Consumer Education through Media
To raise awareness about the horrors of the pet shops and puppy mills, CAPS has generated stories with the following media: CNN, “Dateline,” “20/20,” “Hard Copy,” Reader’s Digest, Life, People, Detroit Free Press, The Philadelphia Inquirer (two front page articles) and numerous local television news stations and newspapers
CAPS worked for more than a year with Dateline to prepare “A Dog’s Life,” the in-depth report on pet shops and puppy mills that aired on April 26 and May 10 of 2000. This well-researched piece focused not only on Petland, the largest chain in the country, and the puppy mills that deal with Petland and other pet shops, but also on the American Kennel Club’s and USDA’s roles in this tragic problem. “A Dog’s Life” won a Genesis award in the network newsmagazine category.
Viewers were shocked at the inhumane conditions at puppy mills that provide dogs to pet shops and appalled at USDA’s Ron DeHaven’s smug indifference to the horrid conditions at two USDA licensed facilities. They sent more than 9,000 letters and e-mails to NBC, the second largest response to any “Dateline” program in its history. CAPS was inundated with hundreds of e-mails and phone calls. A number of people who purchased sick or dying puppies submitted complaints by using CAPS’ on-line form.
“Dateline” tried to show photos from the McVeigh raid to Ron DeHaven. The USDA inspector, a former federally licensed dog broker, had found no violations just six weeks prior to the raid. The McVeigh pens had no food or water. Some dogs had starved to death and their remains were found on the property.