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Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup (Southeast Michigan) Message Board › I 'Heart' Dogs - Closed!

I 'Heart' Dogs - Closed!

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 198
Action Alert!

I need everyone to help with this new campaign.

Please forward and cross post.

A new pet store opened on July 18th called "I Heart Dogs" at the Mall at Partridge Creek, Clinton Twp. For the west siders, this is the well know “Dog Friendly” mall that allows you shop with your dog. They even have a Date Night with your Dog. It is so disappointing that a cool dog mall would allow a pet store to set up shop!

We have spoken with both Matt, the owner and Jason, the Manager and have asked them to stop selling puppies and work with rescue groups. We provide the Humane Society’s Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge form in person. We also communicated with the Mall Management. I first sent information about Puppy Mills and their link to pet stores to both the mall management and Taubman Properties. We personally met with the General Manager, Robbie Stark, and asked him to check out their breeder list. It appears Matt has left town for a week and a half (unexpectedly).

Check out our Message Board. Many people have contacted me about their experiences at the store. They have been told different stories about the breeders. When they first opened, they stated they were from the Amish!!! Oh my, that was a big red flag. Apparently they have wised up and now stick to "local breeders" until you ask more questions. They believe Ohio and Indiana can be considered "local". As of last week, Matt has not visited all of his breeders. He did say he has plans to visit them and take pictures to prove they were reputable. We offered to go with him :) He postponed his breeder visits for some reason. Jason believes all is ok since Matt has supplied pictures of "one" of the breeders with indoor/outdoor runs.

It is their store policy NOT to show you the breeder name until you buy the dog. Buyer Beware!!!!

Here is what you can do:

1) Sign this petition. "Stop Selling Puppies at Mall at Partridge Creek!" (Thank you Katie for speaking up!!!)

2) Contact the General Mall Manager and politely share your concerns.

Robbie Stark
General Manager
The Mall at Partridge Creek

3) RSVP for our peaceful Memorial Rally on Sept 19th. Bring flowers for all the breeding dogs who spent their lives in tiny cages. It is on Puppy Mill Awareness Day and will receive National attention. We need all members to come to this event and will post further instructions (signs, parking, etc) as we get closer.­

4) Get the mall talking! If you are a regular shopper at the mall, make sure you share your concerns with the other Store Managers. This worked well in Northville. I am sure they do not want the Pet Store there either and they can also warn their customers. Wouldn't it be great if they sold "Puppies Aren't Product" t-shirts at some of the stores in the mall? :)

5) You can also contact Nancy Straetmans, Taubman's Public Relations person. Taubman is the one who originally set up the lease for this store. I feel they did an inadequate job asking them about their breeders and will need to find a why to cancel their leasing contract. A Doggie Daycare would be a much better option since mall shoppers can not bring their dogs into any of the restaurants!!

200 E. Long Lake Road Suite 300
Bloomfield Hills, MI
T: 248.258.6800
F: 248.258.7596

6) Contact the pet store and ask them to "Stop Selling Puppies" and bring in Rescue Groups. We were told by the mall that rescue groups are not allowed in the common areas, but could set up shop in the store. Of course, no rescue group would work with the pet store until they stopped selling puppies!
I “Heart’ Dogs

7) Post a review to Yelp.­

Here is your chance to get active again. We can not allow a new pet store to open in our area!!
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 199
After the funeral I went over to Partridge Creek to I Heart Dogs- If you park in the MJR Parking lot and walk towards the theatre it is withn a few steps past the theatre on your left hand side (almost across from the theatre). The front of the store appeared to be small and darkish inside. There was a couple of puppies in the front window and more inside the store to the left in acrylic type cage fronts.

It felt a little warm in there. The dishes that they had were small plastic cat dishes (you know the kind that are very shallow) for both the food and water. There were a lot of people coming in to take a look at the puppies some with their own dogs. (I was concerned with that since those puppies don't have their full sets of shots yet). They had some really small cubicles with a door on the front that they let people play with the dogs. It seemed a bit chaotic when I was there. A lot of them appeared to be mixed breed puppies. They also had a couple of grooming tables setting in the back --but out in the open. They are supposed to have daycare also but I didn't see anything regarding that.

