Site Map - Companion Animal Protection Society
Publication/Event date: 2011-12-15
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Volunteers from CAPS (Companion Animal Protection Society) will be protesting in front of Happiness is Pets at 616 E. Roosevelt Road in Lombard from 3 to 5 p.m. The Tiger Truck from Shark Online will be on hand to show videos from the undercover humane investigation of puppy mills.
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Published in Happiness is Pets
Wednesday, 21 December 2011 02:00

Happiness is NOT Pets December Protest


Illinois residents braved the cold last Saturday, December 17 to protest against the Lombard location of Happiness is Pets, a Chicago area pet shop chain of five stores that gets its animals from puppy mills. The demonstration featured the Tiger Truck from Shark, a vehicle with four screens that plays repeating videos with shocking images of animal abuse. The Tiger showed footage from CAPS investigations from 3 pm to 5 pm. It was an opportunity for Chicagoans to learn the truth about puppies sold in pet shops and the cruelty behind puppy mills. CAPS also holds protests at Happiness is Pets stores in Arlington Heights and Orland Park.


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Published in Happiness is Pets
Thursday, 19 January 2012 02:00

Happiness is Pets - NOT

Publication/Event date: 2012-01-15
Publication name:
Cindy Lu's Muse
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Happiness Is Pets is the name of a pet store chain in the Chicagoland area. The stores sell puppies. As far as I'm concerned, Happiness is Pets can be clumped into the same disrespectful group of pet businesses as Petland. And chances are, you have a store like this one not far from where you live. You don't have to feel helpless about it, though.

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Published in Happiness is Pets
Saturday, 21 January 2012 02:00

Sold puppies infected with distemper

Update: CAPS was recently notified about yet another sick puppy purchased at the Happiness is Pets Lombard store. We' will add more information as soon as we get the details.

Protests this weekend: • Happiness is Pets in Naperville 1592 W. Ogden Avenue SATURDAY, January 28 at 2:00 pm and • Happiness is Pets in Orland Park 15647 S. 94th Avenue SUNDAY, January 29 at 1:00 pm

Publication/Event date: 2012-01-19
Publication name: Abc 7 News
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Two Chicago area pet stores recently sold puppies infected with distemper.

The dogs were bought from the Happiness is Pets shops in Naperville and Downers Grove.

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Related articles:

Naperville Sun: Dog distemper traced to local pet shop chain

Downers Grove Patch: Puppies Infected with Distemper Sold at DG Store
Published in Happiness is Pets
Publication/Event date: 2012-01-26

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Summary: Protests for the Puppies – The Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) will hold an informational protest in front of Happiness is Pets at 15647 S 94th Ave, Orland Park between 1 and 3 p.m. Signs will be provided.

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Happiness is NOT Pets Facebook Event Page

Happiness is Pets Naperville Protest Facebook Event Page

Click here for more information about Happiness is Pets
Published in Happiness is Pets

Jonathan Berning, son of Ron Berning, owner of HIP in Naperville, arrested and in squad car's back seat directly in front of HIP store.

CAPS member and protester Diane Arp was assaulted by Jonathan Berning during one of our protests at Happiness is Pets, a Chicago area-based chain owned by Ron Berning, the father of Jonathan. Police arrested Berning and Arp has pressed charges.

Publication/Event date: 2012-01-29

Publication name: Southtown Star

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Summary: Despite the frigid weather Sunday, things got a little heated during a protest outside an Orland Park pet shop.

While members of the Companion Animal Protection Society were protesting puppy sales outside Happiness Is Pets, 15647 S. 94th Ave., a woman got into an argument with a protester.

Related articles: Southtown Star: Owner’s son faces assault charge after pet shop protest in Orland Park CBS Chicago: Quarrel Nearly Leads To Arrests At Anti-Puppy Mill Protest

Southtown Star: Pet store protest heats up in Orland Park (Picture Gallery)
Published in Happiness is Pets
CAPS received a complaint this morning (02/01/12) from a Happiness is Pets customer whose dog, purchased for $1200 just over two weeks ago, had a runny nose and sneezing, which progressed to lack of appetite, bad diarrhea and extreme lethargy. The small Pomeranian's eye's are now so crusted open she can't open them. This morning she was barely moving. The HIP vet tested the dog for parvo and said there was nothing seriously wrong with the dog. CAPS President Deborah Howard called and emailed the customer and told her to take her dog to a decent vet immediately, which is where she is now. This sounds like another case of distemper.
    Publication/Event date: 2012-01-30
    Publication name:
    Cindy Lu's Muse
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    Happiness is Pets, a pet store chain in the Chicago suburbs, has long been known by many to sell puppies that often end up with health issues. This, of course, is not news - we know that puppies sold by pet stores can only come from one type of breeder, the horrid puppy mills. Making the news now, though, is a distemper outbreak that has been traced to this chain.

