Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Holiday Round-A-Bout Rallies

Puppy Mill Awareness Plans Round-A-Bout Rallies
Advocate group wants consumers to think twice about buying a puppy from a pet store this holiday season. Find out why these stores are listed in the Michigan’s Pet Store Hall of Shame.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 23, 2010
CONTACT: Pam Sordyl, 734-718-7100, leroybrown01@yahoo.com

GENESEE, MACOMB & OAKLAND COUNTIES, Mich. – Starting Friday, November 26th, 2010, the Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup will conduct a series of rallies in front of puppy-selling pet stores around and about southeast and mid Michigan. The focus of the rallies is to warn customers in various neighborhoods about the cruel conditions in puppy mills and their link to pet stores.

Many families purchase puppies at pet stores as Christmas gifts and quickly discover health problems due to neglect, inbreeding and over-breeding in puppy mills. They may face significant veterinary bills or even the death of their puppy without understanding why.

Pet stores will tell customers that they do not buy puppies from puppy mills, but only mass-breeding facilities can fulfill the enormous demand for retail store puppy orders. Responsible breeders won’t sell dogs to pet stores for resale.

Puppy Mill Awareness is asking Michigan pet stores, to agree to the following:
· Stop selling animals acquired from breeders in their store(s) or on the Internet.
· Agree to transfer, sell or retail only dogs that are "rescued," coming from animal shelters or 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue groups—not from Craigslist or other retail websites.
Agree to make these changes in every other business in which the store may have an interest, either currently or in the future.

Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup has already asked each of the following pet stores to stop selling puppies, and will conduct rallies in front of the stores at the following dates and times. Participants will be given signs – all they need to do is show up to get involved.

Twelve Oaks Mall, 27750 Novi Rd, Novi, MI
Nov 27-28, Dec 18-24
Weekdays 3-7 p.m., weekends time vary

The Family Puppy
Genesee Valley Center, 4340 B Miller, Flint, MI Nov 27-28, Dec 4, 11, 18-23
11-3 p.m.

19100 E. 10 Mile, Eastpointe, MI
Nov 26-28, Dec 4-5
Weekends 12-3 p.m., Weekdays 5-7 p.m.

Greenwood Pets
13983 E 9 Mile Rd, Warren, MI
Dec 9-11, 16-18
Weekends 12-3 p.m., Weekdays 5-7 p.m.

World Gardenland,
29800 Gratiot Ave, Roseville, Mi
Dec 22-24, 28-30
Weekends 12-3 p.m., Weekdays 5-7 p.m.

Learn more about Puppy Mill Awareness

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a Puppy Mill Awareness member, please contact Pam Sordyl, at 734-828-1400 or leroybrown01@yahoo.com.

For publication purposes, please print the following information: http://www.meetup.com/detroit-puppy-mill-awareness/about/.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Petland Westland Closes It's Doors After 5 Months of Steady Protests

If you were not one of the 60 protesters who helped us closed down Petland Westland last month, you can still appreciate this blog and will want to join us now in Novi to take on the last Petland in Michigan!

Sending out the photo of the “This Petland Location is closed” was probably the highlight of the entire year for me. Our investment in this Petland paid off and will continue to pay off as we move forward into other neighborhoods. With the closer of another Petland, we not only have less mill dogs sold in Michigan, but we received more media attention from it. Check out Hometownlife’s 3-page article published yesterday about our Petland campaign and more.

Who started all of this?~

Many of you may not be aware of just how long and how hard we worked at this boycott. It started in January of 2009. The HSUS had completed their investigation of Petland and were launching a series of rallies across the country “Ask Petland To Stop Selling Puppies”. They loaded us up with literature and signs. Since they did all the work, why wouldn’t we protest Petland Westland? Then we discover a group in Sterling Heights who set up rallies at that location. It closed a month later. We all won’t forget Katie, the Sterling Heights employee, who challenged our cause and later joined us with her uniform. That was priceless.


