Friday, April 11, 2014

The Little Pet Shop Press Release




Group Asks New Pet Store to Adopt
Puppy-Friendly Practices
Detroit area dog advocates share information
about the pet store-puppy mill connection
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 11, 2014
CONTACT:  Pam Sordyl, 734-718-7100, pmamichinfo@yahoo.com
An animal advocacy group sent an invitation to the new owners of The Little Pet Shop located at 45460 Van Dyke Road, Utica, asking them to become pet friendly by not selling puppies that come from puppy mills and instead to feature only rescued and adoptable dogs in their store.
Pam Sordyl, director of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, said “We hope that The Little Pet Shop will join the ranks of so many other pet supply stores across the nation and adopt a policy to help stop pet overpopulation.”
Sordyl sent a formal invitation to The Little Pet Shop to stop selling puppies and to take the Puppy Friendly Pet Store pledge through the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) initiative. The Little Pet Shop has yet to respond to the group’s requests.
“We hope the store will take our request seriously,” said Sordyl. “We've worked with over 100 Michigan pet supply stores to sign them onto the Puppy Friendly Pet Store pledge. Unfortunately, some other stores have been reluctant to do so, and we then enacted a public campaign to educate the public about the stores’ puppy mill suppliers.” Nine area stores that sell puppies have closed after such campaigns were launched.
The group’s investigation of The Little Pet Shop shows the puppy store began working with two out-of-state brokers: Pinnacle Pets, Neosho MO and Fulton Enterprises, MN in March. These brokers are working with breeders located in Arkansa, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
One such breeder—Gina Boer, Iowa —shipped a Havanese/Pomeranian mix puppy to the store via Pinnacle. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports show Boer was cited for violations of the Animal Welfare Act related to barns with no insulation, no heat, no cooling and no shelter structures for the dogs. One violation report read, “The barn has holes in the roof where the rain can easily come through where the dogs are.”  Other violations indicate unsanitary and unsafe conditions: underneath the grated floors of the enclosures has a build up of old food and excreta, there is dust, dirt and a build of up grime throughout the building on the enclosures, light fixtures and objects.
“With 47 adult dogs living in unsanitary barns, this is certainly a puppy mill” said Sordyl.  
Michigan families care about their pets, while The Little Pet Shop is being irresponsible and working with out-of-state breeders who are mistreating their animals.”
Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan will be protesting Saturday, April 12th, and has stated that if the store does not opt to end its puppy mill connection, the group plans to conduct a public education campaign outside the store.
The group has also invited the store to attend the next City Council meeting scheduled for April 15th where they would like the owners to explain how they selected these breeders and how can they ensure families are not purchasing inhumanely breed pets with genetic defects.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Warren Animal Control Officer Commended



Warren Animal Control Officer Commended for ending pet store neglect at Greenwoods Pets & Plants

Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, a grassroots group dedicated to public education about the suffering of animals in puppy mills, commends Officer Lisa Taylor of Warren Animal Control for taking the lead in ending chronic animal neglect at Greenwoods Pets & Plants, a retail pet store at 13983 E. 9 Mile Rd. in Warren. On October, 7, 2013 the store’s owner, Dennis Jones, was arrested for violating his probation terms restricting him from possessing animals only a month after being sentenced by Judge David Viviano on animal cruelty charges.

“We are grateful to Officer Taylor for her dedication to the protection of animals in Warren, including those in pet stores,” said Pam Sordyl, founder of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan. “We hope that other Michigan animal control and law enforcement officers will follow her lead in being more proactive in enforcing our state’s animal cruelty and neglect laws.”

On September, 19, 2013, a member of Puppy Mill Awareness observed a loose rooster in the fenced in lot of the store and notified Officer Taylor. This appeared to be the same rooster that was seized earlier by animal control. Upon discovering that a cockatiel bird had also been sold at the store the previous day, Taylor quickly contacted the prosecutor and probation officer who conducted an inspection. They found that many of the birds seized from the store earlier in the year on animal cruelty charges had been returned to the store by those that had completed adoption contracts. 