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    Published in Happiness is Pets

    CAPS member and protester Dianne Arp was assaulted by Jonathan Berning during one of our protests at Happiness is Pets, a Chicago area-based chain owned by Ron Berning, the father of Jonathan. Police arrested Berning and Arp has pressed charges.

    Happiness is Pets, a suburban Chicago pet shop chain is under fire after several puppies sold over the three months were diagnosed with distemper. The Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) has been protesting the chain because of evidence that links them to puppy mills – commercial breeding facilities, mostly in the Midwest, that mass-produce dogs for resale. This highly preventable but contagious and usually deadly viral disease can show up in puppies from large-scale breeding facilities because of improper veterinary practices by puppy mill breeders and brokers.

    “Quite often, puppy mill puppies are taken from the mother (instant weaning) and sold to a broker before they are vaccinated. Since any vaccine takes days to weeks to develop strong immunity, these pet store puppies are extremely vulnerable. The broker can’t be sure that the mother of the puppies has been properly vaccinated, and the broker only has the puppy in his or her possession for a few days before they are shipped out to stores. The true vaccination and de-worming history of a pet store puppy is, therefore, always in question,” said Donald K. Allen, MS, DVM and CAPS board member.

    Two of the puppies purchased by consumers have died and one is still fighting for its life because of the deadly virus. The pups were traced to the Arlington Heights, Naperville, and Downers Grove pet store locations and were purchased in November, December and January. In one of the cases, the local vet – suggested by the pet store – was unconcerned by the dog's apparent discomfort but, after the owners decided to get a second opinion, the pup was diagnosed with distemper.

    According to an article published in The Beacon News, the owner of the Happiness is Pets chain, Ronald Berning, said that they couldn't confirm the origin of the outbreak. He went on to say that “the likely source was a potential customer's own dog.” However, because the virus is preventable and most vets offer the vaccine at a relatively low cost, the theory is unlikely. A more reasonable explanation would be that the virus came from the puppy mills used by the chain.

    “We've traced his (Ronald Berning's) puppies to {puppy mills.] So right then and there, he's not honest with his customers. There is a list a mile long now, and it's starting to grow, of people who have gotten sick puppies from anyone of his Happiness pet stores,” said Dianne Arp, CAPS member to the NBC affiliate in Chicago.

    There are reports of dogs being picked up from puppy mills in Missouri, Iowa and Indiana by the pet shop's van. Since so many different puppy mills are used, there is no way to pin point where the infectious disease began. This means there are hundreds of dogs that could have been infected, transferred from store to store. All of the five locations are at risk of selling dogs with distemper.

    “With ready availability and low cost of a simple 'distemper shot' vaccine, it is inexcusable for anyone breeding dogs to allow this disease to occur. It is the most basic preventive care given to a pet, and the deadliness of the disease makes vaccination an absolute must. Since it is highly contagious, puppies and dogs that have not been vaccinated are highly susceptible. Raccoons can also carry the disease.If someone is breeding dogs to sell puppies, and has not vaccinated the mother on a regular basis, her puppies will be born with no 'passive immunity' against this disease. We begin vaccinating puppies at six to eight weeks of age, because this is when the mother’s temporary immunity begins to wear off,” said Dr. Allen.

    Canine distemper is one of the most contagious viral diseases amongst dogs. The virus targets various organ systems simultaneously, adding to its severity. It is caused by a paramyxovirus, a type of virus that causes measles in humans and rinderpest in hoofed-animals such as cattle. Canine distemper affects dogs at any age.

    Signs and Symptoms of Canine Distemper
    Common symptoms are either gastrointestinal (such as vomiting, decrease in appetite, and diarrhea) or respiratory in nature (difficulty in breathing). Transient fever or dramatic and sporadic increases in body temperature is a telltale sign of the infection. Behavioral changes include lethargy, weakness, and depression. Neurological signs include muscle twitching, especially near the mouth and legs. Seizures and paralysis may occur in severe cases. Although rare, some dogs, mostly elderly, suffer from hardening of footpads and nose. Sudden death is not uncommon.

