NEW YORK TIMES STORY
December 12, 2007
Humane Society Traces Expensive Pups to Pet Mills By REBECCA CATHCART LOS ANGELES - A pet store in the Bel-Air neighborhood deceived customers, including
Hollywood celebrities, about the origin of their puppies, many of which come from unlicensed pet mills, according to a Humane Society of the United States
investigation released Tuesday.
The investigation looked at dog breeders, pet auctions and pet stores that form a chain of supply for the expensive dogs that can be found along the streets of Beverly Hills, often in sweaters and rhinestone collars.
These so-called puppy mills are large-scale breeding operations that have a reputation for abuse, inbreeding and filthy conditions.
"These puppy mills apply an agricultural mind-set to the breeding of dogs," said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. "Often, they're run by farmers who raise soybeans and corn, and this becomes another, more lucrative cash crop for them. It often becomes a dominant source of income because no money is spent on the care of these dogs."
The tiny toy breeds that sit in wooden baby cribs at the Bel-Air store, Pets of Bel Air, sell for upward of $1,000 and are popular among the young Hollywood set.
"We're not singling out Pets of Bel Air as the sole operation at fault," Mr. Pacelle said. "But they are representative."
In a videotape made in the store by the Humane Society of the United States, Paris Hilton drifts by at one point, staring at the upper shelves. Her Chihuahua's limbs dangle over her arm and its little head scans the room. The video, taken using a hidden camera, also shows a manager telling an employee not to let customers know the extent of one puppy's health problems.
Store employees did not return telephone calls seeking comment. In the tape, the store visuals are spliced in with clips from breeding operations in Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma. The images show hundreds of dogs jumping frantically in small, outdoor cages.
Video of one breeding operation describes "over about 100 breeding dogs" that are "confined in small cages" at Carole's Puppy Palace in Pocola, Okla. The narrator calls the operation, run by Carole Glenn, unlicensed.
But on Tuesday, Ms. Glenn said: "I have six puppies here from three litters. I've seen puppy mills, believe me. They are dirty, filthy places."
"That's not what I do," added Ms. Glenn, who is listed as a licensed breeder on a United States Department of Agriculture Web site.
Mr. Pacelle said that information gathered this year indicated that Ms. Glenn was not licensed to breed dogs. That information may be out of date, he said.
©2016 / Puppymills.com