Humane Society investigation leads to discovery of dead puppy in pet store freezer

Dead puppies, including one kept in a plastic bag in the freezer, were allegedly found inside a Petland store in Kennesaw, Georgia, according to a report by the Humane Society of the United States.

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An undercover investigator for the nonprofit worked at the Petland from September to November, and the organization released its report Tuesday.

An employee told the investigator she sometimes found puppies who had "passed away" when she came in for work. It allegedly happened about three times during a four-month period.

The investigator also saw a black plastic bag in a freezer, which allegedly contained a dead puppy. The report included video and photos of the alleged dead animal.

Petland spokeswoman Elizabeth Kunzelman sent a statement, which said, in part:

"For over 50 years, Petland's number one priority has been the health and welfare of its pets ... HSUS's annual 'undercover investigation' of Petland inaccurately portrays information in an effort to boost end of year fundraising efforts and to spread their anti-pet agenda."

The Humane Society report also mentions instances of a large breed puppy allegedly being dropped while being taken out of a cage and short of 15-second veterinary examinations performed by kennel staff.

Kunzelman’s statement refuted that kennel staff performed examinations, saying “each Petland store has a licensed consulting veterinarian and that veterinarian establishes the care of the pets and protocols in the store.”

The Humane Society also accused Petland of getting some of its puppies from an Indiana distributor called Blue Ribbon Puppies, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tied to an outbreak of Campylobacter, a drug-resistant disease that infected more than 100 people. The CDC report alleges that those who got sick mostly contracted the illness through Petland puppies.

Kunzelman's statement said the report is distorting the CDC report, saying "The CDC never stated Petland over-medicated its puppies; Campylobacter is commonly found in puppies, regardless of source ... An independent analysis of claims of illnesses with Petland puppies showed that less than 1.2 percent of all puppies that went home incurred any sort of severe medical issue requiring medical hospitalization."

The Humane Society said it placed the undercover investigator at the Kennesaw Petland, and placed another investigator at a Petland in Las Vegas, because, since 2006, it has received more than 1,200 complaints related to sick puppies at Petland stores across the nation.

Highlighted was a specific complaint from 2017, which involved Dr. Michael Good, a veterinarian who wrote a witness affidavit about many diseases he saw in puppies at the Kennesaw store.

Kunzelman's statement said, "Dr. Good's testimony has been refuted numerous times in court ... We are very disappointed that HSUS did not reach out to us with any concerns as we have always urged them to contact us directly as it relates to the health and care of our pets."

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