NHL’s ‘Puppy Challenge’ Prompts Pro-Adoption Appeal

PETA Encourages Goal-Scoring Players to Get Fans to Save Dogs’ Lives by Adopting, Not Buying

For Immediate Release:
January 11, 2017

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

As the “puppy challenge” sweeps the National Hockey League (NHL)—and children at games hold up signs proclaiming that if their favorite player scores, their parents will get them a puppy named after him—PETA sent a letter this morning calling on NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to encourage players who participate in the challenge to promote adoption.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that millions of dogs and cats end up in animal shelters every year and that half of them have to be euthanized because there aren’t enough good homes for them. While buying from puppy mills, pet stores, and breeders contributes to the homeless-animal overpopulation crisis, adopting saves a life.

“PETA is encouraging the NHL to take advantage of this terrific opportunity to save countless dogs’ lives,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Not only would Puppy Challenge participants listen to their favorite players’ pleas to adopt, legions of fans all over North America would also be motivated to follow their example.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman follows.

January 11, 2017

Gary Bettman

Commissioner of the National Hockey League

Dear Commissioner Bettman,

Greetings from PETA and our more than 5 million members and supporters worldwide. I have a simple but very important request of the NHL: Please, will you kindly consider encouraging players who participate in the “puppy challenge” to ask their fans to adopt their puppies instead of purchasing them?

Millions of dogs and cats will enter animal shelters in the U.S. this year. Nearly half of them will be euthanized for lack of a good home. Puppy mills, pet stores, and breeders exacerbate the animal-homelessness crisis by continuing to bring a steady stream of dogs and cats into a world that already has no place for many of them to go. Every time someone buys a puppy from a breeder, another dog in an animal shelter loses his or her shot at a family—and the cycle continues.

You probably know that the puppy mills that supply most pet stores warehouse mother dogs inside tiny cages and decrepit outdoor hutches and breed them again and again, until their spent bodies can no longer produce litters. Even if people purchase animals from a “hobby breeder,” no breeding can be considered responsible when there’s such an overpopulation crisis. If people have their heart set on a certain breed, they can still adopt, since 25 percent of dogs in shelters are “purebred” and breed-specific rescues abound.

People who breed animals to sell as commodities will keep on doing so as long as someone is willing to pay for them. But the price paid by animals in shelters is much higher. NHL players have a terrific opportunity to save dogs’ lives by requesting that their namesake animals be rescues. Not only would puppy challenge participants likely adopt, legions of fans would also be motivated to do so.

I’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have and provide you with literature about adoption to share with your teams. Thank you for considering this lifesaving move for animals.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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