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Humane Society to Celebs: It Ain't Puppy Love

12/11/2007 4:56 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

UPDATE: The L.A. Department of Animal Regulations has just shut down Pets of Bel Air because we're told three of the store's permits have expired. Lt. Troy Boswell tells TMZ the store's permit to sell live animals has been expired for three and a half years (yikes!). We're also told the Department has checked out all the animals currently in the store and they all seem to be in good health. A worker at the pet store insists they've done nothing wrong.

The pet store has 48 hours to renew their permits.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) today revealed undercover footage linking a popular pet store-to-the-stars with a puppy mill that supplies them. Oh the humane-ity!
Britney, Paris, Puppies
The HSUS alleges that Pets of Bel Air -- a trendy pet shop that boasts Paris Hilton, Denise Richards, Demi Moore, Britney Spears and Robin Williams among its clientele, who spend as much as $2,400 for a Maltese -- gets their puppies from puppy mills. In fact, TMZ also spotted Britney shopping there just this past weekend.

Pets of Bel Air told HSUS investigators they don't get their puppies from puppy mills, but the HSUS says that simply not the dogs'-honest truth. They allege the shop buys from mills in Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa and Missouri. Undercover footage shot by the HSUS at one such puppy mill shows cage after cage of little dogs locked up and going "cage crazy." Not a pretty sight.

Puppy mills sell dogs who live their entire lives in cages and are continually bred for years, without human companionship and with little hope of ever becoming part of a family.

Calls to the Pets of Bel Air shop were not immediately returned.

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Previous 15 Comments | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

Julie G.    

I agree with Curious #143. 7 years ago, I adopted a English Springer puppy, from a breeder. 3 years later, the same puppy, I named Mickie, turned 3 years old, all sudden became so mean and bite everyone and even tried to bite me when I was very pregnant with my younger son. So I called every place I thought of, would not take her in, then I called her breeder, but it was disconnected, then I called AKC office to reach the breeder. AKC never heard of the breeder's name, then went out to check it out, it wasa different location, they rented a nice location to fool me and they raised the puppies with damantions puppies mixed. Finally,on last resort, I went on to the vet and talked about it. The vet suggested to put my dog down to sleep other wise, I would be sued for giving away to some one else knowing my puppy could hurt anyone else. What a heart breaking for me even though I am an animal lover. Lesson was learned for me. You never know how the puppy turned out later, I am not saying not all pupppies, just some of them, would turn out mean or defected later as they get older, Be careful-it really breaks your heart in the end. Check it out everything about the person you are interested on adopting from.

2471 days ago


Celebrities make up only a small percentage of the population, they are not the ones keeping pet stores in business. Everyone is right that they (celebrities) shouldn't be purchasing from pet stores as it sends the message that this is the way to go, but I doubt that they are thinking that when they go to purchase a pet, they just see it, it's adorable and they buy it and bring it home that day. Immediate gratification is what is desired. I don't fault them for thinking they are doing a "good thing" getting an animal out of a cage. I've been in pet stores myself and even though I wouldn't buy from them because I have been educated about them, the lure of them is very strong.

Unfortunately we live in a society that "wants what it wants, when it wants it". This isn't just celebrities, it's all of us with a reasonable income. Think of this as you are Christmas shopping, I don't know about the rest of you, but I would have a hard time thinking of anyone in my family or even acquaintances that actually need anything (that money can buy anyway) and kids, I don't know where parents find the room in their homes for all that crap. It was rare that I got toys for no reason when I was a child, but I know kids of friends who get at least one toy a week. People don't wait for occasions anymore, they buy something (or worse charge it to a credit card) and get it immediately, no thought involved.

The sad part is that when the novelty or fashion wears off of this "stuff" people wish to discard of it immediately too. For pets that's where rescue/SPCA's come in. Many people on this list bagging about humane societies and SPCAs don't realize that every day there are people dumping animals and where else would these animals go if not for the shelters?? There are simply not enough homes for all of them, some are not adoptable, but most are, many will be euthanized because of our want.

2471 days ago

They win with dignity    

So since all of you believe all of these comments everyone else should have to think like you? Might I add no one posted a link to facts to back any of it yeah everyone should think like you? Sounds like communism to me...lets all act, talk, look, and be the same while we are at it.

Sorry Hitler this is the USA and we can do and think how we want. Also I am sure these puppy mills are so horrible and you all have visited each one and made sure they all were abusing dogs!?! There are probably some that are respectable and actually do a good job but the news (IE your only source of the limited info you stuff in your tiny brains) will only show you the horrible ones they found they conveniently leave out the ones doing a good job.

2471 days ago


Puppy mills ARE doing a good job, they are making lots of money lol, it's the dogs that aren't doing so well because of all the inbreeding and disease. If you think there are good puppy mills out there, by all means post the link. I'll come back and check the posts after I watch the pigs flying outside my window, bwahhahah. Good gawd!!!

