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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.
161 COMMENTS

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91.

Abby K9    

Please, never purchase a puppy from a pet store. Pet stores get their puppies from one of two places: from a large puppy mill or from a local back-yard breeder. No responsible breeder would ever place his or her puppies through a pet store where they are confined to cages and sold to the first person with cash in hand or a check book. Some pet stores drive up the prices by giving you AKC papers, which are often fake, and many people think that this equals a quality dog. AKC papers only mean that both parents were purebred.

Pet stores mostly rely on people who impulse buy. Some even pressure customers, telling them that someone else was interested in the dog and might be back later in the day, so they better buy the puppy quickly. Many pet stores separate puppies from their litter at much too young an age.

On the German Shepherd forum I belong to, a new member recently bought a 5 week old puppy at a pet store. FIVE weeks! In most areas, the law requires dogs to be at least 8 or 9 weeks old to be removed from their litter and sold. The poor pup he bought has all sorts of health issues, too, which is really common in pet store pups since the parents don't undergo any health testing and the pups don't get the proper care and immunizations.

If you want a companion dog, a buddy for your kids to play with, your best bet is to get a dog from a local shelter or rescue. In most areas, there are many different rescues and several shelters. Not all shelters and all rescues are created equally.

You have your county or city animal control shelter. These are supported by taxpayer money and often you wonder whether the staff gives any damn about the animals at all. Our local one here hardly lists any of their "for adoption" animals on their Petfinder page, so people can't look online to see what's available, they have to go to the shelter just to look. As a result, this shelter tends to put down a lot of dogs at the end of every week. The other local shelter hasn't exactly been forthcoming in terms of what they know about dogs. We went down there once to assess a dog for rescue and were told that she was perfectly healthy, no issues. We later found out they had a full medical history on her and that she had cancer.

Then you have SPCA and other "private" shelters. Those are usually supported by donations as well as volunteers. They tend to be a little nicer and their adoption fees tend to be a little higher than at the county shelters. Fees do vary a lot by where the shelter is located, too. Our county shelter charges as little as $25 to adopt a dog that has already been spayed or neutered. Our SPCA shelter charges over $100. The SPCA shelter uses some of that money for the better care the dogs get at their facility compared to the county shelter.

And then, of course, you have rescues. There are all-breed rescues and there are purebred rescues. Most of these are non-profit organizations and rely on volunteers to take the dogs to the vet, keep them at their homes, and train them. Someone above complained how expensive dogs from rescues are and how that's a "rip off" or rescues are profiting. It's obvious that someone making statements like that has never ever volunteered for a rescue and doesn't realize the costs that go into these dogs. Even after adoption dogs out, rescues hardly break even, let alone make a profit.

Rescues get dogs from shelters or from owners who surrender them to the rescue. When a rescue gets a dog, there's usually a fee to get the dog, then costs for transporting the dog to its foster home. Then there are veterinary fees. Rescues take all of their dogs to the vet for a full exam, blood work, stool sample, etc. to make sure they are healthy. They get all their shots and, if needed, are spayed or neutered. Call your local vet and ask how much that costs and you'll see just how quickly the bills pile up. And that is for a dog that has no health issues ... but rescues often get dogs that were injured or abused that require lots of expensive treatment.

Then after all that, the dog has to be fostered. Yes, fosters are volunteers and they're not paid, but it costs money to keep a dog. The dog has to have a collar and leash. A crate to go into. Food to eat. They have to be trained ... either at home or at classes.

Add that all up. Then tell me that $250 is "outrageous" or a "rip off" in order to adopt a dog that is perfectly healthy, up-to-date on all shots, and where they can tell you all about the dog's behavior, his problems, how good he is with kids, what to watch out for, etc. It's a BARGAIN!

And lastly, there is buying dogs from reputable breeders. I know that a lot of people don't like the idea of buying from a breeder when there are so many dogs in shelters and rescues, but not everyone wants a dog just as a companion. Some people want to get involved in things like showing the dog in conformation, or parti

2416 days ago
92.

