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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 #: 1,086
Zoning board gives OK to puppy breeder, if adult dogs are limited­

by: Josh Weinhold
Posted: 7/21/2011 6:13:00 PM

GOSHEN - A large Elkhart County puppy breeding operating can continue with its business, the Elkhart County Board of Zoning Appeals ruled Wednesday, but it must reduce the number of adult dogs it keeps on site.

The board granted in a 3-1 decision a special use variance for Devon and Marietta Troyer, allowing them to maintain kennels with indoor and outdoor pens and runs on their 12-acre property near the intersection of C.R. 20 and C.R. 33 in Middlebury. The number of adult dogs on site, though, will be limited to 100.
The approval came despite the protest of some residents who live near the property that raised concerns about the health of the animals on site and the noise they generate.

Theora Ohaneson, an attorney representing the Troyers, assured the board that all the animals - a variety of English bulldogs, shih tzus, cavaliers and other breeds - at the site are fully cared for.
"They're doing everything in an appropriate fashion," Ohaneson, of Graber Law Firm in Middlebury, said, "to do the best for these dogs."

The Troyers have run the breeding operation for more than five years, but said they were unaware they needed a special use permit under the county's animal ordinance. Located in an area zoned for agriculture, the facility has been inspected and approved by the USDA and American Kennel Club.

The on-site kennels can hold up to 150 adult dogs and 170 puppies, but contain about 108 dogs now. According to an AKC report from November, they held 142 adult dogs and 66 puppies. The operation sells about 30 puppies a month, Devon Troyer said, to a Detroit-area retailer.

Ohaneson said many of the Troyer's neighbors she contacted did not have a problem with the presence of the kennel and had no trouble with noise generated by the dogs.

At the meeting, though, some said otherwise. Gerald Miller, who lives north of the Troyer's property, said he's concerned not only about barking dogs, but with the decline of the value of his property due to a nearby dog breeder.

"I'm just floored that people say they can't hear it," he said. "All my neighbors say they can hear these dogs bark."

Another concerned resident, Gina Oliver, cited reports of Troyer-bred dogs needing medical attention upon delivery to buyers as a cause for concern at the site. She's also worried, she said, about Elkhart County developing a reputation as a place that is friendly to dog breeders that don't properly care for animals.

"The last thing Elkhart County needs," she said, "is another puppy mill."

The Troyer's veterinarian, however, expressed no fear over the well-being of the dogs. She visits the farm every one to two months, she said, and has seen issues no worse than those household animals experience.

"I think they're doing everything they can to take the best care of their dogs," said Hilary Reinhold, of LaGrange Veterinary Clinic.

Board members said the Troyers seemed to be running a quality breeding operation, but had not done enough to address noise concerns caused by the dogs. Thus, they put a limit on the number of dogs that can be kept, a matter that will be reviewed by the board in two years.

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,087
This breeder (Devon Troyer) ships on average 20 puppies to The Family Puppy stores here in Detroit. He has operated without a license for about 5 years. Looks like he was trying to come clean. Does everyone think 100 dogs is 97 too many?

This article did not include a statement made by one fo the neighbors. The Troyers said they keep the noise down by hosing done the dogs. That sounds like a mean solution.

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,088
The article also didn't mention the kennel's history of violations. These are not minor violations either. These dogs are in pain and were suffering when the inspector arrived.

Devon Troyer
Pine Creek Enterprises
14885 CR 20
Middlebury, IN 46540

Oct-05-2010: Veterinary Care – Although there was written guidance from an attending veterinarian, there was no signed formal agreement between the veterinarian and the applicant.

Several dogs were found with health issues requiring evaluation by a veterinarian.

1. A cavalier with chip number 564A was found with eye discharge in both eyes, a sore between the toes of the rear left foot and a severe ear discharge with thicken skin making evaluation of the ear canal difficult.

2. A shih tzu with chip 387C was found favoring the rear right leg. Upon exam, long toenails were found one of which was split and broken in to the quick at the base of the nail. This is a painful condition causing the dog to limp.

3. A shihtzu with chip number 36B was found with the right eye extremely budged. Eye conditions are painful and need to be evaluated by a veterinarian.

4. A bulldog with chip number 877 was found with diarrhea. Diarrhea is an indicator of disease which needs to be identified by the veterinarian and treated.

