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Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup (Southeast Michigan) Message Board › The Family Puppy/Family of Pets (Exposed)

The Family Puppy/Family of Pets (Exposed)

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,190
Stottele – things are not looking so good in Elkhart County. So much for good Amish breeders out of Indiana. And if you move to another county, I will just do another kennel study and demand action from local municipalities. I know you have been following our activities there. On to Lagrange County!

Meetup Members,

Yesterday, WSBT 22 Kim Stopczynski did a great story on Elkhart County's notorious puppy miller – David Chupp.

Elkhart County dog breeder: 'We are not a puppy mill'

Why did so many people come out in opposition yesterday? Over the last year controversy has been heating up after the approval of two other puppy mills by the Zoning board despite lack of standards and animal welfare inspections.

Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan has been patiently wanting for zoning to institute some standards, caps and include Animal Control onsite inspections. We investigated Elkhart County's breeding operations at this time last year. Why? They have 11 kennels that have supplied The Family Puppy chain and we don't want puppy mill dogs being shipped to Michigan!!!!

We submitted our kennel study to the Elkhart Zoning department in February to ensure they were aware of the 30+ unlicensed kennels, some with serious violations.

Last November, I was told they were looking into their unlicensed kennels and had planned to attend a workgroup meeting dedicated to the kennel issues that have been bubbling up all year.

The current animal welfare laws are not enforced by the police and the local Animal Control has not been authorized to participate in kennel inspections. This has to change!

Mike Yoder, the county commissioner, is apparently siding with the breeders, yet he also stated that he would work on some standards and address the public's concern over the high concentration of puppy mills. The problem is, the public does not want standards--- they don't want commercial breeding!

After the December closed workshop resulted in no commitments it was time to go to the media.

This is exactly how real change happens! I am so grateful to the citizens of Elkhart who professional stood up at the hearing. And thank you Anne Reel from the Humane Society who is working hard for the dogs.

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,191
Elkhart County dog breeder: 'We are not a puppy mill'­

By Kelli Stopczynski
4:42 p.m. EST, February 16, 2012


It’s a controversial topic some call dog breeding and others call puppy mills, and we’ve been following one local breeder since 2008. Elkhart County’s zoning board decided Thursday that man will not be able to add an additional 41 adult dogs to his operation.

More than three years ago, WSBT investigated that breeder's operation with a hidden camera, followed state puppy mill legislation and presented all sides of the debate. In 2009 the zoning board gave the breeder permission to have 64 adult dogs and build a second kennel to help house them. Thursday he faced a room full of opposition as he asked the board to raise that number to 105 adult dogs.

Inside the packed meeting, that breeder – David Chupp – gave his side first.

“We’re not a puppy mill. There are bad breeders out there and there are good breeders,” he told the zoning board. “Calling us a puppy mill is slanderous and derogatory.”

Records show Chupp is registered with Indiana’s State Board of Animal Health and licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Some of Chupp’s neighbors, County Commissioner Mike Yoder and a spokesman from the Elkhart County Farm Bureau supported this request to grow his operation by about 40 adult dogs.

“If the person doing this is in compliance with their regulations and working diligently to meet those standards, there should not even been a zoning issue for you folks to have to deal with,” said Farm Bureau spokesman Dwight Moudy.

“As far as I know his kennels are clean and the property looks good,” added Carl Chupp, a neighbor of David Chupp’s.

But the opposition didn’t hold back.

“These animals are not livestock,” said Elkhart County Humane Society Director Anne Reel.

“These animals are going into homes, they’re living with children. They are pets.”

“Your decision today will be a reflection on the county on an issue that is very important to many people,” Valerie Schey added.

One woman asked the board why the dogs had to be in cages with little moving space when Chupp has 46 acres of land.

“Please limit this man’s dogs,” pleaded Elkhart County resident Nancy Vida.

Ultimately, the zoning board renewed his permit to have 64 adult breeding dogs but did not allow him the 105 he requested.

