The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

86° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


SPEAK Tucson protests against Animal Kingdom outside Tucson Mall

Sabina Hernandez
Mariah Pollock (Left), Isa Salisbury (Middle) and Emily Burns (right) gathered outside the Tucson Mall Monday as part of a larger demonstration held by Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom. SPEAK is a local animal rights group dedicated to promoting ethical practices for the treatment of animals.

Local animal group Supporting and Promoting Ethics for the Animal Kingdom held a protest outside the Tucson Mall on Monday

The pet store in the mall, Animal Kingdom, has been accused of supporting and utilizing puppy mills to supply their animals. This has created controversy that has outraged animal rights activists.

Puppy mills are large-scale breeding operations where dogs are often kept in poor conditions, facing neglect and mistreatment. These conditions often violate animal welfare laws and regulations. However, according to SPEAK, no action has been taken against Animal Kingdom for their use of puppy mills. 

Monday’s protest aimed to raise public awareness about the harm of these mills and to influence a change in the store’s actions. Protestors voiced concerns not only about the practices of the store but also emphasized the importance of adopting animals rather than shopping for them.

Lara Iacobucci-Paris, a protestor, spoke out about the deplorable conditions that these animals endure in these mills.

“They’re just made to produce; they’re not bathed, they live in their own feces, and then you go and buy their offspring in these pet stores at exorbitant prices,” Iacobucci-Paris said.

Animal Kingdom’s website states that “our breeders are distinctly different from substandard breeders or puppy mills that we oppose and are actively in favor of shutting down.” The store also mentions that their breeders have United States Department of Agriculture license numbers, which can be verified on their site. 

Iacobucci-Paris expressed skepticism about the company’s claims.

“They can say that they’re American Kennel Club or United States Department of Agriculture  certified […] but there are only seven USDA inspectors for these hundreds and hundreds of puppy mills,” lacobucci-Paris said. 

She further mentioned that if you search on the Humane Society’s website for “The Horrible Hundred,” it lists these breeders as problematic.

A primary goal for the group was to promote the message “Adopt, Don’t Shop.” 

“Every time you buy a puppy mill dog from a pet store, you’re taking away the chance for a dog to be adopted. These dogs are wonderful. We are losing too many healthy, beautiful dogs,” lacobucci-Paris said. For more information visit StopPuppyMills and SPEAK Tucson’s websites.

Follow the Daily Wildcat on Instagram and Twitter/X


More to Discover