Pet Store That Britney And Paris Frequented Shut Down, HSUS Alleges Store Buys From Puppy Mills

Pets of Bel AirThe Humane Society of the United States has been investigating Pets of Bel Air, an upscale pet boutique that boasts celebrity clientele like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and alleges that the store buys their puppies from puppy mills around the nation.

Due to HSUS’ investigation, the Los Angeles Animal Services inspected Pets of Bel Air and discovered the store had been operating without a permit for three years. Los Angeles Animal Services closed the store down, and Pets of Bel Air has 48 hours to renew their permit and pay their fine.

“Even the trendiest, most upscale pet stores may sell puppies from puppy mills,” said HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle. “No consumer is immune to the lies and deceit. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you shop. This investigation shows that a high- price and prestigious address are no assurance of a dog from a reputable breeder.”

The HSUS said that employees at Pets of Bel Air told customers that the puppies sold at the store were raised by private breeders and assured customers that they do not buy puppies from puppy mills.

During the investigation, the HSUS analyzed documents that at least 28 commercial breeders in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma have supplied Pets of Bel Air with puppies. The HSUS visited five of those locations and they claim that these “private breeders” are actually puppy mills that house 100 to 300 dogs.

“There is a trail of misery that precedes that animal getting to the pet store,” Pacelle said. “And really there are several elements here — one is these pet stores, and this one in particular, Pets of Bel Air, is misrepresenting to the public, including to these celebrities, what’s going on.”

The city plans to forward the Humane Society’s report to the District Attorney’s Office to determine if the store had illegally misled customers.

Source: KNBC

23 Responses to “Pet Store That Britney And Paris Frequented Shut Down, HSUS Alleges Store Buys From Puppy Mills”

  1. Lynne says:

    Is anyone surprised at this? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

  2. Michelle says:

    LoL I’m with you Lynne. I’m not shocked at all that this upscale pet boutique would buy their puppies from puppy mills. And the fact that Britney Spears and Paris Hilton have bought their puppies from this store just makes the store look worse I think: Paris Hilton has about a million pets, all of which she’s posed around with for at least a day, then forgets that they even exist the next. She buys a new pet as often as she changes the length of her hair extensions which is pretty damn often. And Britney- given her bizarre behavior, reputation, and lack of responsibility, probably has her pets hidden under piles of underwear which we all know she refuses to wear. Sorry that I got a bit extreme with this response. Just saying how I feel.

  3. Nora and Rufus says:

    And Petland, opening locally for the first time soon…….I am going after them! I have no idea if anything can be done, but I will do my best.

  4. Chris says:

    This is why we shouldn’t continue to persecute private breeders who really care about the breed they have and have the dedication do all the genetic testing before breeding. It is getting so hard to find a puppy without going to a pet shop if you desire a certain breed. Yes, there are _some_ purebreds in rescue but not all meet some people’s needs as some have behavior issues that many people cannot deal with. Too many people do not know where puppies in pet shops come from and there is no way to tell if the commercial breeding facility meets USDAA requirements (they have to be licensed if they are commercial) and meet the dogs needs and meet proper breeding practices of genetic testing. I have been acquainted with more than one person who has ended up with an unhealthy pet store puppy.

    The last time I saw puppies in a pet store, I cringed. There were signs everywhere that said there was no guarantee as to the condition these dogs had been raised in. (and all the dogs happened to be from Missouri)

  5. shibadiva says:

    I hope the issue that gets addressed is the puppy mill one, and the store doesn’t just magically go back to business-as-usual once the permit fee is paid.

    Not intending to start a war, but I have to pipe up about some breeders. We’ve all seen articles on the difference between reputable breeders, BYB’s and puppy mills. I think there’s one more step in the definition and that is that competent reputable breeders do understand what they are doing with the genetics. In trying to stylize animals to meet some aesthetic standard, we’re ending up with GSD’s that can’t walk properly, bully dogs that can’t breathe, and collies whose IQ’s are dropping because their skulls are getting smaller in the quest for a needle-nose. Well-meaning people sometimes think they are refining one genetic trait, while they’re actually producing a host of unwanted side-effects. (Just read the genetic-engineering threads in the Itchmo forum).

  6. Lynn says:

    I went into my local pet shop in a shopping mall in southern CA. This place has been here for years. Prices are sky high but still the place draws crowds of people, mostly there to see the pets. They do a heavy December business selling animals.

