According to Macey Mullins’ complaint, her Jack Russell terrier puppy, named June, was promised by staff at Petland Lewis Center to be healthy, checked by a veterinarian and to have come from a smaller-scale responsible breeder. In reality, June came from a high-volume breeder and was sold to Petland by Blue Ribbon puppies, a known puppy mill broker. Almost immediately after arriving at her new home, June started excessively urinating and drinking. Mullins called the Petland staff at the Lewis Center store, who assured her that this was normal puppy behavior. But seven months after being purchased, June was hospitalized with bilateral renal dysplasia. She could no longer eat or drink without an IV. After spending thousands in hospital fees, in consultation with veterinarians, Mullins made the gut-wrenching decision to humanely euthanize her beloved pet.
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Chrystal and Robert Rivas’s English bulldog puppy, whom they acquired from a corporately owned Petland store in Chillicothe, Ohio, is still alive, but suffering. As alleged in their lawsuit filed against the store, Louie has a severely underdeveloped pelvis and hip dysplasia, which has resulted in limping, lameness and apparent pain with extended walking or running. To accommodate Louie’s needs, the Rivas couple has moved twice, first to a ground-level apartment and now to a ranch-style home, where Louie no longer has to climb stairs and does not interact with as many dogs. According to the complaint, Louie has also recently endured seizures, which causes stress on the whole family. In addition to ongoing care, Louie may eventually need expensive surgery to alleviate his pain. Louie’s sale price was $3,500; with an interest rate of 44.67%, the cost amounted to $5,263.56.
Seven states and 485 localities have banned the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores precisely because of the pain the puppy mill industry causes dogs and the families who love them. Yet Petland continues to sell sick puppies from mills, including dealers who have been cited for repeated violations of animal welfare laws. Just two months ago, we issued the findings of our investigation at a Petland store in Novi, Michigan, where undercover footage shows puppies with wounds, hacking coughs, nasal discharge and bloody stools.
The shame of this business model is compounded by the fact that Petland has options that would be better for its customers and more humane. Petland should end retail sales of dogs, cats and rabbits and focus on the profitable business of selling pet-related products and services, as many other pet stores have. Industry data shows that in 2022, people spent more than $58 billion on pet food and treats alone in the U.S. And people should adopt animals from shelters or rescue organizations or visit a responsible breeder in person to help ensure they are getting a happy and healthy companion who is a good fit for their families.
Attorneys with our Animal Protection Law department are assisting counsel at Holland & Muirden in these three cases to hold Petland accountable for these harmful and unjust practices.
If you or someone you know purchased a sick or otherwise unfit animal from a Petland store in Ohio, you can contact Holland & Muirden at 330-239-4480 or submit a complaint from any state by filling out our Puppy Buyer Complaint Form.
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