where it's getting its animals
from and about their health?
11) Do the store owners act as if
they care about animals? If they do, is it just an act? Or are they openly
hostile when someone informs them their animals are sick or dying?
You decide what is important to you. Whenever it is humanly
possible, we choose to buy at stores that sell supplies
5) Most pet stores do sell animals. If we boycott
those, where will we get supplies for our own companion animals?
We boycott the stores that we find the most repulsive,
such as Petland, where you look into the eyes of many suffering animals
every time you go into the store. There are a number of stores in the DC
metro area that sell supplies only, not live animals, and we recommend
those. I'm going to spell them backwards so that they aren't accidentally
linked with "pet store cruelty" through a quick search on Google! Our
local favorite is (spelled backwards) S'REBEW near the intersection of
Route 236 and Route 29 in Fairfax City. They sell no animals, the supplies
they sell tend to be more healthful for animals than those in other
stores, they very frequently invite rescue groups in for adoption days,
and they are happy to display anti-puppy-mill information on their
bulletin board. A chain store that very rarely sells animals is (spelled
backwards) ULAVTEP. In some cases you may need something not commonly
carried in stores, such as certain supplies for birds. If you don't have
time to go far out of your way to mail-order something or drive a long
distance, you may find yourself shopping at a store that sells animals.
It's an imperfect world.
6) What about Petsmart and
These large chain stores get points for not selling
dogs and cats, for donating to animal charities, and for giving rescue
groups a place to show animals available for adoption. That's great.
However, they sell a huge number of small animals. That's bad. We leave it
up to you to decide how you rate them. For a thorough consideration of
this issue from the point of view of someone who cares about animals other
than dogs and cats, see
7) Why don't you help people instead of
When we stand out on the street protesting about the
suffering and death of animals, we get this question in many forms. Yet in
all the times we've gone to movies, restaurants, shopping malls, video
stores, concerts, beaches, hotels, sporting events, and any other place
where people go for entertainment, we have never been asked this question.
Why don't you ask people at those places what they are doing to help? Some
people there may help others, and some may not, but you are asking us this
at the very moment when we are doing something that is not fun, trying to
alleviate some of the suffering in the world. Each individual is
passionate about certain issues because of his or her life experiences. Do
you ask a mother whose child has been killed by a drunk driver to stop
volunteering for MADD and devote all her time to helping hungry children
in Africa instead? Do you ask a person whose parents died young of cancer
to stop worrying about disease and fight nuclear proliferation instead?
The amount of suffering in the world is tremendous, and we cannot all do
everything. We care about people, and we care about animals. The two are
not mutually exclusive. We are moved to help creatures who are suffering
because of human greed and selfishness. We hope you will spend your time
helping to make the world a better place in whatever way you choose.
What You Can
Not everyone can make it out to a protest, but there are
other ways to help fight pet-store cruelty. Here are a few suggested
actions you can take. They are mostly geared toward the D.C. area, but
some are national. We will be updating this list regularly.
* VISIT PETLAND and see for yourself the cramped, hard
cages and sad, lonely puppies--and that is nothing compared to the misery
their mothers and fathers are enduring in puppy mills. If you ask where
their puppies come from, they will probably say "private breeders" or
"brokers." They don't want to tell you their puppies were born in the
Midwest--Puppy Mill Central in the U.S.--and that their broker is the
Hunte Corp., notorious for obtaining puppies from puppy mills. But
whatever you do, don't buy a puppy. Each week, very young, fragile puppies
are trucked from the Midwest to this store. Any puppy you "rescue" will be
immediately replaced by another. Encourage everyone you know to boycott
pet stores that sell animals for profit.
* COMPLAIN TO
AUTHORITIES. At any Virginia pet store, look for these violations
of state law: 1) mesh flooring that allows an animal's legs to fall
through, sag under the animal's weight, or otherwise injure the animal's
feet and toes; 2) puppies without a solid resting platform, or with a
platform not large enough to lie on; 3) animals in cages too small for
them to turn around in; 4) animals that are sick or in distress; 5) very
dirty cages--animals in contact with waste; 6) animals that appear
undernourished or dehydrated; 7) animal being abused by a person; 8)
animals suffering in excessive heat or cold; 9) puppies or kittens under 8
weeks old, if imported from another state and offered for sale without
their mothers. If you see violations at the Fairfax Petland, call the
Fairfax City Police at 703-385-7924.
* REPORT VIOLATIONS OF
CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS. Virginia state law requires pet dealers
to include the NAME and ADDRESS of their breeders when selling puppies
registered with the AKC or similar registries. Yet Petland has been known
disclose its puppies' Midwestern origin. (The papers may say "H&H
Pets," but that is the broker--Hunte Corp.--not the breeder.) If you or
someone you know purchased a puppy at Petland and the breeder's name and
address are not on the registration papers, please complain to Petland. If
they do not provide this information, call the Virginia Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Affairs at 1-800-552-9963. They will ask you to
file a written complaint by printing out the simple form at www.vdacs.virginia.gov/consumers/complaint2.pdf
and mailing it to the address on the form. Mention Virginia state law
3.1-796.78 and include a copy of your dog's registration papers. Also
alert other customers about this: send a letter explaining your complaint
to the local Better Business Bureau (fax) 202-393-1198 or mail it to BBB,
1411 K St. NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20005. Or submit your complaint
online at www.bbb.org/complaint.asp.
