Pet Industry and Animal Welfare Organizations Join Forces to Address Puppy Mill Abuse

GREENWICH, Conn.--()--Pet industry associations and animal welfare organizations have joined forces in an industry-wide effort to improve conditions for dogs and puppies kept by substandard commercial breeders and sold to consumers. The goal of the group is to create lasting change in the commercial breeding industry to ensure proper and humane care and safety of all dogs and puppies.

“This effort demonstrates tremendous collaboration among organizations, associations, companies and individuals all working together to protect and further enhance the lives of pets and we are proud to be an instrumental part of it”

While additional outreach to other stakeholders is underway, participating organizations dedicated to the endeavor to date include: American Pet Products Association (APPA), The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and retailers Petco and Petland.

“The ASPCA has witnessed first-hand the unspeakable cruelty and horrific conditions of substandard puppy mills, and we are committed to working with key industry leaders to help end the inhumane treatment of dogs in these facilities,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “We are pleased that the industry has come together in a meaningful way to acknowledge this abuse, and confront it head on.”

The participating organizations have agreed to a definition of a puppy mill, which is often a very controversial and misunderstood term. The group has defined a puppy mill as a dog-breeding operation, which offers dogs for monetary compensation or remuneration, in which the physical, psychological and/or behavioral needs of the dogs are not being fulfilled due to inadequate housing, shelter, staffing, nutrition, socialization, sanitation, exercise, veterinary care, and/or inappropriate breeding. For more details on this definition, visit www.safehealthydogs.com.

Organization representatives recognize that this has been a challenging issue and understand the importance of working together for meaningful change for the benefit of animals. The project is intended to improve conditions for dogs used for commercial breeding, while at the same time ensuring that consumers who choose to purchase a puppy have a reliable and more humane source for obtaining them.

“As animal welfare and pet industry leaders, we have no greater responsibility than to ensure that dogs in our country are treated humanely,” said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “This unprecedented collaborative effort is an attempt by stakeholders involved either commercially, recreationally, or philanthropically with pets to deal with the worst actors in the dog-breeding trade and define types of conduct as out-of-bounds for our society.”

Leading pet industry associations and retailers also applaud the effort.

“This effort demonstrates tremendous collaboration among organizations, associations, companies and individuals all working together to protect and further enhance the lives of pets and we are proud to be an instrumental part of it,” said Bob Vetere, President and CEO, American Pet Products Association.

"PIJAC has long been committed to ensuring that prospective pet owners have the ability to acquire dogs and puppies from responsible breeders. It is our hope that this collective effort of our organizations will make certain that all animals are raised in a humane manner," said Mike Canning, President and CEO of PIJAC.

“While we have never sold dogs and promote a Think Adoption First philosophy at Petco, we do believe that all dogs bred for commercial sale should be treated humanely and cared for responsibly, that is why we are participating in this coalition effort,” said Charlie Piscitello, Senior Vice President of Petco, and President of the Petco Foundation.

The groups involved are excited about the potential of this endeavor to institute meaningful change for animals and look forward to inviting the participation of other stakeholders as the effort moves forward.

About APPA:

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958. APPA membership includes more than 1,000 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises. APPA's mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. www.americanpetproducts.org

About the ASPCA:

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Media Contact: Rebecca Goldrick, 646-291-4582, Rebecca.Goldrick@aspca.org

About HSUS:

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated the most effective by its peers. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. We rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We're there for all animals, across America and around the world. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- on the Web at humanesociety.org.

About PIDA:

The Pet Industry Distributors Association, was organized in 1968 for the purpose of promoting progress within the pet industry and to conduct programs and activities on behalf of the wholesaler-distributor. Our mission is to enhance the well-being of the wholesaler-distributor, to promote partnerships with their suppliers and customers, and to work cooperatively with other organizations in fostering the human/companion animal bond. www.pida.org

About PIJAC:

For 40 years, PIJAC has been protecting pets and the pet industry. Companion animals are the backbone of our industry, and keeping pets available is PIJAC’s top priority. PIJAC promotes responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, fosters environmental stewardship, and ensures the availability of pets. It is a nonprofit, service-oriented organization comprised of Members who care about pets and the pet industry. www.pijac.org

About Petco:

Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,150 stores nationwide, including more than 50 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop, and www.petco.com. The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $100 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support approximately 8,000 local animal welfare groups across the country to help find homes for more than 250,000 animals through in-store adoption events every year.

About Petland:

Petland is a franchise operation offering full service, retail pet centers across the United States, Canada, Japan, China, Mexico and South Africa. For over 45 years, Petland Pet Counselors have been dedicated to matching the right pet with the right person and meeting the needs of both. To its customers who already have pets, Petland is dedicated to enhancing their knowledge and enjoyment of the human-animal bond. For more information on Petland, visit www.petland.com.

Contacts

MEDIA CONTACT:
The Impetus Agency
Tierra Bonaldi, 775-322-4022
Tierra@theimpetusagency.com

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