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STAND UP FOR THE PUPS! 75 people gave their time on 4/5/14, and 9/20/14 to lend their voices to those who have none, those poor animals languishing in the 10,000 puppy mills across the country, enslaved in a life of torture and misery.

Our message was clear, this is not acceptable and we want our elected officials to do something about it by ending the sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in retail stores.

DON'T SHOP, ADOPT! This little guy, who is currently at a local shelter, is asking PMFR supporters to spread the news everywhere this holiday season to:

  1. Acquire your companions and new family members through the shelters and rescues in the area. Don't buy on Craigslist, Facebook or newspaper ads.
  2. Dogs, cats and rabbits do not make good gifts or giveaways. Animals are living, breathing, fellow creatures who need a lot of daily care, routine and financial planning. Animals should never be a whimsical or impulse buy.
  3. Consider your lifestyle and circumstances and review your options. Puppies take a tremendous amount of time. An already trained middle-aged or senior dog or cat could be the perfect match as your new family member.
  4. If you wonder if your dog or cat came from a puppy or kitty mill, let us help you at
  5. Check the shelters for discounts and incentives this holiday season. Nevada Humane Society's "Home for the Holidays" offers dogs and cats as low as $15 - $25, complete with spay/neutering, shots, a *thorough* veterinarian exam, deworming and a microchip.
  6. If you wonder if your dog or cat came from a puppy or kitty mill, let us help you at
  7. See for local cruelty-free resources.
Looking to purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder?

We can help you navigate away from the deceptive online brokers and millers to a breed club licensed breeder for your breed of choice. We're glad to help! Message us at

Did your dog or cat come from a puppy mill? We can help you find out no matter how long ago you purchased!
Find out here

Washoe County Voters' Sweep For Compassion!

Controversial Reno Store Ends Puppy Sales
Pets R Us Will Host Adoptions Instead

RELEASE DATE: Wednesday, 10/22, 11:00am
CONTACT: BILLY HOWARD, Founding Organizer
Puppy Mill Free Reno

Reno, NV—Long beleaguered by public pressure, news investigations and disparaging online reviews, Joe Young, owner of Pets-R-Us, announced today an end to the sales of puppies in his Meadowood Mall store.

"This is a great day for our movement to end the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in retail stores as they are largely sourced from puppy mills," said Billy Howard, founding organizer of Puppy Mill Free Reno.

Mr. Howard has been working with Mr. Young for the past seven months for the conversion. "This is a great day not only for our local community but for the dogs in awful conditions all across the nation with yet another store not trafficking animals from the reprehensible puppy mill industry."

Puppy mill is a term used by activists for large scale breeding operations where the amount of animals kept in kennel cages often stacked on top of each other precludes the care they need including basic veterinarian exams and treatment, grooming and oral hygiene.

"Many supply-only stores are thriving in the area. Local shelters and rescue organizations are working with the stores to host adoption days and special events. This even includes the big box national-chain stores which long ago stopped selling dogs, cats and rabbits."

According to the Nevada Humane Society, animals are surrendered in Washoe County at a rate that is three times the national average.

"With the great need in our own community, do we really want dogs and cats transported here from Indiana, Missouri or even Sacramento?" asked Howard. "There are more than enough animals in our world-class shelters and with rescue groups. If someone needs or wants a purebred, there are reputable breeders out there. Be sure they are licensed with that breed's Breed Club of America, but be warned, the process to get one of their prized family pups can be daunting. They want to make sure the animal is going to a great home. They also take the animal back at any time in its lifecycle, should the need arise."

Shelter dogs and cats come with all the necessary shots, full veterinary examination, are dewormed and have been spayed or neutered and microchipped, all included in the nominal price.

Over ⅔ of all pet stores across the country sell pet supplies only while hosting adoption events with local shelters and rescues. "The best way to get a new animal is to adopt. Puppies are cute, but need a tremendous amount of time and effort. A great middle aged or even elderly dog or cat can make wonderful new and loyal family members."