Include a copy of your dog's registration papers. Whether or not you
received the breeder information, please write us at email@example.com.
* REPORT YOUR PURCHASE OF A SICK PUPPY. Local
vets confirm that Petland puppies are sicklier than most. Did you or
someone you know buy a sick puppy at the Fairfax City Petland or any other
area pet store? Report this to the Virginia Department of Consumer Affairs
at 1-800-552-9963. Also let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* PROTEST! Join one of our weekly peaceful, legal
protests outside Petland. Contact us at email@example.com for
* GET THE WORD OUT. Know
another sickening pet store that sells puppies and kittens? E-mail us at
that we can list it in our "Pet Store Hall of Shame." Briefly describe the
conditions there and try to find out who their supplier is so that we can
include that, too.
* LET THE STORE KNOW WHY YOU'RE NOT
SHOPPING THERE. Write or call the local Petland to tell them you
will never buy anything at their store as long as they sell animals. The
address in Fairfax: Kareem Koshok, Manager, Petland, 9404-A Main Street,
Fairfax, VA 22031. Phone: 703-323-6355. Also tell the Petland corporate
office at 1-800-221-5935. Or check out their website at http://www.petland.com/ and e-mail them
at firstname.lastname@example.org, or
write to Petland Corporate Office, 250 Riverside St., Chillicothe, Ohio
* ENCOURAGE PEOPLE YOU KNOW TO ADOPT A HOMELESS
ANIMAL. If you know someone who is planning on getting a dog or
other animal, please refer them to http://www.petloverscompanion.com/,
also available as a free booklet that you can pick up at the entrance of
area stores. It lists D.C. area shelters and rescue groups. Tell them they
can save the life of a beautiful, healthy purebred or mixed breed dog by
adopting for a small fee, rather than paying Petland's outrageous prices
of over $1,000. Remind them that AKC papers have nothing to do with the
health of an animal. Also let them know that abandoned cats, rabbits,
ferrets, and other animals desperately need homes and are readily
available from shelters and rescue groups. http://www.petfinder.org/ is another
very useful site for adoption information.
* WRITE A
LETTER TO THE EDITOR. When you see an article about dogs in your
local paper, write a letter to the editor explaining what puppy mills are
and why Petland's sale of puppy mill puppies and other animals disgusts
you. Try the Fairfax Extra section of the Washington Post at email@example.com or fax to
703-273-2836 or write to Fairfax Extra, 4020 University Dr., Suite 220,
Fairfax, VA 22030. Or the Northern Virginia Journal at firstname.lastname@example.org; fax 703-846-8366, or
mail letters to Northern Virginia Journal, 6408 Edsall Rd., Alexandria, VA
* In his March 22, 2005, column in the Washington Post, Dr.
Michael Fox mentioned that mange is "more common than you'd expect,
especially in pups from pet stores and puppy mills." Explain further in
emails to email@example.com.
* The Friday March 25, 2005, Weekend section of the Washington
Post, page 52, mentioned several fun places where D.C. area residents can
go with their dogs. This type of article appears frequently in area
papers. A letter to the editor could explain that while some companion
animals are lucky that their guardians cater to their needs, pet stores
right down the street make animals suffer every day by trading in animals
bred under horrible conditions, by confining animals in cramped cages
inside stores, and by pumping animals (often sickly) into the community
and therefore increasing the number of animals killed in area shelters. A
short letter, even 3 sentences, is great. Writing to TV stations after
similar segments would also be great.
* Residents of Fairfax City
may have seen the "FETCH a dog from a shelter, not a pet store" ad on the
back of four city buses during the month of March. PETA learned of our
Petland campaign and kindly offered to help by placing these ads. To
explain WHY not to buy animals in stores, email the DC Examiner by going
Contact Info, Voice your Opinion; or email the Fairfax Chronicle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASK FAIRFAX CITY TO BAN STORES THAT SELL PUPPIES AND KITTENS.
We will be approaching local officials shortly to propose a ban
on the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores in Fairfax City. Let
Fairfax City elected officials know you would support such a proposal.
Mayor Robert Lederer's e-mail address is mailto:email@example.com.
City council members and their e-mails are listed on the Fairfax City
government website at http://www.ci.fairfax.va.us/.
* CONTACT YOUR U.S. SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN.
Please support the Pet Animal Welfare Statute of 2005 (S1139 and HR 2669).
E-mail or call your U.S. senators and congresspeople and tell them to vote
YES for this bill. Their contact info is at http://www.senate.gov/ and http://www.house.gov/. Currently many
people are selling animals over the Internet and through newspaper ads,
and the USDA does not inspect their facilities at all. This bill would
require breeding operations that sell directly to the public and produce 7
or more litters of cats or dogs each year to obtain a USDA license, which
means they would be inspected by the USDA. USDA inspections do not stop
filthy, overcrowded, sickeningly cruel breeding mills from existing, as
the inspections are infrequent and violations are seldom punished. But
inspections are a step in the right direction.
