How to Protest a Pet Store that Sells Puppies

Attend a Protest

1. You first have to choose a pet store to protest. Make a list of all the stores in your area. Go and visit the stores. Note whether they sell puppies, how many puppies they have, what breeds they are. Pretend as if you are interested in buying a puppy and ask where they buy their puppies. Then ask to see the AKC papers. Look at the breeder and the broker. If there is a broker listed, in our opinion the puppies have come from a puppymill. If the breeder is located in a puppymill state - Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma or Arkansas - then the likelihood is very high that the puppies came from a mill. Look up the breeder on the USDA list. If the breeder is listed, then in our opinion they are a mill. If you determine that the puppies in the store are from mills, then you have a good target.

2. Look at the location. You want a location where you can get a lot of attention, educate a lot of consumers and get a lot of press. Visit the location, note whether there are any areas that are public. Take photos of every angle and store.

3. Call the American Civil Liberties Union in your area. Ask them what the law and the regulations are on protesting. You may have to get a permit. The pet store may be on private property but if the public is allowed access, you should be allowed to protest as long as you follow some guidelines like you can't block the door or bother customers. You need to find out the rules from the ACLU and follow them.

4. Put together a group of people. One person is really not that effective. Five to ten can be an effective protest. Many pet stores have been closed down by the efforts of small but determined groups of people.

5. Prepare your signs and your handouts. Consider whether you want to decorate a car and put it in the parking lot. You can get a lot of publicity from a well done car that sits in the parking lot in front of the store. You have every right to park in the parking lot and go shop in the other stores. Go to Downloads to find flyers you can have printed. Or you can get full color brochures from www.ihelppets.com

6. The few days before the protest, notify the tv stations and the papers. Also, call into call in radio shows and raise the subject of mills and talk about the protest.

7. Be prepared with the comments that you are going to make to the press. You should write them down in advance and rehearse saying them. Make your points short and clear. Take a lesson from the politicians - sound bites are necessary for the press.

8. If the store owner asks you to leave, tell him that you have the right to be there (if that is what the ACLU has told you). Be polite regardless of what he says to you but stand your ground.

9. If the police come and tell you to leave, explain calmly that you have the right to be there. If they still tell you to leave, then we recommend you leave. The next day you can go to the court and ask for an injunction against the police to prevent them from making you leave the next time.

10. If you let us know about the protest, we will send you information and we will post it on this webpage. If you send photos, we will post them too.

Good luck!

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