Aquarium & Pet Center

Aquarium & Pet Center is a pet shop in Santa Monica, California that converted to a humane business model in 2009. Before the switch, they used to buy from Missouri-based The Hunte Corporation, the largest broker in the country.

CAPS was very proud of the decision of Aquarium & Pet Center to sign a legal agreement to convert to a humane business model. They worked with a rescue organization to promote adoptable animals from the Los Angeles municipal shelter system. The store was truly a model for humane stores. Unfortunately, the store started selling puppies again in late 2011. CAPS was ready to resume protests. After a few months, however, the store stopped selling puppies.

Aquarium & Pet Center had been the target of an ongoing CAPS investigation linking the store to The Hunte Corporation, the largest USDA licensed dog brokering facility in the country. CAPS is quite familiar with the practices of Hunte as the result of an undercover employment investigation at this large facility and ongoing investigations of Hunte's puppy mill suppliers.

CAPS held just three weekend protests in front of Aquarium & Pet Center before the store went humane. Unfortunately our campaign was marred by a violent incident on October 10, 2009 in which activists were shot at by an unknown assailant with a high-powered air rifle, spraying them with two millimeter brass slugs. Two of the protesters were slightly injured.

Aquarium & Pet Center was the fourth store in Los Angeles to succumb to investigations and protests by CAPS between March 2009 and November 2009. Other stores no longer selling puppy mill dogs include Elaine's Pet Depot, Elite Animals, and Pets of Wilshire. Elaine's Pet Depot, part of a chain in the U.S. and Canada, offers rescue animals for adoption. On the basis of our efforts against Elaine's, the entire Pet Depot Chain stopped selling dogs and cats.

Petland

Petland, the largest pet shop chain in the country has more than 100 locations in the United States and dozens more in foreign markets - Canada, China, Mexico, France, Japan, Israel and South Africa. The Ohio-based chain buys a large number of dogs from the Hunte Corporation – the largest dog broker in the country. CAPS worked undercover for six months at Hunte Corporation and investigated some of the puppy mill breeders selling puppies to Hunte. The footage collected by our investigator during that time was prominently featured in two documentaries. (links).

For several years in the early 1990’s, Canadian animal activist groups participated in our North American protests against pet shops selling puppy mills dogs the weekend before Christmas.  The main protest targets were Petland and PJ's Pets, both of which stopped selling animals in 2012.  CAPS contributed to CBC's "Marketplace" for a March 2009 story about pet shops and puppy mills. This national consumer newsmagazine expose featured a CAPS pet shop complainant who purchased a sick puppy at a PJ's. Her puppy was brokered by Hunte and bred by a puppy mill in Missouri that was investigated by CAPS.

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Deborah Howard

Deborah Howard

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If you purchased a sick or dying puppy from Barkworks or Happiness is Pets, you may be able to join consumer class action lawsuits. The first step is to fill out the CAPS complaint form.

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