SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – While animal advocates typically warm around the holidays that gifting puppies may not be the best idea, there’s an even bigger warning out this year.
“The same puppies that are being sold in pet stores are the same ones being sold on-line,” said Temma Martin with Best Friends Animal Society, Utah.
The Humane Society of the United States of America has filed a 37-page lawsuit in Florida state court against Purebred Breeders, LLC
, an on-line puppy dealer.
The HSUS claims after a three-month-long investigation if found purebredbreeders.com is a brokerage company that promises healthy and socialized puppies.
“And even if there's nothing wrong with them, where they're coming from is wrong,” said Martin.
But, the HSUS says it found that PBB actually buys its puppies from commercial puppy farms, also known as puppy mills, then ships them all over the country.
The HSUS found that PBB owns more than 800 on-line domains. Each is dedicated to a specific breed in a specific state.
After a quick search for “Chihuahuas for sale in Utah” the first link to pop up was for a Utah Chihuahua breeder. The web page looked nearly identical to one in Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming and other states all over the US.
“It does say that they might not necessarily be in Utah but it kind of sounds like they might be,” said Martin.
The site has a code of ethics page, advice on how to pick your puppy and cute descriptions and pictures of the puppies for sale. All of which come with a hefty price tag.
“This website is selling them for $2400 which is just … it just took my breath away,” said Martin.
Martin says that up to ½ of the dogs in local Utah shelters are purebred dogs and usually only cost the fee to spay or neuter and vaccinate them. She says the price tag on dogs can say a lot about where they come from.
The lawsuit filed by HSUS also names Purebred customers who say they received sick or dying puppies which meant thousands more in vet bills and immeasurable heartache.
Purebred says it buys from reputable breeders. But, animal advocates say the best way to know you’re helping to fight against animal abuse and not contributing to it is to adopt an animal that needs a loving home.