Original Russo's Pet Experience Now Targeted by Puppy Mill Foes

Categories: Grrranimals
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Animal rights groups claiming Russo's Pet Experience sells puppies raised in mills managed to pressure the Irvine Co. to end the pet store's lease at one Irvine shopping center and the Irvine City Council to ban such retailers outright.

Now, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL) are targeting the Russo's Pet Experience store at the chain's original location, the Irvine Co.'s Fashion Island.

A "puppy mill awareness outreach event" runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday outside Russo's Pet Experience at 1013 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, according to an email from Action Team Coordinator Eric Deardorff of PETA.

"
This outreach event against Russo's, a local pet store, will focus on puppy mills and the millions of animals euthanized every year because of a lack of good homes," he explains. "Please bring friends and family members if you can!"

But the pet store chain's owner, Dan DiGiacomo, has said he has families on his side, explaining he would not still be in business without having built strong customer loyalty. His first Russo's opened at Fashion Island in 1968, and his clientele has included John Wayne's family.

Further, DiGiacomo maintains he only gets pets from licensed breeders and kennels that he has personally visited, and that veterinarians examine his pets weekly. His arguments did not sway the Irvine Co. and Irvine City Council when it came to saving his Irvine Spectrum store, however.

Those who want to attend Saturday's event are asked to RSVP via e-mail to APRL's Brenda Calvillo or through PETA's Facebook page. Participants are advised, "Please dress conservatively," so don't bother picking up the puppy suit at the cleaners.

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34 comments
Elizabeth Gingerlocks
Elizabeth Gingerlocks

There was a time in U.S. history where we used to buy & sell people from otherpeople. we would buy them, frequently cage or chain them, make them labor for us,force them to produce goods for us, frequently brutalize them, & humiliate them forour entertainment & give them just enough of what they needed to survive to thepoint where they could continue to do our work. We are clearly living in the samehistorical place with concern to companion animals. The opposition may say: they are animals & do not have the same rights to themselves as we do or they do not feel the same injustice that we would in their place. So I ask then what is it about nonhumans that we as humans find so irrelevant.

Do they have the capabilities to feel horrific physical pain ? YES. Do they mourn each other when their family members die & suffer in captivity? YES. Do they long for happiness &comfort, a full belly, grass to run through, the kind of life their nature intended? We as humans have domesticated dogs to be companions to us & our families & so we owe them. We owe them more than to be caged, trapped, starved, ignored, surgically debarked, severely heat or cold air deprived, made to live in their own excrement & those of others, to be frequently left for dead. or to suffer unimaginable pain when their arm become stuck in wire cages where they live every moment of their lives, to go mad as they cry to even walk across the ground they have never touched or run the earth in the wild where we belong. We owe them more than to be killing them at record numbers in our local shelters weekly as if their lives never were of value at all.

Elizabeth Gingerlocks
Elizabeth Gingerlocks

The excuses that we give in order to continue to profit off of the enslavement of these beings that we claim to love so much are never plausible. They speak a different language than we do. They are not as sophisticated as us. They are easily dominated because we are bigger than them. These are the same reasons that have been used historically to oppress others and we look back in shame at this. And we marvel at those who did something about it, who spoke up, who changed the world for the countless who were nameless and suffering. I am asking you to align yourselves with the same prestige as those who have stood up for the less fortunate. We are begging those in power.. to stop the sale of the “products” that make it possible for shop owners to continue to profit off of the enslavement of these beautiful animals…to halt the “business” that keeps these animals in shackles & their babies from taking the homes that were meant for a shelter animal.

Elizabeth Gingerlocks
Elizabeth Gingerlocks

The excuses that we give in order to continue to profit off of the enslavement of these beings that we claim to love so much are never plausible. They speak a different language than we do. They are not as sophisticated as us. They are easily dominated because we are bigger than them. These are the same reasons that have been used historically to oppress others and we look back in shame at this. And we marvel at those who did something about it, who spoke up, who changed the world for the countless who were nameless and suffering. I am asking you to align yourselves with the same prestige as those who have stood up for the less fortunate. We are begging those in power.. to stop the sale of the “products” that make it possible for shop owners to continue to profit off of the enslavement of these beautiful animals…to halt the “business” that keeps these animals in shackles & their babies from taking the homes that were meant for a shelter animal.

claudia
claudia

Good News! They should take direction from the pet store at Westside Pavillion:

LA Love & Leashes-- First Floor (across from Victoria's Secret)Westside Pavilion Mall10800 West Pico BlvdLA, CA 90064

This store has only Los Angeles AnimalServices animals – both dogs and cats!!