5. Three other dogs had eye issues which had been evaluated by the veterinarian and were being treated accordingly.

It is important to provide medical attention to animals. All animals should be evaluated daily and prompt contact with the veterinarian to discuss care issues.

Oct-05-2010: Housing: The last enclosure on the top right section of the kennel building on the right side of the adult housing area has a broken hinge on the door between the inside and outside sections of the enclosure. The broken door hinge may cause the door to open crookedly and potentially injure the dog.

In addition, one of the supports for the outside section of the enclosures in the middle adult housing building is broken. The enclosure is not currently affected with sagging by the support needs to be repaired or replaced to ensure adequate structural strength of the enclosure.

Oct-05-2010 Exercise for Dogs: Document the exercise program in use for the animals and have the veterinarian approve the plan.

Oct-18-2007 Records: Records were available on hand for inspection for all of the adult dogs present, however the records were not available for the puppies. Puppies were only tracked at the time of sale. It is important for a breeding operation to track production through puppy inventory. It is also important to monitor the puppies on site to ensure they are treated and sold appropriately. Begin using form 7005 to track puppies born in this facility.

Oct-18-2007 Housing: The first enclosure on the left side of the facility has broken welds on the bottom wire. This allows the legs of the animals to fall through as they are going in and out of the doggie doorway. The animals could injure their legs or fall through and escape through the broken area of the flooring.

The catch-tarp under the enclosure has a build up of grime. This build up can attract pests and vermin which can carry disease that can affect the animals. The tarp should be cleaned and sanitized to prevent the build-up of the grime.

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,089
How does Puppy Mill Awareness measure effectiveness? --If the store we are protesting mentions us in their "Letter of Introduction" provided to potential customers! Apparently, The Family Puppy has had to explain themselves one to many times, so they put it all down on paper.

Luckily I can read between the lines and call out all the BS.

The bottom line is, this store is no different than Petland. They have used the same broker and the Amish certianly do not have a squeaky clean reputation either. Just google "Dog Auctions" and have a kleenex box a handy – it is sad and appauling at the same time.

Give me a brake with all the PR stunts Stottele. Here are my comments to your Letter of Introduction:

  • The Family Puppy has been in business for 13 years, yet only started to make improvements and visit their breeders 3 years ago? I am assuming this is when our group formed and the pressure was on. Or was it after the Detroit Free press exposed the store?
  • We really should not have the words "pet" and "industry" used in the same sentence.
  • You said it! I agree, this is an industry wrought with neglect and abuse!
  • John, I know you work hours every day, because I am working hours trying to expose you.
  • So you admit to working with brokers in the past. That sounds horrible –puppy middlemen. Puppies are not products!!
  • You mean for 10 years you did not visit a breeder? For 10 years, you relied on brokers to regulate? And now you are experts in regulation?? Again, are you relying on the USDA? Good luck.
  • Humm...a road trip the summer of 2008. This is when we formed Puppy Mill Awareness.
  • You went to a Missouri Conference for help? Good Lord, that is the Puppy Mill Capital. I certainly hope you didn't learn a thing from Missouri millers.
  • PMA is protesting in front of the Flint store because the Family Puppy sells the most puppy mill puppies in Michigan and the breeders are puppy millers. High volume store!
  • There are not 52 stores in the Southeast Michigan area -try 20. It is a dying industry. Many have closed in the last 3 years.
  • I have visited The Family Puppy breeders in Indiana.
  • This flyer does not mention the sick dogs reported to Pet Shop Puppies and MDA.
  • This flyer does not mention the use of any brokers in Ohio or Minnesota.­

Thank you Linda, Alicia and Julieann for leading the Flint Campaign! Keep up the great work :)

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,091
Hello, Pam. We recently sent a letter to Family Puppy in regards to our position. Here is a copy FYI:

Simple Dog fundraisers is teaming up with Puppy Mill Awareness to boycott your store. We are a large and established organization with tens of thousands of followers who have been informed about puppy mills and pet shop puppies just like yours.

We have committed financial assistance to groups fighting your practices and want you to know that we have taken a stand against your store. We will fight this until the end, as we continue to educate our fans about the truth behind pet shop puppies.

The times are changing rapidly, and pet stores like the Family Puppy are a dying industry. Unfortunately for you, consumers are catching on and pet stores are closing down. We look forward to working with you to change your practices, otherwise we look forward to seeing the Family Puppy shut its doors.