USDA documents show Chupp has consistently had more than 64 adult dogs on his property. One report from January 2011 says he had up to 96.

The wording on his permit says he’s allowed to have 64 ADULT BREEDING DOGS. Chupp told the board the USDA was counting retired dogs and, in some cases, puppies over four months old that he hadn’t sold yet.

People opposed to Chupp’s operation also brought up the fact that the breeder has had several USDA violations in the past few years. Those violations included everything from puppies who needed veterinary care, to excessive piles of feces and puppy's feet dangling through mesh wire flooring.

One zoning board member said having violations like that is part of being in business and it's OK as long as they were corrected.
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,213
Nappanee dog breeder denied business expansion

Posted: 02/17/2012 at 4:45 pm

by: Angelle Barbazon­

NAPPANEE — A professional dog breeder caused a stir Thursday when he requested to add 41 animals to his kennels.

David Chupp of Nappanee met opposition to his plans at a hearing with the Elkhart County Board of Zoning Appeals where he asked for a permit to expand his animal population to 105 adult breeding dogs. While the hearing attracted some support in Chupp’s favor, many argued that he is merely operating a “puppy mill.”

“It seems like a lot of the concerns were about the care and socialization of the animals,” county zoning administrator and code enforcement manager Ann Prough said.

The board unanimously denied the request after hearing arguments against allowing Chupp to expand his business. Among those who urged the board to reject his plans was Humane Society of Elkhart County executive director Anne Reel.

Abbey Fueger of Carmel was one of more than 20 people who wrote letters to the board and elaborated on a common concern.

“Further, at a time when local county shelters are without adequate facilities, staffing and budget to care for burgeoning volumes of abandoned, forfeited and homeless animals coming into its possession on literally a daily basis, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to promote the continuation of a ‘puppy mill’ facility such as this that will surely only contribute or aggravate what has already reached crisis levels in our county,” she wrote.

Chupp, who said he has been in business for about six years, raises small-breed dogs for companionship and pet stores, according to his permit application. He was approved for a special use permit in February 2009 that allowed up to two kennels with outdoor pens and no more than 64 adult dogs. Roughly six months later, code enforcement inspected the kennels and found Chupp to be in compliance, according to county zoning department records.

Since his last application in 2009, Chupp said he has added a septic system for both of his kennels, created a large exercise area for the dogs and made improvements to reduce noise.

Chupp said he was surprised at the negative response his request received.

“I know it’s an emotional subject for people, but I don’t know why we can’t just all get along with each other,” he said Friday.

Some appealed to the board in Chupp’s favor including County Commissioner Mike Yoder and a spokesman from the Elkhart County Farm Bureau, Prough said. Several of Chupp’s satisfied customers wrote letters to the board in his support.

“Not only does David produce genetically healthy dogs, he counsels his clients and recommends certain foods, treatments and other information for the ongoing well-being of his animals after they leave his farm,” wrote Elizabeth Connors, a Wanatah resident who bought two dogs from Chupp.

Chupp said that he is a responsible breeder and defended his business.

“We have many, many happy customers, and plus, many of my puppies go to repeat buyers and referrals, and that speaks for itself,” he said. “I do a good job at taking care of my dogs. If I don’t have healthy, happy, well-socialized puppies, I won’t be in business.”
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,226
We are asking all veterinarians to boycott retail stores selling puppies. It is not only unethical to work with a store that has relationships to commercial breeders, it is a very bad business decision – sick dogs will increase and will not be offset by more referrals. Google The Family Puppy. Support the boycott campaign and stay out of the media!

A Traverse City case: The new pet store could not find one vet to service their store and they had to close shop.
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,229­

Commercial dog breeders from Amish community speak out at Elkhart County Plan Commission

Commercial breeders, also known as puppy mills, show concern about possible new zoning requirements in Elkhart County.

Reporter: Stephanie Stang
Posted: 6:41 PM Mar 8, 2012

They've been called puppy mills but according to Indiana’s state law they're commercial breeders.

