People Are Getting Drug-Resistant Infections From Petland Puppies

People in 12 states have been getting sick with the bloody diarrhea, vomiting and fever associated with a Campylobacter bacterial infection. One likely source, according to an outbreak advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the Petland pet store chain, which has long had a reputation for selling sick dogs from puppy mills.

As of Oct. 5, 55 people have tested positive for Campylobacter, including 14 Petland employees. Thirteen of them had to be hospitalized. Cases have been reported in Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Most of those people either visited a Petland store, or bought or came into contact with a dog from the store. People can become infected with Campylobacter by touching even a tiny amount ofpoop on their puppy’s fur or food bowl and then, ick, inadvertently touching their mouths.

Although the bacteria is common in puppies and dogs, such a large number of people being infected is unusual, Mark Laughlin, a CDC veterinarian, told the Washington Post.

The CDC determined that Petland was possibly ground zero for the outbreak when the stool samples it tested from store puppies contained Campylobacter that was closely related to that in the samples from the people sickened.

What’s especially troubling is that, unlike typical Campylobacter infections, the ones in this outbreak are proving to be resistant to several common antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin, clindamycin and tetracycline. Most people recover without the need for antibiotics, but treatment may be necessary for young children and adults over 65, and people with weakened immune systems.

Back in 2009, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and consumers filed a class-action lawsuit against Petland, claiming the company conspired with the puppy broker Hunte Corporation (now known as Choice Puppies) to sell sick dogs to customers in its stores nationwide. Unfortunately, the lawsuit was dismissed.

Three months ago, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a similar class-action lawsuit, alleging that Petland is engaging in a scheme to sell sick puppy-mill dogs based on fraudulent health guarantees.

Petland is insisting it “takes the health and welfare of our pets, our customers and staff very seriously,” according to a statement last month. “In a 2016 study, less than 1.2% of puppies purchased from Petland incurred any sort of medical issue requiring medical hospitalization.”

There are currently over 540 complaints about the company on ConsumerAffairs.com, most of which regard sick puppies purchased from Petland stores.

Among the rather no-brainer ways the CDC recommends to prevent a Campylobacter infection is by washing your hands after touching a dog or cleaning up their poop.

Here’s another no-brainer way to avoid it: Don’t buy a dog from Petland or any other pet store that sells dogs from puppy mills. Fortunately, more than 200 cities and counties across the U.S., including Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, have banned the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores.

Hopefully the upside of this outbreak will be the awareness it’s raising about sick dogs from puppy mills. Potential pet owners should be convinced more than ever to adopt, not shop.

Please sign and share this petition telling Petland to stop selling puppy mill dogs.

62 comments

Irene S
Irene S4 days ago

Another reason to ban puppy mills.

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heather g
heather g4 days ago

Humans get infected but surely, puppies must suffer from infections as well? It's not mentioned?

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Roslyn M
Roslyn McBride5 days ago

If this chain of pet stores has had a bad reputation for so long, why hasn't it been closed down + the puppy mill they buy from?

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Winn Adams
Winn A6 days ago

Down with ALL Puppy Mills throughout the world NOW!!!

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Terri S
Terri S6 days ago

Puppy mills need to be outlawed NOW!!!! Adopt, adopt, adopt!!!!!!!

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Nicole H

Something is bothering me already for a long time. It is the following : when I go to a shelter and adopt a dog, I am never sure where this dog is coming from ; for what reason it was brought to the shelter, who were the owners, etc.. etc... Certainly the recent years I fear that a lot of ex puppy mill pets will also end up in shelters, because of their bad health and enormous vet expenses. In Belgium, there is no official recording of where / when / for what reasons the dogs were found and brought to shelters. So, how do I know that I do NOT adopt a puppy mill dog, and find myself with a dog or cat, who is each month with the vet.. Being retired and handicapped, I have no big income. So I would have to bring the dog or cat back to the shelter. I would have sleepless nights for weeks and weeks. But how can this problem be solved ??? When I adopted my last dog Lucy, this was 20 years ago, and puppy mills (to my knowledge ) did not yet exist at that time... Difficult matter !!

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Nicole H

To Suzanne Wiesneth : Your comment is really good. Specially appreciate your "happy vomiting". But of course you are &00 % RIGHT ! DO NEVER buy a dog from a puppy mill. Regretfully, most people think that a good pet shop does NOT sell these puppy dogs. That's why I added a 2nd comment saying on what conditions you have to pay attention if you are really so inhumane and lack a grain of compassion when you absolutely want a puppy of 5/6 weeks (instead of 7/8 weeks, and for really big dogs, a week more is certainly not luxurious) that you ONLY want to have a real puppy. It is so easy to pick out a good puppy, not from a puppy mill but from a private breeder. These are arguments my vet told me when I went to see him with my SHEBA for the first time. She only was 8 weeks old, and much to his surprise, I had a puppy. Never happened before, because I always have adopted a dog from a shelter. But Sheba was an emergency case. Either her Owners would bring her to the vet to have her euthanized, unless I took her. We had Lucy, the German Shepherd by that time, and I did not hesitate and told the Owners : provided these 2 get along with each other, I will take her. And luckily our Lucy adopted her "daughter" and she was with me for over 16 years. Very happy and lucky years for all of us.

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Sherry Kohn
Sherry K6 days ago

OMG !

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Joanna P
Joanna P6 days ago

Why not go the whole hog and ban selling pets? This would solve the overpopulation problem quite fast as people stop breeding. We should not profit financially from pets.

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Danuta W
Danuta W6 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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