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Petland, Inc.
Pet Store
Founded1967; 52 years ago (1967)
HeadquartersChillicothe, Ohio
Key people
Ed Kunzelman, Founder and Chairman
SubsidiariesAquarium Adventure

Petland is a privately owned operator and franchisor of pet stores based in Chillicothe, Ohio.[1] Ed Kunzelman founded the company in 1967. Petland currently operates 131 stores in the United States, and at least 63 in foreign markets including South Africa, Canada, Japan, China, Mexico, Brazil and El Salvador.[2][3] The chain is notable for its controversy over documentation from the Humane Society of the United States revealing the purchase of dogs from puppy mills. [4]


Petland was started in 1967 when Ed Kunzelman opened up his first store in Chillicothe, Ohio. The company originally owned and operated pet stores in Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky. In the early 1980s, Petland began expanding its presence in Canada and entered foreign markets.[3]

By 2008, Petland had become a $50 million company with about 230 stores. Petland sells products and services worth about $300,000,000 in the United States, South Africa, Canada, Japan, and Mexico. The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent public relations issues have drastically affected Petland. Petland currently operates 84 domestic locations, down from over 140 stores just a few years ago.[5] The company currently sells birds, fish, small animals, puppies, and kittens.

While Petland has endorsed efforts to raise standards at commercial dog breeding kennels, the company continues to find itself in the middle of animal welfare controversies. In 2018, a delivery vehicle at a Petland store in Florida was searched by authorities. Nearly 2 dozen puppies were seized due to the conditions they were in. The year before, the Henderson, NV Petland store was fined for keeping sick dogs in overcrowded conditions.

Aquarium Adventure[edit]

Aquarium Adventure is a wholly owned subsidiary of Petland. Ed Kunzelman was founded in 1995, after working with Bill Wymard, a Petland franchisee and marine biologist, on developing a concept for an "aquatics only" store. They both saw that there was demand for a non-Petland branded aquatics-only pet store in major metro markets[6]

Charitable programs[edit]

Pets in the Classroom[edit]

Petland participates in the Pets in the Classroom program of the Pet Care Trust. This program was established to give teachers additional resources to acquire and care for classroom animals. Teachers can get grants for new animals, pet environments, food, and other supplies. This program started in 2010. As of July 2014, 40,111 grants had been issued.[7]


Under the Adopt-a-Pet program started in 1998, Petland staff work with animal shelters, animal rescue groups, and individual activists to place homeless animals including puppies, dogs, kittens, cats, and various small animals in homes. Many Petland locations use their storefronts to display these animals. This program also raises money for animal welfare organizations. This program has homed hundreds of thousands of pets. These pets receive basic veterinary care and vaccinations before being placed. In some cases, adoptive families are charged a small fee for de-sexing. Generally, intact pets are sent home with a certificate good for a free spay or neuter at a local veterinary clinic. Some Petland stores micro-chip all participating animals.[8]

Animal welfare controversy[edit]

Petland claims they do not source from "puppy mills." and obtain puppies from USDA-licensed and inspected breeders with clean records, hobby breeders with three or fewer breeding females, and animal rescue organizations.[9] Many Petland locations claim to only offer dogs from animal welfare organizations, [10] however a report from the Humane Society of the United States in 2009 revealed that “almost every Petland store in the country is buying puppies from large-scale "middleman" brokers that deal with puppy mills, and some are continuing to buy directly from known puppy mills”. [11] While Petland has claimed that puppies are sourced from family raised breeders, breeders with clean records, and rescues only, reports have been made public published by the Humane Society of the United States reporting that the chain has purchased dogs from commercial breeding farms selling “over 5000 puppies a year” and breeders with animal welfare violations. [12]

In addition to investigations conducted by The Humane Society of the United States, a past and current class action lawsuit and over 500 negative reviews on also state that Petland receives many dogs from puppy mills. [13] [14] [15][16]


  1. ^ Petland Information
  2. ^ Petland Corporate History
  3. ^ a b Kent, Matthew (30 November 2013). "City panel assists with efforts". Chillicothe Gazette. Ohio.
  4. ^ [
  5. ^ "Supporting the human animal bond". Retail Digital. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  6. ^ About Aquarium Adventure
  7. ^ "Pets in the Classroom grant program to accept applications". The Times-Leader. McLeansboro, Illinois. 22 July 2014.
  8. ^ Ison, Jona (3 February 2013). "Sunday's top story: Rescues concerned by Humane Society's ban on cats". Chillicothe Gazette. Ohio.
  9. ^ Sotonoff, Jamie (10 March 2015). "Puppy: One for-profit chain says regulations dictate its sales". Chicago Daily Herald. Illinois.
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ "Petland: The HSUS Investigations". Humane Society. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Petland Faces Class Action Lawsuit for Peddling Unhealthy Puppy Mill Dogs in at Least 20 States". Humane Society. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  15. ^ Lima, Natalia. "Animal Legal Defense Fund Files Nationwide Racketeering Class Action Lawsuit Against Petland". Animal Legal Defense Fund. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Petland". ConsumerAffairs. Retrieved 15 August 2017.

External links[edit]