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ASPCA “No Pet Store Puppies” Campaign: Don’t Buy into Animal Cruelty this Holiday Season

ASPCA asks consumers not to support pet stores, websites that sell puppies
December 5, 2013

NEW YORK–The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), as part of its national "No Pet Stores Puppies" campaign, urges holiday shoppers to help fight puppy mill cruelty by refusing to shop at pet stores and on websites that sell puppies. The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for pet stores as many families hope to give the gift of a new puppy, but many consumers are unaware they are supporting the inhumane puppy mill industry by shopping for anything at pet stores and websites that sell puppies.

“Many pet buyers don’t realize most pet store puppies come from puppy mills,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO. “Their purchases keep this cruel industry in business, so we urge anyone looking for a new pet to adopt from a shelter, where plenty of healthy, loving animals are waiting to be saved.”

According to a national poll conducted in 2012 by Edge Research, 37 percent of Americans, roughly 88 million people, planned to buy a gift for a pet during the holiday season. Based on the number of pet gift shoppers and an average spending of $30 per person, Americans could spend more than $2.5 billion on pets during the holiday season. Unfortunately, 59 percent of pet gift shoppers would consider buying gifts at a store that also sells puppies—meaning some of that $2.5 billion in revenue may be supporting the puppy mill industry.

As part of its No Pet Store Puppies campaign, the ASPCA is promoting a holiday video called "What Not to Buy? Pet Store Puppies!” and encouraging viewers to share the video on their social networks, thereby raising awareness about the connection between pet store puppies and puppy mills. Operators of puppy mills breed dogs in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. The ASPCA believes that consumer action is a critical element in the fight against puppy mills, and urging consumers not to shop for anything—including food, supplies, or toys—at stores that sell puppies is an effective way to stop the demand for puppy mill dogs.

The ASPCA recently launched a new database containing more than ten thousand photos of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensed commercial dog breeders and links many of them to specific pet stores throughout the country that have sold puppies from the breeder within the last year. Consumers are able to search the database by pet store name, USDA license number, name of the breeding facility, or by zip code and specific breeds. The photos were taken by USDA inspectors during routine inspections of the facilities.

“Consumers need to know that they should not be falsely reassured when a pet store tells them their puppies come from USDA licensed breeders,” said Gina Miller, manager of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign. “Unfortunately, USDA standards alone do not ensure that dogs are raised humanely in an environment in which they can thrive. We hope this new tool will help holiday shoppers make informed decisions and refrain from buying puppies at pet stores.”

To learn more about the ASPCA’s No Pet Store Puppies campaign and to sign the pledge, visit www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.