Sick dogs sold by The Family Puppy have been reported to, the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA), the HSUS, local Animal Control, and the Better Business Bureau with 29 different types of problems noted. Some illnesses, such as Coccidia and Guardia, can be passed to humans. Luxating Patella issue is almost always seen in poor breeding, especially in toy breeds.

Not everyone that purchases a sick dog knows where or how to file a complaint, so we do not know the total number of complaints.

Pet Shop Puppies Reports

The reports reveal the following problems noted by customers who had purchased puppies from one of the Family of Pets/Family Puppy locations. Many of these items noted are contagious to humans.

Kennel Cough
Ear Infection
Luxating Patella
Runny nose or/and eyes
Eye Infection/Ocular discharge
Behavioral problems
Anal Impact
Abscessed Tooth
Meningitis or cephalitis
Juvenile Cataracts

The reports provides a list of reported problems, breeder information and also reveals this store history with mega mills.

The Family Puppy, Brighton

The Family Puppy, Novi

The Family of Pets, Roseville

The Family of Pets, Troy

The Family Puppy, Flint

The Family of Pets, Livonia

The Family of Pets, Waterford  

Vet Quits after Broker Ships Unhealthy Dogs

Dr. Pinkston, of Swartz Creek Veterinary Hospital, who was servicing The Family Puppy since the store opened in 2009 put in his official notice to end the relationship on February 29, 2012. The Michigan Department of Agriculture work order included an interview with Dr. Pinkston stating “the puppies were coming in with urine stainings, unkept fur and underweight body conditions.” Pinkston was uncomfortable with the store working with brokers rather than breeders and the store owed him a large amount of money.

The relationship abruptly ended after a pet store employee brought in a female Bichone Frise/Yorkshire Terrier mix with diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting and anorexia. The puppy tested positive for parvovirus. Parvovirus is a very contagious and deadly disease that could cost $1,000 per night in veterinary costs to treat.

According to Dr. Pinkston’s report, John Stottele, the pet store owner refused to accept the diagnosis of parvious and ordered the puppy to be euthanized. Dr. Pinkston stated he felt Stottele was trying to dictate how to practice veterinary medicine.

Press Release 

This schnauzer's fixable eyelashes went undiagnosed. He is now blind. This was never reported. Buddy's story.

“Tegan became sick within less then a week of purchase. She came to me with a blood sugar problem and an infection! She started eating after 3 weeks, and still vomits white foam and her food. She was forced fed with liquid food to save her. 3 bouts at the clinic...I thought we were going to lose her..." Linda Dahl.

Heather purchased a rottweiler in 2003 from The Family of Pets in Livonia. Parvo, kennel cough and had many other illnesses.

We met a woman who cared for a dog purchased at the Summit Place Mall from The Family of Pets (now The Family Puppy) with ongoing health problems - stomach problems, allergies and skin conditions. This case went unreported.

Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) Complaints  

The Department of Agriculture stopped licensing and inspecting pet stores in August of 2009. It is important for consumers to not only be concerned about the conditions in the store, but to also research the conditions of the breeding facility.

# Date Complaintant Name


1 2/1/09

Nathan Hlavaty

Wife visited the store Dec 6, 2008. Noticed a boxer that was extremely skinny. Ribs were pronounced through the skin. Treatments listed on the health certificate were 1) deworming, 2) Giardiacox 3) and metronidazole and albon.

(note: Metronidazole is an antibiotic effective against anaerobic bacteria and certain parasites. Albon is indicated for the treatment of respiratory, genitourinary tract, enteric, and soft tissue infections in dogs and cats: tonsillitis, cystitis, pustular dermatitis, bacterial enteritis, pharyngitis, nephritis, anal gland infections, canine salmonellosis, bronchitis, metritis, abscesses, bacterial enteritis, associated pneumonia, pyometra, wound infections with coccidiosis in dogs)

2 11/5/07 Katie Brecke Purchased a West Highland Terrier that has had medical issues since purchase date.
3 9/14/07 Jennifer Gradner

Complainant noticed a miniature schnauzer puppy that looked sick. Eyes looked sick, had hair loss, red substance around the mouth and was shaking. Mastiff puppy was in a cage too small for it.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: Wendy J. Osman, DVM, visited the store. Puppies were being housed in an isolation area. They had a bout of upper respiratory infections the last few weeks. The mini schnauzer was being treated for pneumonia. The pup appeared to be lethargic, but the manager stated she was started to eat again. There was a Chihuahua in the isolation area diagnosed with demodectic mange, after the hair loss was noted. The animal is being returned to the breeder.

4 9/12/07 Inspection

Sick animals are isolated in the back, Novi Store. 1 Chihuahua has been d.e. with w/demodox and is isolated. Being returned to breeder.

(note: Demodex is a genus of tiny parasitic mites that live in or near hair follicles of mammals.)

5 7/25/07

Complainant noticed the cages were very dirty with feces and the dogs did not look healthy and were shaking. Gentlemen near the play area was bitten by one of the dogs. Denise Altmose,

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: DVM, visited the store and 19 of the 52 dogs did not have health certificates.