Store Agrees to Stop Selling Puppies

Puppy Mill Free Reno was started the day after San Diego passed their initiative to end the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in retail stores in July 2013. Over the past fifteen months Mr. Howard has amassed over 13,000 signatures and gained the endorsement of over 100 local businesses, non-profit organizations and candidates including Nevada Humane Society, SPCA Northern Nevada, Pet Network Incline Village, Art Paws, Sage Veterinary Care, Diggin Dog Treats, Lone Mountain Veterinary Hospital, Carson Tahoe SPCA, Animal Oasis, Newscaster Bill Brown, Senator Mark Manendo, Plato's Closet, j¸s, Great Full Gardens, The Studio, Feline Rescue of Northern Nevada, The Seed Raw Vegan Cafe, DeLuxe Cafe, A Doggies Dream, Cozy Cattery, Opa Cafe, Natural Paws, P.AWMLESLIE.S. Pet Service, The Melting Pot and Canine Rehabilitation Center and Sanctuary, among others.

Puppy Mill Dogs and Family Expenses/Taxpayer Burdens

According to national studies, large-scale breeders are a problem because profit is the motivator and therefore the animal's welfare is discarded. Dogs are bred at the first possible heat cycle and are impregnated at every single cycle until they die or can no longer produce at which time they are tossed aside for the next breeding female. National studies show that these dogs are not only overbred, many dogs are inbred and their offspring can have long term diseases resulting in high veterinarian bills. Behavior can be a problem as trainers say that behavior is imprinted in the first few weeks, resulting in large expenses for a family or surrenders to local shelters placing the burden on donors and taxpayers.

Along with supplies and gifts for family pets, Mr. Young will continue to sell exotic animals: snakes and lizards, but no longer offer puppies. That will leave only one other store in the state of Nevada outside of the greater Las Vegas region that sells dog or cats sourced from the puppy distribution paradigm in the retail environment.

Puppy Mill Free Reno is a component organization of the Compassionate Washoe Campaign.

Media Advisory

A joint press conference will take place this Wednesday at Nevada Humane Society featuring speakers from the shelter, Puppy Mill Free Reno and Pets R Us. The media is invited for comment and interviews at that time.

What: Announcement of Ending the Sale of Puppies in Local Pet Store
When: Wednesday, October 22 at 11am
Where: Nevada Humane Society Education Classrooms at 2825 Longley Lane in Reno
Who: Billy Howard, Founding Organizer, Puppy Mill Free Reno
Joe Young, Owner, Pets-R-Us
Kimberly Wade, Nevada Humane Society


Puppy Mill Free Reno




Public Comments

Compassionate Washoe Campaign

Best Friends Jurisdictions with Retails Sales Bans

ASPCA Puppy Mills are Cruel

City of Boston "The Truth About Puppy Mills"

ASPCA "What is a Puppy Mill?" General Dog Info: "How Much Is That Puppy in the Window- Really?"

The Puppy Mill Project

Puppy Mill Free Reno/Sparks/Washoe!
Kittens & Rabbits, too!

Dedicated to Washoe County's continued excellence as a world-leader in the treatment of animals.
With its world-renowned "no-kill" policy for which it has received major national funding, it only stands to reason that Washoe County becomes like ♥♥ other counties and municipalities ahead of it, a puppy, kitty and rabbit mill-free zone. South Lake Tahoe was the second municpality in the country to end the sale of mill animals six years ago.

Maxwell was adopted into the White family from the Reno SPCA after a hard life. "His fur was filthy and matted, but after these four years with us, I just think he's just the best dog ever."
Restricting puppy, kitty and rabbit sales (reports show that nearly 100% of animals in stores are from these factory-farms) would help reduce animal suffering, protect the consumer and could reduce the tax payer burden for feral animal programs in the future. Acquiring animals from the many accredited non-profit shelters and rescue groups in the area, or from a reputable breeder, are the best ways to welcome a new companion into your home as promoted by the City of Boston website.