I don't think they are too knowledgeable about dogs as I overheard someone who worked there tell a woman that the dog in the window was a papillion when it was clearly a terrier mix and looked nothing at all like a papillion. The woman I know that called me regarding this store interviewed for a job there and was told that the dogs "all come from reputable breeders" which just happen to be Amish. Talk about an oxymoron. Anyway, that's about all the info I have for now.

Linda Kruz
Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 200
The salesperson told me: some dogs are AKC, some ACA. Of course they said no puppy mills. They have a limit on how far away they can get their dogs because a longer distance can create some health issues. (Yea no kidding especially for the little ones.) It cracks me up when they say they get their dogs from “breeders”. Puppy mills ARE breeders. Maybe that’s what I’ll put on the next sign.

Very friendly salesperson, probably a high school age girl.

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 201

I just popped up to the new pet store at Partridge Creek. I began by asking about where they got their dogs and was told from private breeders by 1 of the sales girls. I then took a look at the puppies and there were about 2 in each cage, with some empty having being sold. There were 3 in the window display playing to attract business. There was a scotty and a westie, a yorkie mix, a yorkie, other designer small dog mixes, and one spaniel.

The store was quite busy, and seemed clean. I told another assistant that I was interested in the chuhahua puppy and told to use the hand sanitizer and go into a little booth that they had (there are 2). While in there I was told the puppy was $950 and that it came from breeder not a puppy mill. The 2 girls I spoke with were comfortable chatting with me about puppy mills and both were against them. While chatting the owner came in from his puppy walk (the mall is dog friendly). He introduced himself as Matt and said he would be happy to talk to me about my concerns, and that he hoped I would let the other members of our group know that he would answer any questions they might have.

I did not want to get confrontational with him. All the puppies were the legal age or above to be separated from their moms, and he said some were from local breeders and others from out of state, but he assured me they were not puppy mills. He did say that he wanted to feature more local breeders but he'd only just opened and was trying to get their trust.

He also said the mall itself had been quite specific about where he'd get the dogs before they'd allow him to open since they are the only dog friendly mall in this area and would not want puppy mill dogs there as it would be terrible press. He said if you bought a dog then you would get the breeders name with all the AKC papers etc. and the name of the local vet he used (if they still wanted to use the same vet). He does not have wire floors in his cages, but he does have plastic grids. When I mention this to him, he said he would welcome any practical ideas as to flooring etc. I told him about how my little Hamish had been in his cage at Pollywood for 2 1/2 years and had cage feet.

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 202
I initially was asking for the owner's name and the girl at the counter was writing it down for me but then she said 'Oh, here is the owner right now.' At that point I began speaking with him and I was very calm but I told him that I was excited to see a new pet store at the mall but that when I walked in I saw they were selling puppies and I was so disappointed.

I asked him why he was doing that instead of just selling dog supplies, food, etc. He got immediately defensive but I kept talking to him asking if he knew that all of these dogs came from puppy mills; he said something about getting them from 'breeders' and I just said 'c'mon, what reputable breeder sends puppies to a pet store...' and went on to tell him that his store will never survive as long as they sell puppies, etc. He just immediately told me to leave his store and said he was going to call security. This was a ridiculous response since I was simply voicing concern to him and doing it calmly. I said I would gladly leave and that I would never shop there and was going to send a letter to the Taubman Co. (mall owner) and by this time the veins were popping out of his neck and he was calling for his brother (they are co-owners) and saying 'we don't want people like you in our store. I'm going to have security hall you out of here.' And this was as I was walking out. I was so disgusted that when I got to the door I turned around and said loudly 'please don't buy from here. These are all puppy mill dogs!'

The brother followed me out and told me to come with him to security and I just laughed and said no.