Izzy    

I think some of you shouting about only adopting from a shelter might need to calm down. It's not selfish to want a purebred dog. I have two little mutts and one purebred. My girls, the mutts, were both recues, but my boy came from a very reputable breeder. She's been raising the same breed, underfoot, for over twenty years. We met his parents, his grandparents, got a complete medical history for the entire family and we still talk with her almost weekly.

Puppy mills are horrific and should be stopped. There's no doubt about that. But there's no harm in wanting one specific breed. A responsible pet owner should take their specific family's needs seriously and, sorry, but not all breeds are good for all people. If people just run around adopting dogs all willy nilly from shelters then the dog has a pretty good chance of ending up right where it started.

I agree that if at all possible potential pet parents should always adopt from a shelter or rescue group. But some rescuse make it impossible to adopt. Impossible. If you live in an apartment then it might be hard to find a super small dog at a local shelter. Or it might be impossible to find the breed you need at a shelter. That's why I don't think it's selfish to buy from a reputable breeder. There are a lot of breeders who actually love the puppies, who have a deep love of a certain breed, and they are not evil people.

If you do decide to go a breeder then do your research. Don't just call someone in the paper. And especially don't agree to see them if they want to 'meet you' to 'save you the drive.' They don't want you to see what terrible conditions the puppies are living in. You want to be able to go to their house and see how the puppies live. You should also get far away if you get there and ten different breeds are running around. A good breeder will have all one breed, not very many, they will be underfoot and very well behaved. Our boy came to us at nine weeks and he was already housebroken, he was on a set feeding schedule, he was socialized, groomed, and just an all around great little dog.

2416 days ago
93.

brenda    

I have two standard poodles that are both rescue dogs and they are the best behaved dogs one could want.
If only folks would go the the shelters and adopt a dog and boycott the pet stores perhaps the puppy mills here in Mo. would go out of business.

2416 days ago
94.

Lynda    

NO (caps deliberate) reputable breeder would sell their puppies through or to a broker or pet store.

What is a reputable breeder?

A reputable breeder plans their litters carefully taking into consideration temperament, health, and type. They spend a lot of time and money to make sure their dogs are tested for whatever common health problems there may be within the breed. It's not a guarantee by any means, but at least you have a better chance of getting a healthy dog. Their dogs are properly socialized and are able to perform whatever function their breed was intended to do. Most reputable breeders are not making money selling dogs, their dogs are members of their family and it is more of a hobby than anything else. If they're lucky, they break even!

Don't be insulted if the breeder asks you a lot of questions or sign a contract, they want to make sure that you are willing to make a lifetime commitment to their puppy before they sell it to you. A reputable breeder cares about where their puppies end up and should require you to return it at any time during their lifetime (with partial or no refund) if you cannot take care of the dog. IT IS A LIFETIME COMMITMENT for a reputable breeder.

If you want a purebred dog (and some people do want a particular breed for whatever reason), go to akc.org, find the parent club and contact reputable breeders, or go to a local dog show and meet the breed. A pet store will tell you anything to get you to buy a puppy. They will tell you that any number of spitz breeds will not shed (amazing anyone would fall for that one). They will tell you whatever it takes to get your money. I liek to tell people all the bad stuff about shibas, and then if they're still interested, LOL! I will tell them about how wonderful they are. Educate yourself about your chosen breed before buying one, find out the pros and cons (they all have cons, just like people).

Another place you can find a purebred dog is a breed rescue, and where do these come from you might ask? Well oftentimes, they are ex-pet store (or what we call backyard breeders, and that's a whole 'nother topic) dogs that were bought by people who really didn't know what they were getting into! Breed rescues can often be found also by going through akc.org or the parent club home page.

If you don't care what kind of dog you want, then for heaven's sake, save a life and go to your local animal shelter! Mutts need love too!

Now that I've talked about all this, and you still want to get a purebred puppy. You're probably thinking ... oh a reputable breeder, they spend so much money on this and that, that I can't possibly afford one ... most breeders probably charge less than many pet stores for a quality product. Think Nordstrom's vs. Dollar Store, it's the quality and care that make the difference.

