Petland Not Actually Magical Land O’ Pets

Many animal lovers know that Petland buys puppies from puppy mills and sells them in its chain stores throughout the country. Petland has recently successfully lobbied state legislatures in Ohio and Arizona to pass legislation enabling the company to do business basically as it sees fit, exempting it from any and all local ordinances designed to protect animal welfare:

When 10News reached out to Petland corporate, Mike Gonidakis, president of Citizens for Responsible Ownership, responded and said he can speak for Petland.
He said Petland works to be transparent in their practices, and only sources animals from USDA licensed breeders.

“We want our customers to have the peace of mind that we’re not coming from a puppy mill,” he said.

pants plus fire

As a reminder, the inspection records for USDA licensed breeders have been removed from public view by the Trump administration. No one can find out which USDA licensed breeders are meeting the bare bones requirements for things like cage size and veterinary care and which ones are chronic animal abusers. And to be clear, USDA licensed breeders are exactly what most Americans think of when they hear the words “puppy mill.”

rottie pups in mill usda
USDA inspector’s 2012 photo of a registered breeder’s facility.
aphis tracys jk violation-crop
Portions of a 2009 USDA federal violations report as shown on

Riding the wave of rampant deregulation nationwide, Petland has moved on to TN where the company convinced state legislators to write a bill favoring its business in the state:

The bill is co-sponsored by state Sen. Becky Massey (R-Knoxville):

“I personally wouldn’t buy a dog in a pet store. And I would not do anything I feel would be detrimental to dogs,” she said. “But let’s say a single mom, her kids wanted a purebred dog and she didn’t feel comfortable going to somebody’s home. You take them to a pet store and let them pick out a dog. I would want that single mom to have protections that they weren’t going to be sold a puppy mill puppy.”

Nice single mom story but again, Petland sells puppy mill puppies soooooooo….

One TN county is already looking into potential conflicts the bill’s passage could create:

“The House Bill HB0568 and companion Senate Bill  0519 currently in the Tennessee State Legislature may adversely impact current local government’s ability to enforce a law, regulation or ordinances addressing the sell and wellbeing of dogs in retail commerce in the State of Tennessee,” said Bud Armstrong, Knox County Law Director.

“Any and all state laws related to the health and cares of dogs could be affected,” he added, pointing to existing ordinances on Rabies vaccinations, animal care and keeping and bite investigations/quarantines.”

This sounds like the legislation could affect shelters and rescue groups.  And it would seem that ACOs would be unable to enforce cruelty laws against any Petland within its jurisdiction.  But I guess that’s part of the reason Petland requested the legislation.

If you live in TN, contact your state legislators and ask them to oppose the Petland bill (House Bill 0568 and Senate Bill 0519).

(Thanks Ona for the tip.)

9 thoughts on “Petland Not Actually Magical Land O’ Pets

  1. Why are you using a 2009 picture? It’s 2017. Have you looked at the USDA requirements for licensed breeders? They are stricter than most small breeders. Calling commercial breeders “puppy mills” allows true animal lovers to be used as TOOLS by the animal rights anti-breeding misanthropes. Sorry, but this is a sore spot with me. I am not a dog breeder, nor have I ever been, but I know a lot of good breeders, including commercial ones, and to lump them in with the *substandard* breeders is just playing into the narrative of the anti-animal-use groups. Additionally, saying that the records were removed by the Trump administration is incorrect. They had nothing to do with it. The USDA has been going to review what they post for a long time BECAUSE of the complaints that the information is being used by the animal rights anti-breeding groups to harass, intimidate, and attack USDA licensed breeders—the same licensing that the H$U$, for example, claims all breeders should have to have. So if that licensing and inspection process is inadequate, why push for all breeders to be USDA licensed? BECAUSE it gives the anti-breeding groups a ready list of breeders to target, low-hanging fruit(small, not financially able to withstand an assault legally) of course being first.

  2. I totally agree with the first poster I love ya Shirley but you are wrong on this one. Are all commercial breeders great? probably not just as not all shelters are great ( you know that) but lumping them all together just promotes the anti animal agenda of the ar’s. and no it was not Trump.. although the HSUS would like us to believe that as for no one being able to find out the info they can just file a FOIA like the rest of us have to..I would like for you to visit a real commercial breeder.. I have and they are not anything like you think they are..

