Under the Community Microscope
Little Dogz (formerly Pollywood) has been operating since 1991 as Michigan’s worst pet store. Year after year, the store racks up all kinds of complaints from sick and injured dogs in the store, animals that have died shortly after purchase and deplorable conditions in the store. Most Trade Center shoppers are shocked at the number of dogs circling in their stack small cages barking out of frustration. Everyone wonders who takes care of them during the week when the trade center is closed?
Little Dogz (Pollywood Pets & Accessories)
2013 Campaign Schedule
All events are posted on our Meetup Calendar. View and RVSP.
Why Boycott Pollywood Pets?
Often shoppers purchase animals to “save” them from the store. Without a potentially costly vet exam or logged complaint, this only makes room for more animals and keeps the store in business. Although it is difficult to turn away, the public needs to instead report violations and adopt from a shelter – saving two lives! Download our Fact Sheet.
1) Public records provided by the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) show 121 complaints going back to 2003. Nearly 200 complaints have been logged related to mostly sick dogs purchased and in-store conditions. Some dogs were sold with genetic defects and many died from illnesses soon after purchase.
2) Dogs are confined to small wire-floored cages stacked three cages high and are often overcrowded. Many dogs bark from boredom and circle from frustration. Some may live in cages for over a year, if not purchased.
3) Kitten cages are crowded and quickly grow too large and are taken elsewhere.
4) Exotic birds live in tiny cages and are missing feathers from self mutilation due to stress. There have been complaints of overgrown beaks making eating difficult.
5) As of August 2009 the MDA stopped inspecting pet stores leaving little oversight and enforcement.
6) If you try to rescue an animal from this store, you are only making room for more. Try filing a complaint with the Macomb County Animal Control instead of the local Mt. Clemens office.
Why is this store still open?
The store owners hide behind the protection of the Gibraltar Trade Center who certainly appreciates the zoo-like attraction set up at as a destination booth at the back. Shoppers are drawn to the variety of animal noises and displays. Isn’t the store breaking laws ? Yes, sometimes. In 2013, there is very little oversight and enforcement. The Michigan Department of Agriculture no longer regulates or inspects pet stores unless the local animal control or law enforcement request assistance. They dropped their program in August of 2009. Is the local Animal Control doing something now? Mt. Clemens does employee an Animal Control Officer, but unfortunately, there is little oversight.
A History of Complaints & Repeat Violations
Pollywood Pets has generated the most complaints with the Michigan Department of Agriculture since 2003 totally 121 making them the worst pet store on paper. Download complaint log. Why didn’t the MDA do something if they received that many complaints? They did complete several investigations and held a couple hearings, but unfortunately the store continued to thrive and generate new complaints that he MDA allowed them to correct. The MDA offered the store a set of expectations.
Where do the animals come from?
Pollywood Pets primarily works with random sources. There are few out-of-state shipping records and some families have been provided local Michigan breeder names, most of which are not licensed or regulated. View Breeder List.
From the Detroit Free Press
By STEVE NEAVLING FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
December 30, 2007
The state agency responsible for ensuring the safety of animals has never fined or shut down a single metro Detroit pet shop, even though inspectors for years have found inhumane conditions and neglect that have endangered dogs and cats, records show.
Nearly a quarter of the roughly 70 pet shops in southeast Michigan have been cited in the past four years for housing sickly animals, confining dogs and cats to dirty, cramped cages and selling pets that are unhealthy or below the legal age. None has been shut down or fined, the Department of Agriculture records show.
And conditions could get worse.
That's because the department is abandoning inspections altogether, unless complaints involve serious abuse or disease outbreaks. The state used to do unannounced annual inspections. Agency officials say they must shift the focus to monitoring deer and cattle populations for contagious diseases such as tuberculosis. A shrinking budget is compounding the problem.
"In a perfect world, it wouldn't be this way," said state veterinarian Dr. Steven Halstead, who works for the Department of Agriculture. "I have concerns that by not having the presence that we should, animals will suffer."
More than 30 people have complained to the state this year about Pollywood Pets inside the Gibraltar Trade Center in Mt. Clemens. That's more than any other store. Among the complaints: 20 kittens stuffed in a pen; sick puppies covered in feces, some injured by broken cages; guinea pigs bleeding and overcrowded, one without an eye.
State inspectors found similar conditions in visits since 2003 but did nothing. Inspection records show they found a [u]dog's carcass in a freezer and kittens who died after receiving no veterinary care. Other kittens, too young for legal sale, were infested with fleas and slumped over in dehydration in an old birdcage. Tamara Rodriguez said she quit Pollywood Petslast year because the state did nothing after the store knowingly sold dogs as young as 5 weeks and other animals that were sick. Customers made the same complaints, records show. State law bans the sale of dogs and cats younger than 8 weeks.
