Tuesday, October 30, 2012

USDA releases over 60 horrific dog breeding photos

Local watchdog group plans protests at
store’s five locations over the holidays

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released over 60 kennel inspection photos taken at The Family Puppy’s suppliers. The Family Puppy is Michigan’s largest puppy retailer. Photos reveal horrific cramped conditions and nightmarish activities involving unlicensed surgeries. Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan plans to warn the public with protests at the chain’s five locations this holiday season. 

Photos are published on the groups website.

The Family Puppy stores are located at the following malls: Genesee Valley Center located in Flint Mi; Fountain Walk located in Novi Mi; Green Oak Village Place located in Brighton Mi; Macomb Mall located in Roseville Mi; and Oakland Mall located in Troy Mi. The protest schedule can be found on the group’s Meetup calendar. Concerned citizens are invited to join the protests. 

“These photos are like scenes from a horror movie,” said Pam Sordyl, founder of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan. “Families looking for a puppy this holiday season should rethink spontaneous puppy purchases and always avoid puppy stores.”

According to a PetShopPuppies.org report, The Family Puppy has been shipping puppies from a mega mill, Brad D.S. & B.E. Grotewold located in Lake Mills, Iowa since 1998. The last known puppy purchased in 2011 was reported to have giardia, a bladder infection, be under weight, and very itchy. This puppy was delivered through a third party (broker) named Patrick Fulton. Fulton supplied two parvo puppies, a very deadly virus for puppies, this spring and investigated by The Michigan Department of Agriculture. 

Photos from Grotewold’s commercial kennel show a build up of dirt and grime on walls, severely rusted cages, chewed and warn surfaces, an excessive accumulation of feces and food waste in the furnace room and a large amount of maggots and flies. 

“These puppies are sick and underweight because they are coming from filthy puppy factories like Grotewold’s,” said Sordyl. “Since the public can not easily visit the parents located in distant states, we feel these photos are crucial to our group’s outreach campaign.”

In addition to these photos, USDA inspection reports can also be found online open to the public.

This year the store’s primary breeders had some serious direct violations to the Animal Welfare Act. Marlin Bontrager, from Rome City Indiana, is The Family Puppy’s top supplier of puppies. According to this summer’s federal inspection, Bontrager was caging 177 adult dogs and had two serious direct violations including not seeking veterinary care for a sick puppy. Suffering was prolonged by not taking the puppy to the veterinarian. In addition, the inspector also cited Bontrager for housing dogs in temperatures in the 90’s. Dogs were observed heavily panting and puppies were stretched out on the wire floor trying to stay cool. Bontrager has a history of violations going back to 2008 related to housing, shelter, primary enclosures, cleanliness, feeding and vet care.

“Our organization has reached out to the owners of The Family Puppy asking them to stop all orders from this kennel, he is clearly a repeat and chronic offender,” said Sordyl.

Devon Schrock, another of the store’s primary breeders, was cited for accumulations of grime and hair in the primary enclosures. This harbors diseases. In addition, Schrock’s drainage system was cited as the upper washdown was draining into a pen on the bottom where two dogs were exposed. There was hair and sludge accumulating.

“This is disgusting and would not meet the standards of the general public,” said Sordyl. 

The Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup is working to build awareness toward ending mass production of dogs in "puppy mills." The group’s public education campaign teaches the public about the origins of pet store puppies and lobbies for stronger laws for animal breeding.  

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