Deborah Howard

Cohasset, MA

In 1989, when Deborah Howard, president of the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) noticed the dreadful conditions at a Docktor Pet Center, she became enraged. The company had more than 300 franchises at that time. After learning more about the plight of the 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., who refused to do business without the sale of puppies, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February 1993. 

Ms. Howard, a public relations professional, has generated publicity on the pet shop and puppy mill issue with the following media: CNN, Dateline, 20/20,Hard Copy, Life, People, Reader's Digest, Detroit Free Press, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Tulsa World and numerous local television news stations and newspapers. 

As the only national organization dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals, CAPS foremost concern is the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mill dogs. To generate public awareness about this tragic issue, CAPS has a national program that actively addresses the cruel and inhumane treatment of pet shop and puppy mill dogs. This ongoing program uses the following methods: investigations; media relations; legislative involvement; public education and outreach, especially through our website; consumer assistance; puppy mill dog rescues; pet industry employee relations, and membership development.

CAPS works with cooperative prosecutors, law enforcement agents, and authorized humane officials. CAPS also assists local, state and regional advocates, organizations and legislators. Because many pet shop customers are young adults, CAPS is developing an educational outreach program for preteens and teens.