2471 days ago

They win with dignity    

Ok so I read some good articles on puppy mills and found that few are getting shut down because get this they arent doing anything illegal. Last I checked its not against the law to lock a dog in a cage...sometimes I do this just for fun with my dogs. Yeah you might not agree with the idea of a dog that is meant for breeding and the "poor" little dog is locked in a cage and not "Socialized" is the biggest argument I saw on any of these three pages, also no where did it say that all puppy mills are still i stick by my comments that there are some good ones out there but since people only like to glamorize the bad they are hiding the good ones so no one sees there are some breeders doing things right and until you prove me wrong you can assume i am right.

I also read that the only way to really stop a puppy mill is to stop buying from pet stores no where in the article did it say posting comments on TMZ would help stop the EVIL puppy mills. And you are arguing a stupid point saying that since the puppies were born in a puppy mill dont buy them...well I am pretty sure the people buying them are giving them a nice home (most of them) so how is that hurting the dog? Yeah it might be hurting the few dogs used for the mass breeding but it in no way hurts the puppy at the pet store. Boo-Hoo so a few dogs are abused...and how do you know the dogs at the kennels you are SAVING werent at one time puppies from puppy mills? Not all dogs at kennels are mutts some are pure might get a second hand puppy mill puppy *gasp*

2471 days ago

They win with dignity    


In this article this statement is made "often in deplorable and demonstrably inhumane conditions. Many live in filth and darkness."

Now if ALL of the dogs were in the filth and darkness then you could say all puppy mills are bad but it states many and often implying they also found a few that were in decent conditions. In every article i read it has open statements like I will just assume that they found some (probably very few) that were ok Puppy until you can show me articles that say all and every puppy was abused then you can see the pigs flying by our window.

2471 days ago


Lori is incorrect in some ways, actually.
"hillbilly legislatures" do exist, but definitely not here in Minnesota, where puppy mills are illegal and the ASPCA shuts them down as soon as they arise. There are no pet stores here. If you want a pet, you must get one from one of the numerous humane society chapters or from a reputable breeder. Puppy mills exist everywhere but Minnesota does more than many states to ensure their operation is short-lived and their owners are sent to prison for their actions. You make an ass out of yourself when you assume a lax legislature is at work in all states, because many states are tough when it comes to animal protection.

2471 days ago

Abby K9    

Lori - your recent comments directed at me only show only that you're ignorant. How would you know what "my breeder friends" "sucker" me into believing, considering that you don't know the first thing about me? Or that "anyone serious" about agility or obedience would not get involved with the AKC?

To set the record straight, I have never purchased a dog from a breeder or a pet store. I have three cats and a large breed dog. Two of my cats were dumped on me by neighbors who no longer wanted them - one as a young kitten, one at age 13. My third cat came from the SPCA shelter, my dog from the county animal control shelter.

Before getting my dog, I fostered for a rescue. I still evaluate and transport for rescues if there's a dog in my area they need evaluated and pulled from the shelter. I support the local shelter on base which really has no other supporters to speak of. I do lots of educational work with my dog ... we go to schools to talk to kids about dogs, and we do therapy work at hospitals and an old folks home. We also do herding.

Most of my time on the Internet is spent talking to other dog owners, helping them solve their dog problems so they won't dump their dog at a shelter if they have an issue, and promoting responsible breeding.

So before you go off, complaining how "my breeder friends have suckered me into believing such and such" and how any performance event sanctioned by the AKC is just for people who don't really love their dogs, how about you pause and take a deep breath, so you don't make yourself sound like a fool. When you insult strangers on the Internet, you only make everyone else doubt what you say since you obviously cannot make a reasonable argument without getting personally insulting.


Amy posted - "Not every pet store buys from puppy mills. Consider PetSmart, and local Feed and Variety stores near NOLA, where I live. "

Amy, those are not the types of pet stores we're talking about. I don't know about the feed and variety stores in your area (the ones where I live don't sell any animals), but the large chain stores such as Petsmart and Petco don't *sell* live cats and dogs in their stores at all. The cats you see in the Petsmart adoption area are not for sale like cats and dogs at pet stores are, they are for adoption through a rescue, and having them in the store serves the purpose of getting them more exposure since many people are not aware of the rescues in their area or the many pets available through them.

When you adopt a cat or dog like that, you have to go through the rescue and meet their requirements. Usually, you have to have proof that all your other animals are vaccinated, you have to have references, and they will want to do a home check where they come to see that your home is suitable for the adopted pet to live. At a pet store that sells animals, you can just walk in, point to the one you like, and take it home right away, because that's how the store makes money. As soon as that cage frees up, they'll reorder and put another poor puppy in its place.

2471 days ago


I support the BOYCOTT on pet stores. I won't even buy a toenail clipper from there. Go to Petsmart or Petco.

2388 days ago

Matt Damon    

# 155 Minneapolis alone has 65 Pet Stores and a Big number of them sell Puppies, get your facts straight!!!

2471 days ago


I understand the tragedy of puppy mills, but FORCING people to only rescue dogs is unconstitutional and unamerican. What's next? We target the problem of orphans in America and say people can ONLY adopt now and can't have your own kids? Everyone has their own choice and right to choose what to buy or what not to buy. People should be educated and try to rescue a dog, but forcing people?? I can't agree with that. Most of the high-end luxury brands people enjoy are mostly from sweatshops with 6 year old girls working there from third world countries. That to me, is inhumane.

2469 days ago
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