Two dozen puppies were seized by animal control, rescued from filthy, inhumane conditions inside a transport vehicle, just as they arrived at a Florida Petland store.
Lee County Domestic Animal Control investigators seized 24 puppies from a transport vehicle just as they arrived at a Fort Myers, Florida Petland store to be sold to hopeful pet parents, unaware of the horrific conditions they’d endured.
Animal control investigators seized the puppies immediately after they arrived in Florida from Missouri company, Puppy Travelers LLC. Investigators says the puppies were kept in crowded cages full of feces and urine without any water. Animal services said that, at one point, up to 127 puppies were crammed into the truck.
In addition to the cruel conditions the puppies had endured while traveling from Missouri to Florida, several of the dogs’ documentation was also altered, incomplete, or missing—some didn’t have health certificates.
It’s hard to imagine, when you see an adorable, healthy-looking puppy peering back at you through the glass of your local pet store, where that four-legged furball came from. The truth is, 99% of all puppies sold in retail pet stores, like Petland, are the product of puppy mills.
Puppy mills are essentially a factory for pumping out the most amount of puppies, in the shortest amount of time, with minimal expense. Meaning, the breeders that run these puppy mills have their females in a constant cycle of pregnancy and birth. The dogs are given no medical care. Living conditions are deplorable. These dogs are usually found crammed into tiny cages with other dogs, standing and sleeping in feces and urine, their hair matted, skin painfully itchy from fleas or ticks, starving and malnourished. Many dogs are suffering from respiratory infections, blindness, joint issues, even life-threatening illnesses that are passed on to their puppies. Sometimes, these poor dogs are left for weeks in cages with fellow dogs that have died.
But the puppy mill’s only concern is profit. They don’t care for the health of their breeding stock. They don’t care for the health of the puppies that are produced. They don’t care where their puppies end up – as long as they make a profit.
Puppy mills sell their puppies to a broker. The broker then sells the puppies to pet stores, internet retailers, or in newspaper classified ads. There are over 5,000 of these puppy mills – fully licensed to operate – around the country. Countless more that are operating illegally.
The ONLY way to eliminate puppy mills is to stop buying puppies from pet stores, online retailers, or through newspaper classifieds. Adopting a puppy from your local animal rescue organization or purchasing from a reputable, responsible breeder are the only appropriate options.
For now, the seized puppies are in the custody of Lee County Domestic Animal Services while they’re quarantined for various health issues. A Petland store manager said they were unaware of the traveling conditions the puppies faced on their way to the store.