Monday, July 25, 2011

Directly in the hands of potential puppy-buyers

How does Puppy Mill Awareness measure effectiveness? --If the store we are protesting mentions us in their “Letter of Introduction” provided to potential customers! Apparently, The Family Puppy has had to explain themselves one to many times, so they put it all down on paper.

Luckily I can read between the lines and call out all the BS.

The bottom line is, this store is no different than Petland. They have used the same broker and the Amish certianly do not have a squeaky clean reputation either. Just google "Dog Auctions" and have a kleenex box a handy – it is sad and appauling at the same time. Give me a brake with all the PR stunts Stottele. Here are my comments to your Letter of Introduction:

  • The Family Puppy has been in business for 13 years, yet only started to make improvements and visit their breeders 3 years ago? I am assuming this is when our group formed and the pressure was on. Or was it after the Detroit Free press exposed the store?We really should not have the words “pet” and “industry” used in the same sentence.

  • You said it! I agree, this is an industry wrought with neglect and abuse!

  • John, I know you work hours every day, because I am working hours trying to expose you.

  • So you admit to working with brokers in the past. That sounds horrible –puppy middlemen. Puppies are not products!

  • You mean for 10 years you did not visit a breeder? For 10 years, you relied on brokers to regulate? And now you are experts in regulation?? Again, are you relying on the USDA? Good luck!

  • Humm...a road trip the summer of 2008. This is when we formed Puppy Mill Awareness.

  • You went to a Missouri Conference for help? Good Lord, that is the Puppy Mill Capital. I certainly hope you didn’t learn a thing from Missouri millers.

  • PMA is protesting in front of the Flint store because the Family Puppy sells the most puppy mill puppies in Michigan and the breeders are puppy millers. High volume store!

  • There are not 52 stores in the Southeast Michigan area -try 20. It is a dying industry. Many have closed in the last 3 years.

  • I have visited The Family Puppy breeders in Indiana.

  • The Indiana State Board of Health does NOT inspect kennels. No money.

  • This flyer does not mention the sick dogs reported to Pet Shop Puppies and MDA.

  • This flyer does not mention the use of any brokers in Ohio or Minnesota.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Puppy Mill Mothers Not Forgotten in Flint

"Flint area dog advocates share a moment of silence at the Genesee Valley Center"

On the eve of Mother’s Day local dog advocates came together in a moment of silence for the 130,000+ breeding mothers caged in Midwest puppy-factories. A vigil, hosted by Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, was held at The Family Puppy pet store in Flint.

Among the participants were former breeding mothers. Storm, a fluffy Pomeranian, was rescued after being put on an auction block for puppy millers to bid on. “She was a poor breeder and no longer useful” said Julieann Lotridge of Lapeer. Storm, like many commercially bred dogs, has two grade 5 luxating patellas, a serious genetic flaw.

“Because of Storm and my other puppy mill survivors in my life I have made it a mission to fight for the end of commercial-factory breeding of animals for sale.” said Lotridge.

Puppy mills are mass-breeding facilities that raise dogs in shockingly poor conditions. They operate with an emphasis upon profits above animal welfare. Breeding mothers are often destroyed or discarded after their fertility wanes. Why is this legal? There is minimal supervision of puppy mills by the United States Department of Agriculture, whose investigators look for violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Commercial breeders are supposed to be licensed and meet minimal standards of care. However, if a breeder operates without a license or fails to meet minimum standards, it is often not until he is reported that he gets inspected or cited. Penalties are substantially less than what would be required to encourage improvements.

“The best way to stop puppy mills is to refuse to buy from them and their distributors – the pet stores. If we take away their profits, they have no reason to continue.” said Pam Sordyl, the group’s founder.

“We are encouraging The Family Puppy and other puppy-pet stores to stop supporting the cruel puppy mill industry through puppy sales, and instead create an adoption program similar to other large pet supply retailers like PETCO and PetSmart” said Sordyl

Last fall Puppy Mill Awareness revealed the results of a five-month investigation of The Family Puppy chain store. The investigation revealed that The Family Puppy is Michigan’s retailer purchasing dogs from puppy mills. This spring, a boycott including weekly rallies and a petition were launched keeping the spotlight on the highest volume retailer.

View Vigil Photos

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mother's Day Vigil at Genesee Valley Mall

This Mother’s Day weekend give a voice to the 130,000+ breeding mothers working overtime in Midwest puppy-factories producing litters for Mother’s Day gifts. Join Puppy Mill Awareness’s Flint team at a vigil-demonstration in front of Genesee Valley Mall from 12- 3 p.m. Candles will be provided along with plenty of photos of mothers who never made it out of the kennels.

