CAPS began to protest Puppy Parlor on December 2012 after receiving numerous complaints from customers. Upon reviewing consumer claims, CAPS obtained conclusive proof that the pet shop purchased dogs from unscrupulous breeders. Among the shady suppliers was Prairie Lane Kennel, operated by Dennis and Donna Van Wyk. The despicable mill in Iowa kept their dogs in rickety outdoor pens covered with feces. This inhumane mass breeder was the subject of two undercover investigations (see 2006 & 2007) which revealed multiple violations to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The CAPS footage of Van Wyk's facility sparked an award-winning Dateline segment titled "A Dog's Life" that aired on April 26 and May 10, 2000. Unfortunately, selling dogs from places like the Van Wyk's was just the "tip of the iceberg."
This was not your regular deceptive pet store selling puppy mill puppies. This was an actual puppy mill in the middle of Main Street USA. There were 50 to 100 adult dogs in cages stacked three and four feet high in a room approximately 800 square feet. Never being taken out, being fed from hamster tubes.
Ida McCarthy, CAPS Chicago campaign coordinator
According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the pet shop at one time had approximately 50 adult dogs and 50 puppies in their small suburban strip mall location. The report also mentioned that the cages were stacked up to four-high with two pups crammed in each cage. These dogs remained out of sight from the public, presumably in a place that would otherwise be a storeroom. Pictures eventually surfaced of the aforementioned closet puppy mill. Tammy Conglianese, owner of Puppy Parlor, denied any wrongdoing and threatened legal action against the protesters and investigators. Over the course of a year, Conglianese filed over 35 false police reports in an attempt to intimidate CAPS protesters. Fortunately, the scare tactics didn't work.
Thanks to the determination and resolve of CAPS Chicago Campaign Coordinator Ida McCarthy, CAPS Outreach Coordinator Dianne Arp, and CAPS volunteers, Lisle rejected a big sponsor of the puppy mill cycle. While the ideal outcome would have been to convert Puppy Parlor into a humane store, its closing stands as a victory. CAPS Chicago protesters proved the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. Nothing, from harsh weather to intimidation, stopped them from exposing the truth. Luckily, a great local rescue stepped up and took the dogs suffering in the backroom. They have 35 of the dogs that lived their entire lives in cages, ages ranging from two to five years old. Preliminary reports suggest the dogs were in bad shape and will need specialized veterinary care. If you live in the Chicago area, consider giving a loving home to a Puppy Parlor survivor (see Almost Home Foundation site for more info).