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Old February 24 2013, 12:28 AM   #1
Ro_Laren
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Location: The Badlands
How do u know if a pet store is a puppy mill?? U heard of Petland?

Sorry, this is a long post…

A couple months ago, my family put their dog to sleep. I’ve been pushing my parents to get a new dog, partially because I feel like they are safer when they have a dog (someone tried to break into our house before). Since I was in town, I went with my mom to a couple of Humane Society adoption fairs, but we didn’t see something we like. Since my family has always had Labrador Retriever mixes, we want to stick to that breed. They aren’t really guard dogs, but if a robber isn’t a dog person, then he/she might not know that and might get scared away just ‘cause they see a big dog. Because of health problems with our labs in the past, my parents really prefer to get a purebred lab, but they’re expensive.

Anywho, I asked my mom to go Petland today. For those who have never heard of this store, it is a popular chain. We saw a female chocolate lab that my mom instantly fell in love with because she had such a calm personality. I liked her too, but her calm personality scare me a little – what if she is sick? Later in the day, we later dragged my dad into the store. He doesn’t really dog right now (‘cause they shed), but noticed how much my mom loved the dog. He decided to think about it and we all returned home. Later, I looked up reviews on Petland and almost had the sites had bad / low reviews. First of all, people kept mentioning puppy mills (for definition, see Wikipedia article on puppy mills). While I know about puppy mills, the cuteness of this dog made me want to ignore what I know. Second of all, people kept mentioning probs with the dogs they got from Petland. Third of all, people mentioned problems with the warranty (faxing paperwork back and forth).

My dad decided to return to Petland this evening and brought me and one of my sisters. The dog was still very cute and perked up for a while, before falling fast asleep. After talking to the salesman, my dad got them to lower the price from $1,399 to $1,299 and they said they would waive the $129 microchip activation fee (they didn’t mention this fee in any of the previous visits). My dad said we would go ahead and get the dog, but he didn’t really seem to be into it. He said it was the price. I kept thinking about the reviews I read and started feeling very unsettled about getting a dog from that store. Part of the prob is ‘cause I thought about my aunt’s purebred labs. A brother and sister got together and the girl got pregnant. My aunt sold some dogs and one had major neurological problems from the inbreeding. He had to be put to sleep. Now, if Petland sells dogs from puppy mills, then what is to stop them from being inbred dogs?

The following made me uncomfortable:
  • The on-line Petland reviews that I read. None of those reviews were for my local Petland, but what if the company on a whole is kinda shady?? But on the other hand, if it is that shady, then how are they still in business?
  • The saleman told me they received the dog without the papers… so we’d have to wait a week or two to see the dogs papers. I.E., you are buying a dog without knowing who its parents are… are they brother and sister? I know you have the same dog when you buy a dog at the Humane Society, but those dogs don’t cost $1,299.
  • I asked if the dogs were OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of America) certified. That is to make sure they don’t have probs like hip dysplasia (a common prob with labs). The salesman’s’ response was that the vet already checked out the dog (aka, not the same thing as being OFA certified).
  • I wanted to see the salesman’s response, so I said that I was worried and wanted to make sure they puppies weren’t from puppy mills. His response was, they are from breeders. I think it is illegal to sell dogs from puppy mills).
  • The salesman didn’t really seem to want us to read the warranty before buying the dog, but we convinced him to show it to us. The warranty for the dog was a 3 year pro-rated warranty. It was void if the dog was not checked out by one certain vet in the area (who I am guessing must have a contract with Petland). If the vet say probs with the dog, you wouldn’t get a refund, but free treatment from that vet for 14 days. The warranty also covered genetic / hereditary problems that affected the quality of life of the dog. It was pro-rated – it covered 100% the first year, 50% the second year, and 25% the third year. You couldn’t get your money back, but either exchange the pet (first year) or get credit at the store. The warranty is obviously one sided and only benefits Petland.
Like I said, I started to feel really uneasy about getting this dog, especially since it is so expensive. There would be no refunds if there were probs with the dog. While my dad didn’t seem as uneasy as me, he would still buy it. They ended up not getting the dog because of the uneasiness that I felt.

Did I do the right thing? Purebred labs can be very expensive. Petland’s price is comparable to purebreds that you can get straight from the breeder (if you are lucky, you could find a cheaper one). My thinking is, why not find a nice breeder that already has papers available? They could lie about their dog to, but at least you can see the dog’s owners eye to eye. Hopefully, you can see the living conditions of the dog and its parents as well. I can also ask my aunt for breeder recommendations since she knows people in the AKC dog world (her female dog is now fixed).

What are your thoughts? I think I upset my family by getting their hopes up by taking them there and making my mom fall in love with a dog just to later say that I don’t feel comfortable with buying the dog. Maybe the dog will be perfectly fine and I felt this way for nothing.
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