Consumers Unite in Lawsuit Against Nation’s Largest Online Dog Broker

Puppy mill dogs live a life of confinement and suffering.

Fifty former customers of online puppy seller Purebred Breeders LLC have joined a lawsuit (CASE NO: ll-38180CA02, filed in THE ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA) against the company alleging that they were misled into buying sick or injured dogs. The suit was amended and filed by consumer justice law firm Leopold Law of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in partnership with lawyers from The Humane Society of the United States.

The lawsuit alleges that Purebred Breeders violated Florida state consumer protection laws by misleading consumers into believing that the puppies it sold were healthy and came from high-quality breeders, when the dogs came from inhumane breeding facilities, also known as puppy mills, all across the country. The lawsuit also alleges that Purebred Breeders runs nearly 800 Web domains designed to mislead consumers into believing that they are dealing with breeders in their home states when shopping online for a puppy.

Thought to be the largest online seller of dogs in the country, the Florida-based company sells as many as 20,000 puppies a year over the Internet, according to whistleblowers who worked for the company. The Better Business Bureau has given the company a C-minus rating due to the number of complaints from consumers and other factors.

Shortly before the lawsuit was first filed in November, The HSUS released the results of a investigation into Purebred Breeders. The investigation was featured on NBC’s Today Show on December 7, 2011.

Since the filing of the lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a federal rule to close a loophole that allows hundreds of large-scale commercial puppy mills to operate without federal inspections or oversight.

The rule, which would be implemented under the federal Animal Welfare Act, would require large-scale, commercial breeders and dealers who sell puppies to members of the public “sight unseen,” including those who sell over the Internet, such as Purebred Breeders and their suppliers, to be licensed and inspected and abide by the same basic standards of care as those who sell wholesale to pet stores.

The USDA is accepting public comments on the proposed rule through July 16.

0 thoughts on “Consumers Unite in Lawsuit Against Nation’s Largest Online Dog Broker”

  1. It’s about time! As a rescuer, I have taken in many puppy mill refugees who had lived (existed!) in deplorable conditions. Through their emotional and physical challenges, they still exhibited unconditional love. NO REPUTABLE BREEDER WILL EVER SELL THROUGH A BROKER!!! That includes selling dogs online and through pet stores (except when pet stores like PetSmart and Petco sponsor rescue organizations through adoption events). If you want a pure bred dog, there are rescues for every breed imaginable. If you have to buy from a breeder, choose one where you can see how the dogs are cared for, how they treat them, and their living conditions. A reputable breeder cares where their puppies go and much like a rescue, one must apply and be approved to adopt one of their puppies. The contract will include a return clause that in the event that you can’t keep the dog, you must never turn it over to a shelter, but return it to the breeder or rescue. Please educate yourselves about puppy mills!

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  2. Consumers really need to do more research before they buy a puppy. The problem is now that they want to enact regulations that will not only affect large scale breeders but will also affect hobby breeders that show their dogs, do health testing and may have only a litter or two a year.

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    • While it may vary from state to state…in Pennsylvania inspections would be required of any “kennel” …that has 26 or more dogs a year. That’s a lot of dogs. So I don’t think these changes would affect hobby breeders . and personally if as the owner of 4 dogs if I were required to have my house or yard inspected …I wouldn’t care. Anyone who cares about their breed should be happy to have these loopholes closed.

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