  3. I know some very good breeders, too. But there is no way that a commercial breeder can do right by the puppies they make. Dogs are treated like livestock destined for slaughter – they get food, water, shelter (and substandard, at that).

  4. Commercial breeder = treating dogs like they are a commodity. No thank you. Shame on Petland for trying to get legislation passed in Tennessee that protects them and not the animal.

  5. I got in an argument about use of the phrase “puppy mill” with someone recently who wants us to differentiate between responsible breeders, commercial dog breeding operations where dogs receive a certain degree of care and socialization and breeding operations there the condition of the dogs is secondary to profit. I was told that to some in breeding circles, use of the phrase puppy mill is the same as an ethnic or racial slur.

    I just don’t agree. I won’t retype my blog here, but to me, the words each have value and I have no problem whatsoever calling what Dave Miller or any other large scale breeder does as a puppy mill. That phrase is now being used nationally and it is a tool to reach the public whether some people like it or not. Simply telling me to stop using the phrase won’t erase it from the public radar. And I’m capable of differentiating between my dentist who breeds Black Russians for The Big Show and a commercial breeding operation where dogs get great care and an operation where breeder stock are abused and neglected for the sake of a buck.

    I oppose any new law any place that enables Petland to continue to sell dogs from commercial operations. Period. We continue to kill dogs by the millions while we produce them by the millions. No thanks. Time to stop the production line. Dogs will still be breed and sold but I won’t support anything that makes that more profitable or perpetuates the mass production.

  6. As long as our shelters are being filled with dogs to be killed there should be no puppy mills or breeders. They are part of the problem with our shelter system. To be having so many dogs killed everyday is just wrong . Many of those puppy mill puppy’s and breeder puppy’s end up in the shelter. When they get old, moving, don’t have the time are the people you are selling those puppy’s to.

  7. OMG I can’t believe people are actually defending PUPPY MILLS in the comments here. Give me a break!

    Not a single one of the Actually Good breeders I know make a single cent of profit from their litters. They are not in it for the money, they are in it because they love their breed and they want to better it.

    Any breeder that allows their animals to be sold in a retail storefront is not someone you want a puppy from, end of. There is no such thing as a “good commercial breeder.” If you aren’t breeding for a purpose (working ability, improving a breed, specific dogs for a specific job or purpose), you should not be breeding.

    Millions of dogs are killed in shelters every year, many of which are purebred and “designer” mixes, many of which are born in these puppy mills. There is literally no reason for commercial breeders to exist, much less for them to be allowed to operate in the conditions that they are allowed to operate in.

  8. I am a dog breeder I love to make money when I breed a litter profit is not the devil. I use the money to take care of my own dogs. Is that wrong? I think not. I take my dogs to the vet , have them health checked etc. I think I deserve to make some money. Raising puppies is HARD work no matter if you are a hobby breeder or a commercial breeder. Many here still have the outdated notion that all dogs in shelters come from “PPPPPPP MMMMMM” They don’t.. even the ASPCA states that less than 2-10% of all dogs in shelters come from pet stores. Sleepy says every breeder should be breeding dogs that have a “purpose”.. really? most dogs do NOT have a purpose other than being a good family pet. The CDC says that over 300,000 THOUSAND dogs are imported to the USA every year.. why do you think that is? Many of these dogs are brought in to fill the need for pets.. some are sick and some die… some are rabid.. some bring diseases never known here before as for “millions” of dog being killed nope.. less than 1,2 million dogs ( HSUS stats by the way) are killed in shelters.. why? owner requests, sick dogs, injured dogs, stray dogs, feral dogs, biting dogs (many of these are “adopted” with severe consequences. Our shelters here are seeking dogs form other areas.. they NEED dogs. It seems stats do not work no one wants to know what a great job we are doing keeping dogs out of shelters.. emotion trumps ( sorry) all and the lies and myths continue. I support all dog breeders that follow the law and keep their dogs in good conditions no matter how many dogs they have. Everyone should feel the same way unless of course you want there to be no more purpose bred dogs .. Purpose bred means bred on purpose not for a purpose.. We all need pets.. now more than ever

  9. I’ve seen the poor dogs that you have in your shame of a pet store!!! Those dogs look neglected & sick!!! SHAME ON YOU!! I hope your aware that your disgrace of a business has gone viral & a ton of people are going to be reporting your asses to get you shut down!!! You may as well slap a puppy mill sign on your shop cuz your just as bad. Animal neglect will not be tolerated!!!😡

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