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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

HSUS Uncovers Deception at Beverly Hills -Pet Store to the Stars

The HSUS Uncovers Deception at Beverly Hills-Area Pet Store to the Stars


The Humane Society of the United States Uncovers Deception at Beverly
Hills-Area Pet Store to the Stars

Employees routinely hide the truth about the origin of many of the store's
puppies and the health of the animals

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 11, 2007) - An investigation by The Humane Society of the
United States of an upscale pet boutique, Pets of Bel Air, reveals that
employees have routinely deceived customers by falsely claiming that all
puppies sold at the store, which is frequented by Hollywood celebrities, are
raised by private breeders and that the store doesn't buy from puppy mills.
In fact, HSUS investigators uncovered evidence that many of the puppies sold
there did come from puppy mills in the Midwest - factory-like operations
where the dogs are kept in barren cages and treated like production
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, unveiled the results of the
undercover investigation today at a press conference at Los Angeles Animal
Services. A six-minute video report chronicling the months-long
investigation is posted at

The HSUS reviewed records documenting that at least 28 commercial breeders
in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma have supplied Pets of Bel
Air with puppies. HSUS undercover investigators also visited five of the
suppliers that store management insisted are "private breeders" and not
"puppy mills." Each of those five locations, investigators discovered, are
actually mass-breeding operations that house 100 to 300 dogs.

"Even the trendiest, most upscale pet stores may sell puppies from puppy
mills," Pacelle said. "No consumer is immune to the lies and deceit. It
doesn't matter who you are or where you shop. This investigation shows that
a high-price and prestigious address are no assurance of a dog from a
reputable breeder."

State and federal inspection reports examined by HSUS investigators reveal
that some of Pets of Bel Air breeder/dealers have been cited for their
failure to comply with animal-welfare regulations, including inaccurate or
non-existent recordkeeping; inadequate shelter from the elements; rusted,
filthy and overcrowded cages; leaky roofs; feces-encrusted runs; filthy food
bowls and, at one Missouri puppy mill, a leaking waste disposal system that
"allows the waste to flow out onto the ground and on other animals." Two of
the breeders did not have a USDA license, which is required for commercial
breeding operations that sell puppies to pet stores.

The HSUS investigation, which took place earlier this year inside Pets of
Bel Air and at several of the Midwestern puppy mills that supplied the
store, reveals that Pets of Bel Air employees are encouraged by management
to be dishonest with patrons about some of the animals' origins and medical
conditions. Employees deny, for example, that any dogs come from puppy
mills, and when puppies in the store are sick, Pets of Bel Air employees are
encouraged to downplay the seriousness of their illness.

Pets of Bel Air employees stated that Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Denise
Richards, Demi Moore and Robin Williams are among the store's celebrity
clientele. In addition to selling puppies and other animals, the boutique
also sells pet supplies and offers grooming services.

Ed Boks, general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services, joined Pacelle in
calling on people to adopt from shelters and not patronize pet stores that
sell puppies. Pets of Bel Air is also out of compliance with city licensing
requirements, according to Boks.

"Los Angeles Animal Services has wonderful dogs of all shapes and sizes just
waiting for a loving home," said Boks. "The rich and famous who patronize
Pets of Bel Air instead of adopting dogs from animal shelters are sending
the wrong message that pet store puppies are worth their high price tags."

Author, psychologist and philanthropist Dr. Jana Kohl rescued her dog Baby
from a California puppy mill. Kohl and Baby were also on hand for the press
conference. Baby's vocal cords were cut by the puppy mill operator, and she
lost a leg due to the harsh treatment she received during her years as a

The HSUS has been working to stop these cruel enterprises, using the courts,
the legislative process, undercover investigations, and public-awareness
campaigns. Last month, another HSUS investigation threw a spotlight on a
shocking puppy mill problem in Virginia, and rescued hundreds of dogs from a
single operation.


* Adopting from an animal shelter, where one out of every four dogs is
a purebred, or from a purebred rescue group, can help stop the puppy mill
* Puppy mills contribute to millions of unwanted dogs who are
euthanized each year in the United States.
* About 2,500 of the nation's 9,000 pet stores sell puppies.
* The HSUS estimates 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are
sold annually in the United States.
* Mill puppies are more likely to have severe health problems, genetic
defects and behavioral issues.
* Documented puppy mill conditions include over-breeding, inbreeding,
minimal veterinary care, poor food and shelter, crowded cages and lack of
* Dogs kept for breeding in puppy mills suffer for years and are bred
as often as possible before they are killed, sold through auction like used
cars or abandoned.
* Unscrupulous breeders use attractive websites to hide the truth and
to dupe the public into thinking that they are dealing with a reputable
* Reputable breeders never sell puppies over the Internet or through a
pet store. They will insist on meeting the family who wants to buy the dog.

Media Contacts:
Heather Sullivan, 240-477-2251;
mailto: hsullivan@humanesociety.org

Rodi Rosensweig, 203-270-8929; mailto:rodicompany@earthlink.net

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal
protection organization-backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30.
For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection
of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs.http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif
Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty-on the web at http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif

The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037

Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty

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