LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — The Humane Society of the United States says it went undercover at two Petland stores across the nation, including one here in Las Vegas.
The group claims a Maltese puppy at the Boca Park location was sick and being kept in poor conditions.
The owner of that Boca Park store is now speaking out against those claims.
The Humane Society says they got video of the dog by sending an undercover employee into the store.
The undercover person reports that the puppy had been kept alone in a cage in a back room for about a month. She says when she asked why, she was told it was because he had a "hole in his throat" and that an unnamed employee told her they were waiting for him to die. In video provided to News 3, the alleged conversation between the two can be heard.
John Goodwin, Senior Director of the 'Stop Puppy Mills' Campaign for the Human Society, said, "We were horrified. We've known Petland has been linked to inhumane dog breeding facilities. We've known a lot of sick puppies they sell."
Goodwin says the sick Maltese was kept in an isolated cage for a month.
The owner of the store, whose name is Jeff Faucett, is pushing back against claims of abuse and stating this all stems from a former disgruntled employee at his store who worked there for three days.
That disgruntled employee is the very same person the Humane Society says they sent in undercover.
Faucett says there was in fact a puppy that came in from a breeder with a breathing issue. He says the puppy was found to have a birth defect in his throat by a veterinarian and was sent back to the breeder, which follows standard procedure.
He says animals are not accepted into his store unless they pass a "vet check."
“We have an understanding with the breeder," he said. "They have a warranty that they provide us, that they are selling us a puppy that is healthy and available for sale. And to make sure of that, we have them inspected by us in the store and the same, within 24 hours, our vet comes along and inspects all of the puppies."
The Humane Society also turned over a clip where the undercover rep is heard asking someone she says is the store's manager if she could buy the puppy herself and take him home. The man can be heard telling her they were sending the puppy back to the breeder.
The store owner confirms the puppy was sent back to the breeder because of his condition, per his agreement with the breeder.
The owner went on to say that if a medical issue is found that can be fixed by their vets, it is the breeder who will cover the expenses.
Faucett said about the vets, "They recommended we not accept the puppy from the breeder."
This is one of dozens of Petland stores across the country. The Humane Society of the United States says they released details about their claims, along with another undercover operation alleging deadly conditions for puppies at an Atlanta-area store, in advance of the holiday shopping season.
The group is speaking out against the purchase of puppies at pet stores, encouraging adoption from animal shelters or rescue groups, or purchasing only from a breeder who will let you see where the puppy was born and raised.
Faucett says his store is regularly inspected, meets the requirements of federal and local officials and stresses his dogs are well kept.
"There is no truth there is a problem with animals in our store. We take great pride in our animals," Faucett said.