6 4/6/07 Stephanie Federman Complainant saw a puppy in a cage that looked ill. Was shaking. Manager said it was normal. DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: Denise Altmose, DVM, visited the store and found 3 puppies in isolation being treated for respiratory infections. Reviewed health certificates and found problems with two. 1) #645088 was expired. Manager stated it was going to be returned to the breeder. 2) #645209 was not signed by a veterinarian. Manager stated the vet must have forgotten to sign.
7 1/1/06 Special Report Nancy A. Barr, DVM visited the store and spoke with John Stottele by phone. He stated he does get his dogs from Happy Tails in MN. The Health Certificates from Pick of the Litter, listed vaccination given as “parvo” but the breeder also sent shot records which indicated that the dogs received DAPP. It is likely the term “parvo” was meant to indicate a combination vaccine, but the actual vaccinations received should be listed on the health certificate. There were several dogs in the store without interstate health certificates. Will recommend Mr. Stottele keep all originals at one of the stores and make copies for all the stores receiving dogs from the shipment as well for his records. The dogs are picked up from the airport. The interstate health certificates list all dogs the shipment so the that the original HC cannot go with each dog to it’s store.
8 2/23/06 Bridgett Polk Complainant purchased a schnauzer from the Family of Pets in Roseville. Discovered it came from Happy Tails in MN, a puppy mill with 600 dogs. Discovered they are selling dogs under age and giving inaccurate paperwork. Paid for a purebred and may not be. Taking legal action.
9 10/17/05 Michelle

Cages are filthy, animals standing in feces which is also packed on their behind.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: These conditions were not present on the day of my visit. Other compliance issues involving the conditions of the cages have not been addressed.

10 12/14/05 Yvonne Kadder I received a call from Yvonne Kadder (248-332-1425) who states that she walks to the mall ( Summit Place and passes by Family of Pets located at Summit Place, Waterford

, Oakland County (248-706-1422) a lot. She has noted that on three occassions this past week she has noticed that the dogs in the window have no water and this is at about 7 am and the store does not open until 10, She said that they seem to be panting alot. One of the water containers have been ripped off. I did explain to her that even though there may not be water present doesn't mean that they are not giving the dogs water at all. They may give them water through-out the day, She is very concerned that these dogs are not getting the water they need during the night when the facility is closed. Please follow up with this by December 28, 2005.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: I investigated this complaint on 12-16-2006, I requested that puppies in the front cages and any other cages with multiple dogs have multiple water bottles so that they do not run out dunng the night.

11 7/7/04 Cynthia Fread

Puppies have red eyes with discharge. Store has a bad ammonia smell. Some crates too small for the animals. Horrible conditions.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: I investigated this complaint July 9, 2004. Dogs appeared healthy and cages were reasonably clean. I have been at this store twice before requesting that the grates be covered for the very small breed dogs. The situation today was the same as my previous visits and several small breed puppies could not walk on the grate because the;r feet fall through. This situation could lead to an injury and limits exercise. I left my card with a note requesting that the owner or manager contact me ASAP. July 23, 2004 I have not heard from anyone at the store and will refer this case to Dr. Halstead.

12 1/6/03 Renae Bredow

Complainant purchased a Jack Russell puppy on the evening of 112/03. Puppy seemed tired and had a cough. She took the puppy to a veterinarian the next morning, was told it was fine and had kennel cough. Was given antibiotics to treat it The puppy became sicker and she returned to the veterinarian. The puppy was diagnosed with parvo. It died the same day and was told it died of cardiac arrest.

Complainant was in the pet store again on 1/3/03 to be reimbursed for her expenses and the puppy and she noticed there were other puppies in the same cage that hers had been in the day before. She was concerned these new puppies would become sick also.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: I investigated this complaint 1-13-2003. I spoke to the store employee who sold the puppy Tom. We discussed the procedure for cleaning and disinfecting the cages. All cages are cleaned and then disinfected with a bleach solution before a new animal is put into the cage. The employee stated that they had had another parvo case just over a week before this one and had disinfected everything afterward. The dog purchased by the complainant had been In the store for about two weeks, so probably did contract the virus while at the store. I recommended if they have a dog with parvovirus, the cage it was in should be cleaned and disinfected and then left empty for as long as possible before another dog is placed into it. They stated that they do that when they are aware, but they did not know the dog had parvoVirus and had put a dog into it before they became aware of the situation.

