| Business

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Petland faces puppy mill suit

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

On the Grid

From the shale fields to the cooling towers, Trib Total Media covers the energy industry in Western Pennsylvania and beyond. For the latest news and views on gas, coal, electricity and more, check out On the Grid today.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A federal lawsuit seeking class-action status accuses Petland Inc. of selling dogs whelped in puppy mills.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Arizona, accuses the Ohio company and its suppliers of violating racketeering laws by concealing the source of its animals. The 37-page lawsuit details the stories of sickly puppies bought in Arizona, Illinois, Georgia and Michigan.

Petland has four Western Pennsylvania stores — in East Liberty, Fraser, Robinson and Monroeville — none of which is named in the lawsuit. But the pet store chain is accused of supplying each of its 140 U.S. stores with animals bred at puppy mills.

The suit is partly based on a nationwide investigation conducted last year by The Humane Society of the United States, which is assisting the Philadelphia law firm of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky.

"Petland requires its retail locations use specifically approved puppy mills or puppy mill brokers to purchase puppies for resale to the public," the lawsuit states.

In a statement, Petland said it is "outraged and disappointed" by false accusations made by the Humane Society, which it described as "a radical animals rights group that has no affiliation with local humane societies."

Joe Watson, a Petland vice president, said each puppy sold through its stores is examined by licensed veterinarians before arriving at the store and again is examined by a veterinarian at the store to certify its health. The company also advises customers to have their pets examined by a veterinarian within a week of purchase.

"The health and welfare of the pets in our care is our upper-most concern," Watson said in the statement.

Plaintiffs seek damages including three times the dogs' cost plus veterinary fees. Losses are estimated at more than $5 million.

Other defendants include the Hunte Corp. of Goodman, Mo., which is accused of being the "world's leading distributor of puppies to pet stores" and of selling animals from puppy mills to Petland.

"This is another baseless, media-driven fundraiser for the 'Humane Society,'" said Hunte President Steve Rook.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Unsung backups provide boost for Steelers defensive line
  2. Woman dies after bleeding on sidewalk outside Carrick pizzeria
  3. Holiday movie gives Cal U students get 2 seconds of fame
  4. Mon Valley Leathernecks tackle Toys for Tots drive
  5. Former Pirates pitcher Happ agrees to $36 million, 3-year deal with Blue Jays
  6. Springfield Twp. family thankful despite blaze
  7. Unabashed church pastors put politics front and center
  8. On campus: Williams, Dukes gearing up for NCAA football playoffs
  9. Penguins lose hard-fought game to Blue Jackets in overtime
  10. Holiday cards evoke Pittsburgh cheer, benefit charities
  11. Review: Stephen King’s short stories in ‘The Bazaar of Bad Dreams’ still have bite