Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pet Store Puppies Should NOT Be On Your Holiday Shopping List

'Tis the season to buy puppies and traffic to the Puppies of Westport store is, as expected, up as people order puppies for their holiday gifts. Of course the orders are placed with the recipient often completely unprepared and of course unaware of where these dogs truly come from.

We saw a little brown poodle leave the store last weekend...such a sad cycle of abuse.

Let’s hope these puppy buyers are also seeing all the stories in the local press about devoted pets losing their homes due to the economy and foreclosure - on top of the pets that are relinquished every day for the litany of (mostly pathetic) reasons. We need to do more to help the pets that are already here and in need. We do not need puppy mill/pet store puppies adding to the mess.

And, in case you don't believe pet store pups are puppy mill pups - see our latest revelation that Puppies of Westport purchases from MAM Kennels - one of the puppy mills exposed in the latest HSUS investigation of the Petland chain of stores.

The good news is we have had a bunch of interest from students in the area doing school projects on puppy mills. This is a great step toward helping young people understand that pet store pups are puppy mill pups…which means they (hopefully) won't beg their parents for one. They will want to adopt and really rescue a dog. Let’s be real clear here: there is no such thing as "rescuing" a puppy from a pet store. Ask us...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just when you thought reality shows couldn't get any worse, cast and crew from MTV's The Real World show turned up...where else...Puppies of Westport.

Apparently oblivious to the fact...yes, it's a fact...that the store buys its dogs from puppy mills, the flagging reality show team crossed a protest picket line to shoot at the store. The new show is currently being shot. It's based in Brooklyn this season.

Protesters offered to educate them on the reality of the lives of the parents of dogs sold at the store. Of course, they know better. They'd rather operate without facts I guess.

We have thousands of pages of documentation that shows the horrendous conditions these dogs are bred in.

If you care about dogs, let the folks at MTV know exactly how you feel about the network promoting cruelty to animals by filming at this store. MTV even has an activism program...perhaps we can use their own site to raise the issue. Start your thread and oppose the Real World shoot at Puppies of Westport!

Maybe the reality show team should take a leaf out of President-elect Obama's book and consider a shelter dog.

If this store was doing the right thing, do people truly think protesters would stand in front of their store for two years!!! Wake up MTV.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Face Facts

Fed and bred. That’s the life of dogs in puppy mills. And make no mistake, that’s where the dogs sold by Puppies of Westport come from.

Dogs from these mass breeding facilities are often sold at auction like livestock. There’s one coming up on August 30 in Ohio. It’s just a business to those involved. Breeds as varied as Pomeranians and Boxers end up on the block at these auctions.

Also, check this link for details of what goes on behind the scenes.

And be sure to mark your calendars for Puppymill Awareness Day, 5th Anniversary to be held on Saturday, September 20, 2008 at Intercourse Community Park (Leacock Township, PA) from 11:00 AM - 5 PM EST.

Committed to educating the public about the connection between consumers and commercial breeding facilities, this event is being sponsored by Adopt A Pet, Inc., Last Chance for Animals, Inc. and Best Friends Animal Society.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Roundup From The PIcket Line

Ok, so life got in the way of updating the loyal readership of this blog. Thanks for the terrific traffic BTW. We promise to be more diligent about our updates but here's how things have played out over the past several weeks outside Puppies of Westport:

July 31

Last week we met a man who purchased a puppy from the store and was hit with $1,500 in vet bills a short time later. We seem to be meeting and hearing about people like this on a fairly regular basis

July 18

Last weekend a man and his kids came out to talk to us. He had gone into the store and was looking for a particular breed however he said he wasn't going to buy from the store.

He asked for our help finding a good breeder. We jumped into action contacting breed rescue and locating a responsible breeder. We got some great references for him and we made a great connection for this particular breed - someone who understands what a good breeder does - how they really care about the breed (not just making a buck) and also good breeders (in contrast to greeders) want to know where their pups go and want their pups back if it doesn't work out for whatever reason. Find us a store willing to take their pups back months if not years later... It’s doubtful that store exists as it just would eat into store profits and that's what selling pet store puppies is all about - pure greed

June 27

Last week, we met an unhappy Puppies of Westport customer - who said he had "rescued" a bulldog with orthopedic problems.

