One of America’s best known pet retailers is now under fire for not only selling sick animals, but passing off mixed-breed cats as purebred at exorbitant prices, robbing deserving felines of an opportunity to have forever homes.
Petland in Kennesaw, Georgia was featured in a recent investigative report by Atlanta Fox affiliate WAGA-TV which highlighted some of the questionable practices of the store. This particular location’s activities are considered so unethical, a Facebook page to force the store’s closure was established, and activists are planning to demonstrate outside the store when it holds its upcoming anniversary celebration on July 18. One of the store’s most controversial incidents involves the sale of kittens purporting to the exotic Bengal breed, only for customers to discover the kittens were not purebred at all. ShutdownPetland’s Facebook page calls on these customers to come forward.
“Did you purchase a pet from Petland? Was that breed represented as purebred? Now you are questioning it as your pet grows/grown? Certain distinguishing features are not there or seem muddled?”
Many reputable catteries across Georgia and America have avoided doing business with pet stores because of reported relationship with puppy mills and abusive cat breeders, but the real tragedy is that these stores prevent cats in shelters from being adopted to loving homes. Unsuspecting customers, looking for a purebred kitten, have reportedly been duped into spending thousands of dollars on supposedly purebred animals which are not only not even certified, but often are sick and require expensive veterinary care, depriving saddened pet parents of needed money to care for the animals down the road, and leaving otherwise deserving animals to languish in shelters, their lives often cut short by euthanization to reduce overcrowding.
What is even more sad and shocking is that Petland of Kennesaw was reportedly asking thousands for these supposed Bengal kittens when, in reality, the average market price for a comparable, non-breeding purebred kitten from a certified, reputable cattery is around $700. However, kittens considered breeding-quality do fetch thousands of dollars, depending on the breeder and the market area – such kittens also come with documentation of bloodline and, in many cases, full health guarantees.
While Petland owners and management were evasive in their response, local pet rescue activists and shelter officials agree on one thing – the kittens sold, often for thousands of dollars, at Petland are likely not purebred Bengals and, if they are, are likely products of shady catteries and may suffer from a variety of health problems. This particular Petland boasts having high sales, and much of those sales come from live animals, which command thousands of dollars for both dogs and cats. Many of these animals are actually delivered from out-of-state breeders, and some of those breeders are being investigated by their respective states as possible puppy mills.
The Kennesaw store situation is just the latest in a string of allegations about sales practices involving live animals at Petland. A 2009 story in the Tampa Bay Times documented a woman’s experience with a Petland location in Largo, Florida. Carol Monkhouse told the Times she had purchased a dog from Petland, unaware the puppy had a congenital condition which prevented him from walking long distances. Monkhouse returned the dog to Petland, where she received a store credit instead of a refund.
The American Humane Society told the Tampa Bay Times Monkhouse is not alone, and that Petland is a known trafficker of sick animals across state lines.
“We found that Petland was one of the largest retail sellers of puppy mill dogs in the country. After we broke that, that’s when all the consumers started contacting us, telling us their stories.” – Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president of litigation for the Humane Society.
Kennesaw’s location has been featured by Atlanta’s Fox affiliate several times in recent months, and continues to assert its live animals are healthy and its staff is knowledgeable, despite undercover video to contrary.