What do Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Denise Richards, Demi Moore and Robin Williams have in common -- outside of being wealthy celebrities, of course?

All are among the clientele of Los Angeles' upscale Pets of Bel Air, a chi chi pet boutique that provides grooming services and sells pets -- some of them, the Humane Society of the United States says, from puppy mills.


An undercover investigation by HSUS -- a non-profit agency that is (pardon my language) kicking some major butt of late, and doing a fine job of telling the world about it -- found that employees of the Beverly Hills store are encouraged to lie to customers about their animals' origins and medical condition.

The investigation took place earlier this year, and is part of an ongoing campaign by HSUS against puppy mills that has included undercover investigations, public awareness campaigns, lawsuits and the legislative process.

About 2,500 of the nation's 9,000 pet stores sell puppies, and the HSUS estimates 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold annually in the United States.

The HSUS released details of the investigation -- and the video above -- yesterday.

According to the agency, employees have routinely deceived customers by falsely claiming that all puppies sold at the celebrity-frequented store are raised by private breeders and that the store doesn't buy from puppy mills.

In fact, HSUS investigators uncovered evidence that many of the puppies sold there did come from puppy mills - factory-like operations where the dogs are kept in barren cages and treated like production machines. The operations that supplied Pets of Bel Air with puppies are located in the Midwest.

The HSUS reviewed records documenting that at least 28 commercial breeders in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma have supplied Pets of Bel Air with puppies. HSUS undercover investigators also visited five of the suppliers that store management insisted are "private breeders" and not "puppy mills." Each of those five locations, investigators discovered, are actually mass-breeding operations that house 100 to 300 dogs.