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July 19, 2012

For Sale in the United States: Domestic Dog Fur

More than a decade ago, The HSUS conducted an investigation in China and discovered a thriving trade in dogs and cats killed for their pelts, with the furs finding their way into trim on parkas, boots, and other outer-wear products sold in the United States and Europe. The investigation was a thunderbolt, felt around the world. In the United States, Congress―at our urging―passed legislation to ban the sale of garments made of dog and cat fur. In 2010, Congress passed legislation to require labeling of all fur garments, regardless of the value of the fur contained in the garment.

1990s dog and cat fur investigation in China
Photo: The HSUS/Karremann
An image from a 1990s investigation of the dog and cat
fur trade by The HSUS & journalist Manfred Karremann.

Once a law is on the books, we are mindful of seeing that it’s enforced. So when one of our supporters tipped us off that he/she saw that Unique Product Enterprises, a New York-based company, was brazenly advertising “Products From Dogs Fur” [sic] for sale right here in the United States, we conducted a more thorough investigation. We found that the company had been advertising multiple “Dog Fur” products to U.S. consumers―including a vest, gloves, belt, and even a “twin size” blanket―and sent samples to an independent laboratory that confirmed that the products were “…consistent with having originated from a domestic dog…”

We referred our findings to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which opened its own investigation resulting in the removal of advertisements for the products from the company’s website. We’re also asking the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York to take action to enforce the Dog and Cat Protection Act and ensure that the company does not continue to advertise or sell dog fur.

It’s disturbing to think that if a company believes it can openly advertise and sell products made with dog fur in the global fur trade, how much other dog fur is entering the market falsely advertised or labeled as coyote, wolf, or some other species type?

Dog fur vest screenshot
One of the items advertised for sale as "dogs fur."

Last month, the Toronto Star reported this exchange between its reporter posing as a retailer and a fur manufacturer: “When [the manufacturer was] asked if he had ever labeled cat and dog fur as rabbit he confirmed it was common practice, then volunteered: “If the garments don’t sell within six months send me an email and I can send labels that say mink.”

We will continue to remain vigilant about dog and cat fur entering the U.S. markets, and we will to continue to urge retailers, designers, and consumers to avoid animal fur altogether―if not for the sake of the wild animals, then for pets, including those injured and killed accidentally in fur traps right here in the United States.

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