As lawmakers across the country start cracking down on puppy mills and those that support them, a business in Florida is fighting for the right to stay open.
Puppy Collection Inc. in Broward County has a controversial reputation when it comes to animal welfare. They specialize in selling “teacup puppies” for thousands of dollars, and celebrities and socialites seem to be their target audience. At least, that’s what their website claims. The business’s slogan is, “Where celebrities buy their puppies,” and they list over 100 well-known names that have allegedly bought puppies from their store.
Whether the list is made up of more fact than fiction is impossible to tell, but business owner James Anderson isn’t a stranger to attention. His name is well-known among Florida animal advocates.
Anderson has a long history of animal abuse allegations and convictions. According to an article in Miami New Times, his name has been associated with puppy mills in the Florida area, and he has also faced several lawsuits related to allegedly deceptive sales practices.
Before Puppy Collection, Anderson owned a different pet store called Wizard of Claws. It operated out of a strip mall and had an “online breeder network” that sold around 200 puppies a month. After 20 lawsuits, 52 complaints with the Better Business Bureau, and even a drive-by shooting, Wizard of Claws was eventually shut down and Anderson filed for bankruptcy in 2009. Only a few months later, however, he was back with what is now Puppy Collection.
Despite his history of controversy and abuse allegations, Anderson continues to deny his association with puppy mills. And as the city settled on a new ordinance that bans the selling of animals in pet shops, Anderson is saying the new law is interfering with his right to do business. Anderson’s attorney told Miami New Times,
“The city passed this ordinance on a knee-jerk reaction. They are breaching my client’s right to do business. It’s a constitutional issue. If they put this to vote, if the citizens of Oakland Park were given all the proper information, I’m sure they would vote not to ban it.”
Anderson and his legal team think the public is on their side, but the fact that cities across the country are turning toward similar laws suggests otherwise. In Florida, it started with a few individual counties in the late 2000s. As more people became educated about what puppy mills are, the idea quickly spread.
The Humane Society describes a puppy mill as a commercial breeding facility that contributes to pet overpopulation and forces animals to live in inhumane conditions. The puppies are often sold to pet stores when they’re sick and too young to be away from their mothers. The store then goes on to sell them for extremely inflated prices while keeping the details of their upbringing hidden.
Check out the Puppy Collection’s Yelp page, and you’ll see Anderson’s “puppy boutique store” has an overwhelming number of one-star reviews. Yelp reviewer John J. wrote,
“Turns out the conditions in the back [of the store] are highly unsanitary. He [the dog] was covered in feces, either his own or from other dogs.”
Lynn W. wrote,
“DO NOT buy a dog from here. My daughter bought hers here and within 5 days the dog was throwing up, diarrhea, wasting away in front of our eyes. Two ER visits, two vet visits over the weekend, it died from PARVO. I wouldn’t wish this on any animal or person buying it truly heartbreaking…”
Despite evidence of poor business practices and animal abuse, Anderson continues to claim Puppy Collection is a pet store for celebrities. He and his legal team disagree with the law banning animal sales in pet stores, and they filed a motion for a temporary injunction. That motion was denied in February, but Anderson refuses to back down. The lawsuit remains open, and he’s still selling puppies from his store.
We want to know: what do you think about the laws banning animal sales in pet stores?
h/t: Miami New Times
Featured image via Yelp