This store has only Los Angeles AnimalServices animals – both dogs and cats!!

Lori
Lori

What bothers me the most is Dan DiGiacomo stating that "he only gets pets from licensed breeders and kennels that he has personally visited", as though that has some positive merit. The issue is that the puppies are still coming from breeders, people who are producing puppies for profit when millions of wonderful dogs are being euthanized annually for lack of decent homes. Until every homeless animal is in a loving home, no one should be producing more of them. The fact that DiGiacomo is supporting these venal money grubbers is reason enough that he be put out of business.  

Barbara Davilman
Barbara Davilman

Dan GiGiacomo, sadlly, you're not doing anything illegal.  Commercial breeding of companion animals is still allowed in this country.  Those of us who rescue and rehabilitate 'breed bitches' know the horrors of what these commercial breeders do to the Toots' mothers and are working on many levels to make it stop.   But since there is SO MUCH FRIGGIN MONEY INVOLVED we can't depend on the government to step in and outlaw all commercial breeding as quickly as they can...say...pass laws banning gay marriage so we're trying to do it in the court of public opinion.    There are now Adopt Shops opening up in malls all across the country that take city shelter dogs out and adopt them in a store at a FRACTION of the cost.  Plus, you get to feel great that you saved a life while adopting your new best friend.    Here's what's so horrifying:  SHELTERS ARE KILLING PUPPIES EVERY SINGLE DAY while customers are paying $2500 for a puppy in a pet store.  My suggestion?  Don't pretend this will all go away like the recording and publishing industries did with the digital tsunami.  Get ahead of the wave, quit dealing in torture and slavery and go humane NOW.  Call Best Friends, they'll show you how you can make just as much money without selling mill dogs.  Do it.  Do it not because you're pressured to do it but do it because it's the right and human and financially sound thing to do.

Carole Sax
Carole Sax

It's time for Newport Beach to go humane!  These puppies come from puppy mills where dogs are suffering right now in freezing weather.  The O.C. Shelter is overcrowded killing adoptable dogs daily.  Stop the insanity and follow the lead of so many cities GO HUMANE!  Rescue/Adopt and stop supporting puppy mills.  Puppy mills are legal, these puppy stores that lie are legal, the only way is to stop buying and adopt/rescue.  Rescue only stores are the way of the future.  I have been volunteering lately at "Love & Leashes" at the Westside Pavillion, it's fabulous and people are loving it, dogs & cats are finding homes daily.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Okay bottom line? Dogs and Cats aren't cattle, they aren't property and they aren't dollar signs. They are living beings that we are blessed to have as companions. COMPANIONS not property. People who oppose those who want to put a stop to the puppy mill and puppy broker trade are absolutely heartless, ignorant and don't deserve to share the air we breathe. We are all for capitalism, free enterprise, and profit. However, life is not a profit, breeding dogs over and over in an already overpopulated nation is cruel and inhumane. Many would be opposed to us locking women up and forcing them to have baby after baby only to be sold to a family who wants a newborn child so what makes anyone think this is anything different? Just because animals can't talk does not mean bastards like this can do what they want to make a buck. We are their voices and they have the same feelings we do. This business needs to be shut down and this man needs to be thrown in jail for life and banned from even being within 100 ft of an animal.

Tara
Tara

I'm sure everyone who breeds dogs likes to call themselves "a reputable breeder".   I think everyone should stop breeding dogs until such time as all the homeless and unwanted ones have homes.   If you want a specific breed, there are countless purebreds in shelters.

guest
guest

At last check one of the breeders had over 400 dogs and 115 breeding dogs so the offspring could be sold to research labs.  USDA reports indicate "inadequate housing", "chewed up food bowls, dirty water".  People who think having dogs live 365 days in a kennel with no exercise, little to no human interactioin is o.k. are the extremists - extremely cruel.  Do your research, we have.

