The 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.