Friday, March 9, 2018

Sixteen Plaintiffs File Lawsuit Against Novi Pet Store

Lawsuit claims Petland Novi knowingly sold puppies with genetic issues, illnesses and disease from substandard breeders violating the Consumer Protection Act.  

March 9, 2018

CONTACT: Pam Sordyl, 734-828-1400 or 734-718-7100, pmamichinfo AT

NOVI, MICHIGAN – Sixteen plaintiffs who purchased companion animals from Petland, located in the Twelve Oaks Mall (27200 Novi Rd, Novi, MI), have filed a lawsuit seeking monetary damages for breach of contract and multiple violations of the Consumer Protection Act after purchasing puppies. The puppies suffered from a range of issues, including genetic defects, infections and some had highly contagious diseases, costing the plaintiffs thousands of dollars in veterinary care.

The lawsuit was filed on February 22, 2018 at the Oakland County Circuit Court and assigned to Judge Hala Jarbou. (Case Number 2018-163984-CZ)

In one particularly heart breaking case, one of the Plaintiffs purchased a puppy that brought the Parvo virus home and infected the family’s senior Labrador, Smokey, who had to be euthanized after contracting the virus. 

The complaint also alleges fraud, claiming the store and its owner knowingly sold animals with deformities and illnesses, as well as misrepresenting the origins of the animals.  In many cases, after investigating the documents provided by Petland upon purchase, the animals were found to have been bred in horrific conditions by commercial breeders who many allege are well known “puppy mill” owners.

Some Plaintiffs were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement or “gag” document in exchange for reimbursement of veterinary costs and a refund of the purchase price of the puppy. Families were asked not to hold Petland, Twelve Oaks Mall, Northlake Pets Inc., VCA Animal Hospitals, or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates responsible, nor could they post anything negative on the internet, go to the media, or do anything defamatory against Petland Novi to obtain reimbursements or refunds.

The Plaintiffs are represented by attorney Jennifer Measel of Haas & Goldstein, P.C., a Farmington Hills based law firm which recently prevailed in similar pet store retail fraud cases in Mt. Clemens, Mich.

“The puppies sold at Petland Novi are unhealthy because they are over-bred in warehouse-sized kennels in unsanitary conditions without consideration of genetic quality,” says Measel. “This results in generations of dogs with unchecked hereditary defects. Mass production of puppies in unsanitary kennels harbor diseases and illnesses that travel with the puppy to the pet store and can be shared among other puppies from other puppy farms on the broker transport truck.”

The named defendants in the lawsuit are Petland Novi and owner/operator Randy Horowitz. Horowitz lost two recent court cases after DNA testing proved the store sold the wrong breed of dog to members of the general public.

Petland is the nation’s largest puppy retailer, with over 80 locations in the United States and only one store remaining in Michigan. Last year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund announced a nationwide racketeering class actionlawsuit against Petland. The lawsuit claims predatory business practices of charging premium prices for puppies “guaranteed” to be healthy – as certified by Petland’s veterinarians —when Petland knows it is selling puppies prone to illnesses and other defects, including “puppy-mill” sourced puppies.

Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan launched a public education campaign against the Novi store in 2010. The group has continued to warn mall patrons and families of the risks involved in purchasing puppies from Petland through protests, petitions, outreach events, and social media. The group took their campaign to the Novi City Council and police department after collecting over 100 complaints - 24 in 2016 alone - and discovering Oakland County Animal Control was not logging or responding to complaints over a three year period in which records were requested. A list of concerns was presented to the city council and can be found on this blog 
  • Petland Novi has a history of working with irresponsible breeders. Enforcement Actions were filed against fourteen 14 of Petland Novi’s suppliers and others have serious violations to the Animal Welfare Act - 700 USDA photos and videos show these violations including injured and untreated animals.
  • Petland Novi uses large commercial breeding facilities, some with over 500 adult dogs on site.
  • Petland Novi imports 60-160 puppies per month from out-of-state breeders where families can not meet the parents.
  • Petland Novi uses puppy brokers or “middlemen”, ensuring that customers will never meet the parents of the animals they purchase.
  • Over 100 customer complaints have been logged related to Petland Novi. Complaints have been reported to local Animal Control, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development,, Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Petland Novi has been the subject of local investigations including (WXYZ Detroit) The Investigators.

“It has been impossible to help families escalate their complaints when elected officials in Novi and appointees within the Oakland County Executives Office directed us to the Michigan Department of Agriculture which no longer regulates pet stores, “ stated Pam Sordyl, founder of Puppy Mill Awareness. “We asked repeatedly for a police detective to be assigned after more sick puppies were sold and highlighted in the news.”

Those wanting to add a pet to their household are encouraged to adopt from their local shelter or Michigan Certified foster-based animal rescues organizations- many of whom specialize in specific breeds- or thoroughly research and personally visit the breeder from whom they intend to purchase an animal.

To follow the progress of the Petland Novi case, click below

Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan is a grassroots organization dedicated to ending commercial breeding "puppy mills" and protecting families from puppy peddlers, pet stores and bad breeders by lobbying for stronger laws, setting up information booths, completing research studies and launching pet store campaigns.

Learn more about Puppy Mill Awareness

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