Please feel free to contact us in regards to this matter.

Dusty Welsh
Simple Dog Fundraisers
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,166
I-TEAM Investigates Minnesota Dog Breeder (Kathy Bauck)


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The owner of Minnesota’s largest dog breeding operation still sold hundreds of puppies illegally, despite being convicted of animal cruelty. That’s what the I-TEAM just found and when WCCO’s James Schugel kept digging, things got more disturbing.

“The Canine Culture Center. Do you know anything about it,” asked I-TEAM’s undercover team.

“No,” said the woman at a New York City meat market.

The I-TEAM went undercover in New York City to see the Canine Culture Center, but found a meat market at the same address.

And as the I-TEAM found, a worker there says he only sells dogs to eat.

Dogs walking in their own feces and a smell of urine throughout the building — that’s what an investigator with the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) found during an undercover visit to a Long Island, N.Y. pet store.

“I’ve been in the business like 40 years. I look at the dogs online. They come with veterinary checks,” the pet store’s owner told CAPS President Deb Howard.

He said his pups are “privately and family bred.”

“Where do you get your dogs from?” asked Howard.

“Four different breeders and they’re randomly inspected by the state. No puppy mills,” said the owner.

But that’s exactly where the I-TEAM discovered he’s gotten nearly 600 dogs.

Federal and state documents say the supplier is Kathy Bauck, who was accused of running the largest puppy mill in Minnesota.

Two years ago, Bauck was convicted of animal cruelty and torture.

In 2008, an undercover CAPS agent recorded Bauck dunking some dogs in insecticide. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it caused the animals’ trauma, behavioral stress or discomfort.

Bauck pleaded guilty to “…practicing veterinary medicine without a license,” according to the USDA.

The USDA determined she was “…unfit…(to provide) humane care and treatment…” of her animals and terminated her license temporarily for two years.

But the USDA did not take away Bauck’s dogs. She also kept selling wholesale despite that court order telling her not to.

“We were only going in for one. We ended up with two, because they were the most pathetic,” said JulieAnn Firle and Keith Maschi, who bought two pups from that Long Island pet store last spring.

One’s face is crooked, both have parasites and show aggression.

“How much have you spent on vet bills?” asked the I-TEAM’s James Schugel.

“Probably around $2,000,” said Firle.

The couple researched the dogs they bought and found they came from Bauck. One was at the pet store for two months, while the other was there for five months. However, it’s not clear when the problems with their pets started.

“The dogs that were there when we bought these two,” said Firle. “They looked worse and I had to get out of there. I couldn’t stand looking at them. It was pathetic. It was terrible.”

The I-TEAM found Bauck’s dogs ended up in pet stores across New York City and Long Island.

The I-TEAM obtained Minnesota Certificates of Veterinary Inspection, the forms veterinarians sign once they’ve inspected animals that will be shipped to another state.

Between Aug. 2010 and Aug. 2011, Bauck shipped and sold nearly 1400 dogs to pet stores in a half-dozen New York cities. She also did this without that USDA Breeders license she needed to legally sell and ship wholesale.

The biggest surprise for the I-TEAM came while looking for the Canine Culture Center.

It’s listed on the Certificates of Veterinary Inspection as 36 East Broadway in New York City. The I-TEAM just happened to stumble upon the Dak Cheong Meat Market at the same address.

“I’m looking for the Canine Culture Center at this address, a pet shop. Do you know anything about it?” asked the I-TEAM’s undercover team.

State Inspection Certificates show Bauck sold and shipped nearly 170 dogs, mostly huskies, to this address, where the I-TEAM found the Chinatown Meat Market.

“The Canine Culture Center. Do you know anything about it?” asked the I-TEAM’s undercover team again.

“No,” said the woman.

The I-TEAM searched both levels of the building.

“The Canine Culture Center?” asked the I-TEAM undercover team again.

“No,” said a woman on the second floor. “This is a law office.”

The I-TEAM found no sign of dogs, until they called the market directly.

“Do you sell dogs?” asked the I-TEAM’S Schugel.

“Yea. We sell dog,” said the man who answered the phone.

“Dogs for people to eat?” asked Schugel.

“Uh, yea,” he said. “We sell many kinds of meat.”

“Dogs for people to eat?” asked Schugel.

