Friday, September 27, 2019

Washtenaw County passes pet retail resolution protecting puppies, kittens, ferrets, rabbits, birds and reptiles

Ann Arbor, MI (September 19, 2019) – HSHV and Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan applaud the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners for unanimously passing a resolution to encourage local communities to adopt a Humane Pet Acquisition Ordinance, as introduced by Commissioner Andy Labarre.

It is well-known that commercial breeding facilities, known as puppy and kitten mills, are incredibly cruel, creating unnecessary suffering and financial and emotional hardship on consumers who are usually unaware of where the animals come from and often deal with lingering health problems.

This ordinance would ensure that our pets come to us only by way of humane business models — through nonprofit adoption agencies and responsible breeders. The sale of dogs and cats in pets stores and sourced through commercial breeders would be prohibited. In addition to dogs and cats, the model ordinance seeks to protect rabbits, ferrets, long-lived birds, unweaned birds and large reptiles (animals derived through cruel means and more likely to be sold to individuals unprepared for their care). Sales on roadsides, flea markets, and parking lots would also be outlawed.

“We hope the localities will follow the County’s leadership and adopt this ordinance. There is no downside. The regulations don’t impact responsible breeders, and the vast majority of independent pet stores and industry chains have already shunned these cruel industries, no longer selling dogs and cats. Instead, focusing their business model on pet supplies and services and helping shelters and rescue organizations with adoptions,” said Pam Sordyl from Puppy Mill Awareness.

“Most residents of Washtenaw County think of their pets like family. They want us to do everything we can to protect them from unnecessary harm. This important measure will help protect animals and consumers in Washtenaw County from cruel breeders and irresponsible retailers. We are so grateful to the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners for choosing compassion over cruelty and to Commissioner Andy LaBarre for being such a strong advocate for animals,” said Tanya Hilgendorf,

HSHV President and CEO. The County resolution coincides with Puppy Mill Awareness Day on September 21. This national event was created to call attention to the atrocities of the puppy mill industry and encourage the public to adopt – not shop.

About The Humane Society of Huron Valley:
The Humane Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and relies solely on the generosity of our supporters to provide critical community programs and services. HSHV is an award-winning organization, recognized for our best practices and highest animal “save rate” among all similar shelters in Michigan. Charity Navigator, the nation’s top charity evaluator, awarded HSHV a 4-star ranking, the highest possible. The mission of HSHV is to promote the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community. HSHV is not affiliated with any other humane organization and does not receive funding from the United Way. More information can be found on HSHV’s website ( and in our annual report (

About Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan:
The Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup of Southeast Michigan is working to end the mass production of dogs in commercial kennels (“puppy mills”). Our mission is to educate the public about the cruel cycle of commercial dog breeding and the pet store link.

Link to Press Release 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Five tips to avoid a puppy scam or puppy mill

Shopping for a puppy online?
Five tips to avoid a scam or puppy mill

1.  Avoid online sellers willing to ship pets. Never buy or “adopt” a puppy over the internet without meeting the seller, the puppy’s mother or seeing the kennel conditions. If the seller is offering to ship the puppy overnight or via ground transport, ask about the route the puppy will take. Often the puppies are picked up at the breeder’s facility by a trucking company, trucked to a puppy distribution center in Missouri, such as Pet Ex, where they are warehoused with little care. Shipping to the final destination, their new home, could be hours or even days.  Avoid online sellers asking for payment via a credit card or an online service such as Paypal or Western Union. Some puppy scammers promise free puppies as long as you pay the shipping, but never send the puppy. Other scammers pose as a rescue or shelter and may reach you via email asking for help. 
2.  Avoid local puppy flippers rushing the sale. Local online sellers often obtain their puppies from a broker which provide weekly shipments and cannot answer questions about the parents. Ask many questions about the parents before you arrive at the pick-up location.   Learn more about a local Oxford couple recently arrested for selling ill puppies. 
3.  Never meet the seller in a parking lot to exchange the puppy. Instead, ask the seller to meet at your veterinary clinic for a wellness check or for permission to speak with their veterinarian to confirm health history and proof of vaccinations. 
4.  Avoid sellers with multiple online ads featuring a variety of different breeds. Online retailers often have multiple phone numbers, ad profiles, use aliases and avoid providing their address until the day you plan to meet. 
5.  Beware of online puppy broker web sites. Sites such as Puppy Find, Next Day Pets, Oodle, Terrific Pets, Puppy Trader, Dogsnow, Animaroo, Purebred Breeders, Lancaster Puppies, and many more act as an agent for breeders, in most cases taking a fee to arrange the puppy transaction. 

