Companion Animal Protection Society Along with Animal Activists Believe that Elite Animals is Selling Pet Factory Animals and Defrauding Consumers
(Los Angeles, CA) – On Tuesday May 12, 2009 there was a meeting between Isabella Stroshnoy, the owner of Elite Animals and members of the animal protection movement at West Hollywood's City Hall. The Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) presented evidence of a puppy mill in Minnesota that supplies Elite Animals. The organizations that participated were CAPS, The Animal Legal Defense Fund, IDA, Best Friends Animal Society, The Amanda Foundation and Strangest Angels Rescue.
The evidence presented was from a CAPS investigation of a particularly cruel puppy mill in Minnesota — a puppy factory that Elite Animals admits it purchases dogs from. The evidence included graphic photographs of dogs suffering in enclosures filled with urine and feces, subject to rusted wire flooring, injured with wounds and infections. The dogs had attempted to chew their way out of the wooden whelping boxes. Many of the dogs were exposed to the elements and water containers had a thick layer of algae.
In addition to gruesome photographs from the mill, evidence of repeated incidents of non-compliance from USDA inspection reports were presented. Also disclosed were reports gathered by Pet Shop Puppies that were linked exclusively to the mill that supplies Elite Animals. The consumer reports regarding dogs from the mill in Minnesota stated dogs had congenital malformations, severe illnesses and some of the cases claimed that several dogs were so sick they had to be euthanized.
Elite Animals is violating a federal law from the Farm Bill which was passed in 2008. This law forbids the importation of live dogs into the United States from overseas for resale if the dogs are under the age of six months. Elite Animals has repeatedly offered to sell eight week-old puppies imported from Russia to CAPS undercover investigators posing as customers. Elite Animals told CAPS investigators that the dogs they sell in the store were "raised in a house" and "not from a puppy mill."
A verbal agreement was reached with Elite Animals that they would cease buying dogs while they considered the idea of converting to a humane business model. Elite Animals has agreed to provide CAPS and the Animal Legal Defense Fund with the list of breeders supplying the store for the ongoing investigation. This information should have been posted on the outside of the enclosures of the puppies in the store according to California law. Elite Animals was in non-compliance with the California puppy lemon law.
Teri Austin, president of the Amanda Foundation, an established rescue organization in Los Angeles, agreed to meet with owners of Elite Animals next week to discuss the possibility of an arrangement to hold adoptions at the store. Once Elite Animals has ceased importing animals or buying animals from factories, discussions might evolve on creating a humane business model for the store. The details for such an arrangement would be based on a binding legal agreement between Elite Animals and CAPS to stop buying, breeding or importing animals. Leaders of the animal protection movement as well as the dozens of activists who support the anti-puppy mill campaign are hopeful such a deal can be reached.
“It's disappointing that during this economic crisis when people are losing their jobs, their homes and being forced to give up their pets at shelters, some people are still buying $1000 dogs. People could be giving back to the community by relieving our municipal shelters and adopting a pet. This is a new era of social responsibility and these people could be giving that $1000 to a family in need. Furthermore, pet stores, whether they are bricks and mortar or Internet pet stores, lie. Behind the pretty store front and the attractive Web sites is the ugly reality that the puppy's parents are suffering in a canine supermax prison, never to get out alive, being forced to breed in a cage until death. Elite Animals is a particularly egregious case. Not only are they supplied by one of the worst puppy mills in the U.S., they are breaking a federal law by importing and selling underage puppies from Russia. We've got millions of abandoned dogs who need families right here at home. What we need from Russia is friendship and a shared commitment to controlling nuclear weapons, not more dogs to kill in our shelters. We need dogs from Russia like we need a hole in the head." - Carole Raphaelle Davis is the author of “The Diary of Jinky, Dog of a Hollywood Wife”, reporter for American Dog Magazine and West Coast Director of the Companion Animal Protection Society.
For more information on the Companion Animal Protection Society please contact President Deborah Howard at 781-210-0938 or visit caps-web.org. For local [California] information please contact Carole Raphaelle Davis at 310-990-5758 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For media inquires please contact Anny Deirmenjian at 781.721.4624.