Petland owner defends animals’ condition as controversy surrounds grand opening

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Petland Store at the Wolfcreek Shopping Center just had its grand opening Friday after being open for nearly two months, but not everyone is welcoming the business with open arms.

The nationwide pet retail store sells pet merchandise and a diverse selection of animals, but it prides itself on puppies.

The move didn’t come without controversy as thousands of people signed a petition opposing the business from opening due to concerns about them obtaining animals from puppy mills.

“First of all, I want to make clear we get all of our puppies from inspected facilities and inspect those once a quarter myself. So, I’m fully responsible for the animals I have in my facility,” said Petland owner Mike Davis.

Those concerns even went to the Memphis City council, who considered an ordinance that would’ve prevented the store from opening.

“They approved our business plan and we’re happy to be here,” Davis said. “I think we’ve delivered on every promise we’ve made to the city council.”

That includes working with local animal shelters and rescue groups.

We spoke with one woman outside of the grand opening who didn’t want to be identified. She says the store actually goes against everything these groups believe in.

“It’s just kind of upsetting to see, a little bit of a slap in the face for the work that the rescues do here in Memphis,” she said. “It’s hard to see. It’s hard to watch. Especially when I have a dog that was in my house that we just rescued because she was neglected. People bought a puppy.”

Understanding those concerns, Petland says to show its commitment to the community it’s choosing to adhere to Florida laws, which have tougher restrictions for pet retail stores.

“We require a health certificate from a vet in my store. Tennessee law does not support that,” Davis said. “So, we’ve gone above and beyond to make sure we deliver the most healthy, best and loveable pets to the community that we can.”

The owners add that each buyer has to complete a written process for the care and support of any dogs purchased to make sure they will be a responsible owner.

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