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It just got a little bit harder to buy a puppy from a pet store, thanks to the surprise shuttering of Lambriar, one of the largest pet brokers in the country.

It’s very good news: Lambriar worked as a middleman, buying thousands of puppies from breeders, transporting them across country, and selling them to pet stores. Some of those breeders it bought from were puppy mills. Lambriar supporters would have you think differently, screaming that all the breeders the company bought from were “USDA licensed.” OK, fine, they’re USDA-licensed puppy mills. (They’re still puppy mills.)

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Three cute puppies locked in a cage photo by Shutterstock.com.

Just ask the ASPCA, which has a disparaging page on so-called “USDA licensed breeders.” Here’s a taste:

The standards of care required by the USDA are woefully inadequate and not what most of us would consider humane. They leave a lot of room for dogs to be severely mistreated. Even if they were adequate, they’re not enforced! Take a look at a scathing report done by the Inspector General on USDA’s lax enforcement of the law regulating breeders (heads up, it’s a little graphic!) and judge for yourself whether USDA licensing of puppy mills is enough to make you shop at stores that sell puppies.

Correction: The report is a lot graphic. Use caution clicking that link.

You can also dip into any number of online message boards damming Lambriar, both the company’s practices and the health of the puppies it sells. It has become quite a thing.

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Puppy looks through his cage photo by Shutterstock.com.

The ASPCA, appropriatly, is celebrating Lambriar’s closure.

“Brokers are an important cog in the wheel of the cruel and inhumane puppy mill industry,” writes Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA’s Puppy Mills Campaign, in a blog post about the shuttering of Lambriar. “We have been working hard to shed light on the link between puppy mills and pet store puppies, and it seems to be working! As more and more people take our ‘No Pet Store Puppies’ pledge not to buy anything in stores that sell puppies, the industry will continue to feel the ripple effects and be forced to make changes.”

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Indeed, it seems to be working. As for those defending Lambrair, er … well, there’s the local paper ’round there, The Belleville Telescope, which placed the blame squarely on the economy, and the government, and “never-ending bashing by animal rights groups.”

Yep, that line appeared in a newspaper.

“A continued flagging economy, increased government regulations, and never-ending bashing by animal rights groups are the culprit,” writes Telescope publisher Fred Arnold, probably before chasing some kids off the Telescope‘s lawn.

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Dogs in captivity photo by Shutterstock.com.

Fred goes on, “Out of courtesy and friendship for Lambriar owners, Roger and Darlene Lambert, we sat on the story for some weeks until they were ready to make their announcement public.” Who says hard-hitting reporting is dead? (Fred also fondly notes that the Lambriars indirectly gave him his first full-time job, in the mid-1970s. Put down the pen, Fred!)

Kidding aside, this is a serious issue with a happy outcome. Don’t buy puppies from pet stores. Don’t buy anything at all from stores that sell puppies. Let your voice be heard through your wallet.


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