The biggest drawback to buying from a reputable breeder is that sometimes you have to wait for a puppy. A really good breeder sometimes has a waiting list, because they are not breeding to fashion's whim, they are breeding to preserve their chosen breed. But isn't your family worth the time and effort to do it right?

2416 days ago
95.

Mon    

1. There are tons of purebreed dogs in shelters, a breeder is not your only option. just visit petfinder.com and you'll see that there are awesome dogs out there just waiting for a home. My parents got our dog from a breeder and growing up I thought shelters were dirty with street dogs, boy was I wrong.

2. There are tons of puppy mills out there because there are a lot of people that think they can breed a dog. it's easier if the public stops buying from petstores and irresponsible breeders and petstores that sell these dogs are shut down. anyone can breed a dog, not everyone can run a business in a public place.

2416 days ago
96.

nataliec    

I bought my dog from a Breeder and let me tell you....My Chihuahua may have cost me $3,500 dollars, but I know my dogs parents, where she came from and have visited their Puppy Farm and was surprised at the amount of care they give their Chihuahuas, I was so impressed that I bought the cutes little girl there and am very happy with her and will buy my next dog from them. Now as for animal shelters, I got my Mastif from them and was so happy that I took her..What a great dog..i named her Nora. I am so glad that I rescued her from this shelter as it was filthy..with hungry dogs...dirty dogs that no one bothers to bathe or clean their cages. I have witnessed this first hand, so when you suggest a Shelter I say no...buy your dog from a breeder...you know where your dog was. This is PETAS campaign to get people to donate to their vicious cause and to support these idiots...SCREW PETA and get your dog you way...dont be bullied by this insane organization with nothing but incompetant idiots trying to get your money.

2416 days ago
97.

the lost    

Folks, this is not about the celebs and their dogs, it's about the dogs. And if you do care about the celebs, when someone buys a dog from a store where the animals came from a puppy mill, EVERYONE suffers. The dogs, the buyers and now the store, since thank God these a-holes were caught. PUPPY MILLS ARE MURDER.

2416 days ago
98.

Dusty    

Good breeders never sell to pet stores. Instead, they carefully screen the people who buy their puppies and sign a contract that they will take the dog back at any time in its life if for any reason the purchasers can't keep it.

Good breeders do appropriate health clearances on their breeding stock. Different breeds have different problems, and before purchasing a specific breed, you should go to the parent club website to see what clearances they recommend be done. These may include hips, elbows, eyes, hearts, thyroid, among others, depending on the breed.

And health clearances means more than someone saying the dog can run so it must have good hips! Clearances are done by X-ray, doppler, eye exams, blood tests, etc., that are looked at by a specialist, not by a general vet.

Pet store/puppy mill/backyard bred puppies will not be able to produce proof of health clearances. Health clearances on the ancestors of the puppy are not 100% guarantee, but it's much better than the crap shoot the bad "breeders" give you, and a good breeder will work with you if something comes up genetically wrong with your puppy.

Good breeders do not breed mixes. No matter how cute the name is (goldendoodle, labradoodle, yorkipoo, puggle, etc.), a mutt is still a mutt, and you can find one in a shelter for a lot cheaper than the hundreds or thousands of dollars these "designer dogs" cost. If health clearances aren't done on the parents and grandparents and great-grandparents of the parents of a mix, even though they're two different breeds, you could be doubling up on hip dysplasia or heart problems, etc. So much for hybrid vigor!

Rescues do charge a bit more than county shelters for the dogs they place. It's true most of the dogs that come into their rescue are fostered, but sometimes they really want to save a dog, their foster homes are filled and they have to spend money to board the dog for awhile until a foster home opens up. Also, many of the dogs who come in to rescue deserve a second chance, but they are heartworm positive or have hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia or a broken leg from being hit by a car or injuries from being abused by their previous "owner", and that obviously costs a lot more than just a "simple" spay/neuter and/or vaccinations. You're not just "paying" for the animal you want; you're donating to help other animals that come along so the rescue can continue to find all dogs good homes, not just the ones that are totally healthy to begin with.