    There are about 30 glassed-in displays built into the walls, each containing at least 2 puppies. There were also portable fences set up with some pups there, too. [Yes, they had plenty of kittens, too, but they were in a different section of the shop in other display cases.]

    I read the little 3X5 index cards attached to each cage which listed breed, date of birth, name of breeder’s kennel, and city and state of breeder. Of 60 puppies none were bred in CA. In fact, while there were several different breeders listed in all, most came from Kansas. Obviously, the store has a deal going with these people. [”Oh, give me two of these, one of those, three of these……”]

    Sick. Just sick.

  7. Nikki says:

    The obvious remedy to shutting down puppy mills is to push our respective state lawmakers to pass legislation making it illegal to sell dogs or cats through retailers. That would put the puppy mills out business in a hurry. Of course the money-grubbing AKC would be right on top of any such proposed legislation, dumping in big money to oppose it.

  8. shibadiva says:

    The millers will just sell online.

  9. kaefamily says:

    well put shibadiva! The mass needs to be educated; alas, some knuckled walkers will not evolve.

  10. Lis says:

    Cutting off the ability to sell to pet stores would make things a little harder for the millers, because they’d have to sell retail themselves, rather than wholesale their puppies and kittens. It would also cut down somewhat on the impulse sales (no succumbing to the cute puppy or kitten in the window when you’re out at the mall), and make it a little easier to get the people who want to see the puppy or kitten before they plonk down their money into the local shelters.

    It’s certainly not a panacea, but it would help, in several small but important ways.

  11. mittens says:

    lay people who think they understand the operations of genetics and genetic theory and can furthermore control it are several light years ahead of nobel prize winning scientists…

    the sheer arrogance of it is appalling.

    mammals aren’t peas, dr. mengele,opps, i mean mendle, and geneticists with multi- million dollar grants and facilities can’t do what some ‘ reputable’ breeders appear to dream they do for dog breeds.

  12. Cate says:

    There isn’t a reputable breeder in the world that would sell their puppies retail - in a store or online.

    Any breeder that cares about the breed and the puppies they sell would have an application that a potential adopter would have to fill out to ensure that their pups go to as good a home as possible.

    People need to know that there isn’t one puppy in a pet shop that hasn’t come from a puppy mill. Anyone that buys from a pet store should know that their purchase is condeming the breeders at the puppy mill to a horrific existence.

  13. Maria says:

    I can understand the desire of some for a purebred dog, or those with a love of a particular breed. But with all the unwanted animals languishing in shelters, desperate for forever homes and in line to be euthanized if that home never materializes, I wish more people would make their local shelter the first stop in their selection for a pet, not a pet store in a mall or even a reputable breeder. One need not have a purebred with superb bloodlines and “genetics” to have a loving, wonderful companion for many years. And once adopted, shelter dogs and kitties are the most grateful and loving pets you will encounter, in my experience. Just my two cents.

  14. Lynn says:

    I HAVE taken a course in genetics and I can tell you it is a very complex and intrigueing subject. What’s been discovered thus far, I’m sure, is just the tip of the iceberg.

    While I don’t know exactly what it is that reputable breeders do to cull out an undesirable trait [short of getting genetic profiles of both parents and consulting with a geneticist to determine which DNA code causes a trait and which are dominant, and then being certain NOT to breed that animal with the faulty trait], I have to admire them for at least trying.

    Anyone who has studied genetics, even at an introductory level, knows that certain dominant genes may actually be dormant for a generation. So unless the breeder has worked with the same line for several generations and has had genetic profiling done on several generations within that same line, they may be unaware of the gene potential.

    Regardless of how much or little credibility you want to give the reputable breeder, it’s only logical to conclude that he’s more apt to take better care of his animals than a BYB or a puppy miller.

    For me it comes down to this: anyone who breeds/sells an animal for profit is exploiting the animal.

  15. mikken says:

    Nathan Winograd has the answer to puppy millers - properly run shelters!

    Shelters with good outreach, good environments, and good people running them bring the public in and move the animals out to homes.

