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Founded in 1992, the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy mills. CAPS, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, actively addresses the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mill dogs through investigations, education, media relations, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet industry employee relations.
When Deborah Howard witnessed the dreadful conditions at a Docktor Pet Center store in November 1989, she was appalled. The company had more than 300 franchises at that time. After learning more about the plight of pet shop and puppy mill dogs, Ms. Howard joined forces with Robert Baker, the foremost puppy mill investigator in the country. During his 13 years as chief investigator of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Mr. Baker inspected over 700 puppy mills. Ms. Howard, a former radio news reporter, lawyer and PR professional, formed CAPS in 1990. The nonprofit became a 501(c)(3) in 1992. As a result of CAPS' efforts, Docktor Pet Centers, Inc., which refused to do business without the sale of puppies, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February 1993.