Carringten
Carringten

Dan's arguments did not sway the Irvine Co. and Irvine City Council because they had legal and irrefutable proof that he was LYING.  Dan does use UNLICENSED BREEDERS.  Just look at the comments on this page by  Katherine Marcell an UNLICENSED BREEDER who brags about her supplying Dogs SOLD IN HIS STORE and confirms that both she and another BACKYARD BREEDER Lorraine Shannon supplied him many dogs he sold in VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA AND U.S. LAW.

Katherine Marcell
Katherine Marcell

During the late '60's and 70's I had Russo's sell a few of my Lhasa Apsos I was breeding. I was told they only accepted AKC registered puppies and only from reputable breeders. Another "backyard" breeder, Lorraine Shannon also used Russos. I no longer breed or live near Russos but if the new owners are continuing what Russo started I would trust them. I have never known or heard of Russo's EVER having puppies from a puppy mill.Katherine Marcell

Garethdavies35
Garethdavies35

I purchased a great dog from Russo's in Irvine Spectrum, but I do believe there might be too many dogs being bred. The results will probably show up in the number of unwanted dogs being put down at the humane society. Where the happy medium is, is anyone's guess. A study would only be a snapshot in time, and many studies are done with a bias depending on who pays for the study. PETA may be a little extreme, but someone has to watch out for the animals.

Mary
Mary

Amazing that the Irvine Company or Donald Bren would listen to the likes of PETA and other crazies.  I always thought Donald Bren was a business man and thus respects free enterprise; obviously I was wrong.  Perhaps he will allow the occupy wall street group to camp out on his property next................. Reasonable citizens of NB and the surrounding areas should shop Russo's on Saturday to show their support for Russo's.  These will probably be the same wackos that attacked I Heart Pet Shop in CDM, they all swim together.

suecostanzo
suecostanzo

Dan runs a great Business in Fashion Island and PETA is over reaching as usual in the rights of a Business owner who is responsible and worthy of his location, I will fight to keep him there in this location, as I own 2 of his wonderful Dogs.....toots a 10 1/2 year old Bernese Mountain dog....which by the way, she has exceeded her average life span by at least 3 years maybe 4...I have known others who have purchased from Breeders and have passed away much earlier or have hip dysplasia. My other Pekepoo is 3 and a picture of Health!! So I defy anyone to bring facts to the forefront that Dan does not have healthy pets!! Facts not fiction....PETA is extreme and must cease and desist. If I were Dan, I woud start legal action to accuse them of Defamation of character and loss of business.....and go for damages.....we, the Community will support him monetarily and probably hold a fundraiser as well!Sue costanzo, Newport Coast, CA

FI Mom
FI Mom

They are just NOW getting around to targeting Russo's???  It's been painfully obvious where the puppies come from for YEARS!  One only has to look at them to know.  When you have a small child at FI, unfortunately, you have to go into Russo's at times.  I've never come out not seeing at least a handful of puppies that need serious medical attention...

Carringten
Carringten

Barbara.. excellent comment except for one thing... Dan has left evidence HE IS doing something....

Carringten
Carringten

Interesting Katherine... tell us more about your illegal dog sales and Dan's illegal sales of animals from unlicensed breeders.    What a surprise.  You must have all missed his court case of 2005 when he was busted by authorities for selling ILLEGAL MEXICAN PUPPY MILL DOGS.....thank you for the information Katherine.  I will pass this page on to Newport Beach Animal Control and P.D.

Carringten
Carringten

I would love to see Russo's PROOF OF QUALITY that he sells.. Have you ever even heard of USDA Breeders?... USDA BREEDERS ARE PUPPY MILLS....Take a look at Dan's front window of the store as he proudly displays his factory farming puppy mills and fraudulently calls them "Reputable Breeders". GOOGLE PUPPY MILLS.

Dan DiGiacomo uses Trailane Kennels.... Look up the USDA REPORT... 