We also heard a disturbing report of a very sick dog in the store. If anyone sees conditions or sick puppies in any store you must contact us and/or dept of agriculture at 860-713-2506. You should also call Westport Animal Control at 203-341-5076

Meanwhile; one of our volunteers met someone who bought 2 puppies with problems from the store. So - we're hearing the stories - we know they are out there and we're connecting more and more dots every week!

June 20

It looked like an approx 11 year old girl was dropped off to walk puppies
(or possibly test puppies to buy). She later appeared walking a variety of puppies. She was mostly unsupervised walking around the parking lot - which seems irresponsible of the store,to me. Later on, she was joined by a woman who seemed to be watching us watching her.

Then, a woman came out who was purchasing a shih tzu. She had a deposit on
the puppy until she could place her poodle with a local animal shelter – even though she had apparently heard stories about the store!!!! She was worried about the pups in store - which we hear repeatedly lately.

Our website was also contacted this week about an older poodle (approx. one year old, they said) who has apparently spent its entire life in the store. The person was asking if we could help "rescue" him.

We're obviously concerned about the puppies in the store or we wouldn't be out there protesting every single weekend. BUT, what we know all too well is that buying or rescuing them is not the answer. Its not going to end the problem - it creates the problem. Purchasing a puppy only clears the way for the store to refresh their inventory with a new 8-week old puppy. We have to break that cycle and help the dogs stuck in the puppy mills that are slaves to these stores that have no chance of a loving home and will likely never leave their tiny, filthy cage - they are abused - treated no better than livestock - that's the point! If stores stop ordering puppies the puppy mills will falter one by one and the puppy mill dogs lives of enslavement and abuse will end.

June 13

Todays protest was HOT!!!!!!!!!! Even with the heat, we had 5 dedicated
souls out. One person pulled over to tell us she had a purchased a puppy who
she loves even though he has genetic defects with his eyes. Surprisingly
she seemed to be a happy customer and when we explained why we were there to
raise awareness about where the puppies come from and explained that her
puppy's mom likely leads the most miserable of lives and will never get a
home (or out of her tiny cage) she gave us a look like she could
take the good with the bad because she loves her puppy and that's all that
matters...We made our case and now when she looks into her pup's
defective eyes she might start to see the mother dog stuck in her cage. I cringe to think of the other puppies from that litter. If pups are defective, stores won't buy them, so what happens to them? Were they "disposed" of or kept for breeding stock? That's the ugly side of the pet trade that the consuming public won't see.. No one wants to return their puppy to a pet store, but pet stores have no problem returning puppies to the mills where their fate is abuse, neglect or worse.

Friday, June 13, 2008

For The Record

So it looks like the Westport News decided to remove its reporting on an incident involving Puppies of Westport owner Monty Kaufman and his wife. The news outlet reported their run in with local police but the story disappeared from their Web site a few days later. Odd huh?

Anyway, here's the original story as reported in the Westport News for those following along:

A married couple from Weston was charged Wednesday with breach of peace after getting into an altercation on Partrick Rd.

According to police, an officer was traveling eastbound at about 9:40pm when he saw a silver Jeep Wrangler stopped in the travel portion of the roadway.

Upon approaching the vehicle the officer found Lauren Meren-Kaufman sitting in the front passenger's seat.

Meren-Kaufman, 50, said she had gotten into a fight with her 55-yr-old husband, Monty Kaufman, and that he had taken the keys to the vehicle and was walking to their home two miles away, police said.

The officer noticed blood on Meren-Kaufman's ring finger and blood on the driver's side door but she refused medical attention, police said.

Other officials found Kaufman walking along Newtown Turnpike near Wilton Rd. according to the report. The report stated that Kaufman said he and his wife had gotten into an argument and that she had hit him in the face, grabbed his cell phone and threw it out the window.

