If only we had hundreds more animal activists like Kim Sill of Last Chance
for Animals. If only we had hundreds more pet shop owners like Clark Duvall
who formerly owned The Puppy Store until that fateful day when he confronted
Kim re her unrelenting protesting of his and other pet stores in central LA.
Today I read their story and I just knew - here was finally the answer to drying
up the horrible, puppy mills which proliferate across our nation. Somehow I
think we all bear responsibility for causing these poor dogs -hidden and suffering
in horrible, unimaginable conditions because we have bascially done nothing for
the 30 years I have been aware of this travesty. We continued to support the
pet shops which were buying their puppies from puppy pet mills instead of adopting
from our overflowing shelters.
Things were about to change -at least where Kim Sill and her supporters had begun
to regularly protest outside of the pet stores in central LA where they were trying to
educate the public re the horrors of puppy mills.
Finally, Kim et all began awakening a sleeping public who now realized that they
no longer wanted to contribute to puppy suffering. As a result, four retail puppy shops
were forced to close their doors in LA. And while they didn't want to deprive anyone
of their livelihood, they had succeeded in finally bringing the message - that selling
puppy mill dogs was cruel and even unnecessary in view of the puppies who die in
shelters throughout our nation every day.
Clark Duvall who owned The Puppy Shop wasn't about to cave in though until he
could talk to Kim Sill and ask why she was targeting his store. This would be
an eye-opening experience for him as Kim related the problem of pet overpopulation
where innocent puppies were dying in shelters while suppliers were sending him
puppies bred at commercial puppy mills where the dogs were forced to breed
ad infinatum. The mother dogs were especially traumatized after having litter
after litter in small and dirty cages. Once spent, then they were more than likely
unceremoniously dumped. What kind of people treat dogs in this cruel way? Surely,
they are people without heart.
Well Clark Duvall wasn't convinced, and he called his supplier and asked to visit
the breeders. When told he was not welcome at the facilities, he then broke off
all ties with his supplier. He would become the first retail pet shop in the U.S.
to do something unheard of. Now, he would sell 100% rescued puppies and small
adult dogs from animal shelters.
One of his first rescues may well have been Charlie -the two and a half year-old
homeless Pomeranian dog which was pictured at the Care 2 site which brought
this story to light. Formerly sitting on death row in a shelter with a broken jaw,
Charlie now has a new home - thanx to Clark Duvall and his new pet shop called
If only other pet store proprietors would follow the wonderful example of Clark Duvall.
All of his dogs are vaccinated, spay/neutered and micro-chipped. Through the
suggestion of Kim Sill, Duvall has hired a Vet Tech to tend to the health of the
puppies and employees are trained on how to help perspective buyers find the
right "fit" for their circumstances.
OrangeBone primarily adopts puppies because this is what his clientele wants
and they hope to save more than 1,000 puppies each year from shelters.
After Sills' great success with OrangeBone, she decided to approach another pet
shop. For the past 35 years Gail Matthews has been the owner of Pets Delight
in Pasadena and Monrovia. Her friend Shannon Anderson owned Pets Delight in
Covina, CA for 20 years. Despite being huge animal lovers, neither had ever
visitied an animal shelter. That would soon change when Sills took them to one
which has the highest euthanasia rate in the state. Both friends were shocked
to see huge numbers of puppies sitting on death row.
This was truly an eye-opening experience for Gail as she told Sills she had no
idea that she was contributing to the deaths of thousands of shelter animals.
After that experience, both women took 100 dogs and 40 cats home with them
that day. Now they have changed their business model and are adopting only
Chris DeRose who is the founder of Last Chance for Animals had this to say on
the topic: "For every puppy mill dog bought for a pet shop, three shelter dogs
must die." Matthews had been buying 200 puppy mills dogs a year for her two
In the two months the three Pets Delight stores have switched from puppy mill
dogs to rescues - 80 dogs have found new homes. How wonderful. Hopefully, Last
Chance for Animals and Kim Sills' work in this venue can proliferate over the
nation and finally ring the death knell on those terrible and cruel puppy mills.
You and I can help by spreading the word to puppy stores in our areas. HUMANE
PET SHOPS are possible, profitable, and can change our world for the better.