Members of the Bloomington community have been attempting to close down Anthony’s Pets due to allegations of mistreatment of the animals.
Amanda Bradtmiller, a junior at IU, posted a thread on Twitter containing tweets with pictures of puppies that appeared to be unwell and offices within the city and county to send complaints to. The original tweet got over a 1,000 likes.
She strongly encouraged people to take action off Twitter.
“While it’s a way to spread the word, people want to do something outside of that,” Bradtmiller said. “The strongest thing you can do outside of shutting down is boycotting it.”
She also suggested making posters to put around town spreading the word about the alleged bad conditions the dogs are being put in. There is also a petition she encouraged people to sign. So far the petition has a little over 3,000 and signatures.
This has prompted many people to contact the Bloomington Animal Control Commission, but the complaints they are sending may not hold the weight they were hoping.
“We got a slew of generic information that wasn’t actionable at all,” said Virgil Sauder, the director of Animal Care and Control at the Bloomington Animal Shelter. “Without the ability to follow up on specifics, there’s not a lot we can do.”
Even if there are no specifics in the complaints, every time a complaint is received about Anthony’s Pets, someone is sent to inspect. So far, no evidence has been found that would cause the store to lose its permit to sell animals.
This is a pattern the owner of Anthony’s Pets, Tony Taboas, has gotten used to. He has been at Anthony’s Pets for 15 years.
“They have to check every call, but I’ve never gotten any citations,” Taboas said.
But he says if a complaint holds any merit, then it will change that aspect of the business.
Although the goal of the petition was to shut down Anthony’s Pets, Sauder said taking that route and going through animal control won’t cut it, as it isn't breaking any requirements for keeping its permit.
“If they’re upset with the concept of pet stores, that’s one thing, you deal with it the same way you deal with another business you don’t agree with in the community,” Sauder said. “They are a business, and the animals are the product”
He suggested voicing complaints by talking to a council member or going through the Better Business Bureau.
“From the animal care end of things, that’s what we’re concerned with,” Sauder said. “If they don’t agree with the concept of a pet store, that’s a much bigger discussion in the community.”
Correction: A previous version of this article misquoted Tony Taboas. The quote has been removed. The IDS regrets this error.