“Yes,” said the man.

The I-TEAM questioned the man again, just to be clear. He said he does not sell dogs for pets. He only sells them for food.

The I-TEAM then confronted Kathy Bauck about this but she firmly denied she shipped dogs to the meat market.

“I never sold a dog for anyone to eat them. Trust me. Never,” Bauck said.

She said the person she shipped to must have given her “the wrong address.”

Even though the I-TEAM verified there were a dozen shipments to that address.

Bauck’s veterinarian, Dr. Kathleen Marcussen, also told the I-TEAM she knew nothing about shipments to a meat market.

In a conversation the I-TEAM had with Marcussen, she said that she has never been to Bauck’s farm. In fact, she told Schugel that Bauck always brought her dogs to the veterinary clinic in Staples to be examined before they were shipped. In this case, they were shipped to pet stores in New York City that Bauck claims she co-owns.

Bauck told the I-TEAM, “I was a ghost owner. It’s like a secret owner. All I did was supply (pet stores) with puppies. They paid for the puppies on a contract, and that’s it.”

The I-TEAM pulled the Certificates of Veterinary Inspection from the state of New York for all those pet stores, but found none is listed in Bauck’s name. The state also has no listing for the Canine Culture Center.

So that begs the question if she didn’t own the stores, and wasn’t allowed to sell wholesale to pet stores because her license was temporarily terminated, how was she able to get away with it for a full year?

The I-TEAM posed that question to the USDA.

The USDA said, “Those things don’t happen lickity split. These are legal things set in motion that are not going to be instantly remedied.”

Coupled with her cruelty convictions and other violations at her facility, the USDA revoked Bauck’s license last month. It’s now permanently taken away.

The USDA said Bauck “…obscured…” who “…truly owned…” her business. She ran it under “…various fictitious names…” and shipped to those pet stores without her license. The USDA fined her and demanded she “…sell and/or donate her animals.”

Bauck recently told the I-TEAM that workers tore down her barns. She said she’s done breeding and selling dogs.

“I gave them what they wanted. I gave them my life.” she said emotionally by phone. “You just have no idea, none whatsoever, how much I love these dogs.”

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,167

Bauck told the I-TEAM she couldn’t even hurt a fly. For her dogs to be gone, she said, “It’s just not right.”

The I-TEAM had several conversations with the USDA about those dogs shipped to the meat market.

The government first told an animal welfare group it looked into it and found no animals in distress. But the USDA said it actually doesn’t know what happened to those dogs.

The last time Schugel talked with Bauck was a few days ago and she changed her story. She said she was partnered with a Long Island pet store owner who wanted her to send puppies to the address where the I-TEAM found the Meat Market just to pick up.

However, Schugel talked with that owner on Monday and he told Schugel he hasn’t done business with Bauck in more than a year.
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,168
Here is more information on the Kathy Bauck Case:


November 2008
Family of Pets (Novi, MI) - 22 in shipment
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,175

Here are my responses in (blue) to The Family Puppy's answers in (red) to Fact #1 of our Breeder Fact Sheet. You will notice John Stottele, the owner, has a pattern of actually admitting to my facts, never denying the claims. I will send more responses later. Just because you have an answer doesnt' mean the answer makes sense or is acceptable.

1. The Family Puppy/Family of Pets works with large commercial breeders/brokers located out-of-state where consumers cannot easily visit with the parents.

JS: We don't judge on size but on quality. Most of our breeders have a 1 to 10 ratio of workers to dogs in the kennel. (In perspective, nursing/assisted Living homes have a much lower ratio of workers to live in patients: 1 to 24). As for seeing the parents, people adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue cannot see the parents either. The information we provide regarding our breeders well exceeds that of other sources, and we strive to provide as much information as possible to our customers.