Police said Kaufman admitted to biting her left hand to try to get her to let go of his cell phone. Both went to court yesterday.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Puppies of Westport Owner Faces Court

It looks like Puppies of Westport owner Monty Kaufman had a brush with the law this week. A local Web site reports he admitted biting his wife and was charged with breach of the peace.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pondering The Habits of the Puppy Buying Public

The rain held out for our protest and we had a good turnout. This week, a friend of one of the volunteers recognized her protesting and stopped by to say hi. Turns out she had been given a puppy from a local pet store as a gift from a friend for her kids!! The puppy was healthy and she really had never stopped to think about where the puppy came from and where the mother was! I think we gave her something to think about.

So, once again, we find that people do not understand the real problem which is concern for the mother of the puppies that no one will ever see and which are locked in cages for most if not all of their existence. No chance of a happy home. Afraid of the world. Questionable health status. Another reminder that there is A LOT of work that needs to be done educating the public...and that is our mission.

How do we help people connect the dots? We have the reports that show so many of the puppies come from what the average person would certainly call a puppy mill. We have inspection reports of these "breeders" that we know would make people sick if they would only read them. Like so many issues, this is another where many people just don't really WANT to know and instant gratification trumps good sense. However, we know there are a good deal of humane people in this community that would not want to enable or tolerate businesses that profit from the inhumane treatment of dogs.

It's also clear that people are concerned about the pet store puppies. If they are concerned about puppies in small cages in stores are they equally concerned about the puppies and kittens in shelters living on death row? That's not yet clear...

To be honest the dogs in local shelters I've seen have bigger cages...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Anti-Cruelty Bikers Join Protest

The Memorial Day Weekend protest was the highest profile to date. Our friends at Bikers Against Animal Cruelty rode in to join us. They do amazing work for animals and, like us, can't believe people are crazy enough to support the puppy mill industry by handing over their credit cards at Puppies of Westport.

Thanks for joining us guys! Looking forward to working with you on future projects.

Check out this video of the day on May 24...see the bikers in action!

We also had a visit from WestportNow whose reporter wrote a piece on the latest state of affairs with Puppies of Westport.

Two other interesting experiences this week that exemplifies the complexity of this issue and the amazing amount of education that needs to be done:

1) Another bad source for puppies:
A demonstrator was chatting at her vet's office with a client who came in with a new puppy. It turns out the person had been to Puppies of Westport and was apparently turned off by the high cost, and just didn't get a good feeling when she was then offered a reduced price. She left without buying, but then she turned to the Internet and purchased a puppy online. Even though she offered to pick the puppy up, the "breeder" insisted on delivering. This is a typical tactic of internet greeders. Just like pet stores, they don't want you to see where the puppies come from. There are NO regulations of Internet puppy sales and an adorable Web site with puppies plunked into flower pots is no proof that you are not buying from a puppy mill. Don't buy the propaganda. If you want help researching a breeder before you buy, please contact us. We strongly encourage seeing a breeder in person.

2) “Rescuing” puppies from stores is unfortunately not the answer:
A woman who was upset stopped to talk to us at the protest today. She wondered how we could not care about the puppies in the store that are growing too large for their cages, and was basically blaming us for the fact that these puppies hadn’t sold. One demonstrator asked her if we were also responsible for the state of the economy and other factors that might affect sales. Of course we care about these puppies but someone has to look behind the curtain and care about the moms of the puppies. As much as we all want to rescue the puppies in the store (and these are the exact emotions that the stores bank on to move inventory), we know that if we buy all the older puppies, it just opens up cage space for the store to order more 8 week old puppies. So just imagine...if people stopped buying puppies in stores and they all got too big for the cages, eventually the stores would be forced to reduce their price (ie their profit). Once the profit disappeared from selling puppies, the puppy business would dry up. It's that simple. It's like any other business. The goal is profit. Health and wellbeing of the livestock is secondary at best.

All this serves as a reminder to anyone who sees conditions in any store that concern you - there are three very important things you should do:

1) Contact us at SavePuppyMillDogs
2) Call Westport Animal Control (203) 341-5076 or the local animal control officer in your community
3) Call Officer Jarvis at the Dept of Agriculture ((860)713-2506) to report stores in Fairfield County.

Don't hesitate to make those calls - it's one of the few things that will make a difference.

Monday, May 19, 2008

One person at a time

It was another great day at the protest. Sure are lots of horns honking
in support lately, and we were pleasantly surprised by a visit from the
Norwalk Hour newspaper who covered our group with a front page article last month.