Learn more on Stop Online Puppy Mills 

So how should I find a pet?

Families looking for a puppy or kitty can also go to their local animal shelter, animal rescue groups and Pet - a comprehensive website with thousands of animals up for adoption. Some rescue groups are certified for best practices by the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance. Many of these groups offer a “foster to adopt “program that allows families to make sure the pet is right for them before adopting.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Predatory pet leasing schemes in Michigan

In 2017, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) issued consumer alerts through the Better Business Bureau and media outlets warning families about predatory financing practices, including “pet leasing” where the puppies are held as collateral. 

Financing options allow puppy stores to sell puppies to families who otherwise are not able to pay the full price. Depending on your credit history, you might end up "renting" your puppy.

Check the fine print!

When puppy buyers sign a lease agreement, the leasing company buys the puppy from the puppy store and retains ownership of the puppy until the customer makes all the monthly payments.

Puppy buyers can be easily misled by the financing language because the store employees do not understand the loan terms or simply desire to make the sale by glossing over them.  

The Family Puppy (Novi, MI) September 27, 2011
Photo Credit, Puppy Mill Awareness SE Michigan
Two Michigan pet stores offer pet leasing: The Barking Boutique (Grandville) and The Family Puppy (Flint, Troy, Novi), resulting in complaints filed with the BBB. 

Both stores advertised “My Pet Funding” last year as a financing option on their websites. 
The ad’s fine print read as follows: 


Now both The Barking Boutique and The Family Puppy stores advertise "Credova" on their websites. According to Credova's wesite, they are not actual lenders. The bottom of their website states:

"Credova provides a software platform for retailers to access third-party providers for lease-to-own financing and other lending products based on a consumer’s credit profile."

The Barking Boutique and Petland (Novi) puppy stores also offer high interest rate loans through Lending USA. 

According to a recent USA Today article “Pet leasing has been drawing scrutiny from lawmakers and animal welfare groups since media reports highlighted consumer complaints against Reno, Nevada-based Wags Lending, which pioneered the practice. Nevada and California have now outlawed pet leasing, and New York lawmakers are proposing legislation prohibiting lease contracts "where dogs or cats are used as collateral." 

In January, Florida joined the list of states with plans to ban predatory pet lending. The bill would require contracts to be voided if the pet could be used as collateral to ensure payments of the contract.

Even the American Kennel Club, a longtime supporter of the commercial dog breeding industry, opposes pet leasing:

“AKC supports a ban on predatory pet leasing schemes that victimize potential owners, undermine a lifetime commitment to a pet, and do not confer the rights and responsibilities associated with legal ownership of a pet.”

Bloomberg’s March 1, 2017 article “I am renting a dog” includes the most thorough coverage of this new tactic to help peddle puppies.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Animal cruelty still a low priority in Oakland County

Only 15 tickets issued in a three-year period,
most not prosecuted 

A report issued by Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan to the Oakland County Public Services Department in 2017 outlined major shortcomings with Oakland County Animal Control (OCAC). The document, which compiled dispatch, ticketing, and courtroom data from 2013-2015, alleged that OCAC is not enforcing basic animal cruelty, pet shop, and dog kennel regulations. New cruelty and hoarding case studies suggest animal welfare is still a low priority in Oakland County.

Link to Animal Cruelty Study

Citing multiple case studies, the report detailed a systematic lack of initiative across the 43 municipalities within the department’s jurisdiction, particularly when dealing with retail and kennel facilities. Of the 429 animal cruelty complaints called into the OCAC dispatch office over the three-year period, only 15 resulted in any type of ticketing.

