Officials Urged to Investigate Local Pet Store Over False Advertising, Ties to Puppy Farms

For Immediate Release:
January 12, 2023

David Perle 202-483-7382

Chesapeake, Va. – Today, PETA sent a formal complaint to City of Chesapeake Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew R. Hamel urging him to investigate and take appropriate action against Family Pet Center (FPC) for what appear to be clear violations of Virginia’s deceptive advertising law, noting that the store obtains dogs from notorious puppy mills, despite claiming on its website that it doesn’t.

The complaint details a case in which an FPC customer purchased a puppy for $1,900, who was obtained from BJ’s & Guys, one of FPC’s biggest puppy mill suppliers. Within a few weeks, the guardian noticed neurological health problems in the puppy—such as running into walls, stumbling, and falling over—and surrendered the dog to PETA. The group later transferred the dog to a partner adoption organization, and the nonprofits spent over $6,000 in medical care for the animal.

PETA points out that puppy mill puppies are 41.6% more likely to develop health issues than the general population of dogs and that “pet stores that sell puppies from puppy mills typically charge thousands of dollars for them and promote sky-high interest loans to finance the purchase” while customers often end up having to “spend much more in veterinary care for illnesses or genetic defects.”

“Family Pet Center is duping customers into spending thousands of dollars on puppies from massive mills or puppy factory farms, which use mother dogs as breeding machines until their bodies give out,” says PETA Foundation General Counsel for Animal Law Jared Goodman. “PETA is calling on law enforcement to investigate the shop for deceptive advertising and is calling on everyone to choose to adopt from animal shelters.”

The complaint to Hamel also addresses issues raised in PETA’s recent cease and desist letter to FPC owner Corine Cowan, demanding that the store remove the false claims, including that the U.S. Department of Agriculture slapped BJ’s & Guys with federal Animal Welfare Act citations after finding dogs without adequate housing in extreme temperatures and dogs left to suffer with untreated injuries and ailments.

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 on PETA’s newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind