How CAPS Began

In 1989, when Deborah Howard, president of the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) noticed the dreadful conditions at a Docktor Pet Center, she became enraged (change to outraged). The company had more than 300 franchises at that time. Ms. Howard joined forces with Robert Baker, the foremost puppy mill investigator in the country. They generated two "20/20" exposes and articles in People and Life. These exposes took on the pet shop industry - "20/20" and People named Docktor directly - and showed the horrors of puppy mills. As a result of their efforts, Docktor Pet Centers, who refused to do business without the sale of puppies, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February 1993. Ms. Howard started CAPS in 1992. Mr. Baker is a CAPS board member.


USDA licensed facility in Iowa. The dogs on the left are crammed into pens. An Akita and English Springer Spanial are pushing through rusty metal fencing with sharp points.


As the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals, CAPS' foremost concern is the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mill dogs. Founded in 1992, CAPS actively addresses this issue through investigations, education, media relations, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet industry employee relations.

CAPS defines a puppy mill as a "commercial breeding facility that mass-produces puppies for resale through pet shops or individuals."


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


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

Contact by Webform

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