If you have a rescued puppy mill survivor, please bring them for the vigil portion of the event at noon. You are welcome to stay, but we do not encourage our furry members to be close to the road during the demonstration.

May marks our third month of protesting The Family Puppy pet store this year. Why have we been coming every Saturday in all types of weather? The Family Puppy is Michigan’s largest puppy-selling store. They import on average 100 puppies per month from out-of-state breeders with serious violations to the Animal Welfare Act. Flint does not need any business selling commercially breed puppies working against all adoption programs in Genesee County. Flint will continue to say “NO” to puppy-selling stores!

Please join us every Saturday from 12-3!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Designer Dog Gimmick

On Thursday morning ABC News - Good Morning America, aired a segment on designer dogs. Not only did they promote these dogs as great pets for people who live in cities, have allergies, or don't want a barking dog, but they also stated that the breeding of these mixes produces only the best traits of both breeds in the offspring. They stated that to get these quality puppies you have to pay up to $1,400 in pet stores. There was no mention of where these dogs are bred or how they get to the pet stores!

There is no guarantee what the puppies will look like or who they will inherit their temperaments from. One generation will add, combine, and result in total mixture of genes that can result in good bad or any combination in between. Anyone that can read can pick up a book at the library and find out who the whole gene inheritance works.
Mix down ears with up ears and now you have added ear problems, grooming problems and on and on.

Dr. Wanda Phipatanakul, chair of the Indoor Allergen Committee for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), "The studies have not supported that there's any type of hypoallergenic dog. Even if you get a hairless dog, it's still going to produce the allergen." This is because allergies are caused not by hair, but by a protein found in animal dander, saliva and urine. All dogs produce allergens; a smaller dog may produce fewer allergens, but a person's reaction to the dog also depends on the individual.

These so called “Designer Dogs” were likely breed together because they were not registerable, but now breeders and pet stores see that they can market these puppies as the latest trend. These are just gimmicks to make money, it has nothing to do with quality. It is just another way to rip the public off by charging them top dollar for a mix breed.

For many years a purebred was a luxury most families could not afford and there were always unwanted litters in the neighborhood to take care of instead of waiting on a breeders list for the next litter. Now that everyone has a purebred, thanks to puppy mills (large commercial kennels), the industry had to develop something “new” for people to “want”. This only drives demand for more puppies produced out of cruelty.

If you want a dog that looks like no other, visit the shelter, rescue and call them any designer name you like. This way you are not encouraging the flooding of the country with all those puppies.

For all of us that work so tirelessly educating the public about the puppy mill to pet store connection, this was a huge set back. Obviously, Good Morning America, did not do any research on this subject and instead chose to air a totally false and irresponsible piece that chose to encourage sales and "educate" the unsuspecting public about what a "Morkie" really is. New York City is number two in the sale of puppy mill dogs in the country and this segment certainly will help to keep them there.

Please contact ABC TV and politely let them know how you feel and ask them if they could cover the other side of the pet trade to ensure the public is well informed. Ask to speak to the producer of the segment at 212-456-7000.

To view the segment Click on the link below:

To contact ABC News Good Morning America click on the link below:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sign the Petition and Get the Facts

Yesterday we launched our online petition asking The Family Puppy to stop selling puppies. Please take a moment to sign this petition. This is yet another way to both educate the public, media and of course, to put pressure on the store.

Petitions by|Start a Petition »

Make sure you download The Family Puppy Breeder Fact Sheet too.

I believe it is most important to arm the public with the facts. Since puppy stores will never say “Why yes, indeed, our puppies come from puppy mills”, consumers should know what to look for.

To make it even easier, simply never buy a puppy from a store or breeder without seeing the parents and the living conditions of the puppy. Keep in mind, some kennels actually have multiple kennels. One is for customers who are purchasing puppies and the others are where most of the breeding dogs live. Since Michigan residents may not travel to Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa or Ohio, we have provided the much needed information they need to make an informed decision.

The store can dance around the tough questions and appear to be transparent with breeder names and select photos of some of the kennels. With all of their guarantees, warranties and sales-pitches, it is certainly hard to believe they will sell you a sick dog.

Whether you are a puppy buyer or just simply curious to find out if this store “is different”, here are some questions the store does not want to answer:

1. How many dogs does your breeder house?
2. Do you work with distributors who purchase from other breeders?
3. Do you visit ALL of your breeders?
4. Do you work with the same breeders as Petland?
5. Do your breeders specialize in one breeder and know that breed well?
6. Do your breeders have any formal training?
7. Are there enough full time employees to take care of the puppies?
8. Do your breeders seek veterinary care when needed?
9. Do the breeding dogs live on wire floors?
10. Are any of your breeders being investigated by the USDA?

