2011-02-10 / Business

Group releases study of puppy-selling pet stores

MICHIGAN —The Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup of Southeast Michigan has recently completed a study of puppy-selling pet stores in Michigan. The primary goal of the study was to determine breeder information to help protect conscientious customers from unknowingly contributing to animal neglect and abuse in distant states.

The study reveals which stores are importing puppies from other states, the estimated number of puppies and just how many sick dogs may be purchased at pet stores.

Following is a summary of findings: there are approximately 50 puppy-selling pet stores in Michigan; over half of the stores are located in the southeast Michigan. Wayne County has the most puppyselling stores (10) followed by Macomb County (8); from 2009 to 2010, 17 pet stores imported approximately 5,000 puppies from other states according to interstate health certificates, and on average, 213 puppies are imported legally per month to pet stores; The Family Puppy/Family of Pets store is the largest chain, with five stores in the southeast Michigan area importing on average 118 puppies per month, and V.I.P Pets is the second largest chain with four stores in west Michigan; a puppy may travel 1,200 miles before reaching a Detroit area pet store, and transportation from distant states causes stress in dogs and increases the risk of disease transmission; and many stores are operating without a prior pet store license.

“A variety of puppy peddling operations have increased with the lack of regulation. As families are losing their jobs they may be turning to the pet trade as an easy way to make extra money without experience or knowledge of canines, disease control or breeding standards,” said Pam Sordyl of Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup.

These other forms of puppy-peddling were discovered: puppy garage sales; pitbull-selling pet stores; dog flipper; rescues operating as pet store; and trade center booths.

“Without disclosure laws pet stores can misrepresent the puppies telling customers that they are ‘the finest available’ puppies from ‘professional and hobby breeders who have years of experience in raising quality family pets,’ which are ‘USDA approved,” Sordyl said. “The deceptive practices of pet stores relating to the marketing and sale of puppy mill puppies across southeast Michigan is causing thousands of consumers to be victimized by this unscrupulous conduct.”

According to Sordyl, many families purchase puppies at pet stores as Valentine’s Day gifts and quickly discover health problems due to neglect, inbreeding and over-breeding in puppy mills. Currently, Michigan does not have a “Puppy & Kitten Lemon Law” to protect consumers.

For more information on Puppy Mill Awareness, visit www.meetup.com/puppymillawareness/ about/. N.B.

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