For Immediate Release:
May 4, 2023
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Portsmouth, Va. – PETA has just obtained police body camera footage of the aftermath of an incident in which a van carrying 40 puppies crashed into a ditch in Virginia Beach. The footage shows puppies crammed into small crates—up to five to a crate—and sitting in their own waste, having not been let out to relieve themselves for the entire journey of more than 600 miles from Ohio. The van belonged to transport company Project Puppy Love, which hauls puppies cross-country from puppy mills to their online purchasers—and next Friday, an owner of the company is scheduled for a Portsmouth General District Court hearing on a charge of failing to provide the animals with adequate care.
At the time of the incident, animal control officers seized the puppies and housed them overnight. They allowed the company to pick up the animals the next day but warned that the drivers must use two vans, rearrange the carriers for proper air circulation, stop regularly to provide food and water, and keep the puppies clean. Shortly afterward, a driver reported to officials that the owner had instructed them to ignore these warnings, consolidate the puppies back into one van, and drive to Florida without stopping. Officers then met the van in Portsmouth and seized 36 puppies, including one who later fell ill with potentially fatal parvovirus-like symptoms and needed veterinary care.
“The disturbing video reveals the dark, secret side of the pet trade, in which puppies bought online are driven hundreds of miles in dangerous, cramped, and filthy conditions and denied food, water, and a chance to relieve themselves,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA’s motto is “Always adopt, never shop,” because while animal shelters are overflowing with wonderful pups desperate for a home, greedy and cruel puppy breeders are kept in business by unknowing buyers.”
Purchasing animals from puppy mills and other breeders exacerbates the companion animal overpopulation crisis, which sees around 70 million dogs and cats homeless in the U.S. at any given time. Investigations of puppy mills have revealed dogs with no bedding or protection from the cold or heat, dogs given no veterinary care even when they were ill, and dogs suffering from crusty, oozing eyes, raging ear infections, mange that turned their skin into a mass of red scabs, and abscessed feet from wire floors. Genetic defects were also rampant.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.