100,000 Consumers Take ASPCA Pledge Not to Shop at Stores, Websites that Sell Puppies

Significant milestone for national "No Pet Store Puppies" campaign comes days after USDA's proposal for more federal oversight of puppy mills
May 21, 2012

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that more than 100,000 consumers have taken its "No Pet Store Puppies" pledge to help fight puppy mill cruelty by refusing to shop at pet stores and on websites that sell puppies. The national campaign, launched last July, raises awareness about the connection between pet stores and puppy mills and aims to reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers not to buy any items—including food, supplies or toys—if the store or website sells dogs.

The ASPCA's "No Pet Store Puppies" campaign reached the 100,000 mark just four days after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed a new rule calling for greater federal oversight of puppy mills and online dog sales. The rule would, for the first time, require large-scale commercial breeders who sell their puppies directly to the public, sight-unseen, including through websites, to be licensed and inspected by the USDA.  The ASPCA will work to ensure that the rule is implemented as effectively as possible to improve conditions at sub-standard breeding facilities.

"The success of our "No Pet Store Puppies" campaign and this significant milestone send a clear message that the public does not support the inhumane breeding of dogs," said Laurie Beacham, senior director of ASPCA Strategy & Campaigns. "Consumer action is a critical element in the fight against puppy mills, and convincing consumers not to shop for anything at stores and on websites that sell puppies is a powerful tool in stopping the demand for puppy mill dogs."

In less than a year, the "No Pet Store Puppies" campaign has succeeded in eliminating a large platform for puppy mill dogs sold online. In response to concerns from the ASPCA, Facebook and Oodle, the company that powers Marketplace on Facebook, have instituted measures to restrict online classifieds listing puppy mill dogs for sale from the site. Through an ongoing removal process starting in March, tens of thousands of dog sale ads have already been eliminated.

Further, as part of a major public education campaign, outdoor billboards were posted in Los Angeles, Columbus, (Ohio), and other cities across the nation to raise awareness about the connection between pet stores and puppy mills and encourage shoppers to give a new life to a homeless dog or cat by adopting from their local animal shelter or rescue organization. Targeted ads were also placed online to provide a captivating and simple call to action.

"Our campaign is working because we are educating consumers and inspiring them to take action to be part of the solution and reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies," said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign. "We continue to urge those who are looking for a new companion to adopt a dog from a rescue group or shelter or seek a responsible breeder so that the puppy mill industry becomes unsustainable." 

The ASPCA continues to encourage animal lovers and advocates to take the pledge and share the new "I pledged" badge on their social networks. Additionally, www.NoPetStorePuppies.com hosts a series of videos featuring a canine mascot as he skillfully "trains" oblivious consumers not to shop at pet stores that sell puppies. The humorous videos can be shared via social media platforms to engage consumers and help spread the message about puppy mill cruelty.

Operators of puppy mills breed dogs in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. Consumers who purchase a puppy from a pet store or website run the risk of taking home an unhealthy puppy in addition to the likelihood of unknowingly supporting a cruel industry. The ASPCA ultimately seeks to convince pet stores to limit their business to pet supplies and encourages them to partner with their local shelters to offer adoptable pets in their stores.

To learn more about the ASPCA's No Pet Store Puppies campaign, please visit www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.