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8,000 Puppy Buyers File Complaints Against Breeders Who Sold Sick Animals

The Humane Society of the United States has issued a 15-year report summarizing nearly 8,000 complaints from buyers of sick puppies from pet stores, breeders, and middleman dealers. The highest number of consumer complaints were submitted by Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Texas, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

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The HSUS receives tips from troubled buyers for many reasons. Some are seeking information about how to pursue their consumer complaint and obtain reimbursements needed to cover veterinary care. Others seek information about where their pet store puppy really came from. Some want the seller investigated for potentially illegal or cruel conditions.

Ailments most frequently reported by consumers include parvovirus and canine distemper (both deadly and preventable infectious diseases), seizures, skeletal disorders, hernias, heart and liver disease, blindness, and deafness.  

In addition to complaints about being sold a sick pet, many concerns were raised about broken promises, deceptive marketing, health contracts that were not honored, and/or a seller’s attempts to cut costs by skimping on vet care or requiring the buyer to take the puppy only to the seller’s participating veterinarian.

One complaint was filed by a woman named Lovie Langston. She bought her puppy at the Bellaire Petland in Texas in November 2021. According to Ms. Langston, Petland deceived her about the cost of the puppy and signed her up for two loans without her knowledge--one from EasyPay Finance with an interest rate of 134%. The puppy was very sick at the time of sale and required veterinary care for seizures and other problems for months. The puppy passed away in November 2022. Ms. Langston has spent thousands of dollars on vet care for Ziva Girl and trying to pay down the high-interest loan. She had to move recently because she could not pay her rent. 

The HSUS urges consumers to avoid this heartache by refraining from buying a puppy from a pet store or online dealer. Instead, consider adopting from a shelter or rescue, or only buy from a responsible breeder carefully screened in person. Those who wish to put a stop to suffering caused by puppy mills should contact their elected officials voice their support of joining the handful of states or hundreds of localities that have banned selling puppies in pet stores.

Download photos/video of the HSUS’ undercover investigations of pet stores and rescues of suspected puppy mills.

Puppy Buyer Complaint Form

Please let me know if you would like to speak with Lovie Langston or an expert on the puppy mill industry.

All my best,

Erica Heffner
Coordinator, Media Relations

[email protected]
C 202-770-6575