An undercover Humane Society of the United States investigator asked American Kennels to bring this very sick goldendoodle to the vet before Thanksgiving, but the store refused. The puppy was found dead in the store the following Sunday. HSUS
Since our secret images are now in the hands of New York City authorities, we can reveal what our investigative team discovered over the course of six weeks at a pet store called American Kennels on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Between October and early December, our investigator documented heartbreaking mistreatment of the puppies in the store, many of whom were constantly ill. While undercover, our investigator repeatedly asked management to take a terribly ill toy goldendoodle to a vet for emergency care. Instead, she was left alone in a crate in the store’s sick room for most of a holiday weekend, and the Sunday following Thanksgiving, the puppy was found dead in her crate.
Our investigators have turned their findings over to local authorities, and the city is currently reviewing our evidence.
Other puppies suffered from symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, skin diseases, hair loss, and discharge from the eyes, nose or ears, but most of the sick dogs were only treated with Ad hoc remedies in the store, including force-feeding, subcutaneous fluids, and medicated baths. Some of the sick puppies were kept in a cool basement room away from public view. Others were locked in cages that were much too small. Sometimes the puppies have been found standing in cages smeared with feces throughout.
A customer who had paid $ 4,000 for a sick Chihuahua at American Kennels returned to the store after having the sick puppy “treated” by the store’s random methods. The puppy was still sick. The customer outraged the store for selling sick dogs to customers while store staff desperately tried to silence her.
What we have seen at American Kennels is heartbreaking but, sadly, not uncommon. In 2017, another Humane Society of the United States investigation of a Manhattan pet store called the Chelsea Kennel Club found similar mistreatment and led to the store shutting down a few months later. The former owners of the store were ultimately fined around $ 4 million for failing to provide proper care to sick dogs and for knowingly selling sick puppies to the public. Many other New York City pet stores have been fined or investigated by local authorities for similar issues.
We are asking authorities to check out some of the other sick puppies in the American Kennels store. These poor dogs include a Shih Tzu with signs of severe skin infection and hair loss who had been in the store for over a month without improvement and was kept in a cold basement; a female wire-haired dachshund who had been coughing for a week; and a Pomeranian, Corgi, Maltese, Jack Russell Terrier and many other dogs showing signs of upper respiratory infections and a runny nose that did not appear to be receiving proper care, many of whom were in the spaces store public and available for customers to purchase on December 3, the last day our investigator worked in the store.
Our researchers have also linked the store to documented puppy mills, including at least three breeders who previously featured in our Horrible Hundred reports, which expose the puppy mills. They also discovered alleged violations of city laws. In apparent violation of the New York City Pet Stores Act, American Kennels purchased puppies from at least three brokers (dealers) who hold B licenses with the US Department of Agriculture; city law requires that pet stores only purchase dogs from licensed breeders, not brokers. Some pet shop staff also refused to share information about the stores’ puppy breeders with potential customers who requested, another apparent violation of the law.
What can you do to help
While they wait for authorities to examine our evidence, citizens can do more to stop cruelty in pet stores.
- New Yorkers can urge their lawmakers to support ending the sale of puppies in pet stores statewide. The Puppy Mill Pipeline Act, A.4283 / S.1130, was passed by the New York Senate this year, and next year will continue to be considered by the legislature. If it passes, New York will join five other states that have already passed similar laws.
- New Yorkers who have purchased a sick puppy from American Kennels, or any other store in New York City, can report it to the New York State Attorney General’s office and local authorities. People of any state who purchase a sick puppy from a pet store can let us know using our online form.
- If you do decide to buy from a breeder, be sure to visit the breeder in person. Responsible breeders never sell their puppies online or in pet stores because they don’t want them to end up in places like American Kennels.
- As always, we encourage anyone looking to add a puppy to their family to first consider adoption from a reputable shelter or rescue group.
As frightening and disheartening as these findings at American Kennels are, I am heartened by the growing awareness of the cruelty inherent in the puppy mills and pet shops that perpetuate these massive breeding operations. With every investigation, the Horrible Hundred Report released, and the legislation we help push through nationally and locally, we come one step closer to ending the indefensible puppy mill industry.
Follow Kitty Block on Twitter@HSUSKittyBlock.