A billboard that went live a few days ago in Rockford to raise awareness about puppy mills has caught the eye of drivers on Perryville Road.

Facing south and between the two entrances to CherryVale Mall, the billboard, which might be disturbing for some, depicts a one-eyed Chihuahua. According to the press release, the dog, Harley, “lived for 10 years in a puppy mill, losing his eye when his cage was power-washed with him still in it.”

The placement of the billboard is interesting. Nearby pet store, Petland, 7358 Mid Mall Drive, has been under intense scrutiny for years.

The Humane Society of the United States investigated Petland in 2008, saying they  “visited 35 of the large-scale breeding operations linked to Petland stores, they witnessed puppy mills – places where puppies are factory farmed in large numbers. At many of the facilities, investigators saw appalling conditions: puppies living in filthy, barren cages reeking of urine, with inadequate care and socialization.”

Petland disputes the puppy mill claims from their own website, “There is more oversight of breeders who sell their puppies to pet stores than any other type of breeder, shelter or rescue. Inspection reports for federally licensed breeders are available free of charge on the USDA website.”

The billboard was funded by fans of Harley’s Dream a non-profit organization in Berthoud, Colorado.

Sweet Lenny is the brand manager of 97ZOK and Operations Manager for Townsquare Media Rockford. Catch him afternoons 3 to 7 on 97ZOK. Follow him on TwitterInstagram and like his page on Facebook.