Ohio-based Petland is the largest pet shop chain in the country that sells puppies. Petland has over 150 stores in the United States and more than 50 in foreign markets (Canada, Chile, France, Japan and South Africa)
Honey-Dew Kennel, a large Missouri brokerage facility owned by the Hunte Corporation — they also own Sundowner Kennel — sold an Alaskan Malamute to the Petland in Tallahassee, Florida. A young couple purchased the dog, whom they named Bella. When they held her at the store, Bella smelled of urine and her feet were covered with diarrhea. The Petland employee denied that Bella came from a puppy mill. Bella had a severe urinary tract infection for several months. She also experiences frequent vomiting. The couple has incurred nearly $1500 in veterinary expenses so far. Bella also has hip dysplasia and front shoulder problems and may need surgery.
Bella was born at a USDA licensed facility in Missouri. The USDA inspection report issued prior to a visit by a CAPS investigator showed no non-compliances. Yet, our investigator saw a very cluttered facility with a number of violations. There were "retired" poodles with very matted fur, older Pomeranians desperately scratching on the wood of their hutch-style cages, and small dogs in precarious two-story wire cages attached to a shed. One of the Pomeranians spun in circles, a condition caused by constant confinement. Crowded hutch-style cages contained small breeds used as breeding stock.
Michelle and Jason purchased a two-month-old German Shepherd, Coti, at the Mechanicsburg Petland in June 1999. Their veterinarian initially treated the puppy for kennel cough. At five months, Coti started falling down and hopping on one hind leg. The veterinarian diagnosed him with severe hip dysplasia. X-rays showed no right hip socket and a partial left hip socket. Petland told Michelle and Jason to return Coti for a refund.
Coti recently had surgery for the right hip. So far, Michelle and Jason have incurred veterinary bills of more than $1,000. Under Pennslyvania’s lemon law, they can recover $500 (the price of the puppy) for reimbursement of veterinary bills. Coti may require additional surgery. The dog was born at an unlicensed breeder’s facility in Minnesota. Pick of the Litter, a USDA licensed breeder and broker in Minnesota sold the dog to Petland. Michelle and Jason are still waiting for Petland to provide AKC supplemental transfer papers.
Scout, a Siberian Husky, was always crying in pain whenever Beth went into the Mechanicsburg Petland to purchase dog food. Beth wanted to get the dog out of the pet shop and purchased him for $499 in November 1997. Scout was four-months-old and weighed only 12 pounds. He had severe diarrhea after leaving the store, and Beth took him to the veterinarian. When Beth called Petland, they said that Scout had not been ill. When he finally reached to owner of Petland, he said that their veterinarian had certified the dog as healthy. He wanted Beth to return Scout for another puppy.
By December, Scout weighed only 20 pounds. Beth took Scout to specialists in Maryland who said that the dog was allergic to almost everything. These allergies caused irritable bowel syndrome which prevented the proper absorption of nutrients and vitamins. Scout eats dry food made up of fish and potatoes and drinks bottled water. He now weighs 80 pounds. The irritable bowel syndrome recently returned.
In 1999, Scout began having epileptic seizures and now takes valium for this condition. Beth has spent thousands of dollars to treat Scout. She filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office in 1998 and recovered the purchase price of the dog from Petland. Petland never provided AKC supplemental transfer papers for the dog. According to Scouts’ pedigree, Pick of the Litter was the breeder and broker.
On a sad note, Scout passed away on April 29 2000, following six hours of emergency surgery on Friday night. The actual cause of death was profound hypotension which was caused by a bowel perforated in five places.
Read about Marina in the rescue dog section
Joanne purchased Ruby, a female Pug, for $675 on July 4, 1998 from the Petland in Rockford, Illinois. After leaving the store, Ruby had diarrhea and was vomiting. She would not eat and began having grand mal seizures. Joanne’s veterinarian treated Ruby for three days, but the puppy’s condition did not improve. The veterinarian thought the dog should be put down. When Joanne called Petland, they criticized her for taking Ruby to her veterinarian. Petland told Joanne to bring the dog to their veterinarian. Petland’s veterinarian kept Ruby alive until July 11. The broker who sold Ruby to Petland was Pick of the Litter. The breeder has a USDA licensed facility in Minnesota. She was the sales contact on Pick of the Litter’s web site (now defunct).