DAVENPORT, Iowa-- A Davenport dog lover says he just wanted to see some puppies at a local pet store when he left feeling frustrated.
Stewart Gardner and his girlfriend visited Pet Mart on Brady Street in Davenport on Sunday. He says the conditions he saw were unacceptable.
"The feces on the animals, feces in their cages, not having food in their kennels as well," he described the conditions. "I wouldn't consider them cages; they're more like birdcages."
A WQAD News 8 team stopped by the shelter Wednesday, July 24 to speak with a manager or owner. They were told the owner was gone for the day, and they left a number for him to call. As of Wednesday evening, they have not heard from the owner.
Photos taken Wednesday show the cages in a better state than photos submitted to WQAD by concerned pet owners.
And Pet Mart passed its inspection with the Iowa Department of Agriculture on July 10.
"It can be very traumatic for (the animals)," says Marsha LaRue, a volunteer with Bailing out Benji.
The local chapter has been protesting about Pet Mart's connections to puppy mills for the past year.
"A lot of the concerns are the comfort of the animals or the bad living arrangements they have," LaRue says, "and the cages not being large enough, and the wire floors."
LaRue says the laws in Iowa don't do enough for animal welfare. She's worried nothing can be done legally to change the circumstances at Pet Mart.
"The animal, they don't have a voice," Gardner says. "We gotta speak for them."
He says he'd like to see Pet Mart shut down.