A CAPS Investigation uncovers consumer fraud and reveals need for ordinances
Los Angeles, CA – November 02, 2016 – The Companion Animal Protection Society’s recent investigation of nearly every Southern California pet shop has uncovered a pattern of deceptive and illegal practices. Pet shops are routinely misleading customers about the sources of the puppies and kittens they sell. Some shops are outright refusing to disclose the sources, which is a violation of California law.
A short documentary CAPS is releasing today features the nonprofit organization’s undercover investigations of Southern California pet shops and some of the puppy mills supplying them. The documentary reveals the ways in which pet shop employees often assure prospective customers that none of the animals in their stores come from “puppy mills,” sometimes even claiming that their puppies and kittens are privately bred in “loving homes.”
However, as the video makes clear:
“We also investigated the Midwest breeding facilities that supply puppies and kittens to Southern California pet shops,” said CAPS President Deborah Howard. “Our investigator typically found dogs and cats living in cramped, filthy cages, usually stacked together with hundreds of other animals. They were definitely puppy and kitten mills.”
CAPS provided the California Attorney General with evidence for several pet shops that appear to be violating The Consumer Legal Remedies Act. CAPS is also working with local municipalities to pass laws banning the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits. The purpose of these ordinances is to encourage pet shops to instead offer shelter and rescue animals for adoption. As a leader in the pet shop ordinance movement, CAPS was behind laws in Los Angeles, San Diego, West Hollywood, and Glendale, but many Southern California municipalities still have pet shops that sell puppies, kittens and rabbits.
CAPS was the first animal organization to protest inside a shopping mall, a protected activity under the California Constitution. The first such protest was in Los Angeles at Westside Pavilion; it was a protest against Barkworks, a chain of seven stores (now four). The CAPS protests at Westside Pavilion had as many as 130 participants, including one protest with 60 inner city high school students. CAPS was also responsible for converting four pet shops into humane adoption centers in just eight months.