Jane Weaver of MSNBC writes:
After an eight-month investigation, the Humane Society of the United States accused Petland, the national pet store chain, of selling dogs bred under appalling conditions at puppy mills around the country.
While puppy mills aren’t illegal, they’re also not places where dogs are treated as anything more than merchandise—and the Humane Society says that the 21 Petland stores they investigated mislead buyers on where the dogs actually come from.
From Weaver’s article:
“They are buying from puppy mills where these dogs are not treated like pets,” Michael Markarian, an executive vice president with the Humane Society, told a news conference. “They’re treated like a cash crop, where mother dogs live in wire cages, sometimes stacked on top of each other in filthy, dirty, cramped conditions, where they receive little socialization or human interaction or exercise.”
Among the poor conditions cited, investigators found puppies in commercial breeders “living in filthy cages reeking of urine, with inadequate care and socialization,” according to the release. The Humane Society says dogs at the mills were found in cages with wire flooring so large that the puppies’ paws and even the paws of the mother dogs would fall through.
Petland did not return calls to Weaver about the allegations, but she notes that their website seemingly absolves them from corporate responsibility by stating that each store is independently owned and individually “responsible for choosing healthy pets offered to Petland customers.”
While that may be true, there’s no reason for Petland to offer such an unrestricted, hands-off policy to its franchisees. By way of example, this week Subway asked one of its franchisees to rescind a corporate-branded donation to California’s anti-gay “Yes on 8″ campaign, citing that their agreement prohibits using “the Trademark in a manner that degrades, diminishes, or detracts from the goodwill of the business associated with the Trademark.”
So, uh, how come you don’t protect your brand like that, Petland?