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Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup (Southeast Michigan) Message Board › Utica Pet Supply/The Little Pet Shop (Exposed)

Utica Pet Supply/The Little Pet Shop (Exposed)

Pam
Pamela01
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,188


Utica Pet Supply
45460 Van Dyke Road
Utica, Mi 48317

1-31-12

Hello John,

You may not remember me, but I visited your store in March of 2010 and we spoke on the phone about becoming a Puppy Friendly pet store. I dropped off an invitation to Puppy Friendly Pet Store program and a pledge form for you to review. I am attaching them again for your consideration.

By joining this program, you would be the first store in Michigan to stop selling puppies and switch to adoption events only. Nearly 100 supply only stores have taken the pledge and the public is responding to this campaign.

I realize this would be a big business plan change and you would have to replace the puppy sales with something else to maintain profits. There are many stores that sell only supplies and are able to succeed in this economy. You could possibly add grooming or pet boarding services and there are always trendy accessories.

If there is anything I can do to help you transition, please let me know. I would be willing to write a press release and bring some media attention to your store. There are many great rescue groups in the area that I could connect you with.

I will check back in a few weeks if I haven’t heard from you.

Thank you again for your consideration of this idea.

Pam Sordyl
Puppy Mill Awareness of SE Michigan
734-828-1400
Pam
Pamela01
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,221
2/27/12

Dear John,

I have been researching your business operations since 2009 and I am deeply concerned about the out-of-state commercial breeders & brokers you are working with.

This is what Puppy Mill Awareness (PMA) is asking of Southeast Michigan pet stores including Utica Pet Supply:

• Agree to no longer sell animals acquired from breeders in their store(s) or on the Internet.
• The only dogs transferred, sold or retailed shall be "rescued" dogs coming from shelters or 501(c)(3) rescue groups.
• Agree to make these changes in every other business in which the store may have an interest, either currently or in the future.

In exchange for the above commitment, Puppy Mill Awareness will assist stores by doing the following:
• Puppy Mill Awareness will agree to not hold peaceful demonstrations at the store(s).
• Puppy Mill Awareness will agree to help promote the store. Such promotion may include: sending out a press release, a feature on the Puppy Mill Awareness Facebook, and/or an email publication to our members;
• The Humane Society of the United States will provide stores that offer rescued dogs with a "Pet Friendly Pet Store " seal to display in the store and put the store on their website.
• Puppy Mill Awareness will help facilitate relationships with the rescue groups and shelters, through which stores may acquire rescued animals to offer for adoption.

You can reach me at xxxxx

Pam Sordyl
Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup
Southeast Michigan
734-828-1400
http://www.meetup.com...­




Pam
Pamela01
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,227
Meetup Members,

We are gearing up efforts in Macomb County again. Yesterday we held our pilot protest at Utica Pet Supply to send a message – we will begin protests!

In fact, we are planning a formal campaign which would mean sustained protests with all the additional public education tactics we have mustered up.

We have sent two letters with no response from the store.

Pilot protests are usually very small to see how the store will respond and to get the police visit out of the way before we invite more members to join. If you would like to participate in our next protest at Utica - keep checking the calendar, the Round A Bouts will be posted soon.



Pam
Pamela01
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,228
CAMPAIGN LOG

3/15/10 Sent a formal invitation to stop selling puppies and take the Puppy Friendly Pet Store pledge through the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) initiative in person to John Goeth. The store did not respond.

3/27/10 Followed-up with John via a phone call. The store state they do not plan to stop selling puppies.

1/31/12 Resent the formal invitation and pledge form. The store did not respond.

2/14/12 Stopped by store to discuss the invitation and pledge form. The store asked me to leave.

2/27/12 Sent a list of our expectations, along with an offer to support them during the business transition to adoption events only. The store did not respond.

3/7/12 Held a pilot protest.

3/9/12 Published ‘F’ Rating by the Better Business Bureau BBB

3/15/12 Published PetShopPuppies.org report.

3/15/12 Published 2011 out-of -state breeders report.

3/15/12 Posted "Buyers Beware" Detroit Free Press Article (2006).

3/20/12 Final formal letter sent to Roxanne & John (launching Public Education Campaign). No response.

3/20/12 Published links to the Happy Tails Investigation

4/1/12 Published Press Release: Group Asks Macomb Pet Store to Adopt Puppy-Friendly Practices

4/12/12 Published Utica Pet Supply Fact Sheet.

4/13/13 Kicked off "Round-A-Bout” weekend protests.

4/15/12 Posted sick dog case - Boxer.

4/15/12 Posted sick dog case - Yorkiepoo.