The report called for the department to develop policies and procedures for officers and dispatchers, write contracts that outline the departments scope of work, and begin to enforce existing anti-cruelty laws by ticketing and prosecuting animal abusers.

Since the report was issued to the department in October 2017, additional case studies of neglect have been escalated to senior management and eventually featured in the news, yet the department continues to avoid enforcing the basic cruelty laws.

March 15, 2018 Couple says Novi Petland sold them
sick dog that had to be put down
(Novi, 2018) Three lawsuits were filed against Petland (Novi) including twenty-five plaintiffs for multiple violations of the Consumer Protection Act. Puppies were sold with genetic defects, infections and some had highly contagious diseases, costing the plaintiffs thousands of dollars in veterinary care. One man was man hospitalized after purchasing a puppy infected with Campylobacter. No action taken by Oakland County Animal Control. Puppy buyers are referred to the Michigan Department of Agriculture which no longer regulates pet stores.

Photo provided to OCAC April 5, 2018

(Clarkston, April 2018) Concerned family members documented deplorable and unsafe living conditions at the home of their elderly parents, Ann and Richard Glenn. Over 60 photos and videos were provided to Oakland County Animal Control confirming the show dog breeder had spiraled out of control. Of the 42 small breed dogs, two dogs were at various stages of lethargy; other dogs had urine stains, matting, eye infections, skin rashes and gum disease. With regular oversight and enforcement, these animals could have avoided these conditions. The county avoided significant expenses for investigation, evidence gathering, animal care, and court proceedings, by claiming the complaint was unfounded. 

Livonia Animal Control Intake Photo September 11, 2018

(Oxford, January 2019) Livonia Animal Control seized ill puppies from an online retail seller, Kimberly Ann Kalec in September 2018. To avoid oversight while on probation, Kalec and her partner Stephen Andrew Kalec moved to Oxford and continued their puppy selling business. Oakland County Animal Control attempted to conduct an animal welfare check after a German Shepherd puppy was sold will medical issues. With no one home, the inspection was scheduled the next day with the puppy sellers. The OCAC report read “All puppies appeared to be very playful and a couple were vocal. The puppies all appeared clean, healthy, and active.” Case closed. The purchased puppy was diagnosed with Giardia, was anemic and had low proteins. It is unclear where the puppies were obtained and if they had proper importation records. The OCAC report did not indicate that the officer spoke with the retailer’s veterinarian or if all the puppies had 30-day health certificates signed by a veterinarian.
If you purchased a puppy from a pet store, online seller or breeder with illnesses, please contact Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan at 734-718-7100.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Parking lot puppy sellers on probation move to Oxford, MI

Kimberly Ann Kalec
September 27, 2018

Stephen Andrew Kalec
February 24, 2015

(OXFORD, MI) Within a few months of having her dogs and puppies seized, Kimberly Ann Kalec was scheduling a c-section for a pregnant English Bulldog, obtaining more puppies from her broker and selling more sick puppies.

Kalec has been involved in puppy retail sales in Livonia since 2013 with her ex-husband Stephen Andrew Kalec. Through online classified ads, they were easily finding puppy buyers to meet them in parking lots, both using aliases “Jenny” and “Jeff”. They were convicted of animal cruelty in 2015 and Kimberly again in 2018 after puppies were found with untreated illnesses. The couple recently moved from Livonia to Oxford seeking sanctuary in Oakland County which has a "zero-animal cruelty prosecution policy". Oakland County Animal Control dispatch refers puppy buyer complainants to the Michigan Department of Agriculture which dropped their Pet Shop Program in 2009, or conclude “it is a civil matter”, leaving families frustrated and sellers unregulated.

However, in Livonia, puppy retail sellers and brokers are not welcome.

