Waving signs that read "Puppy Mills Breed Cruelty," "Adopt From A Shelter," and "Prisoners of Greed," animal advocates protested outside in Aquebogue both Saturday and Sunday in an effort to raise awareness about puppy mills.
The demonstration was the second: In June, crusaders staged a similar gathering at the same spot on Route 25.
"We are educating consumers about puppy mills and the parent dogs left behind to suffer," said Barbara Dennihy of the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) on Saturday; her organization has been working to expose pet shops that allegedly use puppy mills to supply their stores.
"Many, many New York State stores use these mills or brokers who use puppy mills to stock their stores," she said. "Logic tells you that puppies don't fall out of the sky--they have to come from somewhere."
Although Scott Kaphan, owner of The Puppy Experience, was not available for immediate comment back in June, a manager at the store, John, who asked that his last name not be given, said at the time that CAPS demonstrators make stops outside many area pet stores.
"They didn't ask where our dogs come from," he said. "Our dogs come from breeders. I'd be glad to provide them with information if they would just come in and ask."
The protestors, he added, carried "horrible signs" and did not bother to give the store a chance to respond to their allegations. "They just lumped us in with everyone else -- that's what they do," he said. "We don't do anything wrong or illegal -- we just do business. I sleep at night because I get my dogs from a good place."
He added that the demonstation outside his store was just one of many scheduled stops; this weekend's was the most recent.
Dennihy said often, consumers are told the puppies they are buying are from local, professional breeders when "the puppy's health certificate tells a different story. Education of consumers is an important way to help make changes and expose the cruelty behind the puppy in the window."
Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas, Kansas, and Iowa are the leading puppy distributors to New York State pet shops, Dennihy said.