Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Detroit Area Pet Store Closures

I had the pleasure of crossing one more puppy selling store off our map! We are now down to 20 puppy selling stores with store fronts in the Detroit Area.  

The closing of Pet Station was long over due. We have been tracking sick dog cases back to 2005. Not only did they sell puppies, but a wide range of other live animals that were also suffering in the store. Pet Station was indeed one of the worst pet stores in Michigan. I will be publishing our findings soon.  

This map indicates which stores have closed since we started our group in 2008. The blue text indicates which stores have opened since 2008. We currently have active campaigns against The Family Puppy (largest volume), Petland Novi, Westland Dog Food Co and we will be giving a boycott of Utica Pet Supply in June. 

September 2008: Petland Belleville closes after 8 months of protests. 

March 2009: Petland, Sterling Heights Mi, closes. Paws Total Pet Studio, Northville, Mi closes due to public pressure. 

August 2009: I Heart Dogs, Mt. Clemens Mi closes due to public pressure.

May 2010: Pet Paradise Plus, Stockbridge Mi, closed by Animal Control. 

July 2010: Petland Westland Mi, closes after 18 months of protests.

August 2010: Sporting Dogs Unlimited, Shelby Mi, closed by Animal Control. Owner goes to jail.  

July 2011: Paws & Claws, Eastpointe Mi, closed after 6 months of protests. Gardenland, Roseville Mi, stopped selling puppies and kittens under new management. Signed the plege. 

August 2011: Animal Kingdom in Saginaw closes. Barking Babes in Fenton stopped selling puppies! Four Pawz, Creseco Mi stated they do not sell puppies.  

April 2012: Pet Station, Dearborn Heights Mi, closed by authorities and owner is arrested.

We hope the remaining puppy selling stores choose to stop selling puppy and hold adoption events only.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jade Awards

Our membership sky-rocketed this month with the Allegan bust and Pet Station arrest. We hurdled over 400 with 16 new members and the month isn’t over! The Meetup stats show we have had 78 RSVPS just this month and 68 total active members, which seems about right to me.  

Our Westland and Utica protests have had consistent and excellent coverage. Our VegFest tabling event is full with a waiting list. We certainly have no shortage of committed volunteers. 

Which brings me to this months Jade Award Recipients.  

Even with a spectacular group of active members, there are always a few standouts in the group. Three members were recognized at Humane Lobby Day for not only their impressive attendance record, but their overall commitment to the animals. Each recipient received a Jade potted plant. Jade plants are extremely hearty and seem to thrive in any kind of conditions --just like our three recipients: Sunday Harvey, Alicia Handlin and Olivia Sanchez.  

Sunday Harvey – 66 meetups since March 2009. I love the photo of her fighting with the blizzard and holding the banner up at Twelve Oaks mall.

Alicia Handlin – 44 meetups since March 2011. Alicia is great at making her own signs and literature.

Olivia Sanchez – 43 meetup since December 2008. Why is Olivia wearing a face mask? The owner of the pet store was running multiple snow blowers to fume her away. Obviously that didn’t work.  

If there was ever a winter protest that looked like I would be the only one signed up – Olivia, Sunday and Alicia ALWAYS ensure I was not alone. They come prepared and on time with enthusiasm. They always say ..”lets stay a little longer”. They not only see the big picture, but know that protesting regularly has tremendous outreach and is effective.  

Thank you Sunday, Alicia and Olivia for your support during the long winter protests. You truly are Winter Warriors that I am lucky to have on my side!


Friday, April 20, 2012

In Action at the Capitol

This week 17 Puppy Mill Awareness members put on lobbying hats and participated in our most successful Humane Lobby Day ever! In total 76 Michigan dog advocates came together in Lansing to give a voice to animals needing more protection. Members spoke with their Senators and Representatives about four bills pending hearings. (more photos) 

Many of our members were first time lobbyist and I was certainly impressed with those that did their homework and attended our Lobby 101 gathering on Saturday. I was lucky to have some members in the same meetings with me. Some of you should be “paid lobbyists” with your knowledge and friendly approach. We sure are a likeable group of animal advocates. Great job everyone!  

There were many personal highlights for me. First, I was thrilled to meet the new Michigan ASPCA Director, Vicki Deisner who hosted the event with us. We now have two of the nation’s largest animals welfare organizations fighting puppy mills. We can use another leader like Jill Fritz. Second, the endless questions about the Puppy Protection Act made me feel everyone in the room was equipping themselves to lobby hard for this bill. Lastly, having Steve Beida and Rick Jones (our bill’s sponsors) join us and share personal stories after their awards made me know we are can make a difference with them on our side. Watch Videos.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Utica Pet Supply - Next Campaign

Here is our press release for our Utica Pet Supply Campaign Launch:

An animal advocacy group has sent letters to the owners of Utica Pet Supply located at 45460 Van Dyke Avenue, asking them to stop 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 Utica Pet Supply 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 Utica Pet Supply to stop selling puppies and to take the Puppy Friendly Pet Store pledge through the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) initiative, along with an offer to support the store during its transition to adoption events only. Utica Pet Supply 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.” Six area stores that sell puppies have closed after such campaigns were launched.
Utica Pet Supply has a history of working with large out-of-state commercial breeders. Happy Tails Kennels in Minnesota supplied puppies from 2003-2006. The Detroit Free Press exposed this puppy mill connection and listed Utica Pet Supply as one of the top importers of puppies in Michigan.
Puppy Mill Awareness’s investigation revealed the store has continued to work with large out-of-state breeders in Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. One such breeder—Canterbury Tails Pets, LLC, Kansas—shipped 15 puppies to Utica Pet Supply for the 2011 holiday season. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports show that Canterbury Tails Pets was cited for serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act related to lack of veterinary care. One violation report read, “White Lhasa has pink flesh protrusions from the 3rd eyelids of both eyes. This dog has thick creamy discharge and cloudy corneas of both eyes.  Eye conditions such as these can cause pain and loss of vision”. Another dog was reported to have a laceration on the right shoulder two inches in length with fresh blood.  Canterbury Tails Pets inventory reports show they kennel between 370 – 450 adult dogs.
Another breeder who has shipped puppies to Utica Pet Supply, Brian Sterrenberg of Joyce, Iowa, was inspected by the USDA in January 2010. The investigator found that the outside runs were full of ice, snow and fecal material. “Had a bad snow storm 1 week ago and runs should have been cleaned by now”. This affected 95 animals.
“This is disgusting and sad” said Sordyl. “Michigan families care about their pets, while Utica Pet Supply continues to work with breeders who are mistreating their animals.”
Currently, the Better Business Bureau is also giving this store a failing grade -- Rated F.
Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan sent an additional letter to Utica Pet Supply this week, saying 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 letter ends with the request, “We would like you to pledge in writing to convert to a humane business model.”