Puppy Protests

Puppy mill protest again Puppies of Westport

For 2 years, a small group of protesters has nipped at the heels of Puppies of Westport.

Standing scrupulously on the sidewalk — the store, opposite Whole Foods on the Norwalk line, won’t allow them on the grass — the group calls attention to the pets being sold a few feet away.  The humans say the animals are bred in despicable conditions, in what are called “puppy mills.”

Karen Rasmussen, a Staples grad, researches the breeders through state and federal Agriculture Department files.  Puppies of Westport, she says, uses “one of the worst breeders in the country,” in Oklahoma.

One sign urges motorists to honk in support.  They hear a steady stream of horns.  “We only get a few fingers,” Karen says.  Oprah and the Animal Planet have raised awareness of puppy mills, she notes.

“People are making the connection that puppies don’t get here on clouds,” Karen adds.  “They’re delivered in huge 18-wheelers, like vegetables.”

Over the crest of a small hill, Puppies of Westport sports a “Puppy Mills” sign — with the familiar red slash.

Puppies of Westport -- with the "No Puppy Mills" sign"

Puppies of Westport -- with the "No Puppy Mills" sign"

Owner Lauren Meren takes issue with the protesters — “activists, like PETA,” she calls them.

“All our breeders are licensed by the government,” she says.

“There really isn’t a definition of a puppy mill,” Lauren continues.  “My breeders are diligent about how they’re treated.  They breed only until they’re 4 or 5 years old; then they’re given away.”

She pauses.  “I love dogs more than I love people.”

What do her customers say?

“A lot of them want to kill those protesters,” she replies.  “They’re just trying to destroy a family business that’s trying to make it.”

Outside, the protesters stand their ground.  They hold their signs high.  Drivers honk.

6 responses to “Puppy Protests

  1. Karen Rasmussen

    A lot of customers want to kill us? Wow, that’s pretty harsh! Be sure to check out our website (soon to be re-vamped with newer info) at http://www.savepuppymilldogs.com. We have documented cases of the poor kennel conditions of breeders that Puppies of Westport buy from. Being inspected by the USDA unfortunately doesn’t mean a lot…breeders are allowed months and sometimes years to improve conditions before being even minimally fined. Rarely are licenses revoked, and then many times the breeder just re-applies for (and gets) and new license. Lauren needs to stop drinking the koolaid if she thinks these adults are just “given away” after 4 or 5 years. We have plenty of proof showing her breeders’ dogs being sold at Midwest auctions to other breeders hoping to squeeze a few more litters out of these poor dogs. Buying a puppy from a store just ensures the continued misery for the puppies’ parents. If you can’t go see a kennel, how will you know what is going on in that back barn? You can take the word of a store whose interest is in making a sale, or do a little research so you know the facts. Thanks so much Dan for stopping by to see us!

  2. Unbelieveable that the customers of this store want to kill the protesters… I think by customers, they mean, friends of the store… If consumers would actually look at the info we have collected and take their blinders off they would be alarmed and if being licensed by the government really gives people confidence that the dogs are well treated they are just fooling themselves and it’s scary to me that people actually believe the government is able to protect dogs when they can’t protect people in any number of other areas! It’s perfectly legal to buy and sell puppy mill puppies, we just think Westport needs to wake up and realize exactly what they are buying. What proof does the store provide? You can label as us “peta” since that’s an easy cop out but that has nothing to do with what our group does. WAKE UP WESTPORT!

  3. Jeanmarie Petrino

    Kill people who are peacefully and legally protesting?! What kind of people are shopping at this place? Lauren Meren’s other comment that there isn’t really a definition of “puppy mill” shows she is in denial. Google “puppy mill definition”, there are over 7 million sites. Merriam-Webster’s definition is “a commercial farming operation in which purebred dogs are raised in large numbers.” And if this sounds “humane” to anyone then just take a look at some of these 7 million sites with photos and videos of how the breeding dogs are treated. Anyone who truly loves dogs would never be involved in and profiting from selling puppies from out-of- state, licensed, commercial breeders. I wouldn’t let my dog spend one day on one of these licensed breeder’s property. I believe Lauren Meren’s comment may have been incomplete, perhaps she meant she loves the money she makes from dogs more than she loves people. And never mind PETA, look at the website of any non-radical humane society, local or national, they all advise not to buy a puppy from a pet store. They encourage people to adopt from a shelter or rescue, or do their homework on a breeder and make sure they can see how the puppies’ parents are living.
    You can have a very successful family business selling everything a dog lover would want to buy for their dog without selling puppies. More and more people are adopting from shelters and purebreed rescue groups, and they spend alot of money on their new canine family member. I know I have.

  4. Stella Drakoulias

    People want to kill us protesters? More than a bit scary and inflammatory of Lauren to say. Bet no pet shop owner has ever told the truth about how much profit they make on each puppy they sell. They pay ~$100-300 per puppy, then turn around and sell them for HUGE profit -in Fairfield County, some of these pups go for more than $1,500.00!! So they really are in it for the money, even though they claim they want to ‘help their friends and neighbors find the puppy of their dreams’. They talk about the joy on the children’s faces as they pick out their new pup. What about the looks on their faces when, on very rare occasion as people quickly become very attached to their new pet, these people and their children come back to the store to return their puppy who is terribly sick and whose medical care they cannot afford? With current state law only allowing for $200 reimbursement to new pup owners for vet bills, the pet shop still makes a boat-load of money off each puppy they sell! That is why they continue to be a part of the cruelty of puppy mills!

    No one buys a car these days without doing research first, so why wouldn’t they do the same before buying a living, breathing animal to bring into their family? Do people always believe everything a car salesman says to them? Why should we believe everything a pet shop owner says when we remind ourselves that both car salesmen and petshop owner (and any other business owner-I’m not out to get car salesmen, I promise!) have a vested interest in making you believe them without you doing your own independent research? hmm.

  5. i do believe that we need to shut down the breeding proces of not just dogs but of animals we need to crack down on what is happeing right around us we may not can save the world but we sure as hell can try to save the animals that didnt ask to go through the horrifying exsperiance of sitting in there own fiecies and and eating carcuses of the brothers and sisters. why are people so crule hav we no heart these days the world is just going under its sad to say but it is. i have rescued over hundreds of dogs and animals by my self because there was no one to help no one wanted any problems well i sure gave them a problem to deal with if i think that your animal is being mistreated exspect to hear from me again now i have 2 more people that are willing to go that extra length to help these poor animal. one more thing for those people that think that pitbulls need to be banned think about this the animal didnt choose to fight the owner bred them to fight i have a pitbull his name is jd he is the most gental animal ever he loves my ttwo yr old niece and my five yr old nephew he actually saved there life when he was only 8 months old from a standerd poodle that had jumped into my back yard i wasnt out there i was doing dishes watching in the window when i herd my nephew scream i came running out and my niece and nephew had crawled under the picnick table and jd was fending the standerd poodle. so dont pinpoint one type of dogs thats just like being racist and people do some reserch on pitbulls they are a loveing dog if you show them the love and attension that they need.

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