Once the HSUS stopped scheduling protests, we didn’t hesitate to keep going. We made bigger and better signs and kept the party going all summer. We even had our 2009 Puppy Mill Awareness Day event – Memorial Rally - there to draw media attention. Then we kept the party going all fall when Channel 7’s Heather Catallo, exposed the Petland Novi store. We were able to include our Westland rallies and the local shelter, HSHV, in her second story of the Petland Novi store. With all the media attention in Novi, we decided to hit the Novi Petland hard for the holidays. We did meet with the Twelve Oaks Mall Management prior to the Channel 7 story running and launching or protests. Amy also delivered a letter to the new store owner asking him to stop selling puppies. Randy Horowitz is the guy now on our radar.


We took a break at Petland Westland in January and February while we pounded Novi with more protests. During that time we had discussions about how to be most effective at Petland Westland. We need to reach out behind the sidewalk and contact organizations in the city. We notified the Chamber of Commerce, and Animal Control. No help there. Everyone voted we keep going with the protest starting in the spring. I learned from a group in California that rallying every Saturday for 6 months straight with at least 10 people is the best approach. Saturdays are their busiest day of the week. So that is what we did. We hit them EVERY Saturday for 5 months through August. During this time we had more help from the HSUS’s campaign. They ran their investigation through Animal Planet. That really fueled our rallies and gave us more to show the public. We also issued a Press Release exposing their main broker Abe Miller. In 2010 we started drawing in more sick dogs cases- a total of thirteen just from our rallies. There were over 30 complaints collected in total form other agencies. We were able to provide the families a list of places to file complaints and then added them to our long list of online complaints. We kept their BBB rating at an F! After the hot August rallies, we decided to take a break so we could kick-off The Family Puppy Campaign in Flint for PMA Day. While everyone was ready to come back to Petland Westland for the holidays, we quickly found out they were waiting for us to leave so they could close their does privately.

Novi Petland~

Please join us in Novi for the Holidays!!! The last standing Petland has two choices: go out to business or switch to adoptions only. We already have the holiday rallies on the calendar.

Pet Store Owner Goes to Jail

On October 28th, 2010 my clients (the dogs) won again! Joe Yaquinto was sentenced to 20 months in prison without bond. With our letters and attendance at the hearing, Judge Talon did not hesitate to restrict Joe from working with animals on parole!

Dani, who purchased two sick puppies from Joe, testified she found Joe through an advertisement on Petfinder.com. She had a business card for Sporting Dogs Unlimited that matched Exhibit 1 – a website photo. They played a recording of her conversation with Joe where he states he is no longer on Petfinder, but now using Hoobly, Kijii/Ebay, Adopt A Pet and a lot of other sites. He also told her he was still interested in her designing him a new website. Dani did a great job on cross examination, we are very proud of her for representing the other 11 victims who have reported purchasing sick dogs. He tired to suggest Becky Miller owned the entire operation and that Joe did not know how to use a computer. Dani stated she and Joe looked up a dog at a shelter and he was operating the browser etc.

Joe also testified. He stated that Becky Miller worked with him and was the owner of the entire operation. She allowed him to board his dogs there. She did not make the website, rather a lot of volunteers helped him post pictures. He named Ashley Gardner. Stated he and his volunteers went to shelters to pick up dogs, sometimes they were rescued from divorce and foreclosure situations. He would take them to the vet and get them all vaccinated, neutered and spayed. He never adopted out an unaltered dog unless they were under 6 months of age. He was not aware of any complaints. He mentioned a rescue broke his window in his truck but he did not report it. He received anonymous calls to his house. He said that Dani offered to make the website for $600 but he felt it was too high and said no. Later, on tape the Judge relistened to the part where Joe said, yes, he wanted the website.

