Monday, October 15, 2012

Watchdogging Puppy Stores that claim “Adoptions”

"The kittens arrive on Tuesday with the puppy deliveries" stated one employee.
Eyebrows were raised when The Family Puppy announced their All American Adoption Program around the same time they hired a public relations company in March of 2011.

Was the store trying to “look good” with the new campaign being launched against them in Flint? We scratched our heads wondering what this new program was really all about. How come there were not puppies “for adoption” in the store? You will be surprised at what we found out with a little survey.

Let’s start with the back story on this. First, The Family Puppy claims to have saved over 11,000 unwanted puppies and kittens, according to their website in October 2012. Wow, that is a lot of rescued animals and would surely make them look like heroes in the community. But wait, 11,000 animals would equal 785 pets a year. Detroit area animal shelters don’t even take in that many kittens per year at their individual shelters. How can that be possible when the store usually only has 3-4 kittens in the store at one time and sometimes no kittens at all?

This was the first red flag. 

Next, why was this All American Program not featured on their website for 10 years? When their newest store opened in Flint the store was asking for “unwanted” litters of puppies and kittens. They never mentioned their “All American Program” on these flyers. The store must have learned quickly that no one was going to just ‘give’ them popular small breed puppies. Even the shelters don’t have a surplus of puppies. Puppies simply do not stay puppies for long and are usually adopted out quickly. 

The store misleads the public by staying they are saving puppies.

When the Flint store opened in December 2009, Puppy Mill Awareness called in January to ask some questions about the Taking Unwanted Litters flyer posted in the store. We asked the manager about their claim that they "help adopt out unplanned litters to help overcrowding in shelters." The manager stated that the store adopted out 10,000 animals - mostly kittens - from unplanned litters. Ok, two years later they have increase their impressive number to 11,000. That would equal 500 per year. As a reference point, the Genesee County Humane society took in almost 600 kittens in one year. So is it possible for The Family Puppy to take in that many kittens when most people don’t even know they are ‘rescuing’ unwanted litters? Not the first place I would think to take my unwanted litter. 

The numbers just don’t add up. 

We decided to do a survey. 

Our initial survey in March 2011 showed that all five stores did not have any kittens and was offering only one dog that was actually a returned dog. A customer returned the dog. They were advertising this returned fixed beagle with prior health problems as an “adoptable” dog. He was 4-5 months old. On store did say they were expecting some puppies from their vet. They told me to check back in the spring for kittens. The Genesee County HS had 3 kittens and 40 cats available at that time. 

Why would the store not take in cats? For obvious reasons, they don’t SELL!

In October 2012, we completed another survey. This one revealed all five stores had young kittens available for $249. The price went way up from their initial prices back in 2010 of approximately $179. It appears the store decided to start fixing them before SALE. What I found most interesting was two stores actually had the exact date of births for the kittens. One store said they were not familiar with the program and the other employee in the store did not know about it either. All the stores stated they usually don't have unwanted litters of puppies available.

This is my favorite response - one store stated that the kittens arrive on Tuesday when the puppies arrive! So where are the kittens really coming from????

Survey Summary

~ Mostly kittens.

~ Kittens are also delivered with the puppies on Tuesdays! per Fountain Walk employee.

~ Only one puppy available for “adoption” during two surveys of five stores. This one dog was a returned purchase.

~ Employees stated they do not usually get in unwanted puppies.

~ Some employees were not familiar with the program.

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