PETA and HSUS would like to stop all breeding so in 15 or 16 years there would be no domestic dogs or cats at all! That's not a future I look forward to. I have no problem with breeders as long as they do it responsibly and only breed healthy, cleared stock, wait until the animals are the appropriate age to breed, only breed females two to four times and only breed males to females who really complement them in some way based on their pedigrees. A lot of research should go into breeding.

PeTA didn't even want to help the cattle that were starving in the heavy snows out west a couple years ago since they were just going to be slaughtered in a few months anyway, so that shows you how much they really care about animals. So much for ethical treatment. H$US doesn't even own a shelter, totally messed up during Hurricane Katrina, jumps on the high-profile cases asking for donations when they're not even involved in them, etc., etc. If you really want to donate to something that does the animals some good, donate to your local shelter or rescue organization that actually DOES take care of animals.

I own two purebreds and one mixed breed adopted through Petfinder. I do compete with my purebreds and belong to two purebred clubs, and I also help out with a couple of rescue organizations -- one purebred and one mixed breed.

Bottom line is if you see it in a pet store, it did NOT come from a responsible breeder, no matter how much the pet store may try to tell you it did. Responsible breeders meet the people who buy their puppies, and while it may seem like a tough interview process before you're approved to get one, just as it's a tough interview process when you try to adopt a dog, it's just so the breeder or rescue organization can be as sure as they possibly can be that their puppy or dog has found a forever home and won't be given up to a shelter or rescue in the future. Too many impulse buys from pet stores and backyard breeders who are just out to make a buck no matter whose money it is is what crowds the shelters and rescues today, not the responsible breeders.

2416 days ago
99.

crymeariver    

i got me a dog from a breeder but some would say its not. She is very smart but finicky eater. Yet, she is loyal and easy to care for. I stay with one breed and one breed alone and that is an aussie.

2416 days ago
100.

Bijou3    

To save a dog's life that would otherwise be euthanized, check out:]

DogsinDanger.com

2416 days ago
101.

SHE'S AN ATTENTION WHORE    

They should call this place "the pet store where DUMBASSES shop". You've got 2 of the biggest media whore dumbasses, pair-ASS and SLUTney, shopping there. Maybe they could both be there at the same time, and there could be a fire...that would be nice...

2416 days ago
102.

noitall    

IF THESE SELFISH BEEYOTCH CELEBRITIES WANT TO DO SOMETHING MEANINGFUL (UH, PARIS..) THEN THEY SHOULD STAND UP AGAINST THESE HORRIFIC PUPPY MILLS. THEY NEED TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES AND REALLY HELP THESE POOR DOGS (UH, ELLEN) AND STOP ADDING TO THE PROBLEM !!!!!

TAKE SOME OF YOUR MILLIONS AND DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE OTHER THAN YOURSELVES.....for once !!!!!

2416 days ago
103.

Fred    

Unfortunately, Lori does not live in any of the states she so easily disparages. On the other hand, I DO and can assure you that the laws on the books are just as effective in my state (Iowa) as anywhere else. My sister works for the Humane Society and, when they are called in on a puppy mill case, the animals are legally taken into custody and the owners are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As far as our legislators go, Iowa has probably passed more laws against animal cruelty than most others since our economy is largely based on the raising of livestock. I also speak from experience here as I worked in the legal field for 14 years. Lori, do us a favor and RESEARCH your statements before you post....someone is bound to call you on it. Oh....and the Amish puppy mill line.....give me a break!! Bwahahahahaha

2416 days ago
104.

badjuju813    

Pet stores get around that question in a round about way. They buy their puppies from BROKERS, who buy the puppies from PUPPYMILLS. Sneaky, HUH?? Go to puppymillrescue.com and get the full story about these sleazebags. I have 2 puppymills rescue dogs and would NEVER buy a puppy from a pet store.

2416 days ago
105.

Shannin    

adopting a dog wont save the world but it will save the world for that dog.


Save a dog, adopt!

2416 days ago
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