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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Petland and Hunte

Posted: Monday, August 10, 2009, 4:38 p.m., EDT

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Petland and HunteA federal district court judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit against Petland of Chillicothe, Ohio and its suppliers that claimed the companies conspired to sell unhealthy puppies.

United States District Judge David Campbell ruled on Aug. 7 that the complaint does not show a direct relationship between the allegedly unhealthy puppies purchased by the plaintiffs and the “purported fraudulent scheme.”

The lawsuit was filed March 16 in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, Ariz., by several Petland consumers, two of which are members of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). It alleged Petland, which has more than 200 full-service pet centers, and its suppliers, including The Hunte Corp. of Goodman, Mo., “orchestrated and executed a scheme to defraud consumers by manufacturing a fictitious market for puppy mill puppies.”

According to Campbell’s ruling, the plaintiffs failed to provide enough evidence to support the claim that Petland “formed a scheme to defraud” or that their injuries were caused by Petland’s alleged misconduct. In addition, fraud claims based on Petland “misrepresenting and concealing the origins of puppies” do not hold up, Campbell said, because the company doesn’t have an “independent duty” to disclose such information to consumers.

With regard to The Hunte Corp., Campbell’s ruling said the plaintiffs admitted that the Petland puppies they purchased were not supplied by Hunte and “have not shown otherwise that they have suffered an injury at the hands of Hunte.”

In his order, Campbell gave the plaintiffs until Aug. 29 to file an amended complaint. HSUS spokeswoman Loraine Miscavage said they planned to do so before the deadline.

Petland and Hunte have vehemently denied the claims made against them in the lawsuit. In a statement issued on Aug. 8, Petland said HSUS had touted the lawsuit “in furtherance of its fundraising and media campaign, seeking to end the sale of animals through pet stores.”

Petland said it believes strongly that consumers have the right to purchase and keep pets. The company also expressed support for quality breeding and industry standards to ensure healthy and well-socialized pets. <HOME>

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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Petland and Hunte

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Reader Comments
It's nice to see the truth triumph for a change
Mike, Joplin, MO
Posted: 8/13/2009 11:37:08 AM
I've seen where people have commented that HSUS's reputation invalidates their charges against Petland or that Petland is deserving of pity. I'm familiar with the taint on HSUS. I stopped donating after finding that most of my money went into lobbying, administrative fees, and the such. However, I don't think this absolves pet stores from the real horrors of puppy mills. I've seen two petstores in my own city come and go...though only after years of operating and "homing" pets. One had a blind pomeranian whom I convinced the owner to turn over to me so I could rehome it. It had been living in a small crate for over a year, hair matted with feces, constantly spun in circles. My Giod. When I of how that poor dog lived all those weeks, days, hours...just the thought of it makes me squirm. The other pet store was just as bad. Many of its puppies had kennel cough while they were in the store, and I would bet everything I owned that the owner of that store had never visited a single breeder's facilities. Why do we need pet stores with live dogs and cats anyways? Convenience? The mall of pets? That's not a good enough reason to continue having avenues of animal abuse in shopping centers all over the country/world. Breeders, shelters, putting time and a little bit of effort into adopting a living, breathing creature that will become a part of your family unit. Do I feel sorry for Petland? No. They're the necessary casualty of a changing market.
Sandy, Valdosta, GA
Posted: 8/12/2009 7:48:47 AM
“When this lawsuit was first filed, we stated that it was frivolous and untrue,” said Steve Rook, President of The Hunte Corporation. “We applaud the Court’s decision.”

Since 1991, Hunte has been committed to providing the happiest, healthiest purebred puppies to consumers. Andrew
Hunte, the founder and CEO of The Hunte Corporation, said “We’re in this business because we know how important well bred, healthy pets are to families. Everything we do, have done and will do in the future is designed to ensure the safety, wellbeing and superior quality care of the puppies in our care. Since day one, we’ve continued to reinvest in facilities, staff, veterinarians, education and animal care innovation, and we have implemented a unique, comprehensive puppy care program that is second to none.”

The animal rights suit alleged that Hunte sold sick puppies to Petland. Hunte categorically denied this allegation. The Court, in a careful and detailed decision, found that this allegation had no factual basis.

The Hunte Corporation, headquartered in Southwest Missouri, is the largest puppy distributor in the world and is staffed by professional veterinarians, veterinary technicians and a host of other highly-trained pet care professionals. The Hunte Corporation facility features state-of-the-art air purification systems within each kennel and a unique and fully-customized transportation system designed exclusively for the protection, care and comfort of puppies.

For more information, including a virtual tour of Hunte’s unique facility, please visit
Mike, Goodman, MO
Posted: 8/11/2009 9:08:22 AM
PETLAND is no different than any other pet store and they too sell purebreds, so I don't know why HSUS picked on Petland so much.

I lost total respect for Humane Society of the United States since they are working with Micheal Vick, who according to the USDA report, Vick has even thrown in FAMILY PETS into dog fighting rings because he thought it was funny (to watch them get eviscerated and limbs torn out of sockets while screaming in agony)-Vick has been dog fighting for YEARS and I do NOT understand why they are helping Vick get his NFL job back-so America can cheer a dog fighter? This tells me A LOT about their organization.

Luke, Tampa, FL
Posted: 8/11/2009 6:32:19 AM
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