    For the public in the Chicago area:

    For more information and articles, visit CAPS' Happiness is Pets page

    Happiness is NOT Pets Protest Facebook Event Page

    Related Articles:

    City Stir, Arlington Heights: Happiness is Pets = Some Unhappy Dog Owners

    My Fox Chicago: Dog Owners Accuse 'Happiness is Pets' of Selling Puppy Mill Dogs

    South Town Star: Pet store protest heats up in Orland Park

    South Town Star: Owner’s son faces assault charge after pet shop protest in Orland Park

    The Beacon News: Distemper traced to area pet shops Justice for Dakota – puppy with distemper fights for recovery

    NBC Chicago: Distemper Cases Linked to Suburban Pet Stores Cindy Lu’s Muse: Happiness Is Pets Source of Distemper Outbreak

    Cindy Lu’s Muse: Happiness is Pets – NOT

    View February, 4 2012 Happiness is NOT Pets DEMO Album

    What You Can Do:

    CAPS needs your support to investigate the puppy mills that supply Happiness is Pets and to fund our protest efforts. We plan to continue our extremely important work -- but we simply cannot do this work without your help. With just over 7,000 members, we are very dependent on foundation funding, which is limited. It is difficult for us to compete with large nonprofits that can afford to mail as often as every month. Unlike the large organizations, we have no investments to fall back on.

    Please help ensure that CAPS is there for companion animals – particularly those dogs suffering in pet shops and puppy mills – by giving as generous a donation as possible. Your help is vital. On behalf of all companion animals, CAPS thanks you for your compassion.

    Published in Happiness is Pets
    Monday, 06 February 2012 02:00

    Happiness Is Pets - Violent Turn of Events

    Publication/Event date: 2012-01-31
    Publication name: Cindy Lu's Muse
    URL for more info:
    The Happiness Is Pets chain of stores in suburban Chicago continue to be under fire for having sold puppies with distemper. On Sunday, CAPS volunteers staged their usual demonstration in front of the Orland Park location. A series of unexpected events ensued

    Happiness is Pets Sold Puppies with Canine Distemper
    Happiness is Pets Information

    For the public in the Chicago area:

    Published in Happiness is Pets
    Saturday, 11 February 2012 02:00

    Demonstration at Happiness is Pets

    WHO: CAPS (Companion Animal Protection Society)
    Demonstration at HIP store
    WHERE: Happiness is Pets 15647 S. 94th Avenue Orland Park, IL 60462 (708) 403-3223
    Saturday, February 11th ~ 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
    Bringing public awareness to the Distemper / Pet Store / Puppy Mill Connection
    Talking with public and potential purchasers of puppies. Passing out informational packets to inform shoppers that they have a better option: adoption from a local shelter, a rescue or Organizers are hoping this demonstration will be less chaotic than the January 29th demonstration which ended in the store owner’s son, Jonathan Berning, being arrested for assaulting a woman.

    For more information:
    Contact Kristen Kaminski (CAPS Chicago Volunteer Coordinator) at 1-815-690-4996 Thank you for your time and consideration in attending and/or reporting on this important event.

    Intimidation methods used to scare off demonstrators:

    January 29, 2012: Jonathan Berning was arrested for assault (seen here in back seat of Orland Park police car) at the demonstration held last Sunday, January 29, 2012.

    November 19, 2006: Jonathan Berning was seen here, attending the first demonstration held at the Warrenville HIP store (now closed). He walked directly up to demonstrators, filming with his camera in an attempt to intimidate.

    July 1, 2008: After nearly 2 years of peaceful demonstrations held at the Warrenville HIP store, it CLOSED on July 1, 2008. The owner of the store, Ron Berning, had filed suit against three citizens of the town, shortly before Christmas in 2006, claiming libel, but later dropped the suit. The defendants and their lawyers believed it to be merely a scare tactic to discourage the demonstrators.


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    Published in Happiness is Pets
    Page 3 of 4

    Bea's Beat

    Blog with CAPS Spokesmodel Beatrice, a puppy mill survivor and vegan advocate.

    Blog with Beatrice!

    Deborah Howard

    Deborah Howard

    Learn more about Deborah Howard, president and founder of Companion Animal Protection Society.

    Meet Deborah

    CAPS Blog

    Read about issues affecting companion animals, especially those suffering in pet shops and puppy mills.

    Visit CAPS Blog

    Contact Us

    Contact CAPS

    Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
    759 CJC Hwy., #332
    Cohasset, MA 02025
    p: 339-309-0272

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    Class Action Lawsuits

    scales of justice

    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.

    Read more about Happiness is Pets or Barkworks.

    CAPS Complaint Form