San Francisco SPCA Launches Anti-Puppy Mill Campaign

The San Francisco SPCA has launched the second phase of its highly creative public education campaign which aims to raise awareness of the cycle of puppy mills and its impact on society. As part of its guerilla marketing campaign, the organization has installed a “puppy bin” in the highly trafficked plaza at the intersection of Sacramento Street and Drumm Street, near the Embarcadero center in downtown San Francisco.

The bin, similar in size to puppy mill cages, looks like a typical newspaper stand and features sound and video portraying puppies. Within the bin is a newspaper, The Canine Tribune, featuring articles and stories designed to educate readers about the realities of puppy mills as well as alternative options available to those who want a dog. The campaign has provoked significant reaction from passersby.

“We wanted to do something completely unique in order to grab people’s attention and really drive home the deplorable conditions puppy mill dogs are forced to endure,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, veterinarian and SF SPCA co-president. “This bin is a powerful reminder that we are often duped by false advertising. When San Franciscans buy puppies online, they unwittingly purchase from puppy mills, perpetuating a cycle of misery that benefits only the mill owners and puppy wholesalers.”

A recent SF SPCA survey of San Francisco dog owners showed the internet is the number-one source of puppy sales. “We are inundated with traditional advertising on a daily basis so we needed to find a way to break through the clutter in order to demonstrate the well-documented abuses dogs suffer in puppy mills every day, including lack of access to veterinary care, hunger, forced over-breeding, lack of shelter and rampant disease,” said Jason Walthall, SF SPCA co-president. “By raising awareness in this creative way, we aim to educate current and potential dog owners in the hope that they will make the right decisions about where to get their dog.”


  1. Kara says on  05/03/2012 at 8:08 am

    Thats a great idea…powerful.

  2. Donna says on  05/03/2012 at 8:10 am

    Great idea, Hope it makes a difference!!!!

  3. A good idea-people have an “out of sight out of mind” mentality. This will let them see what’s going on.

  4. Anonymous says on  05/03/2012 at 8:15 am

    What a great idea! Hope it raises awareness and gets rid of these mills!

  5. Jennifer says on  05/03/2012 at 8:23 am

    Love the idea!!!

  6. Debbie says on  05/03/2012 at 8:27 am

    what a damn good idea

  7. Jen says on  05/03/2012 at 8:28 am

    These should be put up outside pet stores that sell puppy-mill dogs, which of course is almost all of them. L.A. has passed an ordinance lately, and there’s one in the Chicago suburbs that offer rescues instead of puppy-mill dogs. People are not aware that many purebreds are available through rescue organizations.

  8. rick says on  05/03/2012 at 8:29 am

    great idea spca would like to see this in every major city across the country. don’t buy from a pet store, use a shelter or rescue or buy from a breeder. i have great danes one from a breeder the other from the spca sullivan county ny.

  9. I still don’t think it’s enough. I have had people show me on their phone the website they ordered their puppy from and others writitng in FB “our puppy is flying in from TX” the best way is to shut down all puppy mills. limit the number of dogs a breeder is allowed to have.

  10. Jean says on  05/03/2012 at 8:42 am

    I LOVE this!

  11. Tammy says on  05/03/2012 at 8:45 am

    This is unfortuanate. I know many will disagree with me, but I am strongly against this “shock” campaign the SPCA has launched. We all understand the tragedgy of puppy mills, but I’d much rather see the SPCA use their funds and their power to find, punish and eradicate these mills than produce commercials no child should have to watch and “puppy bins” outside popular tourist attractions. One thing I *DO* know… the donation dollars I used to send to the SPCA now go to TCAP – Texas Coalition for Animal Protection.

  12. It’s sad how little people really know…. we think that people know and understand, but I dont think that they do. Someone I know recently showed me a puppy for sale at a petstore and said, look it says its purebred and has papers from the breeder! Puppy was selling for 1500$! I said, why would any good breeder sell their puppy to a pet store and have no say in what home that puppy goes to? Why would a good breeder not want to keep in touch with the home of their new pup? Why would a good breeder just give their puppy to a pet store to sell at a ridiculous profit price??? But when people SEE that pet sores label their puppies as “pure bred from a breeder” PEOPLE BEIEVE THEM which is the saddest part :-/

  13. Kelly says on  05/03/2012 at 8:59 am


  14. what a great idea! i think raising public awareness is so key. It’s already happening and has made a big difference (at least here in Ontario….pet stores are almost non-existant now). The more the public is educated, the better!

  15. This is a great idea, but as others have said I do not believe it is enough. We adopted an adult breeder dog straight from the puppy mill. They considered her past breeding age. My husband went to the mill and picked her up. He said the conditins were deplorable and even tried to have it shut down. Unfortunitly they were barly legal and nothing could be done. We were lucky in the fact that they adopted out the adult dogs. Most of the mills kill them once they are past breeding. It is terrible what these dogs are put through and how they have to live.

  16. Way to go SF

  17. Auntie says on  05/03/2012 at 9:34 am

    way to go sf spca! every state needs these newspaper bins to get the message out.

  18. this is great,the world has to get the word out on whats happening to these poor animals..please.please,adopt,don’t shop!!

  19. Susan says on  05/03/2012 at 9:41 am

    @Tammy Mays-what is unfortunate is your decision to no longer donate to the SPCA-they are a wonderful organization trying to protect animals-if they choose to “shock” the ignorant public to become aware of puppy mills and their children who will grow up and think it is ok to buy these animals we should support their strong actions and by the way your ignorance is showing with your inability to spell correctly-you should either have a dictionary or use spell check.

  20. Thats Awesome!!! We need those stands put up everywhere for people to see!!

  21. Tammy I completely disagree. The best way to shut down puppy mills is to eliminate the demand for puppy mill puppies. No demand means no supply, basic economics. Educate the public on the issues and the demand will fall.

  22. Jesse says on  05/03/2012 at 10:57 am

    Awesome. Maybe next time though they can stuff the people who run puppy mills in there instead. Just sayin….

  23. Joanne says on  05/03/2012 at 11:15 am

    Great idea to get the message out!

  24. Wish we had some of these bins in Charlotte and the surrounding area.

  25. Rose says on  05/03/2012 at 11:35 am


  26. I wish there was some of these in every major (and smaller) town

  27. Kudos to the San Francisco SPCA for helping to raise attention about puppy mills! Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Help the ASPCA fight this horrible industry and sign our pledge – if a pet store sells puppies, don’t buy anything there!
    -Olivia, ASPCA Social Media Manager

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