I have a feeling you would not get straight answers from the store. Puppy Mill Awareness already knows the answers to all of these questions.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Letter to the Pet Store Owners

Before and throughout a campaign, I continue to ask the pet store owners to stop selling puppies and why. The writing is on the wall and we will not be turning our backs on the breeding dogs. Just because they are hidden in shacks, standing on wire floors surrounded by privacy fencing, so the neighbors don't hear their stressful barks ---we still know they are there. I will think about them every day. (Photo: Glen Yoder, Indiana)

Dear Mr. Stottele,

Thank you for promoting shelter dogs in your stores and attempting to improve standards for commercial breeding. However, conscientious consumers want cruelty free pets and to know exactly where their family members are coming from, not a broker name or a selected-staged photos, to ensure they are not contributing to abuse or neglect.

The public is learning about puppy mills and their link to pet stores. They are learning about the Amish’s involvement in commercial breeding. New laws and ordinances are being passed across the country and the future of the pet trade does not look promising.

We both know that animals are purchased at pet stores out of impulse without fully understanding the commitment required to provide life-long care for the animal. As a result of irresponsible human decisions, each year thousands of animals are surrendered to local shelters and rescues only to be destroyed due to lack of space, funds, and adoptive homes.

Incidents involving sick puppies purchased at pet stores are routinely reported. Transportation from distant states, such as Minnesota, causes stress and increases disease transmission as well as holding animals in a retail environment. Overall, we know that there is an inherent conflict between ensuring profits and caring for animals in commercial environments. The mistreatment of animals is unavoidable. Online reviews, USDA inspection reports and Michigan Department of Agriculture complaints can paint a terrible picture of your operations.

The USDA is now issuing more citations in their inspection reports and returning to verify corrections have been made after their internal audit. It will be very difficult for your breeders to maintain their inventories levels and avoid citations.

We would like to see all pet supply stores promote adoption only.


Pam Sordyl
Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan

February Protests at the Valley

Mary is kicking off February rallies this weekend at the Genesee Valley Mall, home of the newest Family Puppy store. Please join her from 12-3 at the Miller Road entrance next to David's Bridal. Bring your own sign and park at David's Bridal in the back.

Remember Valentines Day is coming up and breeding mom's will be working over time. If they are out in the cold, you could spend a couple hours helping us hurt sales once again. Bring a

Welcome to the Campaign!

Welcome to the Family Puppy Boycott Blog! My name is Pam Sordyl, and hellooooo to all the Michigan Dog Advocates fed up with puppy-peddling stores, booths, pole barns and brokers. If you didn’t know, The Family Puppy is the largest puppy-selling pet store in Michigan pumping thousands of puppies into our communities..thus this live blog.

For those of you who may just be joining our “Family Puppy Boycott” campaign, you can get up to speed on things by reading our Meetup Message Board that we used last year to post activities.

I plan to keep you up-to-date on all of our Family Puppy campaign activities for 2011 here on our blog.

So allow me to debrief you. In December of 2009, we learned that The Family Puppy retailer opened a new store at the Genesee Valley Mall located in Flint. We gathered some breeder information and quickly met with the mall management to ensure they investigated the breeders themselves and understood they would be supporting puppy mills. We then launched the Tell Genesee Valley Mall "No Pet Stores" petition. Please sign – still active!

We called and wrote letters to the store asking them not to sell puppies. They were not open to holding adoption events only. We were surprised that the media covered the over population problem in Genesee County, as well as, our campaign with many articles in the Flint Journal in the first quarter of 2010.

Our campaign team grew when we launched our Facebook Group- 235 members to date. Please join us!

To help spread the word about puppy mills, we asked local pet supply stores in Genesee County to sign a pledge not to sell puppies. This was a very successful with almost all the stores pledging. In total, we collected 90 pledges across the state.

In the spring of 2009, the focus changed to the store’s commercial breeding facilities, which is what this is all about. We completed a five-month investigation including kennel photos and videos. We released some of our findings in a press release that announced our Puppy Mill Awareness Day Protest at the mall. Flyers were distributed.

Our Puppy Mill Awareness Day event attracted the media including a story about a Tegan, a sick pup that was purchased. Linda Dahl stated the store never did follow up after the interviews. The protest turned out to be our largest rally ever.

For the holiday’s, the stores busiest time of the year, we launched a series of rallies and issued a another press release - Puppy Mill Awareness Plans Round-A-Bout Rallies. Concerned citizens reached many mall patrons warning them about the pet store. We held eleven protests at the Genesee Valley Mall. Channel 12 helped us reach the community as well.