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.
The only way to end commercial breeding (“puppy mills”) is to end the sale of puppies sold in our local pet stores, because it is estimated that 99% of pet store puppies come from puppy mills. We need the public to refuse to buy pet store puppies (even if it is in a mistaken attempt to “rescue” the puppies from the store) and to ask their local stores to instead promote only the adoption of rescued pets.
The Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup of Southeast Michigan:
1) Encourages pet stores to become "Pet Friendly" and not sell animals.
2) Educates the public about puppy mills through tabling events, leafleting, social networking, workshops, pet store demonstrations and petitions.
3) Works to pass stronger laws to protect animals confined in breeding kennels and to discourage breeding.
4) Works to help solve the homeless pet problem by promoting the ease and benefits of adding a family member via rescues and shelters.
In 2010, nearly 100 Michigan pet stores signed a pledge committing not to sell puppies and to instead support local animal adoption programs. They received a sign to display that reads, "We love puppies; that's why we don't sell them,” as well as materials about adopting a dog. This encourages shoppers to purchase pet supplies only at stores displaying the “puppy-friendly” sign. A list of stores that have pledged not to sell puppies can be found here.
Since 2008, five puppy-selling stores likely closed from public pressure and boycott efforts. Although we do not want to see any businesses close in our community, we do consider these success stories because fewer profits are being made from animal suffering and other stores may be more discouraged to sell puppies.
New state laws are being introduced to protect both animals and consumers (pending bill numbers). In 2010 the Michigan Humane Society introduced legislation to protect animals housed in large-scale breeding kennels. This bill is expected to be re-introduced in 2011.
We spend most of our time educating the public about the pet store link to puppy mills through our weekly pet store demonstrations. In addition, we set up information booths at nearly 20 events each year. We also have our own educational calendar. Members are encouraged to develop creative ways to educate their communities through classroom presentations, library displays, puppet shows, writing letters to their local papers and distributing flyers at dog friendly businesses. In conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States, we hold Grassroot Workshops across the state to train new activists.
We lobby for stronger laws twice a year with the Humane Society of the United States. We visit our law makers in both Lansing and Washington, DC. We regularly fax our petitions to lawmakers to show them how many constituents care about this issue. In conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States, we hold Lobby 101 Workshops across the state.
We are asking our Meetup members to:
• Contact their federal and state legislators and let them know that they are concerned about the inhumane treatment of dogs in puppy mills and want the puppy mill issue to be a priority for Congress.
• Ask them to support H.R. 834/S. 707, the “PUPS Act” to expand the reach of the Animal Welfare Act to include kennels that sell large numbers of puppies over the internet or directly to the public.
Pet Store Demonstrations
Why must we protest pet stores? Protesting should be the last resort. We often meet with the store owner(s) well before protesting. We ask the store to stop selling animals acquired from breeders and instead support only adoption efforts. Shipping records prove that most of our local pet stores work with out-of-state commercial breeders “puppy mills”, even though the dogs are marketed as "AKC certified" or from "reputable" or "USDA licensed" breeders. Pet stores will tell you that they do not get their dogs from puppy mills, but only these mass-breeding facilities can fulfill the demand.
Puppy Mill Awareness is asking Southeast Michigan pet stores to:
• Agree to no longer sell puppies acquired from breeders in their store(s) or on the Internet;
• Promote only rescued dogs from Michigan county or municipal animal control shelters or 501(c)(3) animal rescue groups.
Pet store demonstrations are held every Saturday year round at various pet store locations. Check our Meetup Calendar for a demonstration near you. (2011 locations: Flint, Eastpointe and Novi)
We have completed two research studies. In 2009, we conducted a study of county licensed dog breeding facilities in Michigan with a goal of determining how many large commercial breeders were operating. This study was initiated to support Michigan Humane Society’s proposed Puppy Protection Act legislation. The database includes the dog breeding, boarding, pet sitting, grooming, sheltering, and rescue kennel licenses for 74 Michigan counties that were issued in 2009, totaling 1,848 kennels.
In 2011, we completed a study of study of puppy-selling pet stores in Michigan. The primary goal of the study was to determine breeder information to help protect conscientious customers from unknowingly contributing to animal neglect and abuse in distant states. The study revealed which Michigan pet stores are importing puppies from other states, the estimated number of puppies that are being imported, and just how many sick dogs may be purchased at pet stores.