There are 140 Petland stores nationwide, with puppy sales as high as tens of thousands every year. After an 8-month investigation in which 21 Petland stores and 35 breeders who supply Petland stores were visited, the HSUS claim that "many Petland stores across the country are supporting cruel puppy mills, even while telling unsuspecting customers that the dogs come only from good breeders".
Petland Inc. claims that the company knows its breeders and deals only with those who have "the highest standards of pet care". This is challenged by the HSUS report which claims that "many Petland puppies come from massive commercial breeders in Missouri and other Midwestern states, where hundreds of breeding dogs are packed into cramped, barren cages – often for their entire lives, with no socialization, exercise or human interaction".
According to Stephanie Shain of the HSUS, "Petland stores are perpetuating the abusive puppy mill industry, where dogs are treated not like pets, but like a cash crop. They make outrageous claims to hide the reality that the dogs came from puppy mills. People have a right to know exactly what they are buying, but the real victims are the breeding dogs who are confined to life in a cage for as long as people are duped into buying their puppies."
However, in an open letter, Petland Inc. has responded to these claims by disputing the evidence. According to Petland Inc., the video evidence produced is copied directly from a video about an unrelated investigation, "Petland is outraged that HSUS would intentionally use video footage of unrelated kennels in the report to try to mislead the general public into believing these facilities have a connection to Petland."
Petland has also responded to the claims by questioning the role of the HSUS, and urges consumers to donate to their local shelters, where their donations will directly impact the lives of the animals in their communities, "The HSUS name is misleading, Petland contends, because the average consumer thinks they are the parent organization of all local humane societies. The fact is, they are NOT, and very little support in the form of dollars, actually makes it to the local level."