4/25/12 Posted deformed dog case - Mr. Coda stopped to share his stories about a Maltese his family purchased 10 years ago. The dog’s legs were deformed and his testicles did not descend.

6-1-12 Kicked off sustained boycott. Protests have been scheduled for every Friday in June and every Saturday from July – November.

6/15/12 Store updates website to include customer recommendations similar to the Family Puppy’s approach

6/23/12 & 6/30/12 Distributed the breeder fact sheet to the local business neighbors.

7/7/12 Published Police Report regarding disgruntled woman and a sick dog.

7/7/12 Launched Utica Pet Supply Boycott Facebook Page.

7/10/12 Published Utica Pet Supply Fact Sheet v2.

7/10/12 Published 2012 out-of -state breeders report.

8/10/12 Posted 2006-2008 Michigan Department of Agriculture complaints.
Pam
Pamela01
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,237
Pet Shop Puppies Cases:

If you have purchased a puppy from Utica Pet Supply, please contact PetShopPuppies.org for a free puppy report.

http://www.petshoppup...­

ID: 7090
Breed: Cocker Spaniel Bichon Frise
Breeder: Clark, Cindy
Broker: Unknown
Details: Behavoir issues, high anxiety, extreme allergies.

--------------------------------------­----------------------------------------­--

ID: 1101
Breed: Bichon Frise Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Breeder: Happy Tails Kennel +
Broker: Unknown
Details: Puppy died a month after purchase. Low blood sugar and elevated liver enzymes.

--------------------------------------­----------------------------------------­--

ID: 440
Breed: Chihuahua
Breeder: Happy Tails Kennel +
Broker: Unknown
Details: Healthy

--------------------------------------­----------------------------------------­--

ID: -2400
Breed: Cocker Spaniel Bichon Frise
Breeder: Happy Tails Kennel +
Broker: Unknown
Details: healthy

--------------------------------------­----------------------------------------­--

ID: -1739
Breed: Havanese
Breeder: Happy Tails Kennel +
Broker: Unknown
Details: healthy

--------------------------------------­----------------------------------------­--

ID: -1303
Breed: Toy Fox Terrier
Breeder: Kious, Bill & Dorothy
Broker: Unknown
Details: Healthy

--------------------------------------­----------------------------------------­--

ID: -975
Breed: Affenpinscher
Breeder: Happy Tails Kennel +
Broker: Unknown
Details: Healthy

--------------------------------------­----------------------------------------­--

ID: -629
Breed: Bichon Frise
Breeder: Happy Tails Kennel +
Broker: Unknown
Details: Runny nose; loose stool

--------------------------------------­----------------------------------------­--

ID: -305
Breed: Rottweiler
Breeder: B & T Distributors, Inc.
Broker: Hunte MO1
Details: Bronchitis; coccidia; tape worms; persistant cough; eye problems.


Pam
Pamela01
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,238
2011 BREEDER INVESTIGTION:

The following breeders have shipped puppies to Utica Pet Supply in 2011. Note the number of dogs kenneled at each facility. These are large commercial breeders! (View shipping records)

Ellen Brown
1100 210th Street
Audubon, IA



Shipped approximately 75 puppies since October 2010
Number of Adult Dogs 136-180
http://www.petshoppup...­
USDA Licensed 42-A-1274
__________________________________


Angie & Casey Schaaf
Nebraska Pets Inc
47286 US Hwy 20
Atkinson, NE



Number of Adult Dogs 182-219
http://www.petshoppup...­
USDA Licensed 47-B-0104
__________________________________


Canterbury Tails Pets LLC
875 Dakota Rd,
McPherson KS



Number of Adult Dogs 372-450
http://www.petshoppup...­
USDA Licensed 48-B-0319
Pam
Pamela01
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,239
Dog Buyers Beware:
Heartbreak Comes With Sale of Unhealthy Pets
Metro stores sell stock from breeders cited for violations


By STEVE NEAVLING FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
7/12/2006
http://www.michiganhu...­

The moment she laid eyes on them, Jennifer Moodie fell in love.

But a day after she paid $900 for two Yorkshire terrier pups at a Utica pet shop, one went into seizures. The pup, named Jasper, spent the next four days attached to IVs at a vet's office and died in Moodie's arms within two hours of coming home.

"His blood-sugar was so low that he had brain damage," said Moodie, 25, of Northville.

Moodie sued Utica Pet Supply, where she bought the dogs, and received her money back for Jasper in an out-of-court settlement.

The other pup, Kaylie, spent her first few months coughing and vomiting before bouncing back.

Those dogs were among thousands shipped to metro Detroit pet stores in recent years from large out-of-state breeders, many of which have been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for raising puppies in substandard conditions.

