063641 Prnphotos055615 ASPCA LOGO N`063 1 1 1 2HighDec. 4, 2012 - As part of its national "No Pet Store Puppies" campaign, the ASPCA today announced with a newly released poll conducted by Edge Research that 37 percent of Americans, roughly 88 million people, plan to buy a gift for a pet this holiday season. Based on the number of pet gift shoppers and an average spending of $30 per person, Americans could spend more than $2.5 billion on pets during this year's holiday season. The ASPCA is urging consumers to help fight puppy mill cruelty by refusing to shop at pet stores and on websites that sell puppies.

"Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills," said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign. "The holidays are one of the busiest times of year for pet stores, and unfortunately, many consumers are unaware they are supporting the inhumane puppy mill industry by shopping for anything at stores and websites selling puppies. Supporting these businesses only serves to perpetuate animal suffering."

According to the new research, 87 percent of consumers plan to conduct their pet gift shopping at retail stores, rather than online.  Unfortunately, 59 percent of pet gift shoppers would consider buying gifts at a store that also sells puppies—meaning some of that $2.5 billion in revenue may be supporting the puppy mill industry. As part of its No Pet Store Puppies campaign, the ASPCA is releasing a new holiday video called "Puppies Are Not Toys," and encourages viewers to share the video with their social networks, thereby raising awareness about the connection between pet store puppies and puppy mills. Operators of puppy mills breed dogs in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. The ASPCA believes that consumer action is a critical element in the fight against puppy mills. Urging consumers not to shop for anything—including puppies and supplies—at stores that sell puppies is an effective way to stop the demand for puppy mill dogs. "Consumers who purchase a puppy from a pet store or website run the risk of taking home an unhealthy puppy in addition to the likelihood of supporting a cruel industry," Menkin added. "We urge anyone looking for a new pet this holiday season to adopt a loving animal from a shelter so that the puppy mill industry becomes unsustainable."

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