TRAILANE KENNELS IS A SCIENTIFIC RESEARCHER ON DOGS Nothing but worthless uninformed opinions on this page...... Carry on  

Carringten
Carringten

You are fortunate to have gotten such a blessing... tribute that to the amazing ability of canines to overcome, NOT TO RUSSOS.....I am not sure if you are aware that USDA Breeders are Puppy Mills....that means you dogs mother was literally Bred to death or murdered inhumanely once she could no longer bare litters....that is how they made money off you and your dog

Carringten
Carringten

Great example... I Heart Puppies.. the puppy mill store who advertises in the media Barb Crick as a "Reputable Breeder they know personally and hand pick"... Barb Crick is under investigation for crimes of FEDERAL CRUELTY.  It is a fact and government record.  I am sure Donald Bren will lose sleep over your opinion as a successful Business Billionaire who knows when not to condone USDA PUPPY MILL PET STORES

Katherine
Katherine

Like your comment...interesting tidbit, Claire Trevor, Bren's mother( I think step) bought one of my puppies after seeing him in Russo's.

photojunkee
photojunkee

 I bought my dog from Russo's at the Spectrum in 2006. SADLY COMPLETELY UNAWARE BY THIS ATROCIOUS CRAP! I LOVE my Schnoodle (WHO HAS HIP DYSPLASIA) and I'm sad that to know that she probably IS from a puppy mill.  There needs to be a larger outcry about this.  I am by no means a hermit or unaware of social issues. All the Facts are THERE, SUE. Stop being so blind to reality.

Guest
Guest

PETA has nothing to do with this campaign.  People are waking up to the reality of this store.  Do your research and you will find that the breeder also sells dogs to research facilities.

Lori
Lori

Gee, maybe you could consider going to the shelter and adopting a dog that needs a good home, instead of opting for Designer Dogs that have been bred for the sole purpose of bilking society crawlers out of ridiculous sums of money. You will find scores of beautiful dogs that will increase your social cachet (remember, rescue is the new black) and provide a home for a loving animal that would otherwise be killed. These animals are only being killed because people like you feel the need to support puppy mills by purchasing from the fad store, rather than adopting from your local shelter.

guest
guest

Sue where's your dog's mom - did you see her living conditions?  She was condemned to breed litter after litter for profit.     It seems all you care about is money.  Dogs are not merchandise.

Carringten
Carringten

You have no idea what you are talking about. I challenge Dan Digiacomo to post his USDA BREEDER REPORTS IN THE FRONT WINDOW.  Including Trailane which is a Scientific Researcher on Dogs.

Guest
Guest

FI Mom: I have a full time job, kids, volunteer to help kids and I found time to head up this campaign for free! I don't get paid for this. Why didn't you do something about this years ago if you knew???

guest
guest

No not just now - but the media is just now picking up the story.

Carringten
Carringten

FI MOM... You and I are probably the only people on this page that is not an Employee of Russo's or Dan himself.  YES.  His dogs are sick.  He uses a loophole in California State Law to not test them before he places them for sale.  I have lived in Newport for 30 and it is long enough to hear Dead dog story after Dead Cat story from Russo's.

Carringten
Carringten

What is the name of your Kennel Katherine?

Carringten
Carringten

The consumer fraud and lies are so outrageous and blatant, people refused to believe the facts.  In 2008 under cover investigations of USDA Breeders by CAPS (Companion animal Protection society- solely investigating puppy mills and pet stores) who are currently investigating Russo's-- forced USDA in a federal trial to do an internal audit of USDA Dog Breeders "Puppy Mills" and the U.S. Inspector General's audit report in May 2010 was scathing and irrefutable supplied with evidence from USDA Inspections of Breeders....Inspector General states USDA Dog Breeding Industry is rampant with unrecorded Federal Crimes of Cruelty, violations of the Animal Welfare Act,... it is unregulated, policy is of inspections is fallible, and inspectors not trained adequately...THERE IS NO DENYING NOW.....and the Freedom of Information Act allows you to look up USDA reports of breeders sold in pet stores....Like other persons who commented on this thread and Russo's and I Heart Puppies, there will always be unconscionable persons lining up to profit from their torture under fraud with huge Mark ups... I Heart Puppies promoted their USDA Breeder 'Barb Crick of Crick Kennels Nebraska, in the media as reputable, when in fact she is under investigations for Federal Cruelty.....LEGAL EVIDENCE DOESN'T LIE LIKE THEY DO... They have no conscience victimizing families, children, and pocketbooks of Newport Citizens and Newport Needs to Ban Puppy Mill Sales.

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