Thursday a handful of breeders from the Amish community spoke out at an Elkhart County Plan Commission meeting.

There were twelve people that spoke at the public hearing and nine members were from the Amish community.

It was the first step in updating an outdated zoning law. Right now in Elkhart County any person who owns more than four pets would technically need a special use zoning permit. So the plan commission wants to define the difference between a hobby breeder, kennel, and commercial breeder for zoning purposes.

Plus there will be regulation concerning where the bigger businesses can set-up, so they're not too close to neighborhoods.

“We're trying to establish more of a buffer between the residential and dog breeder,” says Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder.

Animal advocates spoke out emphasizing the need to regulate large scale operations.

Elkhart County Humane Society Director Anne Reel says, “I don't personally want people to have land usage when they are abusing animals and I don't think the board of zoning would want that on their heads.”

The plan commission recommended commercial breeders own only 3 acres instead of 40 acres.

In Elkhart County there are at least thirty commercial breeders that are registered with the U.S.D.A. By state law a commercial breeder is a person with at least 20 unaltered female dogs, who sells at least 500 dogs a year. Commercial breeders are required to register with Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,230

Conversation covers land use issues, animal welfare

by: Angelle Barbazon
Posted: 03/09/2012 at 1:15 am­

GOSHEN — A public hearing on Elkhart County’s standards for breeding kennels quickly turned into a debate on whether land use issues should intersect with animal welfare.

The Elkhart County Plan Commission wants to add minimum acreage requirements for kennels and setbacks from property lines, a topic the zoning code does not adequately address, according to county plan Director Chris Godlewski. Animal welfare advocates who attended Wednesday’s meeting suggested that the well-being of furry friends should be part of that conversation.

“I know that you keep indicating that your position is about land usage,” Humane Society of Elkhart County Executive Director Anne Reel told the commissioners. “But you can’t separate land usage totally from the welfare and well-being of animals that are being bred and sold, especially as we looked at a considerable amount of situations where there is no oversight other than a federal or state agency that doesn’t have the ability to keep tabs on all of these specific groups, so we need to somehow make this compatible with what we want to see in terms of animal welfare in our area.”

Mike Yoder, who sits on the plan commission and the Elkhart County Commissioners, said he has been in contact with animal care activists who are concerned about the frequency of inspections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other regulatory groups. But, he said, animal welfare and zoning issues don’t go hand in hand.

“I would like to know about how Indiana Board of Animal Health regulations, how USDA regulations and our local ordinance mesh together and what we can do to satisfy their concerns as well as working with the local volunteer organizations,” he said. “It really gets messy in my mind when we try to mix those issues with this land use issue.”

The plan commission is considering adding a 50-foot minimum setback for kennels from agricultural zoned land and a 200-foot minimum distance from residential properties. Commissioner Steve Warner noted that adding setback requirements would help reduce concerns about noise coming from kennels. Minimum setbacks in neighboring counties range from 50 to 750 feet, according to board attorney Jim Kolbus.

The commission will hash out minimum acreage at its next meeting, possibly setting it as low as 5 acres.

Gina Oliver, of Bristol, said she wants the commissioners to make sure that all kennels appear before the board for permit approval regardless of the property’s size. She said the number of dog breeding kennels in the area has tarnished the county’s reputation.

“It’s commonly been known as Elkhart’s dirty little secret that we have puppy mills,” she said. “Somebody commented that we used to be the RV capital of the world, and now we’re known for puppy mills.”

Devon Troyer, who spoke to the commissioners Wednesday morning, owns a kennel in Middlebury where he breeds about 90 small dogs. He defended his operation, adding that his kennel is inspected by several groups including the USDA, the Northern Indiana Pet Breeders Association and the Indiana Council for Animal Welfare. Troyer’s business is one of nine kennels in Elkhart County that is registered with the Indiana Board of Animal Health. He said a veterinarian visits the kennel at least once a month, and he brings dogs into a vet clinic several times a week. In the past two years, he said he has spent more than $20,000 for vet care.