He went and got security as I continued walking through the mall and two security guards caught up with me to ask me about what happened. They were very professional and I explained things to them; told them how much money I spend shopping and dining there; told them what an unreasonable reaction the owners had, etc. They just said they wanted to get my side of the story. I think it was obvious to them that I was not some lunatic. They did say that the store got their puppies from 'USDA approved vendors'. I told them that doesn't mean anything.

They never asked for my name or anything.

That's the detailed account of what happened. The owners are young guys who seemed by their reaction to be very guilty. They are a couple of punks looking to make a buck off of the suffering of innocent animals.

I don't live near Partridge Creek but used to enjoy taking my dogs there. I don't plan on shopping there until this place gets closed down.

I'm so happy to learn that there is an organized group in this area. It's comforting to know that there are others who are passionate about this. It still amazes me how ignorant people are over this issue after shows like Oprah's and others that have done stories.

I will send a letter to the Macomb Daily and the local Clinton Twp C & G paper. I will also be sending letters to the mall and Taubman. This is in addition to telling everyone I know about this place.

Please feel free to email me anytime and let me know how I can help with anything you have planned.

Group Organizer
Clarkston, MI
Post #: 203
I received this e-mail from a foster Mom for Westie Rescue....I think we should get started working on a protest there....That is a VERY popular mall. I would be willing to organize something.

Cathy, I've been meaning to write you. My friend had surgery and is unable to drive for a few weeks so I took her to Partridge Creek Mall to see the Harry Potter movie (it was pretty good) and have lunch last Friday. I saw a new store called I (heart) dogs. Naturally I headed right in to buy something for the girls. This was before we found them in the tomato barrels. I found very little inventory I would buy. A small amount of collars, maybe two dozen, a wall of sweaters, and cages and cages of puppies!!!! Every breed you could imagine. I walked to the counter and asked very loudly if these were dogs from local breeders or from puppy mills. I was, of course, told from local breeders. I requested the list of breeders so I could call before purchasing a puppy and was told (shock of shocks) that list wasn't available. I turned and said loudly so all in the store could hear that I was afraid they were puppy mill dogs and therefore wouldn't be genetically and/or physically sound and left the store. If you have opportunity would you do the same thing?
A former member
Post #: 1
I just spoke to the store owner, Matt. I found him to be obnoxious, completely uninterested in the plight of the puppies he sells (or their parents), and at times downright rude. His justification for what he does is that his customers leave happy and love their puppies, and it's none of my business where he gets them from. Oh yes, and of course profit.
What say we just inundate his phone system with "Stop selling puppies" messages?!

Any way we can get national media attention for the rally?
A former member
Post #: 1
I just find it ironic that if you're someone who claim to love dogs so much, why would you not want them to have a good home? You may be able to shut down a local pet store here and there (and further hurt the Michigan economy), but you're not going to stop "puppy mills." Anyways, my experience with I Heart Dogs was nothing but positive! I stopped in to see what all the talk has been about, created by this blog, and I have to dispute some of the claims being made.

1. The temperature: I asked if it was a little warm for the puppies and it just so happened that the vet was there making a few checks, he informed me that this was a perfect temperature for young dogs, cause having the air conditioning on (temperature too cold) would put the dogs at risk for becoming sick!

2. Food and water: I wish I received such good treatment at most of the restaurants I go to! These dogs were being waited on hand and foot (paw and paw) by one or two of the staff members. With 13 total cages, I estimated that each dog(s) was being checked on every 10-15 minutes (with constant water changes and cage cleanings)! Even if these dogs were "puppy mill dogs" they just upgraded from Motel 8 to the Ritz Carlton!

3. Rescued Dogs: I know that some of you were told that I Heart Dogs was going to be featuring some rescue dogs some time soon, well I decided to do a little checking, and in fact my local Humane Society told me that they were contacted by I Heart Dogs and are currently working on a community outreach event in the near future.