Many national animal welfare organizations report that mill animals are constantly kept pregnant, birthing and nursing. To keep costs down these dogs rarely get medical treatment, see the light of day, know a kind hand or enjoy the loving atmosphere most humans would like to provide.

For more information including in-depth articles, reports and videos, see our What Is A Puppy Mill? page.

This kind of turnout shows how much support an end to the sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in retail stores has in the Truckee Meadows. It's time for Northern Nevada to join the national trend. Fifty-one cities so far have enacted a ban that will help bring this despicable and sickening practice to an end. We support a unanimous yes vote in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County!
Animals in stores usually cost hundreds of dollars—sometimes $1000 or more—and are often a credit card-enabled impulse purchase. After such an outlay, new owners may forgo the added expense of a spay or neutering operation risking pregnancy and an unwanted litter down the line, increasing the chance of more animals ending up in a shelter. Estimates are that as many as 2,000,000 dogs are bred in puppy mills each year, while 2-4,000,000 are killed in shleters. (See video on this page.)

Big box stores PetCo ("Think Adoption First®" ) and PetSmart (PetSmart Charities® Adoption Centers) long ago stopped selling puppies, kitties and rabbits. Most of the locally owned pet shops have taken the pet out of the pet store and offer everything you need for your new companion to thrive under your guardianship while leaving the care of the animals to accredited non-profits.

"Dog by Dog is a documentary that aims to wake up the American public to the horrible realities of puppy mills by following the money trail across the United States and confronting those that have maintained this corrupt and irresponsible system."

According to reports, animals from mass production breeders ("mills") that are most often sold in retail stores ("Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills." —ASPCA), of which there may be as many as 10,000 in the US) can be prone to illnesses. Accredited non-profit adoption and rescue agencies perform a medical examination on the animals, provide shots, de-worming and spay/neutering and offer the animal for low cost (typically between $45 and $100).

Because dogs and cats begin socialization in the first few weeks of life, animals sourced from mills have been found to have behavioral problems. See, RGJ article Puppies from pet stores more likely to have behavioral problems, study finds. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association study of May, 2013, concludes, We cannot recommend that puppies be obtained from pet stores.

For more information about alternative ways to aquire a companion for life, see Shops & Adopt.

The spayUSA program.
While animals sold in stores are required by law to be seen by a veterinarian, there are many reports of animals that are sick and altogether too often, mortally so.

Because animals purchased in pet stores are often bought on an impulse enabled with a credit card and targeted financing, some new owners find the expense of a veterinarian visit a hardship. These animals are rarely spayed or neutered or de-wormed when sold, requiring consumers to spend up to a few hundred dollars more after purchase. Some consumers may forgo the expense of a spay/neuter operation, which could add to the feral animal problem in Washoe County.

Passing a new ordinance could help protect the consumer and might reduce costs of taxpayer funded feral animal control programs in Washoe County.

It is my belief that when you actually see this, America, with your own eyes, that you all are not going to stand for it.

—Oprah Winfrey
For Oprah's 45 minute show on Puppy Mills and more, see our "What is a Puppy Mill?" page.

Please Sign Our Petition to protect animals and the consumer.
To keep up with the progress of making Washoe County Puppy Mill Free, join our email list.
Please sign our petition to end puppy mill sales in Washoe County.
What are these red boxes?
See our INFO page to find out.

Mike and his German Shepherd rescue, Wrigley. Larger.
No pet supply store within the County should sell puppies born and bred from the suffering and life-long torture of puppy, kitty and rabbit mills.

Many pet supply and services stores in our area, such as Natural Paws and Pawsitively P.A.W.S. and big box stores regularly host rescue and adoption agencies at their locations.

Pet supply stores offer pet products and some offer services such as grooming and/or boarding, including the big-box stores PetSmart and PetCo which long ago stopped selling mill animals.

Find more adoption resources on our Cruelty-Free Pet Stores page.

Adoptable pets from the Nevada Humane Society and many other agencies (see Cruelty-Free) are put through rigorous veterinary health procedures. Adoptions cost anywhere from $45 to $100 and include all necessary shots, medical examination and spay/neuter if needed.

