More than 20 protesters stood outside of Puppy Zone in West Knoxville Saturday to raise concern about how they believe dogs at the store are being treated.
The pet shop has been the subject of repeated complaints this week on social media. A Nashville woman's post about conditions at the store sparked concern from animal lovers online.
Misty Lawrence said in a Facebook post that she and her daughter visited Puppy Zone on Kingston Pike last weekend. As of Saturday evening, the post had more than 78,000 shares.
"The smell from urine and feces was very strong. The store is very stuffy and hot. Half of the puppies, if not more, seemed to be highly drugged. They were laying with their eyes open and would not respond as we spoke to them or shook them to try and get them to respond," she wrote on Facebook.
Steven Glatz, owner of Puppy Zone, told 10News he had seen the post, and that the allegations are not true.
An animal control officer with the Knoxville Police Department inspected the shop Monday, according to KPD, and found the puppies there to be in good health. A 10News crew also visited the store and didn't observe any obvious concerns.
Victoria Tipton said she organized the protest. She said she is concerned Puppy Zone is a puppy mill.
Puppy Zone's website has a statement against puppy mills.
"Puppy Zone does not support puppy mills. Our puppies come from loving family homes," the website read.
Protesters were still pushing people to boycott the store.
"This is not the first time a story has come out about them. We, as a community, are over it," Tipton said.
Tipton said the store might not be breaking the law, but its actions are not humane.
"In the state of Tennessee, what they're doing is legal, and it's not right. Just because it's legal does not make it right," she said.
Tipton said the protesters were also pushing for legislation called the "Pet Sales Ban." If passed, pet stores would not be able to sell animals from a mill.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture said the shop was operating without a proper cat/dog dealer license.
The department said the owner has filled out the proper application and passed inspection for the license, and as of Thursday, it was being processed.