Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Letter to Twelve Mile Crossing at Fountain Walk


Twelve Mile Crossing at Fountain Walk, 44175 W 12 Mile Rd Novi, MI 48377
September 22, 2015

Dear Ms. Kaufman,

This letter is to inform you are we holding our annual Puppy Mill Awareness Day event in Novi again this year on September 27th with 27 other local organizations near the Fountain Walk. Last year, nearly 200 participants created a human chain along Novi Road to bring awareness to the very important social issue involving Michigan pets.

Puppy importation records show The Family Puppy, operating out of your shopping center, is shipping in puppies with diseases, illnesses and genetic issues and are still working with out-of-state commercial breeders. Read More:

“Puppy mills” and “kitten mills” are large scale commercial breeders that produce millions of animals every year for commercial sale without regard for the health and well-being of the animals. Pet stores selling live animals have traditionally been a sales outlet for young dogs and cats bred in puppy mills and kitten mills both within the United States and abroad. It is estimated that 10,000 puppy mills produce more than 2,400,000 puppies a year in the United States and that most pet store puppies and many pet store kittens come from puppy mills and kitten mills, respectively.

Responsible dog breeders belong to local breed clubs, which normally have a Code of Ethics that does not allow sales to pet stores. Good breeders have waiting lists and never a surplus of puppies. Responsible breeders take pride in their work and want to know where their puppies are being placed so they can re-home them if there are any problems. It is not feasible for large-scale commercial breeding operations to provide appropriate care to the animals because it would eliminate the profits these businesses seek. It is cost prohibitive to employ the number of people necessary to clean, perform maintenance, feed, exercise, socialize, bathe and groom the animals, as well as, to provide proper housing, space, food, water, supplies, and veterinary care. These operations are relying on as little expense and as much production as possible. The animals are sold as a commodity at auctions, to brokers, and to retail stores. There is no concern for the quality of life of the dogs. In itself, keeping a dog confined for its lifetime for the sole purposes of continuous breeding is cruel and inhumane.

According to our latest interstate shipping records, Steven Lehman (Middlebury, IN) has been a primary puppy supplier to The Family Puppy. In 2015, Lehman was cited for having expired medications, not seeking veterinary care for a senior (9 year old) breeding female with lumpy discolored breasts, leaving excessive hair and grime on feeling containers and leaving water with accumulated grime. Lehman has a history of similar violations to the Animal Welfare Act going back to 2009 and kennels from 16 to 39 adult dogs at one time. The USDA has not been able to inspect Lehman’s kennel annually. On many occasions, no one is available at the kennel when the inspector arrives.

Most families would never purchase directly from facilities like these, and the standards are far below what almost any person would consider acceptable.

In 2013, Lehman shipped 95 puppies to The Family Puppy stores and 17 (or 18%) of them had some genetic related item listed on their interstate shipping record as noted by the store’s veterinarian. The genetic items noted included unclosed soft spots on skulls, missing testicals, loose knee caps, and under bites. The Family Puppy should not work with irresponsible breeders that would ship animals with these conditions. The USDA standards are mostly ‘survival standards’. These standards are poorly followed and badly enforced. In 2010, the USDA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the law enforcement arm of the agency, released a report criticizing the USDA’s long history of lax oversight of commercial dog breeders under the Animal Welfare Act. The report reviewed inspections and enforcement actions taken against dog dealers from 2006-2008 and found that USDA inspectors failed to cite or properly document inhumane treatment and brought little to no enforcement actions against violators.

We hope you address this problem and consider signing a Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge agreeing not to sell puppies or any live animals in Fountain Walk. Just last month, the Humane Society of the United States assisted the Gibraltar Trade Center, a large public market in Mount Clemens, Michigan, in implementing a “puppy friendly” policy. The market’s new policy does not allow any animal sales at all, but welcomes adoptable dogs, cats and birds from Macomb County Animal Control. Read more: Animal Control now offering open adoptions at Gibraltar 

I would be happy to speak with you about any concerns or questions you may have about converting your shopping center to a humane outlet for homeless pets, or puppy mills in general. I can also offer to help facilitate relationships with local shelters and foster-based rescue organizations to reduce the number of healthy pets euthanized in Michigan.

Pam Sordyl
Founder of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan

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