HistoryWhen Deborah Howard witnessed the dreadful conditions at a Docktor Pet Center store in November 1989, she was appalled. The company had more than 300 franchises at that time. After learning more about the plight of pet shop and puppy mill dogs, Ms. Howard joined forces with Robert Baker, the foremost puppy mill investigator in the country. During his 13 years as chief investigator of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Mr. Baker inspected over 700 puppy mills.
Ms. Howard, a former radio news reporter, lawyer and PR professional, formed CAPS in 1990. The nonprofit became a 501(c)(3) in 1992. As a result of CAPS' efforts, Docktor Pet Centers, Inc., which refused to do business without the sale of puppies, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February 1993.
MissionFounded by President Deborah Howard in 1992, the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy mills. CAPS, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, actively addresses the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mill dogs through investigations, education, media relations, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet industry employee relations.
The Companion Animal Protection Society provides direct and indirect assistance to consumers who purchase sick animals from pet dealers. We educate customers, defrauded by pet shops, about their legal options and, where appropriate, use the services of pro-bono animal law attorneys to file lawsuits on their behalf. Few people know that some state lemon laws include the right to recover veterinary expenses.
CAPS Complaint Form
CAPS relies on the information given by customers to document illnesses, veterinary expenses, and names of breeders and brokers. Over the years, CAPS has compiled all that information into an extensive database of known puppy mills and unscrupulous pet stores. Some of our most fruitful investigations began as consumer complaints that tipped us about specific breeders or brokers.
Our public education campaigns are crucial aspects of CAPS' effectiveness. We are the foremost authority regarding puppy mills with over two decades of experience investigating and exposing large-scale commercial breeders and the pet shops that buy from them. We use all the evidence we have gathered to help consumers make informed decisions.Only through awareness and information can consumers avoid being conned by deceitful pet stores and Internet sellers. CAPS provides valuable information and reliable documentation to local and national publications and news programs. We also raise awareness about companion animal abuse, particularly the plight of pet shops and puppy mill dogs, through our informative Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and literature.
CAPS uses its extensive social media presence on networks like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to engage people in an ongoing dialogue that inspires actions such as peaceful protests and grassroots ordinance movements.View our Public Service Announcements.
Our targeted media relations program uses a multi-media approach. To raise awareness about the horrors of pet shops and puppy mills, CAPS has generated many feature stories and news items in local, regional, national, and international news media including newspapers, magazines, online zines, blogs, and network and cable TV. Through our concerted media relations efforts, the media has come to rely on CAPS as the authority on subjects relating to the pet shop and puppy mill industry and is often quoted in a variety of news stories.Stay current with CAPS’ latest stories by visiting our Newsroom section.