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Washington D.C./Florence, KY, Nov. 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Humane Society of the United States just released the results of its undercover investigation at a Florence, Kentucky, Petland store. This is the eighth Petland store investigated by the organization and this investigation revealed puppies sick and dying from the deadly, preventable diseases canine distemper and canine parvovirus. The investigation also shows some of the puppies had campylobacter, which is suspected to have spread to customers, store staff and the investigator. Campylobacter is a bacterial infection that can cause nausea, fever and stomach distress and has led to some people being hospitalized. The investigator is currently recovering.
John Goodwin, senior director of the Humane Society of the United States’ Stop Puppy Mills Campaign, said: “No puppy deserves to suffer and die from a preventable disease in a pet store. What we have seen behind the scenes at this Petland store is a trifecta of horrors - campylobacter, distemper and parvovirus. Unsuspecting consumers are not only buying a sick dog, but they may be exposing their families to illness just by interacting with the puppies in the store. Our findings here and at the seven other Petland stores were nothing short of horrifying, but sadly are not unique in a puppy-selling pet store.”
Some of the puppies were visibly ill but were not taken to a veterinarian for treatment. On October 25, the HSUS sent a secret shopper to purchase a goldendoodle (named “Jasper” by the HSUS), who had been suffering from bloody diarrhea in the store for about three weeks. The shopper was told the goldendoodle was “perfect” and “healthy.” When Jasper had diarrhea in front of our buyer, a manager told her, “This puppy has had diarrhea [but] that’s not campylobacter,” and said it was simply due to stress.
The HSUS took Jasper to an independent veterinarian, where he tested positive for campylobacter and giardia, both of which can spread to people. According to the Dr. Michelle Gonzalez, DVM, of Rascal Animal Hospital, Jasper was “skin and bones,” with a body condition score of 2 out of 9. Petland’s manager told the buyer that Petland performed a stool test on Jasper to ensure he was healthy. Yet Petland did not provide the buyer with any documentation from a veterinarian proving he had ever had the fecal test. When an HSUS investigator called Petland’s veterinarian’s office days later, they were told the office had no record of the puppy’s stool being tested. Once placed on correct medications, Jasper immediately began to recover.
The Petland store’s failure to obtain professional veterinary care for Jasper and other sick puppies appears to be a violation of Florence’s animal care ordinance, which requires commercial animal establishments to “provide proper medical treatment from a veterinarian for sick or injured animals.” The HSUS reported its findings, including documents and footage, to local authorities.
The Florence, Kentucky, Petland is the eighth Petland store that HSUS has investigated within the last two years, and is the first corporate-owned store HSUS has investigated. Petland, Inc. is the largest chain of pet stores in the country that still sells puppies, with about 70 stores that sell puppies and about 17 corporate-owned stores, most of which are in or near Ohio. At least two of HSUS’s Petland investigations have resulted in charges or citations. A Petland store in Frisco, Texas, was cited for animal care issues after we revealed problems at that store in September. Two managers who worked at the Fairfax, Virginia, Petland store are facing animal cruelty charges after our April investigation revealed numerous dead animals in the freezer. That store is now closed.
Media Contact: Kirsten Peek: 301-548-7793; firstname.lastname@example.org
Founded in 1954, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates around the globe fight the big fights to end suffering for all animals. Together with millions of supporters, the HSUS takes on puppy mills, factory farms, trophy hunts, animal testing and other cruel industries, and together with its affiliates, rescues and provides direct care for over 100,000 animals every year. The HSUS works on reforming corporate policy, improving and enforcing laws and elevating public awareness on animal issues. More at humanesociety.org .
Kirsten Peek The Humane Society of the United States 301-548-7793 email@example.com