Also encourage them
to sponsor a bill outlawing puppy mills completely.
SUPPORT EFFORTS TO IMPROVE VIRGINIA ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS.
is a group that is working to help companion animals by calling for the
ban of gas chambers and improving other animal protection
* GET THE MEDIA TO EXPOSE PUPPY MILLS. Ask
Dateline NBC to rerun and update its excellent April 2000 puppy mill
story. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Story Suggestion,
Dateline NBC, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NY, NY 10112. Or call 212-664-7501 or
fax 212-664-7073. Write to Chris Hansen, the correspondent who worked on
the puppy mill expos�. Contact other national news shows such as 20/20 as
* Ask Oprah to expose puppy mills. Oprah Winfrey calls her
dogs "humans with fur." Write and, if you like, send pictures (for
example, of your rescued dog) and videos to the folks at the Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey Show
c/o Harpo Studios
Chicago, IL 60607-2103.
On the lower corner of the
envelope, write "Show Idea" so that it will go to the correct department.
You can submit show ideas online at http://www.oprah.com/ and proceed to
* COMPLAIN ABOUT PETLAND ADS.
Petland commercials have been airing on Animal Planet in our local area.
For commercials that mention specific LOCAL stores, complain to the local
cable company, which in our area is Cox Communications, by e-mailing
For commercials that are NATIONAL in scope, complain to Discovery
Channel Viewer Relations at 1-859-342-8439 or write to
One Discovery Place
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910.
Or go to http://www.discovery.com/ and send an
e-mail by going to "contact us" and "viewer relations." You can also try
e-mailing Discovery President William Campbell, email@example.com,
and three other Discovery executives: Maureen_smith@discovery.com;
* TELL THE STORE VET TO SEVER TIES WITH ANIMAL
ABUSERS. The Fairfax City Petland's new vet is Dr. Rose Fiskett
of Potomac Valley Veterinary Hospital. Vets don't necessarily know more
about puppy mills than the average person. Inform her that Petland gets
puppies from cruel puppy mills, that many of the puppies will be sick,
that the sick puppies that she deems unfit for sale will be sent back to
be killed or turned into breeders, and that many compassionate vets in the
area have refused to work for Petland. Ask her to stop working for this
disreputable company immediately.
Dr. Rose Fiskett
Valley Veterinary Hospital
9553 Braddock Road Fairfax, VA 22032-2539
703-425-7387 fax: 703-425-8082
*Petland's previous vet was VCA Old
Town Animal Hospital, which kept working for Petland for many months after
it found out about the many sick puppies coming from Petland. Ask what
took them so long to sever the ties and why it is STILL WORKING for Just
Puppies, another notorious puppy mill store.
VCA Old Town Hospital
425 N. Henry St.
Alexandria, VA 22314 703-549-3647
*TELL THE AKC TO STOP HELPING PUPPY
MILLS MAKE MONEY. The AKC registers hundreds of thousands of
puppy mill puppies each year, making a tidy profit off of an industry it
claims to despise. Tell AKC directors to stop registering puppies from
breeders who attempt to register more than 6 (or whatever number you like)
litters each year. Write to:
Ronald H. Menaker, Chairman
American Kennel Club
260 Madison Ave. NY, NY 10016
212-692-8200 or e-mail http://www.akc.org/, "Contact us." You can
also sign the petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/737886219
THE PFIZER CORPORATION TO STOP SUPPORTING THE CRUELTY OF THE HUNTE
CORPORATION. At a recent Hunte Corporation Open House, not only
was Pfizer present as a vendor, but they also had one of their vets give a
lecture. The Hunte Corporation has a long history of buying from puppy
mills and is the supplier to Petland and many other pet stores, shipping
roughly 1,000 puppies every week.
Pfizer’s Manager of Marketing
Communications, Denise Ulrich, can be reached at 1-800-366-5288. They
cannot be contacted via their website at http://www.pfizer.com/.
TELL PETLAND'S LANDLORD WHAT'S GOING ON AT THE STORE. The
company that leases property to Petland is Combined Properties, Inc.
Encourage them not to renew Petland's lease. Let them know that Petland is
a disreputable company that deals with puppy mills, violates anti-cruelty
law, makes animals miserable, and that neighbors are disturbed each week
by the cries of puppies being unloaded from the Hunte Corporation's truck.
Please write to:
Mr. Steve Halle, Vice President, Property Management
1255 22nd St NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20037
Steve Halle and Andrew Nadler at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, or call
202-293-4500, or fax 202-833-3013.
* LET BUSINESSPEOPLE
KNOW THAT SELLING PUPPY MILL PUPPIES IS BAD BUSINESS.
Entrepreneur Magazine recently rated Petland #1 among pet store
franchises, and 248th out of 500 franchises of all kinds. Let its
readers--aspiring businesspeople--know that they should not join the
Petland franchise if they care about animals. E-mail your comments by
going to http://www.entrepreneur.com/, then
select "Contact Us" and Letters to the Editor."