Way back in the 1980's & 90's, before the words 'Puppy Mill' and "Adopt, Don't Shop' were shouted at you the minute you said 'Pet Store', most every mall around Connecticut had one. Danbury Fair, Naugatuck Valley, Brass Mill Center, Trumbull, the Post Mall, hell, even the Ansonia Mall had a live pet store. Not anymore, the last one is gone.

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The Meriden Mall dared to be the last to allow a pet store to operate inside their facility. Gentle Jungle opened in the Meriden Mall 2008, after an 11 year run from 1997-2008 in Waterbury's Brass Mill Center Mall. They recently shut down for good after a 15 year run in that space. The last time I shopped at Gentle Jungle was almost a year ago, during the holidays 2022. It was clear that the online rumors of it being a 'puppy mill', and the dog-buying craze of the pandemic, had destroyed the business. There were no dogs at all in the empty cages, just a few kittens.

I found a video of a walking tour around Gentle Jungle on YouTube from around three years ago, when the store was fully stocked -

I also found a seven year old video posted by an animal advocate, urging everyone to avoid -

Do you remember the days of live fish, hamsters and hermit crabs in K-Mart? Strolling through the puppies at Puppy Love in Danbury? Having fun watching the macaws at Dr. Pet in the Naugatuck Valley Mall? I have such fond memories of those stores. Shelters and Petco own the world now.

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