He’s doing a follow up. We look forward to the story and thank him for his interest in our cause.

We also enjoy when people come out to speak with us as we always learn something. A woman came out to berate us because her puppies (she bought 5!) are all healthy and happy. Once again, the customers are absolutely missing the point! Why are these people refusing to acknowledge that their puppies’ parents are most likely none too happy or healthy. Dogs that are baby making machines from their first heat cycle to the day they can no longer reproduce. People can totally ignore that aspect, but as dogs have become part of our families, why is it so easy to forget about the plight of the puppies’ families? Out of sight, out of mind perhaps?

This woman went on and on and we tried to educate her - not sure we got through - but it helps us fine tune our message and figure out how best to target our efforts... She claimed it was sad we were out there trying to destroy someone’s business, while the truth is we’re sad that puppy mills are supplying these businesses, and those dogs are kept in conditions our community would absolutely not tolerate if they were seen first-hand. We’re just sad there is an outlet for the puppy mill industry right here in Westport as well as Norwalk, Danbury and everywhere else.

There’s plenty of room in the $43 billion pet industry to make money - businesses can and are prospering without inflicting cruelty on our beloved canine friends. We only wish all stores were more truthful about the sources of the live animals they sell. No doubt, there will always be people who buy pet store puppies anyway regardless of where the pups came from because in the end it seems instant gratification is the name of the game. The suffering behind the scenes seems to be acceptable to alot of people, the cost of doing business.. But why do puppy moms have to pay the price? They will NEVER have the opportunity to live inside someone’s loving home.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Video Evidence

So Puppies of Westport purchased four dogs from a place that truly needs to change its name. Get's called Carole's Puppy Palace in Pocola, Oklahoma. Puppies of Westport customers are told the dogs are from high end breeders which perhaps makes the high price tag more palatable.

But we were given some of the video taken in an investigation of this place by the Humane Society of the United States. The tiny cages stacked high and crammed with unsocialized dogs sure don't look too high end. And, um, not really a palace.

Meanwhile, Puppies of Westport is saying this on their Web site: "We understand the concern about 'pet shop puppies' and have worked very hard to establish relationships with over 150 private breeders that meet our high standards."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Latest from the picket line

So, Saturday's protest (May 10) outside Puppies of Westport had a great turnout of protesters. As more people realize the conditions the cute puppies in the store come from, I guess it's inevitable a groundswell develops.

Of course, it was not without some drama. Store owner Monty Kaufman made one of his appearances with a camera to photograph protesters on the sidewalk outside his store.

His temper must have gotten the better of him and he knocked the sign out of one of the protester's hands! You really do wonder how someone can run a business that is so out there that a ton of well-educated, professionals take time out of their busy weeks to stand outside and let others know the story behind the puppy mill industry and the stores that support it.

The police have explained to him in the past that we're exercising our lawful rights to free speech. Anyway, we called the police and filed a formal complaint with the officers who were sent out.

And kind of sad...the protest started off with an encounter with a girl, her father and what appeared to be their new puppy. The girl proudly shouted "my puppy is fine!" and that is just so not the point, but she's too young to understand and she demonstrates the importance of educating the younger generation on puppy mills.

The point our protesters are trying to make is not that all puppies sold are sick (although we certainly hear of all too many that are), but that THEY COME FROM PUPPY MILLS! Read these if you don't believe us.

That little girl does not have a clue about the mother of that puppy or its siblings. The father chooses to ignore that aspect and we all know ignorance is bliss, but those of us that protest largely believe that there is a certain percentage of buyers who would not want to buy a puppy from a store like Puppies of Westport if they could see where they came from. That young girl will hopefully pamper their new puppy endlessly - our only wish (for the Mother's Day weekend protest) is for that pup's mom to have that same chance for lifelong love and affection. But she won't - she's stuck in a cage - probably 30x30 for life while Westporters mindlessly cherish only their offspring. Puppy mills supply pet stores - just do the research like we have.

We'll deliver regular updates on our progress so check in often! And of course the Web site is updated almost every day with new details of the puppy mills used by Puppies of Westport.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Updates from the protest

Each week, we'll bring updates of the highlights (and lowlights) of the day.