    But if Joe Public wants a puppy for the family and doesn’t know about the shelter, or has heard it’s a hell hole (as many are), or can’t get there during work hours (the only time they’re open, often), or gets treated rudely by people who work there, why is he NOT going to just go to a pet store and pick up a pricey pup? After all, the pet store is nearby, well lit, open after 5pm and the store owners will tell him that these pups are from champion stock, that he’s getting what he’s paying for…

    “Even the trendiest, most upscale pet stores may sell puppies from puppy mills,” said HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle. “No consumer is immune to the lies and deceit. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you shop. This investigation shows that a high- price and prestigious address are no assurance of a dog from a reputable breeder.”

    Actually, what Wayne should have said is that buying from these folks is a solid assurance that you are NOT buying a dog from a reputable breeder, that no reputable breeder would sell these animals this way.

  16. Gindy says:

    Our small, independent pet shop does offer local dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens. All of them are from the animal shelter in the same county. The lady who owns the shop goes and gets the ones she thinks will sell quickly and posts the photos and website addresses of other dogs, etc. at the shelter. She works closely with the local rescue folks and THIS is how it should be done.
    One of my dearest friends runs a rescue operation in Missouri. I can’t tell you how embarrassed she is when she tells people where she is from. She knows Missouri is full of puppy mills and there is nothing the state government will do about (plenty that can but they don’t).
    Also beware of the Amish puppy mills, everyone thinks how quaint they are with their buggies (and abused horses), plows (and more abused horses), but not a lot of folks know their some of their barns are full of abused dogs being bred like crazy to supply those pet stores we complain about. Best Friends had an excellent article about them on their website, not sure if it is still there.

  17. shibadiva says:

    Mikken, I so agree with you. Most shelters don’t look like glitzy retail environments, but they will attract people if they have convenient hours, a reasonable location, are clean, and have friendly staff.

    Sadly, many shelters are really high-kill animal control (rather than animal welfare) operations that see their role as largely garbage disposal and don’t see beyond that. Not saying there aren’t many wonderful shelter employees and volunteers out there who are trying the best they know how. But sometimes the “kill shelter” point-of-view can keep people from seeing the possibilities.

    Nathan Winograd offers good suggestions for changing that, and a lot of it comes down to finding a good leader who can rally people around an idea and get the funding.

  18. Jack says:

    Why do these comments bring to mind the hysterical Salem community whipped to an unthinking frenzy that deemed specifically targeted women as witches then burning them alive at the stake? Time may pass, but human nature has not changed a whit. This brouhaha over actresses buyng dogs is the contemporary version of demonizing them. It’s ugly on our parts. Step back from implanted propaganda, shed the hystronics, and use your critical thinking faculties. What we should be asking is why any of us are listening to HSUS since there is zero “humane” about HSUS. HSUS has not a local, state, nor only federal but GLOBAL agenda to permanently end mankind from all ownership and use of all animals permanently. HSUS is no governmental agency. It’s a global propaganda machine and alliance of nutcake radicals determined to eradicate all animal use and ownership. Whenever you support or mindlessly echo a single thing promoted by HSUS you are promoting permanently eradicating mankind from ever having working, livestock, or companion animals in the future. HSUS is a massive propaganda organization not out to create any good but is dedicated to mankinds’ and animals’ detriment. Think whether or not you really want to be any part of this organization very similar in construct, actions, and goals to the KKK out to eradicate animals. HSUS just had its federal legislation proposal stripped out of the farm bill that would have allowed HSUS dog terrorists to enter any dog breeders private home any time of day or night without cause, devoid of court ordered warrant, and for the sole purpose of seizure of any even litter of home bred pups. The following sales are profitable for HSUS. Realize that when HSUS keeps title to any animal although the animal can be “adopted” out it can also be reseized and resold and resold ad infinitum by organizations. This organization is made up of radical animal terrorists with the sole goal of preventing anyone from ever being able to own animals. Not so? Go read it’s head Wayne Pacelle. The next time your 3 year old granddaughter wakes in terror from a nightmare calling your dad who has a flock of 30 chickens, cruel and a murderer she never wants to see again–you have HSUS to thank and its massive indoctrination programs carried out in schools most parents aren’t even aware goes on. Before you again demonize actresses who simply bought dogs, realize you’ve been sucked into carrying the firewood or supplying the burning brands to light the fires at under the stakes where these actresses are tied. If you still think HSUS is beneficial then consider why when HSUS lost the court case to retain the $900,000 on the Vick dogs why the head of HSUS next said the dogs should be killed. HSUS is about control and money not people and animals. Buy locally from proven local breeders with healthy breeding stock be it livestock or pets. Do your prebuying research. Expect breeders to be deeply familiar with the lines and line traits they breed both for any away from. Know what treatments and vaccinations are crucial on pets and the timelines of those being done. Do not buy from any dog breeder who hasn’t had xrays run on hips (OFA)and elbows as well as eyes (CERF) examined on the parent stock before breeding or who fails to immediately show you what medically has been done with pups. Go at least 3 times before commiting to buy any dogs for a couple of hours and watch while doing interactions with sire and dam to see if this is what you really want in your pup when it becomes adult. Don’t be conned. Don’t ever consider buying from shelters as the animals have already been rejected once by their owners and usually for cause relinquishing owners do not tell accepting shelters. “Argo eats drywall and the studs behind it when left alone” when dumping unwanteds in shelters is stated as “gee I’m moving and can’t keep him”. More oft than not truth isn’t told. Nor can you be aware from a shelter as you can from a long term dedicated breeder any health genetic history on any offered animal. Want an animal whose lines are rife with heartbreaking and pricey cancer, diabetes or thyroid problems–obtain one from a shelter then. Remember adult animals do not integrate into existing animals within a family so no matter how cute any 5 year old female is if you have a current 3 year old female dog–shelters won’t tell you they usually will NOT get along and may prove quite dangerous. In short shelters push unwanted animals. Despite their blather to the contrary many of the people who work in shelters have no to little training or understanding of animal behavior. Keep in mind when considering a horse that spin off groups such as Farm Sanctuary specifically have been fined (as much as $50,000 for tampering with elections). Before you support any organization learn what it is you are supporting in reality and not just propagandized image. And quit demonizing livestock breeders unless you’ve first hand long term experience with raising livestock. Stock breeders who don’t care properly for animals can’t stay in business though the animal radical organizations out to leave us vegans on tofu and soy paint all with the same propagandized brush.

