THE PUPPY MILL PROJECT IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE
CHICAGO’S OLDEST PET STORE, COLLAR & LEASH, GOES HUMANE
First, of what hopes to be many Chicago pet stores, helps make a statement
to put an end to puppy mill cruelty
CHICAGO, IL (MARCH, 2013) – It’s a fact that 99% of all puppies sold at pet stores are from a puppy mill, bred in deplorable conditions. The Puppy Mill Project recognizes most people aren’t aware of this staggering statistic and make it their mission to educate the public about inhumane puppy mill practices. Therefore, they could not be more thrilled to announce that Chicago’s oldest pet store, Collar and Leash, (1453 N. Wells St.) will no longer sell animals bred in puppy mills. Thanks to the tireless efforts put forth by The Puppy Mill Project, this Chicago institution is going humane and to celebrate, they will host a re-grand opening weekend Saturday, April 6 from 10 am-6 pm and April 7, from 11 am- 5 pm. There will be animal adoptions on-site as well as Broadway Animal Hospital performing wellness checks and vaccinations.
Sonja Raymond, owner, Collar and Leash, began exploring alternative options to selling pets over five years ago after noticing many animals coming into the store with genetic defects and incurable illness. Although Collar and Leash always stood by the sale of their animals, she could no longer turn a blind eye and began uncovering the truth behind many breeders. Inhumane breeders were slipping through the cracks, medical records were being doctored, and animals were producing strictly for profit. Raymond wanted more for the animals, and for her family’s business, a Chicago institution for almost 60 years.
“We’d been in touch with The Puppy Mill Project Founder, Cari Meyers for a long time, and realize it’s time we take this jump with them to help make a statement to put an end to puppy mills. This truly is going to be an adventure,” says Sonja Raymond, owner, Collar and Leash. “We will no longer buy and sell cats and dogs from mills and are proud to align ourselves with The Puppy Mill Project.”
The Puppy Mill Project will provide assistance, guidance and direction to Collar and Leash to facilitate their transition to a humane pet store business model. Through outreach and education, The Puppy Mill Project will help Collar and Leash incorporate an adoption program and to abandon selling puppies as products. Collar and Leash is in the process of building partnerships with several specific breed rescues as well as mixed breed organizations that will help facilitate the adoption process through the store. Vaccinations and wellness checks will be made available onsite and Raymond says “this is not just about not selling puppies anymore, but about community wellness and awareness as well.”
Collar and Leash is also exploring alternative animal rescue organizations including ferret, bunny and reptile groups. They will continue to have hamsters, guinea pigs and small pets available.
“For three years since I founded The Puppy Mill Project, Collar and Leash has been on my radar,” says Meyers. “As the oldest pet store in Chicago I felt they would be my biggest challenge in getting them to go humane, as they were so ingrained in the community. It’s my biggest hope that as they become humane, other Chicago pet stores selling dogs and cats will follow in their footsteps. I am very proud of Collar and Leash for taking this gigantic step, and The Puppy Mill Project will do all we can to support them.”
Raymond adds, “This mission is personal. Collar and Leash was founded by my husbands’s grandmother in 1956. It’s been a family business since. Last year, my husband’s mom passed away and up until her death, she was working with me towards this humane model. My husband, his brother and I are moving forward as a family to keep the business alive in an ethical and respectful way.”
ABOUT THE PUPPY MILL PROJECT
Based in Chicago, Illinois, and founded in 2009, The Puppy Mill Project is a non-profit organization created to educate the public and raise awareness about the systematic animal cruelty in puppy mills.
Since 2009, The Puppy Mill Project has been successful in closing down four stores that were selling puppy mill dogs, and converting several others to a “Humane Pet Store Model”. They have facilitated the rescue of over 200 puppy mill dogs. The organization has successfully educated hundreds of school-age children through its’ Humane Education Program, as youth outreach is very important for the future.
Cari Meyers, the Founder, has made it her passion and life’s work to put an end to puppy mill cruelty. This is done through community events, peaceful protests, humane education, donations, and the media. It is the only organization in Illinois dedicated solely to ending puppy mill cruelty. For more information, please call 847-261-4245, or visit www.ThePuppyMillProject.org.