Georgina Bloomberg, an animal activist with the Humane Society of the United States, seems like the last person to buy an animal from a pet store.
But that’s exactly where she got her first dog.
“People always think that they are rescuing a puppy from there but actually you are just sort of keeping the business going and supporting mistreatment of dogs,” says the younger daughter of former N.Y.C. Mayor (and rumored presidential hopeful) Mike Bloomberg.
Since learning about puppy mills, Bloomberg, 33, has not only started rescuing all of her animals, but has also made improving the lives of animals part of her life’s work.
“Growing up, I always considered myself an animal lover and then I got to the age that I realized just sort of loving animals and having them in my life wasn’t really enough. I needed to be doing something really active to help them,” Bloomberg tells PEOPLE.
“With the Humane Society for the United States, we work on banning puppy mills in the U.S. It’s a long road but there are lot of puppy mills that treat dogs very badly and 99 percent of dogs that are in pet stores actually come from puppy mills,”
In addition to her work Stateside, Bloomberg, who competes at the top level of show jumping and has a chance at the Rio Olympic Games this summer has made multiple trips to Puerto Rico to bring stray dogs back to the U.S. to find forever homes.
“Puerto Rico has a big stray dog problem, a big problem with people not spaying and neutering so there a lot of puppies born there who don’t have a shot at getting adopted there,” she explains. “So we are trying to get as many of the dogs out as possible, especially the more adoptable ones that we think can find homes pretty quickly.”
Ten of those puppies went home with Bloomberg to her farm in North Salem, New York, for six days (where they had a blast with her 2-year-old son, Jasper!) and then went to the Monmouth County SPCA where they were all adopted. A few weeks later, she went back to Puerto Rico with a team of rescuers and brought 56 dogs back.
In fact, the Monmouth County SPCA recently completed an adjunct building to increase their ability to bring in puppies from the high-kill shelters in Puerto Rico and the southern U.S., also helping those shelters to increase spay and neuter services to reduce overpopulation at the source.
To make a donation to the efforts to save dogs from Puerto Rico, click here.