By Wayne Pacelle
The National Journal magazine has today published a cover story about the growing influence of animal protection advocates in politics. The piece, and an accompanying video, are online, and they are worth a look. The story points to our growing influence in the states and in Washington, D.C.
But today, the stage is mainly yours. Here are some of your reactions to the new investigative special "Animal Planet Investigates: Petland," which premiered Monday and featured never-before-seen footage from The HSUS's probe into the puppy mills that supply Petland stores. The show is already having an impact—since it first aired, new complaints from heartbroken puppy buyers across the country have been streaming in to our offices.
One of these days, when I hit the lottery, the first thing that I will do is become a major HSUS supporter! I’ve never bought ONE item at a Petland store and I’ve actually deferred several of my friends from doing so after I told them where they get these little babies from! Keep up the wonderful work! —Judi Turak
That's my four-legged baby in the picture protesting Petland, taken when we were at the Petland demonstration in Fairfax, Va. I'm so happy that he's being featured taking a stand against Petland! Thanks HSUS for all you do and Tucker is happy to be a mascot against puppy mills. —Payvand Hedayati
I am so glad you are exposing Petland for what it is! I first learned of puppy mills on the "Oprah" show and was just horrified! I cried for days after because it was so heartbreaking. Then, now seeing the dog with his adorable face sticking through the dirty wire fence just wrenched my heart. There is no reason for any of this. Wayne, HSUS and the undercover investigator, THANK YOU for helping our animals and working so hard to shut these mills down. I think when more people see this show they will be outraged but it needs to be shown. —Karen Wagner
I watched the Petland investigative report last night on Animal Planet and as usual, your gutsy investigator got behind the scenes to show us the ugly life that these poor dogs are forced to live in. One of my main concerns is that several times the narrator told us that several of the places were well known to the USDA and that violations and corrections had been filed. How in the world can the USDA spend one minute on these properties and not shut them down that moment? The green slimy water would be enough, never mind the agony that dogs are in from their paws being on the wire and the feces everywhere. Come on. I don't think we need more laws as much as we need more enforcement of the ones on the books and some people with some backbone to stand up to this. Why do we even have pet stores that sell animals in this country? With the shelters and the good breeders, there is no need for this industry to even exist. —Anne Surman
I hope this informs more people about Petland. At the animal shelter where I work we frequently get reports from members of the public about [misleading] things they have been told by Petland staff. —Anna C.
I watched the program on Petland. … I can't believe these puppies have to go through that. I vow to never buy a puppy from a pet store. —Dawn Newhart
I worked for Petland and shared emotions of disgust towards what they do. I have already written a letter to my senator. I would really like for people to know the information I know about Petland. I am very ashamed of just saying I was an employee there. Their puppy sales sickened me... Petland is not good for anything and change needs to happen. —Stacey Weise
I hope people that don't know about puppy mills and the pet stores that use them watch this. The problem is that it's graphic and no one wants to watch animal abuse, but the fact is that's what's behind those cute puppies at Petland, etc. Watch, everyone, and if you want a purebred dog go to www.petfinder.com and SAVE A LIFE, not support the cruel pet trade business. —Carole Sax
I belong to a rescue group. If you want a purebred just type in the breed name and rescue and you'll find dozens of places to go look. … PLEASE do not buy from a pet store! There are too many animals in rescues and shelters needing homes. —Gail Atkinson
Also, you were upset by the news reported in recent blog posts about the efforts of a few Missouri lawmakers to thwart a ballot initiative addressing puppy mill cruelty in Missouri, home to about one-third of the nation’s mills. The allies of agribusiness and puppy millers proposed a series of bills to undermine the current reform effort and block citizens from conducting ballot measure campaigns on animal cruelty issues. I am pleased to report that their efforts failed, thanks to the outstanding work of allies of animal protection in the legislature. Leading newspapers in the state, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star, condemned the power grab. Among your comments:
Now they want to block citizens from conducting ballot measure campaigns on animal cruelty issues? I am against them taking the power away from the voters and putting it in the hands of politicians. To them it will be just another bill to pass or not pass. To me and others, it is not about that, it is about saving a life, a life that has the right to live in normal loving conditions, not treated cruelly in a puppy mill. We are the animals’ voice! Please let your voice be heard. We are their only hope. —Deb Sweetman
I am so outraged at anyone who would go against taking these horrid puppy mills down. Animals are not a product. … There needs to be very tough laws to stop the abuse. Those poor animals suffering in those cages, under terrible weather conditions. My heart breaks for all of them. —Mare
This is something I have been trying to articulate for a long time. Evidence, people need to look at the evidence and stop being influenced by these scare tactics which do nothing. If these businesses don't want this kind of legislation, then why don't they police their own and self impose some standards so that laws are not necessary? —Mary McIver