PS: The Family Puppy owner, John Stottele stated "We don't judge on size but on quality." It is apparent he does not judge by kennel size after having a long relationship with Kathy Bauck with over 800 adult dogs in Minnesota. Even with staff, she was convicted of 4 misdemeanor charges, 3 of torture and 1 of animal cruelty. We all watched the undercover videos. Were customers shown pictures of her kennel? This is quality?­

PS: The Family Puppy's owner, John Stottele claims "Most of our breeders have a 1 to 10 ratio of workers to dogs in the kennel." John, are you telling me that Devon Troyer with 176 adult dogs has 18 employees? Zoning records show that most Elkhart County breeders DO NOT have employees. For example, Lavern Whetstone with 50 adult dogs has ZERO employees reported his Special Use Permit in 2010 (See Photo). It also states he spends ONLY 2-3 hours a day (depending) caring for the dogs. To provide minimal care for 50 dogs one would need a full time 8 hour a day employee to give at MINIMUM 10 mins of care to each dog per day. This is not adequate. Mr. Whetstone ships on average 15 pups per month to The Family Puppy (6/9/09 - 1/19/10). See Zoning photos of dogs living on wire floored cages – nothing like a nursing home to me.

PS: The Family Puppy owner, John Stottele stated "people adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue cannot see the parents either." Families "adopting" a dog from a shelter or rescue are not paying $1,800 for a designer dog (mutt) directly supporting cruelty. This is a BIG difference. The minimal adoption fee goes to an organization not motivated by profits. Commercial breeders are producing puppies for the pet trade to profit which means adequate vet care, (we all know is expensive) would cut into their profits. For example, Lavern Whetstone performed his own surgery by removing a bulldog's eye membrane to save money even after the USDA inspector ordered him to seek vet care immediately on the prior visit. If the public can not see the parents, they unknowingly may be contributing to cruelty. At shelters they are simply RESCUING a dog in need.

PS: The Family Puppy owner, John Stottele stated "we strive to provide as much information as possible to our customers." Please provide updated USDA inspection reports for every breeder and broker. Please provide photos of each parent dog taken by a member of my organization.

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 1,176

This month a manager of The Family Puppy in Flint visited our protest out of frustration, I am assuming. We have been passing out hundreds of "Fact Sheets" to mall patrons since March. She is trying to prove to me that "improvements" are being made. Seriously? I keep finding more incriminating evidence supporting each and every claim we have made. Again, we don't want this store to improve commercial breeding.

The owner responded to each of my facts and I have responded in length to him. I would like to share one of them below.

2. The owners of The Family Puppy are not licensed, trained or legitimate regulators or inspectors.

OWNER: We believe that our unique company standards, which come from 30 years of experience helping families find the right puppy, qualify us as business owners to effectively inspect and place requirements on our breeders. Typically, the claim has been that pet stores don't even visit the breeders where their puppies come from, yet our regular visits are now under criticism! We prefer to be as knowledgeable and open about the true nature of our breeders by seeing them first-hand. This way we can provide the photos and information from these visits for our customers to see.

PUPPY MILL AWARENESS: The owner of The Family Puppy, John Stottele, stated his company has "unique standards" which comes from experience. Unique standards? How did John Tidwell pass your standards? The Tidwells were performing their own surgeries in unsanitary shed and the USDA launched an investigation. They were also listed on the HSUS's Missouri Dirty Dozen (Dishonorable Mentions).­

Here is the link to a shipping record showing puppies shipped from this nasty kennel in Missouri. So much for experience and standards.­

Here is the link to Tidwell's 2009 USDA Inspection report. Shameful and shocking.­

The owner stated their years of experience helping families find the right puppy qualifies them to effectively inspect breeders. Did I read that correctly? First, placing puppies with families doesn't take much more than a high school education (don't you have high schoolers on commission?). The real skill is ensuring the family is ready to commit to a life long family member. Do you even screen your buyers? Second, selling puppies just makes you experts at the puppy pet trade, not breeding, enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, disease control in kennels, genetics… - It only makes you better at ripping people off!

The stated that they regularly visit their breeders unlike other pet stores. Remember, the Stotteles have also stated that their brokers would not allow visits. So just 3 years ago, when Puppy Mill Awareness formed, the Stotteles felt it was time to start visiting breeders. After 10 years??? What took so long? Are you calling a mini van traveling down to northern Indiana to pick up puppies a regular visit? According to my calculations, there is not much time to "inspect" the kennel. Have you ever reported violations? I see the USDA has plenty on them. How many years experience and training has your transporters have? Do they have transport licenses? Have you visited the unlicensed Iowa breeders that supply your broker in Minnesota? How many times did you visit your broker in Ohio? How many breeders did Abe Miller work with? Did you help your brokers choose their breeders? I have never heard of a pet store having that much say in who their brokers work with.

Please provide dates and addresses on your photos. Are any over 10 years old?

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