A group of about 25 puppy mill protesters waved signs and chanted for two hours on March 16 in front of San Diego Puppy, a puppy shop at 5827 Mission Gorge Road.
The next protest is set for 2 p.m., March 30. “We will be doing a street theatre. It will actually be a line of people standing in orange jumpsuits with a mask of the face of the owner of San Diego Puppy,” Janice Hatch said.
Hatch is cofounder of the San Diego Animal Defense Team, a grassroots organization in its fifth year of protesting against pet stores that sell puppies, in part to raise awareness of the link between pet stores and puppy mills.
She said the animal defense team has investigated the breeders used by the owner of San Diego Puppy, on Mission Gorge Road, and that its puppies come from a large puppy mill broker headquartered in Goodman, MO, which processes about 90,000 puppies a year.
Selling puppies is not illegal in San Diego, but Hatch said her organization has been working with city officials for at least two years to try and secure an ordinance that would ban the sell of rabbits, cats, and dogs from commercial breeders.
The San Diego Animal Defense Team has sent letters and talked to the owner of San Diego Puppy, but Hatch said that he has not responded in any way — except to call the police.
She said his store is the last remaining puppy store in the county and her organization has scheduled storefront protests since it opened last May.
According to San Diego Puppy’s website, all of its puppies are sold with a health guarantee.
Major concerns for those against puppy mills are that the dogs are used purely for breeding, and live in cages without human interactions, toys, or proper care. Contaminated food and algae-filled water are some of the conditions commonly found at puppy mills that ultimately affect the animals’ physical and mental health.
More than a dozen puppy stores in San Diego County have been targeted with protests by Hatch’s organization.
The owner of San Diego Puppy did not return calls to the Reader for comment.