A Lombard organization that has been protesting the sale of dogs by Happiness is Pets for the past three years will be out in force Saturday for National Puppy Mill Awareness Day. The Companion Animal Protection Society will be protesting from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Happiness is Pets store at 616 East Roosevelt Road.
“I ended up with a dog from a young couple several years ago that they had purchased from Happiness is Pets and this dog had so many health problems,” says the groups organizer Ida McCarthy. “The couple was told by the store that the dog came from an Orland Park breeder. I did my research and found out that they purchased their animals from puppy mills. When Happiness is Pets opened in Lombard, I wanted to let people know what this store was up to. We started protesting once a month and now we are up to twice a month.”
McCarthy and her dog will be joined by supporters, several local rescue organizations, and other concerned citizens. She hopes to have a good turn out this Saturday, September 17 for Puppy Mill Awareness Day. The group calls their continuing protests of the store Happiness is NOT Pets.
“I feel like we’ve had an impact in the three years we’ve been protesting and that people are starting to understand where these puppies are coming from,” says McCarthy. “These puppies are born in the most inhumane conditions and the breeding dogs are just treated horribly. They are not raised by some concerned breeder on a farm or in the suburbs, but by people who don’t care about the health or welfare of these dogs. Now that more people are making this connection, we do see more support in the community for what we do and more outrage for these pet stores that sell the dogs.”
Happiness is Pets is a six-store chain in Illinois and back in 2006, they sold over 8,000 puppies. As recently as 2009, that number was down to 3,5000 according to McCarthy. There have been numerous complaints filed by consumers who have purchased sick puppies from the chain.
“I originally joined CAPS – the Companion Animal Protection Society – because they are the only group really focusing on the puppy mill issue and the sale of puppies on a national level,” adds McCarthy. “This group has done undercover operations at puppy mills and has been able to shut down one of the larger puppy mills in the country. CAPS has worked to ban the sale of animals in Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Glendale Heights, California. We’d love for DuPage County to be next.”
Through that organization and because of new legislation in Illinois, McCarthy and other consumers may now track where the dogs actually come from. Some of the breeding operations sell hundreds, if not thousands of dogs each year.
“We’ve really stepped up our efforts because we are getting to the owners of this chain,” she adds. “We’ve had friends of store employees throw watermelon at us. A few weeks ago they called the police and claimed we were protesting naked, which we were not. We keep monitoring the store and tracking events and see that fewer people are shopping here.”
Learn more about CAPS online and learn more about the protest on Facebook.