Protesters organize in front of Puppy Experience on ‘National Dog Day’

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Animal rights activists have been protesting in front of Puppy Experience in Aquebogue for the past few months.

Motorists driving along Route 25 in Aquebogue Sunday afternoon beeped their car horns in support of a puppy-mill protest organized in front of the pet store Puppy Experience, where several animal rights advocates held signs and handed out pamphlets.

Barbara Dennihy of the Companion Animal Protection Society, a national animal rights organization based in Massachusetts, said her group has been protesting in front of Puppy Experience from 1 to 4 p.m. every weekend for the past few months because it believes the pet store sells puppies obtained from substandard dog-breeding facilities known as “puppy mills.”

“We’re trying to raise awareness that these puppies are coming from puppy mills,” she said. “Most people don’t know the harsh reality about puppy mills.”

About seven people from CAPS came out for Sunday’s protest, which Ms. Dennihy said was also National Dog Day. Some of their signs read: “Free Their Mothers,” “Google Puppy Mill” and “Adopt from a Shelter.”

Ms. Dennihy claims Puppy Experience purchases its puppies through Hunte Corp., a large puppy broker based in Missouri that Ms. Dennihy said purchases puppies from puppy mills . In addition, Ms. Dennihy said Puppy Experience has also done business with Kathy Bauck, a Minnesota-based dog breeder that has been convicted of animal cruelty.

While Ms. Dennihy said an attorney representing Puppy Experience sent a cease and desist letter to her organization about three weeks ago, she said her group is still allowed to protest in front of the pet shop as long as protesters remain on the sidewalk.

Ms. Dennihy described her group’s actions as a “silent protest” and said she hopes people will consider adopting animals before visiting a pet store.

“There are so many dogs available for adoption,” Ms. Dennihy said. “There’s no need for puppy mills.”

Puppy Experience employees declined comment.

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