Demonstrators who have gathered outside The Puppy Experience in Aquebogue to raise awareness about puppy mills are concerned about public safety.
Barbara Dennihy, of the Companion Animal Protection Society said this week that demonstrators who congregate on Route 25 outside the store on weekends are "very concerned" about the number of cars that cross the double yellow line to enter and leave the parking lot of The Puppy Experience.
While Dennihy acknowledged that Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said it is not illegal for cars to turn into the lot -- the turns would only be illegal if a sign were posted stating so -- she said the drivers making turns in and out of the lot across the double yellow line pose danger.
"With all the traffic, this practice is a bad accident waiting to happen," Dennihy said.
Dennihy, who has been organizing with fellow CAPS demonstrators for months, also said she noticed new tarp had been placed across the sidewalk to the entrance of the store.
"Our guess is too many customers see us and ask questions," Dennihy said. "They are trying to hide the fraudulence of the source of their puppies from the public behind the tarp. We will continue to educate consumers about the truth behind puppy mills and puppy stores. So many people have been stopping and asking questions. They are stunned to learn the truth and the facts about puppy stores and puppy mills."
Also, Dennihy said that The Puppy Experience has set up plastic pumpkins to spell out "Puppy Picking" outside the store. "This is a reference to pumpkin picking," she said. "Puppies are not vegetables. Puppies are living, breathing companion animals. Puppies cost money to keep healthy. Puppies need to be housebroken. Puppies need to be trained. Puppies take a lot of time, to properly care for them. People tend to forget these things when they are tempted by the cute puppies."
The Puppy Experience Owner Scott Kaphan has spoken out against the protestors, stating that they are unfairly targeting his business -- and that the efforts of demonstrators would be better directed at actual puppy mills across America. In addition, Kaphan has said a lawsuit would be leveled at the protestors. Kaphan said he is also helping puppies through a new adoption component at his store.
Depite threats of a lawsuit and a request to cease and desist, protestors have continued to stand outside The Puppy Experience. One weekend, police were called after a protestor parked in the Aquebogue Elementary School lot.
The Puppy Experience owner Kaphan declined to comment on Dennihy's most recent statements.