Animal welfare activists to protest new pet store in south Tulsa this weekend

VIDEO: Animal welfare advocates plan demonstration outside new Petland opening in Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. — A protest is planned this weekend in response to a new pet store opening in south Tulsa.

Animal advocates say they disagree with the practices at Petland, a national chain store that sells animals.

The company has been accused of selling dogs from puppy mills in the past by the Humane Society of the United States, as seen in this investigation report out of Florida.

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Petland has also been accused of selling dogs who are sick and/or dying. A CDC report from 2018 says a drug resistant infection was linked back to puppies from Petland.

Erin Shackelford with the Oklahoma Alliance For Animals (OAA) says the Tulsa area, and the state, has a major overpopulation of cats and dogs. Last year, Oklahoma euthanized about 18,000 animals, and rescues transported about 10,000 animals out of state to find homes.

Shackelford says a pet store selling unaltered animals will only make the problem worse.

OAA and other rescues encourage people to adopt pets instead of buying them commercially. There are rescues that specialize in particular breeds if you have a certain type of dog in mind.

Animal advocates plan to protest outside of the new Petland location at 71st and Garnett when it opens this weekend. They say they don’t want to get the pet store shut down, but want to spread awareness about the animal overpopulation in Oklahoma.

They are also urging Petland to partner with local shelters and rescues instead of selling puppies from breeders.

A Representative with Petland says they are excited about their new Tulsa location and dispute claims that they use puppy mills or sell sick animals.

Full statement from Petland below:

"We are aware of the protest and certainly respect their rights to voice concern. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation and inaccuracies in their claims. We are very excited to join the Tulsa community and will take great care in becoming responsible stewards. Certainly, as we have seen throughout this pandemic, the human-animal bond has been sought out in shelters and in pet stores. (see Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/12/adoptions-dogs-coronavirus/). We understand that the Tulsa Animal Welfare Center has made some tremendous strides in working towards becoming a no-kill shelter, which is outstanding. Upon reviewing the Tulsa Animal Welfare Center’s online availability, we noticed a majority of pitbull or pitbull mixes. While those are perfect for many, we know that there are people who want smaller breeds or breeds for specific needs (i.e. hypoallergenic). Petland believes consumers have the right to choose where they find their family pet and we pride ourselves on being a responsible choice with full transparency. In our more than 50-year history, we have found that Petland pets rarely end up in a shelter and our store operators often provide strong incentives and discounts for spay/neuter procedures. Petland stores also are eager to work with local shelters and rescues to help with adoption events, coordinate fundraising efforts and donations, or provide discounts to families who adopt at local shelters. In fact, the store owners have sent letters to three area shelters in the hopes of providing support and developing such a partnership and, as of yet, none of the shelters have responded.

Petland’s number one priority has always been the health and welfare of its pets. Each Petland store has a state-licensed consulting veterinarian who examines every puppy upon arrival and establishes a robust Program of Veterinary Care for the store. Petland does not buy from puppy mills, which are unregulated, unlicensed facilities. Our puppies come from three primary sources:

1. USDA licensed breeders and distributors with no Direct or Critical NCIs for the last two years and who have a veterinarian-documented socialization and exercise program and follow veterinarian protocols for skin, coat, nail and dental hygiene. They also cannot have specific Indirect NCIs on their latest inspection report (Section 2.40).

2. Hobby breeders as defined by the Animal Welfare Act, who raise their dogs in a humane manner.

3. Local adoption pets that are vet-checked.

Additionally, our franchisee, like most of our operators, is very passionate about visiting breeders frequently and seeing firsthand how the puppies and the parents are raised and cared for.

We look forward to serving the community of Tulsa with family-friendly pets and pet supplies and we invite members of the community to visit us and see the difference."