Protesters associate pet shop with puppy mills; shop disputes claim

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A group of protesters claim pet store "Animal Kingdom," inside Arizona Mills Mall is not careful enough about the breeders they buy from. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A group of protesters claim pet store "Animal Kingdom," inside Arizona Mills Mall is not careful enough about the breeders they buy from. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The protesters want more people to adopt dogs rather than buying them from a store. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The protesters want more people to adopt dogs rather than buying them from a store. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A group of people protested outside Arizona Mills Mall Sunday, trying to dissuade people from going to a pet shop inside the mall that they claims buys from puppy mills. But the shop disputes that claim.

"Puppy mills are basically factory farms for dogs, so these dogs live their lives in a kennel or cage and bred over and over and over again," said Nicole Galvan, who was at the protest. She said her own dog is a puppy mill survivor.

"She was used to breed her entire first part of her life, first five to seven years of her life," Galvan said. "She bred so many times she has bone density issues and her legs are collapsing underneath her."

Galvan claims pet store "Animal Kingdom," inside Arizona Mills Mall is not careful enough about the breeders they buy from. 

"They've been asked several times to go to a humane model and they have no interest in doing so," Galvan said.

A spokeswoman for the shop tells us that's just not true; they list all of their breeders on their website and inspect them twice a year. They also say they have strict rules for breeders, like having climate-controlled kennels, and big areas where the pets can run.

But in the past, even Phoenix and Tempe city councils have tried to ban the sale of animals from commercial breeders. 

"Unfortunately, the local ordinances passed by those cities were overturned when the state Legislature passed a law to protect the pet store saying cities can no longer regulate pet sales," Galvan said. That's SB1248; the governor signed it two years ago, saying "shutting down the good guys will do nothing to stop the bad actors."

Galvan said now, she'd like to see stricter USDA standards and more people adopting. 

"Of course, we want people to adopt," Galvan said. "There's a lot of homeless dogs in the world that they could find a perfect companion for their family from any number of rescues."

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Lindsey ReiserLindsey Reiser is a Scottsdale native and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

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Lindsey Reiser

Lindsey returned to the Valley in 2010 after covering border and immigration issues in El Paso, TX. While in El Paso she investigated public corruption, uncovered poor business practices, and routinely reported on the violence across the border.

Lindsey feels honored to have several awards under her belt, including a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award, Hearst Journalist Award, and several National Broadcast Education Association Awards.

Lindsey is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and she currently serves as a mentor to journalism students. She studied for a semester in Alicante, Spain and also earned a degree in Spanish at ASU.

She is proud to serve as a member of United Blood Services’ Community Leadership Council, a volunteer advisory board for the UBS of Arizona.

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