In May of 2013, Officer Taylor was instrumental in having all of the animals seized from the store because of violations of the state’s animal cruelty law. In the store, two cockatiels were found dead, several animals were crammed into a single cage, birds, reptiles, kittens and a puppy required urgent veterinary intervention, and some had upper respiratory infections. In addition, the toe of a bird had to be amputated due to neglect, a python was discovered with an open wound, and a rooster was found emaciated. 

Following the recent probation violation investigation, Taylor convinced the owners of the store to sign over the animals to the custody of the city, including more than eight birds, a cat and two roosters. The store is now up for sale.

After the store sold a potbellied pig named “Chumbley” in 2010 to a family that was not allowed to keep him because of restrictions on owning farm animals in Warren city limits, Taylor agreed to keep a closer eye on the store and respond to complaints outside of her assigned area. In 2011, Taylor pursued felony animal cruelty charges against the store after a goat on store property was found to have a serious urinary tract blockage and would have died without prompt veterinary care. 

Puppy Mill Awareness encourages the city of Warren to take the protection of animals in pet stores one step further and an adopt a Humane Pet Acquisition ordinance that would prevent the retail sale of cats, dogs, rabbits, long-lived birds and large-reptiles within city limits. We also ask that the city encourage its residents to instead adopt animals at local rescues, sanctuaries and animal shelters instead of buying them from pet stores.

Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan is working to end the mass production of dogs in commercial kennels, or "puppy mills.” Our mission is to educate the public about the cruel cycle of commercial dog breeding and the pet store link. Read more at www.meetup.com/puppymillawareness.
 



Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Family Puppy Not Welcome In Toledo


 
About 70 Toledo area residents protested at the Westfield Franklin Park Mall on October 5, 2013. The mall signed a new lease with Michigan’s largest chain and supplier of puppy mill dogs – The Family Puppy. The store has a history of working with bad commercial breeders with violations to the Animal Welfare Act. Even when the federal inspector tells them to treat an animal in pain in suffering, they ignore the inspector. These breeders do not listen to The Family Puppy – they don’t’ care about their standards. The store ends up dropping the breeder because we exposed them, not because of the violations.

Contrary to The Family Puppy’s claim that “we only use breeders that will meet our standards, and those standards are above those of the Animal Welfare Act”, 14 of the 16 primary suppliers have been cited for violations to the Animal Welfare Act and many have been chronic offenders.  Some violations include shelters with temps exceeding 87 degrees, excessive feces, no heat, unlicensed personnel performing surgeries, unattended bite wounds, poor ventilation, feet dangling in wire floors, dirty dogs, accumulated grime and lack of veterinary care.

The Family Puppy states they know how to screen a breeder because the co-owner has “been working with breeders for 35 years”, yet neither owner carries any professional credentials in the fields of animal husbandry and disease control.  The majority of Indiana USDA Licensed breeders - who on average, house 52 animals with 8-16 different breeds - also lack professional credentials in these fields.

According to recent inspection reports, two primary suppliers for The Family Puppy are not adhering to directives from federal inspectors or following rules as mandated under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA):

  • In 2012, The Family Puppy’s largest supplier, Marlin Bontrager of Rome City IN, was cited for direct veterinary care violations and when the inspector returned there were six more violations including more veterinary care related violations.

  • Two other main suppliers, Lavern Whetstone of Goshen IN and Verlyn Weaver of Topeka IN, were cited for not seeking veterinary for animals that were in pain and suffering. Whetstone was told by the federal inspector to seek veterinary care and the kennel instead had a “non-professional” remove the membrane of a dog with cherry eyes. Weaver was cited for a pregnant dog with a build up of thick dark crust on her teeth. The store continued to work with both breeders despite these continued violations. 

