|Sent on:||Wednesday, May 29, 2013 9:01 AM|
Pet store owner feels unwanted in city; moving
Joyce Umphress, a single mother of three and owner of Krazie Kritterz Pet Store, is not renewing her annual lease and is making plans to move out of state.
By MARY BARKER
Posted May. 29, 2013 @ 12:01 am
CHEBOYGAN — Joyce Umphress, a single mother of three and owner of Krazie Kritterz Pet Store, is not renewing her annual lease and is making plans to move out of state.
Despite many loyal customers, she said she doesn’t feel the pet store is welcome in Cheboygan and plans to open a new store in Florida.
In the next 10 days to two weeks, everything in the store is on clearance including numerous birds and fish and a lot of used aquariums and associated equipment.
Umphress specifically named the City of Cheboygan and the Cheboygan County Animal Shelter as not being supportive along with a group of local citizens organized against the store, which she says has flooded social media with untruths and exaggerations.
“If you’re talking about controversy, we’ve had a lot of it,” said Umphress. “All you are hearing about is negative. We do more good than negative and that is what Cheboygan is going to lose.”
Traci Delaney, who moved her business Doggie Styles Grooming into the back of the pet store in October, is appalled at the “nonstop threats and harassment” she said she has witnessed Umphress endure.
“I’ve never seen anything like what I’ve seen here. It boils down to this city does not want a pet store here. She takes good care of these animals. She cares about them. Watching animal control come and go constantly, it’s like crazy town here,” said Delaney.
Among the local opposition is Cheboygan resident Abbie Easter, who with the help of the founder of the Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, is organizing an effort to get the City of Cheboygan to ban the retail sale of animals.
She said she is concerned and hasn’t gotten answers from Umphress about where she gets her pet store inventory and whether her sources are properly vetted.
“My involvement in this began when the store first came to town last summer. … I’m not happy with it. There have been complaints about extremely sick cats and dogs. … I’ve seen a lot of pet stores. People don’t realize there is an extremely dark side to pets stores and they are hard to deal with because of a lack of laws and regulations,” said Easter.
Mary Talaske, Cheboygan County Animal Shelter director, said the shelter has received many complaints since the store opened about a year ago. She said all complaints were turned over to the Cheboygan County Prosecutor’s Office.