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.