Ollie For Sale Photo

Ollie died from parvo

According to an open records request obtained by Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan, Officer Brandon responded to a complaint regarding a seller named “Jenny” on September 10, 2018. The caller stated she contacted a listing for a Goldendoodle puppy and met the seller driving a white Jeep Wrangler in a McDonalds parking lot located in Livonia. The seller was accompanied by her 10-year-old daughter. Three days later, the puppy named “Ollie” started having medical problems including diarrhea and lethargy. He was diagnosed with parvo and passed away just a few days later. 

Officer Brandon’s Investigation

Brandon’s investigation found additional online ads indicating that there were several puppies for sale, including Labrador Retrievers, St. Bernards, Shih-tzus, Teddy Bears, Newfoundlands, Goldendoodles, and Dachshunds. Usernames included “englishcreamies” on, “klcstphdx”, “whatcha”, “benyoies”, and “guesssweet” on  The phone numbers included 248-639-8248, 248-955-3413, 248-215-2365, and 248-595-7344.  The investigation led to an address on Floral Street in Livonia.

A search warrant was served on September 11, 2018. Officers noted an overwhelming smell of rotting food and feces. The house was cluttered with debris and feces. Four mixed breed puppies 6-8 weeks old were found in the kitchen. Health Certificates for recent puppy sales were found, but were not signed by a veterinarian. Throughout the home were documents related to veterinary care, purchases of puppies, shot records, AKC registrations and information regarding parvovirus and coccidia. Bottles of vaccines and syringes were also found in the home.

Two cream Golden Retrievers were found in the backyard. Some of the feces resembled diarrhea. 

(Livonia Animal Control Inspection Photos September 11, 2018)

All six dogs were removed from the home. Impound records indicate the puppies had fleas and respiratory issues.

(Livonia Animal Control Intake Photos September 11, 2018)

When confronted about their business of buying and selling numerous puppies and those that were ill, Kalec stated she was “rescuing” puppies. The four puppies were obtained from a “guy named Mike” and had no other information about him except a phone number which turned out to be invalid.

Health certificates obtained during the seizure indicated that Kalec was a high-volume seller. There were 13 health certificates dated between 09/01/18 and 09/09/18 for the sale of dogs. One was from August. 

Multiple puppy buyer complaints 

Four more puppy buyers came forward during the late summer investigation.

  1. An August buyer purchased a Toy Poodle from “Jeff” driving a white Jeep Wrangler in a Walgreens parking lot. Her sister-in-law also purchased a Cavapoo for $400 from “Jeff” which was coughing.
  2. Another August buyer purchased a Golden retriever named Ollie. He was diagnosed with parvo shortly after purchase and died a few days later.
  3. In late August another puppy was diagnosed with parvo and died. The buyer purchased the 9-week Golden Retriever named Mia from a woman named “Jenny”.
  4. Early September the third parvo puppy was reported. The buyer purchased a Maltese puppy named Frozen from “Jeff” 248-215-2365 driving a white Jeep in a Walgreens parking lot for $500. He told the buyer the puppy was his girlfriend’s. The puppy died from Parvo two weeks later and “Jeff” refused to refund the buyer. 

Frozen passed away from parvo
two weeks after purchase

Breeder names, missing licensing 

While Kalec maintains she is rescuing puppies, AKC Registration Forms indicate that the puppies are coming from breeders which normally do no need to be rescued and are fairly easy to sell. The following breeder names were found on the AKC Registration Forms provided to the puppy buyers:

Lynda Carroll (Howell, MI) no USDA license
Merlin Troyer (Millersburg, OH) no USDA license
Linda Wright (Location TBD) no USDA license
Allan Graber (Location TBD) no USDA license
Lavern S. Schwartz (Location TBD) no USDA license

Probation Terms 

Kimberly Kalec was issued three tickets on September 13, 2018. Two tickets were for cruelty and unsanitary conditions, and another for not having a kennel license, or dog licenses and operating a business without a license.

This clearly was not a deterrent for these busy puppy peddlers. Within two weeks Kalec called Wilson’s Veterinary Clinic to a schedule c-section for a two-year-old Olde English Bulldog.

Probation terms include: two dogs signed over to MHS, restitution for housing costs, can not breed, or sell any animals except if licensed by state or municipality in compliance with all regulations for two years starting October 2018. 

Puppy sales continue during probation term 

By December, the couple were posting more classified ads for a variety of puppies.

Puppy - Utica Classified Ads -
9-Dec-2018 Oxford, MI For Sale 248-639-8248. call or text 248 639 8248 ready for now comes with everything puppy pack. French Bulldog Puppies for ...

Puppies - For Sale Classified Ads in Goodrich, Michigan - › Goodrich Classifieds › For Sale
9-Dec-2018 Oxford, MI For Sale 248-639-8248. call or text 248 639 8248 ready for now comes with everything puppy pack. Australian Shepard puppies !

Puppies - Romeo Classified Ads - 
9-Dec-2018 Oxford, MI For Sale 248-639-8248. call or text 248 639 8248 ready for now comes with everything puppy pack ...

Prior Animal Cruelty Charges – A long history of complaints 

While living on Stanmoor in Livonia, complaints were filed with Livonia Animal Control going back to 2013. One complainant stated “Possibly dog selling, lots of dogs being “handed” off to a lot of different people”. In 2015 another call arrived concerning the animals “breeder has poor conditions, and puppies have parvo, bought a puppy from them, took him to the vet and they puppy has parvo, breeder Stephen Kalec 248-924-4727.”

Stephen Kalec was instructed to take the last two puppies to the veterinarian within 24 hours. The owner was informed not to keep or sell dogs from the parents that were not on the premises.

On February, 24, 2015 Kimberly and Stephan Kalec were arrested and charged with cruelty to animals, neglect and operating without a kennel license, after finding more puppies at the residence.

Buyers Beware in Oxford 

Their puppy retail business is now home-based in Oxford. They continue to post online puppy ads and meet puppy buyers in parking lots. She is now driving a Black F150 Ford truck. The couple is still using to advertise under Stephen’s phone number 248-247-4708. They also are breeding Olde English Bulldogs and advertising on their “Olde English Guardians” website. 

One buyer filed a complaint with Livonia Animal Control after purchasing a German Shepherd puppy from Kimberly Kalec in the Meijer Gas Station in Oxford. The buyer was given vaccination papers, but they were not “signed” by a veterinarian. The puppy smelled like feces, was very lethargic, had diarrhea, anemic, low proteins and was diagnosed with giardia. The AKC Registration Form listed Lavern S. Schwartz as the breeder, however Schwartz appears to be an unlicensed breeder, according to the USDA.

On February 21, 2019 Oakland County Animal Control attempted to conduct an animal welfare check after the German Shepherd puppy was sold will medical issues. With no one home, the inspection was scheduled the next day with the puppy sellers. The OCAC report read “All puppies appeared to be very playful and a couple were vocal. The puppies all appeared clean, healthy, and active.” Case closed.

It is unclear where the puppies were obtained and if they had proper importation records. The OCAC report did not indicate that the officer spoke with the retailer’s veterinarian or if all the puppies had 30-day health certificates signed by a veterinarian.

OCAC Scheduled Inspection February 21, 2019

Puppy sales continue, business as usual 

Despite continued complaints, inspections and court hearings, the couple continue to post ads for puppy sales.

Mar 20, 2019 - Both are playful, love children up to date on vaccines and dewormings. Vet records. Vet health certificate. Call or text 248. 639. 8248 ...

Stephen Kalec
 to olde english bulldogge
March 24 at 1:38 PM · 
Old English bulldog platinum Merle great with kids pet rights 2800 or full if requested . Yes we do ship . U pay shipping . 7 months never been bred or had the chance loves to cuddle and kiss your face off .. is crate trained. 

Did you purchase a sick animal? 

If you purchased a sick dog or puppy from Kimberly or Stephen Kalec, please contact Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan at 734-718-7100.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Petland Novi is court ordered to provide a list of their breeders

Petland Novi is court ordered to provide a list of its breeders, brokers and employees for the past five years.

Today, attorney Jenifer Measel prevailed during the second hearing in the Rose vs Petland Novi case. Judge Phyllis McMillen ended the “discovery battle” by offering time for the attorneys to hammer out a list of questions not fully answered. During that time, Petland’s attorney was ordered to provide additional information, as well as, deposition dates.

