October 19, 2017

Puppies and People Pay the Price of Commercial Breeding

puppies in a cage

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a growing, multistate outbreak of Campylobacter infections linked to puppies sold by the national pet store chain, Petland. In puppies and people, Campylobacter infections can cause nausea and vomiting, fever, abdominal pain and cramping, and intestinal distress. The ASPCA is calling on states to protect their residents and consumers by halting the importation of puppies for resale until the CDC determines the source of the outbreak.

“At Petland, as at most pet stores that sell dogs, puppies are supplied by commercial dog-breeding facilities who are incentivized to produce the most puppies at the lowest cost. Dogs in these facilities live in small, dirty cages, with poor health care and no meaningful opportunity for exercise or play,” says Kevin O’Neill, Vice President of State Affairs for the ASPCA. “Pet stores profit from passing off sick puppy mill puppies as healthy, well-cared for pets from high-quality sources, so it’s not surprising that puppies produced in such deplorable conditions, trucked across the country, caged with other fragile, sick animals, and handled by hundreds of people can harbor and spread diseases.”

Despite the outbreak, Petland continues to sell puppies. Meanwhile, many families go through Petland’s doors each day, including young children, who are at greater risk for developing a severe infection.

Both the welfare of animals and the health of the public are put at risk as long as Petland continues to import, display and sell puppies from commercial breeding facilities. In fact, there has been a 40% increase in new cases of infection since the outbreak was first announced in mid-September. 

Until the outbreak is controlled or the source identified the ASPCA is encouraging states to take action to protect the public’s health, including stopping the importation, handling, display and sale of commercially bred dogs.

We are also keeping up our fight to bring an end to the suffering that countless animals face in puppy mills: Help us stop these horrific practices from continuing by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.