Veterinarians critical of large breeders say puppies raised by them - like Moodie's - are often inbred and housed in squalid, close quarters that expose them to genetic diseases, parasites and deadly viruses that may not surface for years.

Most dogs from large facilities go through life without any reported health or behavioral problems, but those with problems can leave pet owners with hefty vet bills - not to mention the heartache of seeing their dog die or become debilitated at an early age. That happens often enough that some animal lovers now refuse to buy from pet stores, saying the risk of getting a dog from a troubled breeder is too great and consumer protections too weak.

Store owners, however, defend getting dogs from breeders. Some say reports of unhealthy conditions at large, licensed facilities are an anomaly, contending that those breeders are far superior to unregulated backyard breeders. And by purchasing from large breeding facilities, the stores receive a wide range of breeds and money-back warranties for sick or dead pups.

Owners also note the USDA - which is responsible for regulating commercial breeders - has not shut down any of the facilities they buy from.

"I'm very content with the quality of dogs we sell," said John Geoth, 47, co-owner of Utica Pet Supply, one of metro Detroit's largest importers of dogs from large out-of-state breeders.

Geoth said he buys all of his dogs from Happy Tails Kennel, a Minnesota breeding operation that is the target of an ongoing federal investigation for housing dogs in squalid conditions. Since 2002, the facility has been cited numerous times, with violations including confining dogs to cramped, filthy cages and selling puppies less than 8 weeks old.

But Geoth says the product is still superior.

"We're putting out a companion animal that is unsurpassed by anyone," he said.

Where the puppies come from

More than 3,500 puppies arrived at metro Detroit pet stores last year from the country's largest breeding facilities and brokers. More than 80% of those dogs were supplied by the nation's eight largest exporters - and all of them have had multiple citations by the USDA in the last five years.

In addition to Utica Pet Supply, which imported 400 dogs, the other big importers in metro Detroit last year were Family of Pets, with shops in Troy, Roseville, Novi, Waterford and Livonia, and Petland, another major pet store chain.

Family of Pets imported more than 1,350 dogs from four facilities with multiple violations; Petland, more than 600 from cited facilities.

Jim Kurdziel, co-owner of the Westland Petland store, said people within the franchise visit facilities they buy from and would stop buying dogs from anyone who mistreats animals. The Free Press looked at the most recent USDA inspections of the eight largest breeders of dogs sent to metro Detroit, some dating to 2002, others as recent as this year. Those inspections have found various problems. Dogs have been confined to overcrowded cages, surrounded by flies and feces and exposed to harsh weather.

A report from a November USDA inspection of Happy Tails, the largest exporter of dogs to metro Detroit, documented dozens of dogs crammed into cages that were too small and had floors that exposed the animals' feet and legs to injury.

Inspections in 2002 and 2003 at the same facility found similarly substandard cages and feces-littered kennels for 120 adult dogs. The facility also sold puppies before they reached 8 weeks, the minimum age required under federal law.

Reports on the more than a dozen other out-of-state breeders that account for the last 20% of dogs sent to metro Detroit could not be obtained, and USDA officials declined to comment.

There are no public records tracking dogs sold at metro Detroit pet stores that came from in-state breeders, but animal welfare groups say Michigan does not have a reputation for abusive breeders.
Pam
Pamela01
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,240
continued

I cried for over two hours'

People who buy dogs with health problems typically have two courses of action - they can sue the pet store they bought the dog from or they can formally complain to the state Department of Agriculture.

Since 2000, at least 65 Michigan residents have taken action against the Petland, Utica Pet Supply and Family of Pets. Most alleged they were sold sickly puppies and some claimed to have been misled about the breed of the dog. Many had paperwork showing the dog came from an out-of-state breeder, but it is not known whether all the complaints involved out-of-state dogs.

While the number is relatively small, Karlene Belyea, executive director of the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association, said she believes few owners take action even when a dog falls ill, dies or become debilitated later in life because of the conditions they were raised in. Most, she said, don't know they have legal recourse.

"It's so sad when people bond with these puppies and then find out there are significant health problems because the dogs were bred by a bad breeder," Belyea said.

Since 2000, at least 10 people have filed lawsuits or complaints against Utica Pet Supply for selling sick puppies; some died soon after they were bought.

Yetiva Allen of Flushing, who filed a complaint with the state Department of Agriculture against Utica Pet Supply shortly after she said she spent more than $1,000 on vet bills for a wheaten terrier pup she bought there in July 2003. The dog developed arthritis and joint problems in November 2005, causing her to limp and sometimes collapse.

"She's had bouts where she just lies on the floor and whines and cries," said Allen, whose dog came from Happy Tails. "Once it lasted 12 hours."

At least nine people have filed complaints with the state Department of Agriculture since 2003 about sick puppies from Family of Pets.

Bridget Polk, 38, of Mt. Clemens said the schnauzer mix she bought from Family of Pets at Macomb Mall in Roseville was bouncy, adorable and a perfect companion.

But she said when she found her dog came from Happy Tails, a breeder whose history she knew of, "I cried for over two hours."

Although Polk hasn't had any trouble with her dog, she filed a complaint with the state this year, saying the store led her to believe the puppy didn't come from a large breeder. The store denied misleading her.

"This is an industry that is counting on consumer ignorance and impulse," said Deborah Howard, founder of the nonprofit Companion Animal Protection Society, which monitors breeders and has campaigned to warn consumers of the risks of buying dogs from stores that buy from large breeders. "It's all about the cute puppy in the window."
Pam
Pamela01
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,242
Geoth said he buys all of his dogs from Happy Tails Kennel, a Minnesota breeding operation that is the target of an ongoing federal investigation for housing dogs in squalid conditions. Since 2002, the facility has been cited numerous times, with violations including confining dogs to cramped, filthy cages and selling puppies less than 8 weeks old.

But Geoth says the product is still superior.

"We're putting out a companion animal that is unsurpassed by anyone," he said.


To learn more about Happy Tails Kennel (now called Clearwater Kennels) you can follow the Animal Abuse Case.

Or watch the Companion Animal Protection Society's undercover video.


Pam
Pamela01
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,255
Group Asks Macomb Pet Store to Adopt
Puppy-Friendly Practices

Detroit area dog advocates share information
about the pet store-puppy mill connection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 1, 2012


CONTACT: Pam Sordyl, 734-718-7100

An animal advocacy group has sent letters to the owners of Utica Pet Supply located at 45460 Van Dyke Avenue, asking them to stop selling puppies that come from puppy mills and instead to feature only rescued and adoptable dogs in their store.

Pam Sordyl, director of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, said "We hope that Utica Pet Supply will join the ranks of so many other pet supply stores across the nation and adopt a policy to help stop pet overpopulation."

Sordyl sent a formal invitation to Utica Pet Supply to stop selling puppies and to take the Puppy Friendly Pet Store pledge through the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) initiative, along with an offer to support the store during its transition to adoption events only. Utica Pet Supply has yet to respond to the group's requests.

"We hope the store will take our request seriously," said Sordyl. "We've worked with over 100 Michigan pet supply stores to sign them onto the Puppy Friendly Pet Store pledge. Unfortunately, some other stores have been reluctant to do so, and we then enacted a public campaign to educate the public about the stores' puppy mill suppliers." Six area stores that sell puppies have closed after such campaigns were launched.

Utica Pet Supply has a history of working with large out-of-state commercial breeders. Happy Tails Kennels in Minnesota supplied puppies from 2003-2006. The Detroit Free Press exposed this puppy mill connection and listed Utica Pet Supply as one of the top importers of puppies in Michigan.

Puppy Mill Awareness's investigation revealed the store has continued to work with large out-of-state breeders in Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. One such breeder—Canterbury Tails Pets, LLC, Kansas—shipped 15 puppies to Utica Pet Supply for the 2011 holiday season. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection reports show that Canterbury Tails Pets was cited for serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act related to lack of veterinary care. One violation report read, "White Lhasa has pink flesh protrusions from the 3rd eyelids of both eyes. This dog has thick creamy discharge and cloudy corneas of both eyes. Eye conditions such as these can cause pain and loss of vision". Another dog was reported to have a laceration on the right shoulder two inches in length with fresh blood. Canterbury Tails Pets inventory reports show they kennel between 370 – 450 adult dogs.

Another breeder who has shipped puppies to Utica Pet Supply, Brian Sterrenberg of Joyce, Iowa, was inspected by the USDA in January 2010. The investigator found that the outside runs were full of ice, snow and fecal material. "Had a bad snow storm 1 week ago and runs should have been cleaned by now". This affected 95 animals.

"This is disgusting and sad" said Sordyl. "Michigan families care about their pets, while Utica Pet Supply continues to work with breeders who are mistreating their animals."

Currently, the Better Business Bureau is also giving this store a failing grade -- Rated F.

Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan sent an additional letter to Utica Pet Supply this week, saying that if the store does not opt to end its puppy mill connection, the group plans to conduct a public education campaign outside the store. The letter ends with the request, "We would like you to pledge in writing to convert to a humane business model."


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