Puppy Mill Free Reno/Sparks/Washoe mascot, Brooks, visiting his veterinarian 5 years after being adopted for $45 from the Nevada Humane Society.

"One of the healthiest dogs we see!"

Win, Win, Win, Win!

"Here are some of our TMCC employees with the petition!" Larger.

Banning puppy mill sales in retail stores is a win-win situation in Washoe County.

In fact, it's win, win, win, win:

Win 1: Business
    Directors, managers and volunteer groups from all over the world come to see how the world's most successful no-kill shelters works. They stay for the week, get accommodations, eat out and do a little sight-seeing after touring the facilities.

    Furthering Washoe County's reputation as the most animal friendly county in the country is a win for local businesses.

    Ending dog, cat and rabbits sales in retail stores in Reno, Sparks, Washoe County, Carson City, Minden, Gardnerville and Douglas County will bring national publicity rivaling the bans sweeping South Florida cities.

Win 2: Community
    Nevada shows up at the top of some lists no one wants to be on, but there are many things we can be proud of.

    Washoe residents can be very proud of our standing as one of the most animal-friendly places to live in the country. Our low-kill shelter ranks among the most successful in the world.

    Taking this positive reputation a step further and ending puppy mill sales, as have 51 other cities and counties throughout the US, would be another win for pride in our community.

Win 3: Animals
    Puppy Mills are some of the worst places on Earth for animals. They are kept in very small wire cages with no relief for their feet or sides when they lay down. Cages are only required by USDA regulation to have 6" from the animal's nose not including their tail! [See cage measurements].

    Because puppy, rabbit and kitty mills are run for the

    Shannon of Maggie's Playhouse and Tonka, rescued Oct, 2013. Larger.
    sole reason of profit, the animals never know a kind hand, let alone a loving family. They never leave their cages except to give birth. After just a few weeks their puppies are taken from them and they are returned to their cells, becoming preganant as soon as physically possible, over and over again. To keep expenses down, the animals rarley, if ever, receive veterinary care.

    For more on the reality of puppy mills including Oprah's 45 minute show on the horrors of puppy mills, see our INFO page.

    Banning puppy mill sales is a big-time win for the care and treatment of rabbits, cats and puppies in Washoe County.

Win 4: Consumers & Taxpayers

    Austyn and his Buddy, Brooks, adopted from Humane Society hosted at PetSmart, 8/2008. Larger.
    According to the Humane Society of the United States, most puppy mill dogs sold in commercial retail stores cost anywhere from $450-$2000, typically running around $800, though a $2500 price tag has been seen recently in the Reno area. The dogs come with tracking "papers," which are not the same as papers from a breeder who rarely, if ever, sell to commercial stores. The animals are not spayed or neutered and owners should spend a few hundred dollars on that treatment right away.

    Erin's Chomper was adopted through Northern Nevada Bulldog Rescue. He's one lucky boy. Larger.

    The cats, rabbits and puppies are often sickly, but that might only show up after it's too late to take the animal back, sometimes costing thousands in medical bills within a few years. Even when bringing a puppy home who becomes sick right away, the owner and the dog may have already bonded and giving the animal up is no longer an option. Sometimes the animals have to be put down at an early age. It's very hard to lose a family member so young, especially with children in the family.

    Companions adopted from non-profit adoption and rescue services cost anywhere from $45-$100. Typically have all their legally required shots and are spayed or neutered. An estimated 25-30% of dogs in shelters are purebred. If a specific breed is desired, there are rescue organizaions for every conceivable breed of animal and one available at nearly any age. Want to skip the puppy years? A family can find a one year old, rescued, black labrador retriever, for example, in just a few clicks of a mouse. Many local rescue groups and shelters are found in our area. See our Shops and Adopt page for resources.

    Adopting is a big win for consumers and their pocketbooks.

    Making sure an animal is spayed or neutered before being taken home could curb the expenses of the feral animal problem in years to come.
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