I know some of you were turned off by how you were treated, and I can't speak to that. But, maybe it would be in the best interest to give this business some constructive criticism instead of going right for a protest! It just makes us look like the bad guys! The general public honestly loves this store (it's probably the busiest store there). Give them some time to change and if they don't, then I'll be on the front lines protesting too! But, if they just opened in July and we're already protesting in September, what are we protesting, just that they are open for business? We would have much more ammunition if we would say "Hey, change this!" and they still ignore, then we have a firmer ground to stand on.

These are just my thoughts, and I always try to look at both sides of the situation, but if we protest "I Heart Dogs" aren't we saying "I Hate Dogs!"
A former member
Post #: 24
I heart Dogs AND the mall management have been approached and encouraged to work with rescues instead of selling puppy mill puppies. I saw these "mutts" and they are $900 and $1000. wow that much for a mutt? The owner Matt and his manager Jason have not been open to rescue. Jason said to me point blank "why should we stop selling puppies?" I gave him several good reasons and alternatives. The mall manager, Robbie, listened to what I had to say and we had a nice conversation. However, there was no indication anything was going to be done any time SOON.
I for one am not willing to wait until a dozen customers get stuck with sick puppies and pricey vet bills and lied to about where the puppies come from. This form of robbery via slick marketing has been going on for years. I asked Jason what would the store do if a dog was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at age one and a half. It takes at least one year for that to show up. He said they would cross that bridge when they come to it. Nice. I won't be crossing THAT bridge.

Any store that will not show you the credentials on their puppy has something to hide. I would NEVER buy a puppy without seeing the papers first. This is an open avenue for deceit on the part of the pet store. That makes BUYER BEWARE even MORE important!
Jerry, to answer your question, no, protesting does NOT say "I hate dogs". It says the opposite. It says I care enough about dogs to protest a store who is a party to commercial breeding (amish or otherwise) for profit where neither care about the health and well being of the breeding dogs or their puppies (some DO leave mom at 6 weeks which is too early) and care MORE about profit. These pet stores only pay about $100 or $200 for these puppy mill puppies and mark them up to $900 and $1000 and even $1500, depending on the breed or mutt mix.
Jerry, there is NO legitimate humane society that would work with a pet store on community outreach. Please name the humane society of which you speak so others can ask them questions as well.
This store is popular because everyone loves to look at puppies. If they knew the cruelty behind the cuteness (which we hope to educate the public about) they would be equally appalled.
Go to a breed club and go to their breeder referral list and ask the breeder if they would allow their puppies to be sold in a pet store. A resounding "NO!" is the answer. It's also part of the breed club code of ethics for their breeders NOT to sell to pet stores.
The store needed to be approached so close to opening so that the flow of money to the puppy mills is stopped, and before some trusting customers get taken. Sure some puppies will be fine, but their mom in the wire cage in the puppy mill won't be. She'll be bred heat after heat. It's not just about the puppies in the store, it's where they come from and what facade the store is willing to put up to make a buck. It's about getting to the TRUTH of the matter, exposing it, and as a moral society to not allow this to go on any longer.
A former member
Post #: 25
I must also add that Matt was conspicuously unavailable for a scheduled meeting.
1)ok so the temperature being just right is a matter of opinion. no biggie there.
2)I was at the store and the dogs were NOT being waited on hand and foot and not checked every 15 mins. I wouldn't call this place the Ritz Carlton but I would agree they charge Ritz Carlton prices! for motel 8 quality. And again, mom is still in the shack back at the puppymill breeding and is lucky to see daylight, smell clean air and cuddled and socialized by humans. Maybe she's one of the lucky ones whose feet are big enough to not fall through the wire crate and become injured, or get "cage feet", or maybe not.
3)I heart dogs was not open to the idea of collaboring with rescues.

There is no way of knowing if these dogs are getting a good home. And the store is not in business to insure that they do.
Rescues check out homes and compatibility before adoption.
If the store truly does "heart" dogs, then they'll stop selling puppy mill puppies and create an avenue for adopting not shopping.
This business HAS been given constructive criticism. They have turned a deaf ear.
Time waits for no one.
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