  19. Sam says:

    “It is getting so hard to find a puppy without going to a pet shop if you desire a certain breed. Yes, there are _some_ purebreds in rescue but not all meet some people’s needs as some have behavior issues that many people cannot deal with. ”

    This is total “kaka”.
    Every imaginable breed, age, size, color and shape of dog is available at shelers, pounds, rescues and even vets helping rehome. Purebreds are not limited to rescues, they are everywhere - and what is SO friggin magical about purebred? Please.

    Shelter dogs have behavior issues? Dude, where do you THINK they came from? They came from the BYBs and pet stores you are professing are the “only option”. Get real. If you limit your search to googling from your comfy chair, I know why you cannot find a pet. Get off your tush and get to the pound, volunteer, ask questions, network.

    Giving money to irresponsible breeders does nothing but contribute to animal abuse and neglect and sentence LAST year’s irresponsibly bred animals to death at the local pound.

    I fully support responsible breeders, they are about as rare as unicorns and do not impact the homeless pet population. So they will never be at odds with rescue/adoption.

  20. mikken says:

    Jack wrote - “Don’t ever consider buying from shelters as the animals have already been rejected once by their owners”

    Um, yeah. Well, Jack as long as folks have that attitude, there’s no hope for any of the homeless animals out there, is there? And the puppy millers will keep cranking them out.

  21. shibadiva says:

    Well, thinking about what a “responsible breeder” is. Started out with someone who’s not a miller, BYB, or someone fumbling with genetic experimentation. Now it’s someone who is the last resort to get an animal that doesn’t have any personality quirks that would offend the most obsessive or negligent idiot. Rare as unicorns, for sure!

    Much as I love my purebred, every single other pet I’ve had has been a rescue, and some quite advanced in age, and they’re all perfect. Just like some of my mongrel human friends.

  22. Denise says:

    “Jack” must be the pet store owner or one of the ‘millers supplying the pups.

    what a bunch of distorted hysterical rambling.

  23. Maria says:

    Distorted hysterical rambling, indeed. And “Jack’s” comment about the majority of shelter animals being owner give-ups with serious behaviorial issues is pure bull. The majority of animals at several of my area shelters result from one reason: pet overpopulation, i.e. irresponsible owners not spaying/neutering their pets. Portraying shelter animals as “damaged goods” and implying that breeders are the only desirable option reflects a certain nasty snobbishness, in my opinion.


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