Petland: Mad as Hell And Not Taking It Anymore

by Mary Haight on October 25, 2010

The truth revealed by the Humane Society of the United States investigation into where Petland gets its puppies has apparently caused Petland’s legal eagles to troll for reasons to lash out and sue what must be more than a year later now.  They found one.  A group of El Paso, Texas rescue volunteers are being sued for $2.5 million, after they informed the public of the *facts* of the case against Petland that HSUS built in an “adopt don’t shop” campaign.

The volunteers said Petland gets most of their dogs from puppy mills.  The truth is its own defense, or am I missing something?  Is it because Texas is a state where these types of bullying suits survive to go to trial instead of being thrown out? I don’t know. The ridiculous case against Oprah Winfrey when she said she wouldn’t eat hamburger anymore comes to mind.  I thought the tough pull yourself up by your bootstraps even if you don’t have any guys were all about tort reform…

With no expectations of a payout, Petland are obviously targeting the new city ordinances being instituted that bans the sale of pets before it gains a lot of traction. They are also trying to put a muzzle on speech and what they must see as an effective campaign.  West Hollywood, Albuquerque, and South Lake Tahoe have instituted the full ban and I think San Francisco is still on hold. The cities that have implemented this ordinance have experienced a direct reduction in euthanasia and an increase in adoptions.

The El Paso town council passed a much less stringent ordinance according to a report from Brandon Bosworth at Change.org; it requires no sales of pets under 8 weeks of age (yay and about time!), only breeders will be allowed to sell pets between 8 weeks and l year, and the real kick in the bank account, sales of these young dogs will be limited to the amount of documentable expenses incurred.  No more $1200 puppies.

Will Texas courts allow Petland to persecute prosecute volunteers for fact-based free speech, or will they toss this out of court? And there’s another sticky legal issue sure to rear it’s head down the line: The power to legislate pricing, and a pre-existing company out of business.  This is going to get interesting.

9 comments
guest
guest

It has been very difficult for the volunteers not to be able to publicly defend themselves and even more difficult not to be able to speak out for those companion animals that they were fighting for in the manner that they wished. Petland El Paso abruptly dropped the lawsuit in the midst of their depositions. In addition, the judge ordered over $18,000 in sanctions against Petland El Paso. Now it is time for Petland El Paso to pay the piper!!!

guest
guest

UPDATE: On Feb. 9, 2012 Petland El Paso (aka Six Kingdoms LLC) dropped its $2.5 million defamation lawsuit against 5 volunteers and 1 employee of local animal rescue organizations, which they filed in October 2010. The lawsuit has been withdrawn against all the individuals in its entirety. From the beginning, the volunteers believed the allegations by Petland El Paso were without merit and were made solely for the purpose of inhibiting their right to free speech, freedom of petition and freedom of association in support of the then proposed city ordinance that would limit the sales of puppies in retail stores. Interestingly, the lawsuit was filed the day before the City Council meeting on October 5, 2010 at which these voluteers were scheduled to speak in support of the revisions to the city ordinance. They spoke anyway, and the ordinance was passed.

Sophie
Sophie

I am glad to see this type of business being controlled, but what I really also hope is for private citizens who sell puppies out of a cardboard box on the side of the street to be punished and fined. Anywhere you go on a Saturday or a Sunday, you see revolting individuals trying to make money off of innocent dogs. Up to where does capitalism has to be pushed? For those who argue about the freedom to do business. This type of regulation is not on an item or a merchandise, it is about live, suffering creatures who end up being euthanised, neglected or abused because somebody made an impulse buy... I hope this regulation is passed and fully enforced!

Sophie
Sophie

I am so glad they are trying to do away with puppies sold in stores. Aside from them prmoting puppy mills, the conditions in which these puppies are kept are outrageous. So many of them are in a tiny cage with no space to play or get comfortable, some are way too young to be deprived of their mother and the rest of their litter, and worse, many of them are also being drugged to make them sleepy and keeping them from being too hyper. And after all that, if they don't get purchased and are too big to be "cute" and "marketable", they are simply disposed of...

Mel
Mel

So amazing that Petland would rather spend their money defending the sale of "blood pups" than to change their practices. What is so defendable about what they do? Whether they like it or not, change is coming. Laws will change, puppy mills will go away, and the "no-kill" concept will take hold. I'm still amazed when companies refuse to look into the future and anticipate the change that is coming. Change is inevitable. Why stay entrenched in old ways, values and beliefs? It is to Petland's detriment to go down this path, but I guess their demise will just make room for newer thinkers and entrepreneurs to take their place. Hasta La Vista Petland.

betterhealthfo
betterhealthfo

Wow it's great to hear so many advocates here trying to stop the horrible process of puppy mills. So many people have become back yard breeders, do it yourself one stop shops and the end result is a sad, weak or misfit puppy. It's true that having a pet for just a commodity is truly a dis service to the animal in question. A pet has so many wonderful benefits to our health and spiritual well being that just placing them in a kennel or other less than comfortable situation can destroy the innocence of such a wonderful and loving creature. My hats off to you for making this information public and helping to spread the word. This is definitely a place I will be returning to often to stay abreast of the situation.

Stephanie Feldstein
Stephanie Feldstein

Thanks for covering this story. It's a pretty absurd situation. When HSUS did their investigation of Petland stores, Petland El Paso was on the list for receiving shipments from midwest puppy mills. I've heard the argument in favor of the lawsuit that courts shouldn't be able to dictate what's sold in stores, but that's a poor excuse for selling cruelty (and one that's already been knocked down by precedent ... things like porn and alcohol are regulated, so why not stronger regulations on live animals?) The reality is that if Petland stores, like this one in El Paso, are worried about their image as puppy mill supporters, going after volunteer rescue groups isn't going to gain them any brownie points with customers.

KenzoHW
KenzoHW

Petland seems to be cornered and are left only with intimidating strategies, backed up by dollars (If you ever wonder how much money there is in the puppy mill industry, you got your answer). If Texas wold rule in favor of Petland ... I couldn't imagine Texas' courts would take this seriously ... that would be just outrageous. Politicians taking the wrong side because of campaign funding is one thing, but judges ...?

Previous post:

Next post: