How we formed the Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup 

It all started with an online S.O.S message from a local shelter.  The shelter was outraged over a new boutique (Paws Total Pet Studio) that had opened in downtown Northville which planned to sell puppies! So was I! This shared concerned was all I needed to start organizing a way to stop another store from opening -- Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup was founded. 

The new puppy store opened in 2008. At the time I was already regularly protesting Petland in Belleville. I recently joined an existing campaign and was new to the world of advocacy. We met every Saturday where I learned even more about puppy mills and the practices at Petland. If I thought it was shocking, I knew the public would too. How will people learn if they can’t see pass the puppies in the windows? No one is going to take the time to learn about the breeding dogs unless we show them. 

This new store was not going to open while we were trying to stop puppy sales nearby. I started to recruit rescue groups for a Puppy Mill Awareness Day event in Northville. We held a “rescue parade” with over 60 people and their rescue dogs. After successfully prancing our rescue pooches downtown past the new pet stores’ front window, we decided we would keep going as a group. Many parade particiants had puppy mills survivors with stories to tell. We worked together on a nude calendar -the dogs took off their collars and became local heroes.

After the parade, Northville was certainly talking about the pet store --so much, the store closed a few months later! Once the Petland Belleville closed that same year, I was inspired to keep going. We kicked off more protests at Petland Westland and Novi.

My background is in business. I graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint in 1994 and received my Masters Degree from the New York Institute Technology. I grew up in Flint when it was Buick City and had a long cross-country and track career as well. I still love to run with my three dogs, but no more time for road races with all my furry clients to worry about.

Pam Sordyl
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