Monday, May 13, 2013

Pet Lemon Law is introduced in Michigan

Puppy Mill Awareness Commends
Legislative Action to Protect Pet Buyers 

Pet Lemon Law is introduced in Michigan offering recourse for dog, cat and ferret buyers 

A "Pet Lemon Law" has been re-introduced in Michigan to offer consumer protections for purchasers of dogs, cats and ferrets. Under S.B. 348, people who purchase sick or diseased animals from pet shops, breeders or dealers would have specific recourse against the sellers.

Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan applauds Sen. Steve Bieda (D-Warren) for leading S.B. 348, which would offer options for the purchaser, including returning the animal for a full refund and replacement or recovery of veterinary expenses. The bill includes specific time frames for reporting illnesses, maximum amounts a buyer can recover, and provisions for congenital defects in the purchased animals.

The full text of S.B. 348 can be found here:

"This will hold pet sellers accountable for burdening the public with veterinary costs and emotional stress of caring for a sick pet," said Pam Sordyl, founder of Puppy Mill Awareness. "We commend Senator Bieda for addressing this costly problem, and for protecting the additional victims of the pet trade: consumers."

Liz Frates, of Ann Arbor, told Puppy Mill Awareness that she purchased a 16-week-old Yorkshire Terrier from a Michigan breeder for $1,200 in cash. She was told that the puppy was healthy. The breeder’s full written pet guarantee against anything congenital or hereditary did not help Liz in court, after the puppy was diagnosed with grade 2 luxating patellas in both legs – a congenital defect requiring surgery totaling nearly $3,200. Liz had already spent $900 in veterinary costs addressing breathing and diarrhea problems that the puppy had endured since his purchase.

"Without laws in place irresponsible breeders have free reign to find loop holes and continue with their unethical practices.” said Frates. “Pet insurance will not cover hereditary, genetic or congenital defects and most people cannot afford the thousands of dollars in vet bills and surgeries to correct such health problems.”

In Michigan, consumers often rely on the Better Business Bureau to settle disputes with pet stores. Other times they end up in small claims court, which places a heavy burden on the purchaser to prove that the seller was aware of a pre-existing condition in the purchased animal.

Puppy Mill Awareness has been logging sick dog complaints in Michigan for four years. “Cases often go unreported to proper authorities. Buyers may complain to the pet store or breeder, only to have their calls unreturned,” said Sordyl. “We advocate for consumers by providing counseling and a checklist including agencies who may respond to complaints.” That checklist can be found here:

Puppy Mill Awareness started a petition in support of Michigan's Pet Lemon Law on By signing the petition, citizens can let their representatives know that they support the law, too. The petition can be found here:

Puppy Mill Awareness would like to thank Sen. Bieda and the bill co-sponsors for both protecting Michigan consumers and shining the spotlight on the puppy mill/pet store connection.

According to the nonprofit humane education group The Citizens Against Puppy Mills:

  • Nearly 100% of all puppies in pet stores have parasites when they are purchased. 
  • 48% of puppies being sold in pet stores were ill or incubating an illness at the time of purchase, according to a recent California study. 
  • 500,000 puppies are born in puppy mills and sold in pet stores every year in the United States. 
  • Commercial breeders can make more than $300,000 selling puppies every year. 
  • Almost every puppy sold in a pet store has a mother who will spend her entire life in a tiny cage, never being petted, never being walked, never being treated like a dog. 
  • Female dogs are usually bred two times each year. At that rate, they usually burn out by the age of five, at which time they are put to death 
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. Read more about our goals, success stories, activities and studies at


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

2009-Present Terry Adams (Garage Salesman)

Aliases, sick and dying animals, alledgegly practicing veterinary care

BRIGHTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. – On June 5, 2011, Terry Adams was arraigned in Livingston County District Court on charges of unauthorized practice of a health profession and pet-shop violations. Prosecutors allege he was operating as a veterinarian without a license and sold or delivered dogs without the appropriate health certificate. He pleaded not guilty.

Assistant Prosecutor Anthony Ameche asked the judge to adjourn a preliminary hearing because a witness, who is named as the victim in the complaint, could not be located. Judge L. Suzanne Geddis dismissed the charges, however will allow the prosecutor to refile the felony complaint. 

Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan has been investigating the pet store located at a residence (pole barn) 4413 Kensington Road, Milford Michigan since 2009.  “We are most concerned that Terry Adams is part of the puppy mill pet trade, selling sick dogs and practicing veterinary medicine without a license“ said Pam Sordyl, Director of Puppy Mill Awareness. 

Some of the investigation findings include:

¨     Practice Veterinary Care without a license

¨     Selling sick puppies – 8 complaints.

¨     Lack of disease control  - parvo outbreaks.

¨     Using aliases

¨     Missing Interstate Health Certificates

¨     Missing 30-Day Health Certificates – Pet Store Laws Apply

¨     No business licenses (MDA and Department of Energy Labor and Economic Growth)

¨     No Tax ID for puppy selling

¨     No resale certificates provided to customers.  

Shoppers who call in response to Mr. Adams’ ads in local papers are told to bring “cash only” and that they can pick up a registered AKC puppy by appointment. The property is gated requiring authorization to proceed to the garage.  

“Once we entered the building I was astonished by the amount of puppies in cages!” said Dena Awdish, from West Bloomfield, Mich. who visited the garage. “I told my husband that these were ‘puppy mill’ pups and wanted to leave but he insisted on seeing the pugs and letting our daughter pick one.  There had to have been 30 - 40 different pups, and about 15 different breeds but no parents anywhere.  The pups were in wire cages and had no bedding whatsoever.”  

The advocacy group observed puppies housed in Mr. Adams’ garage including Maltepoos, Papillons Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Cavelier Spaniels, Yorkie-poos and Shihtsu mixes.  Other customers reported Min Pins, Pugs, Doxins, Pug Mixes, Australian Sheppard Mix, Beagles, Poodles, Maltese. He also advertised Pekineges, Boston Terrier and French Bulldogs.

Mr. Adams told Puppy Mill Awareness that he worked with breeders in Indiana, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Howell, Fowlerville and Traverse City, however, there were no USDA licensed breeders in these cities at that the time. It is illegal for a breeder to sell to a pet store (wholesale) without a USDA license.    

“The puppies are not receiving Health Certificates by a certified vet , meaning they are more likely to become ill at these young ages. Without proper shelter and health care one sick dog likely means many others are falling ill.”  

¨     11+ complaints have been filed with the Livingston County Animal Control.

¨     7 customers have purchased sick dogs including two confirmed cases of parvo puppies.

¨     1 puppy died.

¨    2 individuals have taken him to small claims court. There may be more cases.

Terry Adams has been selling puppies illegally out of his pole barn via classified ads since 2006. In October 2010, the Brighton Planning office notified the household that their property is not zoned as a B-2 district which is required to operate a business. On February 18, 2011, the Planning Office sent a second notification. 

Several customers have reported Terry has offered further veterinary services including vaccinations and spay/neuter surgeries. He provides pricing quotes on a sheet of paper. Mr. Adams stated his brother in-law performs the surgeries in his mobile vet van in the driveway. Other times he stated he does the surgeries himself. He has also referred customers to John Hermann DVM who stops at the local Tractor and Supply. In October 2010, Puppy Mill Awareness asked him which veterinary he works with and he stated he doesn’t use a vet since he knows how to do everything. When asked if he had been trained as a vet tech, he said no.    

Terry Adams has also used the alias Ron Martin with customers. He may also use the name George and Jeff Adams. He has advertised in the Detroit News Classifieds under the home number 248-379-0041 and 248-230-6089. He  switched to the 6089 number for the 2011 online ads. Prices range from $375 - $700. Alledgedly, the quoted price change when customers arrive – they go up. One customer reported he switched the puppy she had left a deposit on and sold her a sick puppy, that later died.  

Some of the puppies come from an unlicensed breeder named Jacob Schwartz (11310 Roth, Grabill, Indiana 46741 (260)704-26470). Schwartz does not have a USDA license to sell wholesale to Terry Adam. He is also not registered with Indiana Board of Animal Health which is a misdemeanor. The Indiana Prosecutors and the USDA have been notified.  

“The pen had diarrhea and the pups were lethargic. He was trying to cover up the diarrhea in the cage with newspapers. He was wearing gloves and said pictures were not allowed.” said Jamie Bofek of Sterling Heights, Mich.

Follow this case on our Meetup Discussion Board.