The truth about Petland


Nati Duron, Photographer, Reporter

Animal mills that house a wide range of pets in poor conditions allegedly supply to a cruel $51 billion industry — Petland. Despite the company’s claim that they do not sell animals from large-scale commercial breeding facilities, numerous cases prove otherwise. People not only visit Petland to buy pets from the company, but many also briefly play with the animals before placing them back in their cages.

Dogs, cats, birds, mice, rabbits, aquatic animals, and reptiles all become confined in an uncomfortable living space with no hope for a happy life because of this heinous company. Of these animals, dogs, cats, and birds undergo the worst treatment.

Most dogs brought to Petland originate from puppy mills that breed dogs to sell to pet stores. These mills show no regard for the well-being of the dogs they breed. Puppies   born into overcrowded and unsanitary conditions later become kept in separate confined cages. Treated as products, the mills ship the dogs to Petland where they return, once again, to confined cages.

These dogs often grow afraid of humans and become aggressive if people play with them, but Petland continues to allow visitors and young children to play with the dogs. Although playing with a dog releases them from their cage, it makes the dog believe someone will take them home— away from the enclosed cage and maltreatment. However, when they return to their cages, it depresses the dog.

A dog shelter consists of large and open play areas where the furry friends can run free. When people visit shelters, they can pet and sometimes hold the dogs within the visitor areas, preventing the dogs from becoming restrained in cramped cages.

Petland should follow the steps of a dog shelter, but they continue to stack the dogs in cages like a can of sardines.

A 2009 exposé traced Petland’s shipping records, locating puppy mills all over the United States. More than 15,000 puppies sold to Petland stores originated from puppy mills, proving that Petland remains America’s largest retail supporter of these mills.

“Puppy mills are disgusting, all they do is pump out dogs and cats. There is no love, there is minimal care, with that you’re basically just factoring their lives,” Elisabeth Bramlett, a 2-year volunteer for the Humane Society said.

Bramlett lovingly takes stray animals into her home, where she cares for them and helps them socialize with humans and other animals until they can find a new home.

“I’ve heard not great to bad things about Petland. Animals [are] always getting sick because Petland doesn’t do the correct or enough testing for sickness. The humane society does the most testing they can on every animal [to ensure they are healthy],” Bramlett said.

Cats experience the same treatment as dogs do in puppy mills, but cats originate from kitten mills. Petland continues to support these kitten mills as well, where the facility repeatedly breeds adult cats. Responsible breeders will “retire” their female cats used for breeding at a young age, but farmers of kitten mills will continue to breed their cats from ages six to ten, or sometimes even older. Petland mistreats their cats when they receive them from kitten mills, enclosing them in small cages. These cats need space to roam around, but the cages at Petland do not allow them to do so.

Bird mills mass produce birds for the worldwide pet trade as well.  Almost all pet stores, especially large chains such as Petland, purchase their parrots from bird mills. Petland sells large parrots, ones that possess lifespans of over 70 years, meaning that the birds who do not get sold must live in a cage for that long at Petland. The tiny birds sold in Petland die because of their shortened life span. Because Petland clips their wings, the birds cannot gain the daily exercise they need. Birds also need companionship with humans and a healthy diet, but Petland does not provide that. Instead, they sell artificial bird food, when the birds require the nutrients found in insects.

Therefore, we must do our best to help these poor animals from Petland and the animals mills that hurt them.

“If you take in animals that have lived on the streets, they are more appreciative and they are happy. It’s good for the community,” Bramlett said.

Adopting a pet from a rescue shelter saves those animals who will typically end up mills. Instead of playing with pets at Petland, try volunteering at shelters who genuinely care for their animals. By understanding the wicked acts that Petland and animal mills commit, humans in today’s society can better the environment for future family pets and shelters.

All animals deserve the right to a happy and healthy life, and we must take it upon ourselves to make sure they obtain it.

For an update view The truth about Petland: Part 2