Contact: Deborah Howard
Companion Animal Protection Society
New York, NY, September 2, 2015 – A puppy party business sounds like an innocuous idea, until you ask where they are getting all those pure-bred dogs. From the “Today” show to the Wall Street Journal, the media is going gaga over the New York City-based PuppyParty.com and avoiding the tough question: Where are these puppies coming from? The answer: puppy mills.
What David Dietz, owner of PuppyParty.com and Puppy Paradise, is neglecting to tell the media and his clients who seek puppies for children’s birthday parties, bachelorettes parties and other events, is that Puppy Party puppies come from inhumane high-volume commercial breeding facilities known as puppy mills. These mills supply puppies to Dietz’ store, Puppy Paradise – the source of the Puppy Party puppies. If a party-goer happens to fall in love with a puppy, then he or she can purchase that puppy from the store.
Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) investigated nine of the many breeders and brokers who supply or have supplied Puppy Paradise. Kevin Street is one of the substandard and inhumane breeders who sold to Puppy Paradise. In 2013, a CAPS investigator rescued a Boxer, Molly, during an investigation of Street’s facility. Molly had signs of cattle prod burns and suffered from a painful growth, which a veterinary specialist concluded resulted from lying on an ongoing Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Molly’s life in a confined space aggravated the condition and caused her even more unnecessary suffering.
Gayle Duncan, of Gayle’s Country Pups in Oklahoma, is yet another Puppy Paradise supplier with a dubious record. A CAPS investigation exposed dozens of serious Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations. One of the mill’s employees, Gayle’s brother-in-law Jeff, admitted to running over a dog with a four-wheeler on purpose because the dog had bit him after trying to escape the pen. Jeff even bragged about caring a gun with him to shoot any supposedly aggressive dog. CAPS’ investigator stated in his report: “The dog [Jeff referred to as aggressive] put his nose up to the pen wall and let [the investigator] touch it without acting aggressively towards [the investigator] at all.”
Puppy Paradise also buys from Dwayne Hurliman, the archetypal puppy mill. A CAPS investigation revealed a thousand dogs and puppies (he claimed to have around 500) in dirty, crowded and collapsing cages. Hurliman stated that he focused on breeding females that would have large litters of puppies, and that most of them averaged about three litters every two years.
Another horrible breeder that supplies Puppy Paradise is Maureen Butler, who owns PugPekinpoo-tzu in Missouri. Like many facilities in Missouri, the state with the highest concentration of puppy mills, Butler kept the dogs in outside pens, exposed to extreme cold in the winter and hot sun in the summer. In one instance, she nonchalantly showed a CAPS investigator a puppy that had lost toes to frostbite, in what she described as a “cold day” in May.
Betty Mings, from Missouri is another Puppy Paradise supplier. Mings’ facility, Bet-Ter Kennel, exposed dogs to the harsh Midwest winters. CAPS investigators uncovered AWA violations and witnessed numerous cages with days of fecal accumulation. During the undercover investigation, Mings even mentioned that the reason one of the barns smelled putrid was because she kept killing mice under a bank of wire cages and leaving them underneath. She also said that her dogs have puppies every breeding cycle and added, “I got dogs nine to 10 years old, still have seven, eight puppies.”
The problems with Puppyparty.com are not limited to the breeders. CAPS undercover investigation footage of Puppy Paradise shows a depressing and poorly lit pet shop. An employee denied to CAPS investigators that the store does not buy from puppy mills and claimed it only used four to five breeders. However, a CAPS review of the Certificates of Veterinary Inspections from 2012 – 2014 showed 33 breeders and brokers, many with numerous and serious AWA violations. The in-store investigation yielded two more breeder names. The employee also stated that the breeders ship puppies directly to the store. That claim is misleading because Puppy Paradise also uses brokers, such as Oleo Acres in Minnesota and Sanjon Kennels in Missouri, that do not breed their own dogs but ship puppies they buy from Midwest breeders to pet shops around the country.
Puppyparty.com is just an elaborate iteration of the puppy in the window scheme. It is yet another way for pet shops to squeeze even more profits from unsuspecting consumers at the expense of innocent puppies. Between the inhumane suppliers and the dubious legality of using puppies as performing products (CAPS has reported Puppyparty.com to USDA for operating without a federal exhibitor’s license), animal lovers should resist the temptation of paying to play with puppies and consider other alternatives, such as volunteering at shelters and for rescue organizations.
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Founded in 1992, the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy mills. CAPS actively addresses the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mill dogs through investigations, education, media relations, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance, and pet industry employee relations. For more information, please visit www.caps-web.org, and be sure to follow CAPS on Facebook and Twitter.