Demand Pet Store Reform at Teacup Pup
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I used to be a frequent visitor of the store, Teacup Pup, located on Austin Street in Forest Hills, NY. The small store has puppies that could lure in any potential customer. I used to really enjoy going in there, but became gradually more aware of the problems with the store. As many know, the puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills. The definition of puppy mill is "an establishment that breeds puppies for sale, typically on an intensive basis and in conditions regarded as inhumane." Teacup Pup is no different, only offering information as to where their puppies come from to customers. That isn't as offputting as the conditions of the store.
The store is extremely cramped and small. To put this into perspecitve, the cages appear to be 1.5 feet all around. Their cleanliness is something that needs to be worked on. They have few puppies, and only require one to two workers at a time. One of which, actually seems to be working with the dogs, but I can't fairly comment on that as I'm not there all the time. On more than one instance, I have come into the store and seen the puppies crying and jumping around the cages frantically, moving in extremely repetitive patterns. It's not all the puppies that react this way, but enough to be concerning to say the least. They have a particular Yorkie named Rambo, who demonstrates signs of extreme anxiety. When I walked in, I saw him jumping from side to side in the cage repetitively and not reacting at all to any interactions with people. Multiple people tried to approach the dog's cage when I was in there, and none were able to calm him.
Naturally, I asked to take him out. The employee that seemingly actually works hands-on with the dogs said yes, but when they were done cleaning. So I waited. They went into the back of the store after a while and did not come back out. So I asked their coworker, who was sitting at the front desk, not even looking at the dogs, if I could take out Rambo. The individual told me that I come to the store a lot to pet the dogs, and that they would get in trouble if I got to take out Rambo. That was completely understandable, but the individual continued, by saying that my concern wasn't necessary because they treat their dogs "very well, and take them out almost every hour." Taking them out ALMOST every hour is not sufficient for puppies who are still developing and need socialization and close care, especially from cages that small. The individual continued with "We give them enough attention." This is quite apparently not the case. I proceeded to say that Rambo was very clearly freaking out and that there was a larger, unoccupied cage that he should be moved to. The individual said that I shouldn't worry, because Rambo is just a puppy, so "obviously he'll want to leave the cage." Speechless, I left.
This conversation I had with a Teacup Pup representative and the condition I witnessed the dogs being in definitely raised an eyebrow and made me wonder if they actually know anything about dogs. Several of the dogs were demonstrating symptoms of severe anxiety, and this was waved off as normal puppy behavior. I am not writing this out of bitterness or anger, but concern for the dogs at Teacup Pup. Like I said, this certainly isn't the first time I've seen this behavior in the dogs there, and when you do ask to try and help or express any sort of concern with the employees, they get quite passive aggressive and tell you you don't know what goes on, despite it being quite evident that these dogs are suffering. I used to love this place, and have even inquired about working there, but I am so glad they weren't hiring because it is clear these people are not animal lovers.
My intention would not be to get this store closed, because I don't want to devastate the workers at this store financially the way they have emotionally devastated the lives of these dogs. I do, however, suggest relocation, to a larger location, where they could provide the dogs with larger cages. The dogs are pretty expensive, and dogs come and go every week, so assuming they are a no-kill pet store, it shouldn't be too much of a financial burden, especially when the alternative is at the expense of the dogs' wellbeing. They have 1.5 stars on their Yelp page, which is full of people who don't approve of the way this establishment is run. I don't want this to be seen as the pet store being forced to do anything, but just accept the input of the public and consider the wellbeing of these dogs. If these demands can't be met, then I urge them to shut down the establishment, just out of their own humanity, and send the dogs to shelters where they can recover from what they've been through.
If you care for animals and are tired of puppy stores getting swept under the rug, please sign this petition and join me in urging Teacup Pup to reform the store and work towards making it a better environment for the dogs. Thank you from the bottom of my animal-loving heart, if you choose to stand with these puppies and myself. If you take away anything from this petition, I hope it is this: ADOPT, DON'T SHOP!
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