Recently, my organization Live Life Humane had its first event. Partnering with the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), we held a peaceful puppy mill protest. CAPS has been doing these protests for years, some of which resulted in pet stores transitioning to a humane business model.
The main store that CAPS targets in the Chicago area is Happiness is Pets (or Happiness is NOT Pets, as we call it). This chain has been selling puppy mill dogs for more than 25 years, and CAPS has received numerous complaints from customers who purchased puppies there. At the end of 2011, this chain of five stores was selling puppies with distemper, a highly contagious but preventable virus. CAPS holds regular protests at the Lombard and Orland Park locations, and is currently assisting a Chicago law firm with a lawsuit against Happiness is Pets on behalf of customers who purchased sick and dying puppies.
Thanks to these protests, they continue to get media coverage to expose Happiness is Pets as a puppy mill front (the company transports puppies from Iowa and Missouri mills and Happiness is Pets mostly does their own brokering). CAPS has investigated many of the breeders and brokers supplying puppies to Happiness is Pets and has exposed the cruel truth.
When I approached Ida McCarthy, CAPS’ Chicago Campaign Coordinator, about holding regular protests at the Arlington Heights location, we both agreed that it would be a wonderful idea. Protests hadn’t been held at this location for years, and it was time that this location learned we do not want them in our community. After choosing the second Sunday of every month from 1-3pm, we started recruiting volunteers.
CAPS has a large volunteer base, so it didn’t take long to find others to protest. Although it was very cold the second Sunday of January (24 degrees, to be exact), the protest was successful. We were able to spread the word about puppy mills and educate consumers about the plight of the mill dogs. In fact, we even pointed one potential customer to The Buddy Foundation––an Arlington Heights no-kill shelter.
We plan to be out there every month to educate the public about puppy mills and their connection to Happiness is Pets. Visit us at LiveLifeHumane.org/events to learn when our next protest will be held. If you are interested in learning more about CAPS and their investigations on Happiness is Pets, visit their website at caps-web.org.
Join us to speak up for the voiceless.
Andrew Puccetti may only be fifteen years old, but he has already shown immense dedication and passion for the well-being of animals. Every other week Andrew will be here talking about the relationship between young people and animal rights–how they can make a difference, how they are already making a difference, and how important it is for kids to continue the fight for our animal companions. Learn about Andrew’s non-profit organization Live Life Humane and check out his blog!