According to court documents, a Northville family purchased a sick puppy that passed an antibiotic resistant Campylobacter infection on to the owner requiring time off of work and medical treatment.

Petland Novi has stonewalled the buyers since the lawsuit was filed in November by refusing to provide complete answers to questions regarding the store’s business practices and not providing deposition dates. Instead, Petland Novi is attempting to dismiss the case suggesting it is “over pleaded” with eight counts, 118 witnesses, including Bob Gatt, the Mayor of Novi and that the couple may have contracted campylobacter while dinning out.

Measel reminded the court this is a Toxic Tort case and everyone in the chain will be sued. She noted that the CDC investigated the campylobacter outbreak across the country in 2016-17 tracing the source to Petland stores. She will need to start by deposing, not only the pet store owner, Randy Horowitz, but two sales managers (Alayna Markle and Melissa Norvakowski) both of whom testified before the House Agriculture Committee in Lansing in support of legislation that would protect pet retail sales.

According to court documents, the Plaintiffs have asked for such items as…..

  • A list of breeders, brokers or other entities Petland has acquired animals from along with all acquisition records

  • A list of employees, including bookkeepers, payroll, human resources, record keeping, inventory employees and those responsible for purchasing puppies.

  • List of records regarding animals with parvo, intestinal parasites, diseases or genetic abnormalities.

  • A list of veterinarians and technicians.

  • All vaccination and medical treatments.

  • A list of dogs euthanized.

  • A list of dogs presently housed at the store and veterinary clinic. 

Petland Novi was court ordered to provide a list of its breeders, brokers and employees for the past five years.


Doug Rose vs Petland Novi complaint (Click here)

CDC investigation (Click here)

Notorious Ohio Puppy Broker Abe Miller Named as defendant (Click here)

Local 4 - Northville man alleges sick puppy bought at Novi pet store landed him in hospital (Click here)

Feb 20, 2019 Hearing Media Advisory (Click here)

Monday, February 18, 2019

Petland Novi due in court

Pet store stonewalls buyers by refusing to provide complete 
answers to questions regarding its business practices

MEDIA ADVISORY: February 18, 2019

CONTACT: Pam Sordyl, 734-718-7100,

NOVI, MICHIGAN – The third Petland Novi civil case is headed for hearings on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at 8:30 am at the Oakland County Circuit Courthouse (located at 1200 Telegraph Rd, Pontiac, MI) in the Honorable Judge Phyllis McMillen’s courtroom located on the third floor, room 3C.

According to court documents, a Northville family purchased a sick puppy that passed an antibiotic resistant Campylobacter infection on to the owner requiring time off of work and medical treatment. Link to press release.

The complaint (Doug Rose v Northlake Pets Inc, dba Petland Novi, Case No 2018-170078-NO) claims fraud, negligence and breach of contract as the dog was represented as healthy and fit for sale as a companion animal.

On Wednesday, the court will be hearing motions regarding Petland’s failure to provide answers to basic questions and repeated failure to provide deposition testimony.  These motions to compel were filed by the Haas & Goldstein law firm representing Plaintiffs Doug and Dawn Rose. The motion states “the Plaintiffs have been requesting dates for the depositions of Randy Horowitz who is the owner …, as well as, Alayna Markle and Melissa Norvakowski, …sales managers” and that the counsel for the defendants “refused to provide dates”.

The motion also states that the counsel for the defendants “refused to provide complete discovery responses...” and that “the Plaintiffs need such documents and information to adequately prepare for cross examinations of witnesses, case evaluations and trial”.

“It is clear the counsel for the defendants (Petland Novi), is engaging in a discovery shell game and purposely attempting to thwart Plaintiffs right to discovery. “
Members of Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan will be attending the hearings. Link to Facebook event

Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan recommends families adopt their next pet from their local shelter or Michigan Certified foster-based animal rescue organization - many of whom specialize in specific breeds.

Learn more about Puppy Mill Awareness.