Jean Keating from the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates is leading the campaign to block The Family Puppy from expanding in Toledo. Here is a link to her interview with Channel 24 at the protest.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pollywood Pets Protest - Puppy Mill Awareness Day (Mt. Clemens)


Each year Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan rounds up as many concerned citizens as possible to make some big noise in a key city.  Sometimes the threat of a protest has given a store the boot! This year we choose Mt. Clemens – home to our state’s WORST pet store to kick off our new BOYCOTT POLLYWOODS PET Campaign. We are more than ready, are you?

Sunday, September 15, 2013 at 11:00 a.m.
Gibraltar Trade Center
237 N. River Road
Mt. Clemens, Mi   

We have protested at the Trade Center before, successfully ruining their 2010 Pet Expo and future plans for Pet Expos. This time we will be around much longer and already have scheduled events on our calendar: 10/8 A Town Hall, 10/21 and 10/28 City Commissioner Meetings and Holiday Protests. View our calendar here.

We won’t be “rescuing” any animals to prove our case (and we ask that you do not either). We are armed with years of inspections, almost 200 complaints and a new County Animal Control Officer (Jeff Randazzo) that knows the Pet Store Laws!!!

Learn more about Pollywood and our campaign plans on our website.

Are you ready to take action and support Jeff Randazzo! RSVP our PMA Day protest today!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Greenwood Pets Owner is sentenced for animal cruelty

The owner of a Warren pet store who pleaded no-contest to animal cruelty charges is prohibited from possessing animals for two years, under terms of probation set by a judge on August 22, 2013. Dennis Jones, owner of Greenwood Pets & Plants, also was sentenced to six months in jail but Macomb County Circuit Visiting Judge Thomas Brookover held the incarceration in abeyance to determine whether Jones complies with all terms of probation for two years. The judge ordered Jones to avoid alcohol, undergo substance abuse counseling, perform 60 hours of community service, and pay court costs.

Lapeer Animal Control Director Runs a Puppy Mill

This summer volunteers from the Lapeer County Animal Shelter and members of the community began reaching out to the Lapeer Board of Commissioners for help in addressing issues with the new Shelter Director and Chief Animal Control Officer. Problems range from lack of care on the weekends, rules changing on a whim, inadequate response to calls for animals in need and overall lack of compassion. The euthanization of five adoptable animals with plenty of shelter space sent crowds to July 25th meeting. At the same time Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan exposed the Chief Officers breeding operation in a nearby county. The meeting minutes of a township meeting outlined she had approached them for information on how to set up a hobby dog breeding kennel. She was selling wholesale and bringing animals home from the shelter on occasion. The group launched an online petition asking the board to develop a conflict of interest policy and asked the chief to resign. The board hired an attorney to investigate all allegations. Last week the board stated the report is complete but was not ready to release it. This week, PMA delivered 296 Lapeer County resident signatures.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Michigan Pet Stores Linked to “Horrible Hundred” Breeder List

Five on the HSUS’s list of problem puppy mills sold puppies to Petland and The Family Puppy
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 17, 2013

CONTACT: Pam Sordyl, (734) 718-7100, pmamichinfo@yahoo.com

Novi, Mich. – Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan announced today that two Michigan pet stores receive puppies from substandard breeding facilities listed in a recent report by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in May. In May,
The HSUS’s “Horrible Hundred” report lists 100 problem puppy mills, based on the conditions documented in publicly available inspection reports and on evidence obtained during HSUS research and investigations. According to interstate transport records, Petland in Novi and The Family Puppy in several east Michigan locations received puppies from five of the breeders on that list between 2009 and 2012.  

Michigan consumers need to know where these puppies are coming from,” said Pam Sordyl, founder of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan. “The cute displays in pet stores don’t tell the whole story—that those sweet puppies may have come from horrific conditions in a puppy mill far away.”  

Petland is located in The Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi. The Family Puppy pet store operates five locations in the Detroit Metro area: Genesee Valley Center in Flint, Fountain Walk in Novi, Green Oak Village Place in Brighton, Macomb Mall in Roseville, and Oakland Mall in Troy. 