Joe claimed his site did not have dogs listed for adoption. It had his name and number. The attorney asked him if he was just posting this for funzies? Why would he have this out there if he was not adopting out dogs? This story wasn’t adding up. He stated he has sold hundreds of dogs. When asked who posted, he said Ashley Gardner. They were not removed because no one had the pass code…she lost it. He did ask her to remove them 5 months ago. He did not report this to his Probation Officer. The Judged asked him how did he posted cars for sale when he owned the dealership? He said his admin did it for him and he doesn’t know a thing about how to use a computer.

Joe started his career as a dog flipper back in 2006. He told the judge he picked up dogs off the street in Detroit -only the ones running loose in the city. He gave them away for free after seeing a vet. The Judge asked him how he financed this? He said his volunteers pitched in on gas and the vet gave him a great deal $49 per dog. Cheap.

According to Joe, Sporting Dogs Unlimited began in 2006 made of up all volunteers (note some were paid wages in cash). He was helping Becky out by cleaning the floors with bleach, bathing dogs..etc. This is when she offered him space in her boarding kennel. Some dogs were sold for profit to offset the cost of the ones for free. When the Judge asked him was there financial benefit, he said it is an absolute looser (referring to rescuing dogs).

He sated that he never threatened anyone over the phone and did not impersonate a police officer. The judge wanted to listen to the audio tape again showing that Joe agreed to have Dani set up a website.

A print screen of another page of his website showing an email address and a phone number belonging to Joe was submitted as evidence. 248-249-3544 and sportingdogs15.com.

So the arguments against him were as follows:
Failed to pay restitution in a timely manor.
Was in a position of trust at Sporting Dogs Unlimited -Manager.
Contract showing his signature and phone number.
Business Card and website.
He was operating a website and had knowledge of it.
Admitted on audio tape that he wanted Dani to create a website for him.

The website was by Ashley Gardner.
Never had the password to access the emails. Never updated it.
No proof he was on the internet.

The Judge stated the rules of evidence don’t apply to this hearing. He is most concerned about Joe being in a position of trust and having a website. He referenced notes from Judge Sullivan who clearly felt Joe should not be in a position of trust. It is now a credibility issue. Being 57 years old and a prosecutor for 25 years he has lots of experience working with people. In this case he relies on his personal experience and common sense. He has been lied to by witnesses all the time.

“Frankly, I don’t believe you! You hide behind a curtain that others are behind this despite it was your number. Whether you set them up yourself is not he issue. I find the people have proven more than 50%. Even your own testimony put you in a position of trust. I am not making any decisions related to the puppies sold. Finding you directly on the use of the internet, in this business endeavor you were involved in.” – Judge Talon

“You have an excuse for everything and only if it is a positive nature and I don’t’ believe you” – Judge Talon.

“You are in violation of probation. Order judgement of guilty” – Judge Talon.

Probation guidelines were 5-23 months in prison. After adding up all of his points from 6 priors, the judge allowed Joe to speak again.

“I totally, totally, totally, apologize to the court, you and the staff. I am sorry.” – Joe Yaquinto.

Joes criminal record goes back to 1978 with misdemeanors, but his real criminal history began in 1990.

“You feel the rules don’t apply to you” – Judge Talon.

1990 – larceny by conversion. Did not show up for jury trial.
2004 - Larceny by false pretenses.
2005 - larceny by conversion.
2006 - Motor Vehicle – False Title
2006 – Odometer tampering

“You are taking advantage of people and not learning your lesson. Judge Sullivan was trying to protect the public. You were in the position of trust that Judge Sullivan did not want you to be in. The court can be mad or afraid of you. We are clearly mad. This can be for punishment, to deter others or keep you form harming people or retribution. You have great people skills that make you a con man. Probation is not approved. It is time to be imprisoned” – Judge Talon

Min term 20 months
Credit 24 days
Pay Kennel Lamb $
Pay Court Costs
Not allowed to work with animals.

If you are interested in saving the dogs that were taken from Tail Waggin Fun on October 7th, some are now up for adoption at the Macomb County Animal Shelter. Many more will be posted soon (Total 19). Please cross post and help get them out of that place…it is very sad and they don’t look healthy.