“This is part of our livelihood,” Troyer said.

Inspections are often unannounced, Indiana Council for Animal Welfare President Lonnie Burkholder told the commissioners.

“There is nobody more against substandard kennels than I am, myself,” he said. “That is wrong. I do not support it, but I do support this group of people that are trying to do the right thing, that are getting in there and really enjoy what they’re doing.”

Like several other breeders who spoke at the meeting, Troyer added that he would like to see acreage requirements fall between 5 and 10 acres and setbacks between 25 and 50 feet.

Along with new acreage and distance standards, the commission wants to revise its definition of a kennel. The county ordinance defines kennels as properties with more than four dogs, cats or other household domestic animals older than 4 months. Also under that description are properties with more than two animals that are offered for sale or kept for breeding, boarding or training for compensation. Kennels are allowed in some districts, including agricultural zones, with a special use permit.

Under a proposed definition, kennels would include properties with five or more dogs, cats or other domestic animals over the age of 6 months. Kolbus explained that 6 months is the minimum breeding age for dogs according to industry standards. The commissioners are also considering separating breeders into two categories, commercial and hobby breeders.

County planning staff will present new recommendations to the commission at its next meeting at 9 a.m. on April 12.
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,231

Problems at The Family Puppy have allegedly caused them to loose their veterinarian and manager. A facebook member reported an alleged parvo outbreak. This is a serious and deadly virus for young puppies.

Lets warn the public and demand the mall take action by stop selling sick animals.
Join us from 5:30 - 7:00 pm.

RSVP Here:­

Signs: We will have plenty of signs to hold.

Contact: Pam Sordyl 734-718-7100

Parking: Park on the west side of David's bridal between Goodwill and David's Bridal. Do not park near the front of David's lot.
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,232
Julieann Stauch Lotridge

8:41pm Mar 10

As a person who has done a little rescue in my life, I have had over 400 foster dogs including litters, I am very familiar with parvo virus and the precautions that are necessary for this kind of outbreak. Potential customers need to know this as well as concerned citizens. It is highly contagious and contamination occurs with direct contact with the sick dog as well a dog coming in contact with fecal matter. The virus is resistant to many disinfectants and is very difficult to control. In rescue the rule of thumb is no dog that in not fully vaccinated (full series of shots, 3 for dogs under 4 months given 3 weeks apart) should be in a home that has had parvo contamination. A dog that recovers form parvo can shed the virus for 3 weeks after being cured and will infect during that period. Sixteen to 48% of dogs die of parvo if it is contracted. The discrepancy is attributed to the strength of the immune system. My guess is puppy mill puppies would have compromised immune systems due to lack of prenatal care, poor nutrition of the mother while nursing and lack of vaccinations int he mother that would transfer antibodies during nursing. These are just my opinions. I am attaching a highly medical link the that explains this disease in great detail. I believe every dog owner should read this kind of information and if you are in rescue, your rescue should educate you to this info. If they don't educate yourself now. This is one of the most devastating diseases and this store should have shut themselves down to control future contamination.

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,241

I’m worth more than a latte.
Take me home for the cost of a Starbucks, under $3 a day.
We now offer 90 days same as cash financing.

*sigh* where do I begin with this? First, puppies are not merchandise and should not be financed. If a family can not afford the purchase price, they probably can’t afford ongoing costs. Second, how can you compare a puppy to a cup of coffee? $3 versus $1,200? This just clearly shows sales are down and the public thinks the puppies are over priced. High prices suggest the store is ripping the public off. Flint has some street smarts and can see through these marketing gimmicks. Stop insulting us.
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,247
Meet a puppy shopper who wasn’t impressed with The Family Puppy’s prices or financing options. The store needs to stop trying to rip the public off. High prices, bad breeders, fancy marketing gimmicks and financing options don’t go far with Flint.

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