The Humane Society of the United States says some dog vendors are selling sick dogs and lying to shoppers about where the puppies came from.
When undercover Humane Society investigators headed to Canton’s “Dog Alley” this summer, they found unlicensed breeders selling sick dogs, and underage puppies with unopened eyes.
“Canton is one of the largest flea markets in the country that sells puppy mill dogs, and it was incredibly disturbing there to see the things we were seeing,” said Melanie Kahn, who was a part of the investigation.
Kahn helped trace shipping documents that proved many dogs at dog alley came from inhumane puppy mill breeding operations in and outside the state.
“There is no way that if pet store owners and flea market owners were telling consumers the truth about where the dogs were coming from, that consumers would be buying them. So instead they either don’t tell consumers the truth or outright lie,” Kahn says.
Breeder dishonesty is something Tyler dog lover John David Carrasco knows first hand. He recently spent $350 on what he thought was a Timberland Wolf/Husky mix from Dog Alley in Canton.
“They gave us some documentation stating that the dog was 98.9 percent Timberland Wolf, saying apparently that was the percentage allowed in the state of Texas,” Carrasco says.
Then he took the dog to get shots and found out the truth.
“The vet told us it was illegal to have that type of dog in our possession, due to the type of dog that it was,” Carrasco said.
He said he’ll never buy from a flea market again, and now he’s also out $350.
“It was heartbreaking and heart wrenching for us to have to give her back.”
He hopes his story will prompt others to think twice.
Kahn said you always need to do your homework when bringing a dog into your family. She said adoption centers and shelters are always the best way to go, because they have to have information on hand about the dog’s health and where it came from.
If you’re at a flea market and fall in love with a dog there, Kahn said not to buy it right then and there. Ask to visit the breeder’s home or breeding location to meet the dog’s parents and see where it was bred. If the breeder said you can’t go, that’s a huge red flag.
Kahn said she reported all abuse she saw from the investigation to law enforcement, but to her knowledge, nothing was ever done. She is pushing for new laws prohibiting animal sales at flea markets.