To see the full Humane Society report on its Chicago area investigation, visit http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/report-hsus-chicago-pet-stores-2012investigates.pdf.
The Humane Society encourages pet adoption from local shelters or rescues as a first choice. Tips on finding responsible breeders can be found at humanesociety.org/puppy.
Updated: January 13, 2013 6:19AM
AURORA — A pet store at the Westfield Fox Valley mall in Aurora was one of a dozen in the Chicago area included in an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States.
The Humane Society said Tuesday its investigation linked many of the pet stores to inhumane commercial breeders known as puppy mills. The investigation found that employees repeatedly gave strong assurances that stores did not buy from puppy mills, but documentary evidence showed otherwise.
Eight of the 12 stores visited did not fully comply with a state law passed in 2010 requiring pet shops to conspicuously post the name and address of the animal breeder and other information about the puppies for sale, the Humane Society said. The law was intended in part to help consumers avoid purchasing puppies from puppy mills.
The complaint about the Furry Babies store at 2352 Fox Valley Center in Aurora said the store did not comply with the breeder disclosure law. Rather than having information on the dogs posted in a conspicuous place, the information had to be requested by the Humane Society investigator.
A manager at the store said Tuesday afternoon that breeder information about the puppies is available in a binder kept above the playroom door, and a note stating the availability of that information is posted in the cribs in which puppies are kept.
“We are in compliance,” said the manager, who refused to give her name or offer any further information about where the store’s puppies come from.
According to the Humane Society report, other Furry Babies locations have also failed to comply with breeder disclosure laws.
Furry Babies’ Bloomingdale location was fined earlier this year by the Illinois Department of Agriculture for noncompliance with the disclosure law, according to the Humane Society report. The Humane Society report also noted multiple complaints about breeder disclosure and sick puppies at the Bloomingdale location.
“Certificates of Veterinary Inspection show that the Furry Babies chain has purchased puppies from puppy mills in Missouri and Kansas, some of which have serious violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act cited on their USDA inspection reports,” the Humane Society report on the Bloomingdale location reads.
The report mentions one Furry Babies breeder “failing to provide clean, potable water to some of the dogs,” plus violations including dogs with “severe tick infestations” to dogs in need of veterinary care. Dogs from that breeder were sent to Furry Babies’ Peru, Ill. store, the report said.
The Humane Society report also noted puppies at the Aurora Furry Babies store are displayed in cribs and are perfumed.
Two pet stores elsewhere in DuPage County also were included in the probe.
Puppy Parlor at 4707 Main St. in Lisle also did not comply with the pet shop disclosure law, according to the Human Society. One of the forms provided by the store owner did not contain information on the breeder, the Humane Society said.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture has received 19 complaints about Puppy Parlor over the past two years, the Humane Society said. In October 2011, according to records from the Illinois Department of Agriculture, 105 dogs (60 adults and 45 puppies) at Puppy Parlor were placed under quarantine due to an outbreak of canine Parvovirus – a deadly disease often associated with unhealthful living conditions.
Over a three-day period in October, a Humane Society investigator and a Chicago resident visited the 12 Chicagoland pet stores. The investigator said he saw puppies at Puppy Parlor displayed in overcrowded cages. The Humane Society said it has received numerous complaints from consumers about disturbing conditions and sick puppies purchased at Puppy Parlor.
The Humane Society investigator also visited Happiness is Pets at 1542 Ogden Ave. in Downers Grove.
Although the store did not post breeder information in a conspicuous place, the information was available in a centrally located binder, the Humane Society said.
There have been at least six public complaints about Happiness is Pets filed with the Illinois Department of Agriculture over the past two years, the Humane Society said. But state inspectors repeatedly visited the store and said they found conditions acceptable.
In addition to the 12 stores visited, the Humane Society said it followed the paper trail for puppies sent from puppy mills to dozens of Chicagoland stores, linking almost all of them to puppy mills or brokers for puppy mills.
The Humane Society said it found that many of the breeding facilities that supply Chicago-area pet stores are puppy mills, where hundreds of dogs are confined in cramped wire cages solely to produce puppies for the pet trade. One of the breeders had almost 1,000 dogs and puppies on her property.
“Again and again, the Humane Society of the United States finds pet stores won’t tell consumers the truth. The only way to confidently add a pet to the family this holiday season or anytime is to avoid pet stores or Internet sites,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Puppy Mills Campaign for the Humane Society.