The Family Puppy received shipments of puppies from Marlin Bontrager of Rome City, Indiana a large-scale breeder. Shipping almost 250 puppies to The Family Puppy stores in 2011, made him the largest single supplier to the pet store chain. Bontrager made the Horrible Hundred list after multiple violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act, including repeat veterinary violations.

Petland Novi received shipments from four of the Horrible Hundred puppy mills between 2009 and 2012:
o       Darlene and Charlene Koster/Rainbow Ranch Kennel in Minneapolis, Kansas: Received an official warning from the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

o       Kimberly Coleman/TLC’s Kennel in Clinton, Missouri: Fined $8,250 by the USDA for violations of the Animal Welfare Act

o       Ervin Raber/Golden View Kennels of Baltic, Ohio: Cited for “Potentially Devastating” violations of the Animal Welfare Act for the presence of zoonotic disease and sick and injured dogs.

o       Daniel Schlabach/Evergreen Designer LLC in Charm, Ohio: Cited for several violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

The case of a puppy from the last breeder on the above list, Daniel Schlabach/Evergreen Designer LLC of Charm, Ohio, demonstrates the hereditary health problems often associated with puppy mill dogs. In 2011, newlyweds Rod and Lindsey Rebhan purchased an Australian shepherd puppy named “Jack” for $1,000 from Petland Novi. “We considered Jack to be our first baby, our little boy," said Lindsey Rebhan. About a month after being purchased, Jack had his first seizure. After 25 seizures over the next four months, the Rebhans made the difficult decision to have him euthanized. Because Jack's epilepsy was so severe, his veterinarian said that the condition was probably hereditary. Petland Novi eventually refunded the sale price of the dog, but did not reimburse the Rebhans for the veterinary bills.

 


A dog photographed by a USDA inspector on May 2011 at facility of Daniel Schlabach (Evergreen Designers LLC) in Charm, Ohio
Lindsey Rebhan said that if they had seen the “Horrible Hundred” report they would not have gone to the pet store to purchase him. Photos of the kennel taken on November 2, 2011, show a dog with scabs and ulcerations on his muzzle; an underweight dog; four dogs with diarrhea; dirt and hair buildup in den boxes; two dogs with raw skin on their paws; a dog with a cloudy left eye; and a dog with a runny nose and a cough. 

In the May 9, 2013 press release about the “Horrible Hundred” report The HSUS called on authorities to more closely monitor these and the thousands of other facilities across the country, and urged state legislators to pass stronger laws to protect dogs in puppy mills. Most of the 100 facilities on the list have been cited repeatedly by federal or state inspectors for violations such as injured and sick dogs who had not been treated by a veterinarian, animals left in the freezing cold or blistering heat without protection, filthy conditions, and, in some cases, operators who performed surgeries on dogs without a veterinary license or shot and killed unwanted dogs.

There is currently no state law to regulate dog breeding facilities in Michigan or to protect consumers who purchase sick animals from pet stores or breeders. To address this oversight, Senator Steve Bieda (D-Warren) and Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) have introduced the “Puppy Protection Act,” S.B. 117 and 118, to establish guidelines for housing, sanitary conditions, enclosure space, exercise, and veterinary care of dogs in all large-scale breeding kennels in Michigan, including those who sell puppies to pet stores and directly to the public. Senators Jones and Bieda have also introduced the “Pet Lemon Law,” S.B. 348, to alleviate burdening veterinary bills for dogs purchased from pet stores or breeders who turn out to have health problems. Both pieces of legislation are awaiting their first hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

To learn more about the Horrible Hundred report, visit


Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan is working to end the mass production of dogs in commercial kennels, or "puppy mills.” Our mission is to educate the public about the cruel cycle of commercial dog breeding and the pet store link. Read more at www.meetup.com/puppymillawareness.

More photos available on request.

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