Puppy Mills, CAPS and the Domino Effect

puppy millsPuppy mills and pet shops are locked in a loop of perpetual cruelty and abuse of animals unlucky enough to be cycled through their doors. An ASPCA study showed that 78% of the general public is unaware of the connection between pet shops and puppy mills, and 80% of adults would not buy a dog that came from a puppy mill.

To help get the word out, Deborah Howard, Founder and President of the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), sat down with me (virtually) to talk about her organization.  After 22 years of working this problem, they have the results to prove it is possible, with concerted effort on all fronts, to work with pet shops to convert to humane or tell them to “go home.” 300 nationwide Docktor Pet Centers went down like dominoes over a period of three years in the early 90s thanks to CAPS, says Howard. She is quick to note she’s not here to put pet businesses out of business, but works to close the too-long chapter of animal cruelty pet shops are complicit in.

You may recall CAPS provided the video evidence that got abuse and cruelty charges to stick on the infamous Kathy Bauck formerly of Pick of the Litter, one of the largest USDA licensed dog brokerage and breeding facilities in the country. Now they are working on closing loopholes that allowed this convicted felon to keep 6 dogs and game the system.

I think you’ll find this mix of history and present day work being done in this field useful, and maybe to some, enlightening.  I’ll be back with more of this later in the year – it was a long conversation;)

[Note: If you bought a sick pet from Happiness is Pets and incurred vet bills, there’s a class action suit you can join by filling out the complaint form in the investigations tab of CAPS website.]



I would like to know why all the time, effort and money is not spent to enforce the laws currently existing and increase the penalties for the breeders breaking the laws.   There are many reputable breeders and reputable pet shops that go above and beyond what the law requires to ensure the well being of the pups and parent dogs involved and see they are loved and given the best possible care.  Instead money, effort and time are spent prejudicing people against both breeders and pet shops, when you should be out there tracking down those inhumane breeders that perpetuate their cruelty, abuse and neglect for years and get away with a slap on the wrist or nothing at all.


Wow, I look forward to listening to this and thanks for bringing this interview to us!


  1. […] Here we are talking about puppy mills again. The reason is because my Animal Cafe colleague Mary Haight interviewed Deborah Howard, Founder and President of the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS). Naturally, Mary and Deborah talk about puppy mills and what CAPS is doing to fight the cruelty and abuse that are puppy mills. […]

  2. […] then that during the course of my Animal Cafe  interview with Deborah Howard, Founder and President of Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), I discovered CAPS was the […]