"I don't think the state cares," Rodriguez said.
Pollywood Pets owner Shelly Myers said conditions are improving, but wouldn't elaborate. "It has been a learning curve for me," said Myers, who has operated the store since 1991. "All we can do is improve our services. I take what I do seriously. It's hard work."
States are responsible for passing laws to protect pet shop animals. Michigan requires cages to be large enough for animals to stand and move around. Sick animals must get immediate medical attention. And animals must have adequate water and food.
Animal-rights groups question whether agriculture departments -- focused primarily on livestock -- were ever equipped to monitor pet shops.
Even before the state decided to stop inspections, it had begun reducing unannounced visits. Most pet shops, which had averaged two inspections annually, weren't inspected for years, records from 2002 to 2007 show. The last inspection at Family of Pets in Waterford, for example, was five years ago, despite complaints as recently as two months ago about filthy, cramped cages. The state found similar problems in the past three years -- plus outbreaks of a potentially deadly virus and puppies sold too young -- at the chain's other four stores. Violations are common in stores across metro Detroit, the inspection records show.
• Water was tainted with feces, and pens were too small for dogs and cats to turn around or stand up in.
• At least eight stores sold puppies under the legal age of 8 weeks -- some as young as 5 weeks. At least three were cited several times but were never fined or shut down.
• Animals with contagious diseases, some deadly, were not separated from healthy ones at more than a dozen stores.
In an unusual move, the Riverview Fire Department -- not the state -- stepped in and closed All About Pets in late November because the shop hadn't been using heat and was a fire hazard, records show. Even though the state found similar conditions in visits since September 2006 and the shop failed to apply for annual license renewals in 2005 and 2007, inspectors allowed the shop to stay open.
Other stores without proper ventilation to prevent the spread of disease continued operating after subsequent inspections found no improvements. One was Utica Pet Supply, where the owner acknowledged an overcrowded puppy population, records show. At least four complaints about sickly pups followed in a 3-month span this year.
A shih tzu from the pet shop nearly died a day after Joseph and Christie Gentner of Warren bought her in September. A veterinarian immediately diagnosed the puppy with the potentially fatal parvovirus, which vets say doesn't reveal symptoms for at least five days after infection.
The Jack Russell terrier with fleas, a lacerated ear and blood caked on his neck and head sat confined to a small metal cage that had been his home for a year and a half. He often turned in circles, sometimes resting on his own feces. His toenails were so long they curled.
In another cage barely large enough for him to stand, a mixed Cavalier King Charles spaniel older than a year had a hernia and a torn ligament that would require several surgeries. Both had intestinal parasites and ear infections.
Too often, animal advocates say, unwanted puppies at pet shops grow up in tiny cages without veterinary care and a chance to play with other dogs. People passed the dogs up at Pollywood Pets a Mt. Clemens pet shop in the Gibraltar Trade Center, for younger, cuddly pups.
2003 Michigan Department of Agriculture Investigation
2007 Michigan Animal Care Network Complaint
2008 Michigan Department of Agriculture Special Reports
2008 Companion Animal Protection Society
Michigan Department of Agriculture Reports:
2/13/04 Non-compliance Letter
Based on inspections between May 2003-Jan 2004, conditions have been in violation of the statutory requirements which warrant action to commence proceedings for license revocation:
1) Failure to obtain valid Pet Shop License
2) Failure to limit sales of animals to those 8 weeks of age.
3) Failure to provide timely removal of debris, filth and waste to minimize vermin, odor and disease.
4) Failure to sufficiently clean and disinfect primary animal enclosures.
5) Failure to maintain proper general housekeeping, cleanliness, are repair so to prevent disease hazards.
6) Failure to provide separation of animals in order to prevent spread of communicable disease.
7) Failure to provide a sufficient number of employees to meet husbandry needs.
8) Failure to provide or seek adequate vet care.
4/2/2004 MDA Informal Hearing
Dr. Halstead's expectations:
Wire cages and close spacing is insufficient . Need separators or different cages. Effective cleaning and disinfecting. Work with local vet regarding care. All record avail upon inspection. Isolation period 7 to 10 days. Isolate new animals. Be discriminating with your sources - require vet certificate or health program involving vet. Make corrections immediately. Address before next visit - unannounced.
1/11/08 Concerns Letter
1) Failure to provide proof of a current copy of a health certificate for puppies and kittens for sale.
