Puppy mill protestors who spent months demonstrating on Route 25 in Aquebogue last year have embarked upon an advertising campaign.
Deborah A. Howard, president of the Companion Animal Protection Society, said ad posters have been placed in both Long Island Rail Road and MTA Metro-North Railroad cars.
The goal of the two different ads, called "Models Against Pet Shops and Puppy Mills," Howard, said, is to raise awareness about puppy mills and pets shops.
So far, Howard said, 400 ads have been placed on the LIRR and 300 on Metro-North -- and the response, she said, has been favorable. In the first two weeks the ads were up, approximately 700 commuters visited the CAPS website, she said.
"It is really impressive," Howard said. "We chose to run ads on the LIRR and Metro-North commuter trains to reach prospective pet shop consumers and to generate interest in CAPS' work on behalf of pet shop and puppy mill animals. There are at least 150 pet shops selling puppies and kittens in the areas covered by these trains – New York City, Westchester County, Long Island, and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut."
CAPS protestors stood outside the Puppy Experience in Aquebogue last year; the protests ceased during the winter months.
After months of protesters gathering outside The Puppy Experience on Route 25 in Aquebogue, Scott Kaphan, owner of the Puppy Experience, said information was gathered and a lawsuit could be coming.
CAPS members were demonstrating outside the Puppy Experience in an effort to raise awareness about puppy mills. One week, police were called after demonstrators parked at the nearby Aquebogue Elementary School parking lot; Kaphan's attorney sent CAPS and cease and desist letter and said a lawsuit could follow.
Eventually, Kaphan broke his silence over the protests and spoke to Patch about the ongoing issue.
Kaphan said he believed his shop was being individually "targeted" and asked why the protesters were not utilizing their resources to fly to the sites of puppy mills across the country. "They're not going to other puppy stores, they're not going to animal shelters, where the conditions are disgusting. They're only 'educating' in front of my store, so it's a target."
Kaphan added, "If their goal is to educate, they should be going to other puppy stores -- those same 10 or 15 people should be spreading out and going to other regions to apply their knowledge to other areas of the community, but they're not in front of anyone else's business. This is a discriminatory thing against the Puppy Experience."
Howard, CAPS president, said the CAPS organization has regularly weekly protests, that are listed on their website, in a numerous locations, including San Diego, Long Island, outside of Chicago, in Los Angeles, and in other areas of California.
The ads are another effort to raise awareness, Howard said, about pet stores not only on Long Island, but in upstate New York and Connecticut.
"We are not trying to shut the store down," Howard said, of the Puppy Experience. "We are just trying to get it to go humane."