2) Failure to provide adequate ventilation in the dog housing area. 3) Failure to keep the desk area clean.
4) Failure to provide nonabsorbent surfaces in the isolation room.
Items to be stored in the isolation room must be stored within nonabsorbent, sanitizable containers. In addition, as a reminder, you must promptly consult with a veterinarian whenever an animal for sale or adoption at your store becomes ill or injured (R285.151.36). In addition, an ill animal that may have a contagious disease must be isolated from healthy animals to prevent the spread of disease (285.151.34). She has occasionally found ill animals, some of which were not properly isolated that had not been seen by a veterinarian. Given 30 days to resolve.
7/28/2008 MDA Concerns Letter -Notification of Evidentiary Hearing.
1) Failure to maintain records for regulated animals including name and address from where animal was acquired, date acquired, and description of animal.
2) Failure to seek the services of vet whenever a health hazard arises.
6/19/09 Concerns Letter
1) Failure to adequately store food and bedding.
2) Failure to have an effective pest control program.
Correct within 30 days.
Michigan Department of Agriculture Work Orders (2007-2009)
Sign-up and Support the Boycott Pollywood Pets Campaign
12-16-13 Mt. Clemens City Commissioner Meeting: “She will be on prescriptions the rest of her life”. Kim Miles, single mom of two, is struggling to take care of very sick dog purchased from Pollywood Pets nearly two years ago. “She is still sick, and lies in our laundry basket”. Kim shared her story and photos with the Mt. Clemens City Commissioners last night. Lizzy, their schnauzer/poodle, needed expensive surgery to correct a Liver Shunt. The store never acknowledged her or returned her calls. Kim was left with thousands of dollars in vet costs.
Did you purchase a sick pet from this store?
Many families unknowingly purchase puppies at pet stores as gifts, to rescue the puppy or mostly on impulse. They quickly discover health problems due to transport, age, neglect, inbreeding and over-breeding in puppy mills. They may face significant veterinary bills or even the death of their puppy without understanding why. If you have been victimized by the puppy pet trade, be sure to file a complaint with the Macomb County Animal Control (586 469-5115) and also call contact Puppy Mill Awareness (734-828-1400 email@example.com). Download our checklist.
Learn how to file a complaint
Before filing a complaint against a bad pet store or suspect breeder, you need to learn the Michigan Laws. Complaints have more weight when you know what violations can be found and enforced. Download our Presentation.
Calling All Local Mt. Clemens Residents!
We are still building our local campaign team and need more local Mt. Clemens residents as we have been regularly attending the City Commissioners meetings. They meet every 1st and 3rd Mondays at 7 p.m. in the Commissioners Chambers located at 1 Crocker. Local residents who want to help should sign up to be on this group distribution list. There is an online form on this website
We held 8 protests so far for starters with nearly 50 participants. From that we have built a great network of local activists who can protest regularly. Even with the miserable weather this past month, we had a solid group of dedicated individuals. Thank you Sharon, Pam, Olivia, Janet, Amaber, Patt, Patty, Susan, Michele, Chris, Linda and Steve.
Letter from Former Employee
7-24-12 To whom this may concern,
I worked at Pollywood pet store located at 237 N. River Rd, Mt. Clemens in the Gibraltor Trade Center for two weeks (June 6 thru June 17, 2012). I am deeply concerned about the health and treatment of the animals in the store. They do not appear to be receiving vet care. When one dog became sick – throwing up and would not eat I tried to get him help. The manager stated that Shelly, the owner was the vet. She does not appear to have a license. No one took this dog to the vet. Also, I am not aware of the store providing health certificates signed by a vet either.
The store employees tell customers to come back for veterinary care. They offer 1st shots for puppies. These vaccinations are stored in the refrigerator.
When new puppies arrive, they are placed in the isolation closet with other sick puppies, kittens and supplies. I observed more than six kittens in a cage with one cat liter box, leaving kittens to sleep in the cat liter box because there was no room.
People just drop off animals. I am not sure where they are coming from. One man dropped off sick kittens. Their eyes were swollen shut. They were also put in the isolation room which was really the supply closet. I do not believe they were treated by a vet. This closet was no ventilated. No air conditioning or fans.
When I first started working, I immediately noticed the cages were inadequate and not cleaned properly. The cages were way to too small for the adult dogs, rusty and broken. One dog’s paw was stuck for a while and he could not reach his water while it was a hot day. The two rooms for the adult dogs have no a/c. It gets really hot. The public does not go in there, so they are not aware. They have dirty fans on during the day.
I have made many more observations, but thought you would find these worth investigating.