13 12/5/03 Linda Anonymous COMPLAINT to be completed by 12/19. Visited the pet store on Saturday. November 15, 2003. The dogs are in bad conditions, cages are too small. Cages are not clean, it is discussing the conditions these dogs are being kept in, and the water bottles have no water Oversize dogs are in small cages Dogs are covered with feces. There IS no proper handling of these animals, The most disgusting seen was one dog that was unable to stand up in it's cage, and it had feces all over it and it was very dirty. Please investigate
14 12/11/03 Tom Whal

Anonymous complaint to be completed by 12/30. Small chihuahua paws getting caught in the bottom of the cages. Officer Marshall of Oakland county animal control called on this as well she can be reached at 248-391-4102.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: I investigated this complaint on 12-12-2003. I spoke with a store employee and left her my card. The cage floors were too large for several small breed dogs whose feet could be stuck. It was difficult for them to walk around in the cage because of this Two chihuahua's were sleeping in an empty litter pan, which the employee stated they put in the cage because of the floors. This does not allow the puppies a chance to get up and walk around. I instructed her to let management know that I was there and to place disinfectable mats in the bottom of cages were the puppies feet are too small. I asked that she have the manager call if he had any questions and also when this was completed I will follow up if I haven't heard from him In a week

15 00/00/00 (2003) Robin Fettes

This is in the Oakland Mall and this certain store is not licensed. Very bad odor, 2 puppies very skinny, 3 mo old golden ret lethargic, bones showing, other dogs sitting in feces and matted hair Complainant wishes to be notified with results.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: I investigated this complaint July 24, 2003. I spoke with store employee. Kelly Sanders. There was one Golden Retriever puppy in the store at the time of my investigation. The puppy was very thin. It was penned with a yellow lab, which appeared healthy and had a normal weight I was told these dogs were fed twice daily with a Pro-Plan puppy food The health certificate for the Golden stated that at the time of examination on July 3,2003, the weight was 14.5 lb. No abnormalities were noted on the health certificate. I weighed the puppy on a store scale on July 24,2003 and the weight was 18.5 Ib. This weight is below a normal weight for a dog this size and at this age. I requested that the dog be fed supplemental feedings and fed alone. I also requested that a fecal examination be performed at their veterinarians office to look for internal parasites which may not have been cleared by the deworming the store had done. I asked Dr Ferguson to visit the store the following Monday to follow-up on this case.

16 6/12/02 Sherry Wright Complainant visited store on 6/11/2002. The store was filthy in general and had an overpowering disgusting smell. There were 3 & 4 dogs being kept in each cage.
17 9/26/02 Judy Brown

Complainant visited store on August 3rd or 4th of 2002. Complainant called and left voice message on August 12. 2002. but has not heard anything in return. Complainant stated that the birds in such pet store are in bad conditions with dirty and or no water. Also the litter boxes are bad.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: I visited the above store on Oct. 2. 2002. I spoke with Mandy person). At the time of my visit the bird area was quite dirty and needed to be swept. The cages needed to be cleaned (resting perches and cage floors) Mandy stated that she was the only person in the store at that time. She said they usually clean the bird room twice a day I suggested cleaning the cages and restin perches once a week and adding an additional restin perch to one of the cages containing alot of canaries.

18 7/15/2002 Terra

13 July 2002 was at store. 4 month old dog collie. Over crowding. Ordered out of store when complainant complained about the over crowding of the dog.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: There were three dogs over crowding. The collie dog was placed in the front cubical of the store thus giving it plenty of room. There were two dogs together in another cage These were separated making room so no over crowding occurred.

19 05/21/01 Sandra Szczepanek Complainant purchased a puppy from this facility on 5/19/2001. Diagnosed with kennel cough 5/21/2001. Taken to Center Line Veterinary Hospital. They also had a stitch in her eye no surgeries or procedures indicated on MI Pet Shop Health Certificate Complainant has other dogs that have now been exposed by this puppy. Complainant is also concerned about health of other puppies at the store.
20 5/29/01 Jennifer Saxon Complainant purchased a puppy from this store on 1/26/2001. Complainant was told by Terry, Store Manager, that puppy was a purebred Weimaraner, was a cream color however, and did not come with AKC registration papers because of rarity. Complainant was later told that no such rarity in breed, probably a mix Complainant questions ethical business practices at this store.
21 6/08/01 William Utter Complainant purchased a puppy from this store on 4/16/2001. Came with a MI Pet Shop Health Certificate indicating current on vaccinations. Took to vet. diagnosed with congenital defect of the knee caps. Needs $600 operation. Complainant has tried to contact the store for compensation due to health guarantee. Has not been able to get a response from the store
22 10/17/01 Heather Hard

Complainant has visited store almost daily since Saturday. October 13, 2001. Some of the dog cages had not been cleaned, were full of feces. One puppy in particular that the complainant visited with had very matted hair and his feet were covered with feces.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: I followed up on this complaint 10-22-2001. The dog cages were reasonably clean at the time of my visit. A couple of cages had some feces in the bottom pan, but the cages had obviously been cleaned that day. The manager of the store, Greg Stodel, stated that cages were cleaned in the morning and the feces removed throughout the day as needed. The ventilation system was not working effectively and I requested that he have it repaired.

23 10/23/2001 Charlene Knighton

Complainant visited store on 10/19/2001. Most of the cages had at least two animals in them (many large dogs). Appeared overcrowded to complainant and witnessed many fights. Most cages were without water and many dogs had fecal matter encrusted in their fur. Complainant spoke with store staff and was assured they would correct the conditions. Complainant revisited store on 10/22/2001 and conditions still prevailed.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: I followed up on this complaint 10·25·01. Many of the cages did contain more than one dog, but were not overcrowded. The puppies were playing while I was in the store, although two miniature pinschers in a cage were playing rather aggressively and I told the employee to separate them. The cages had not yet been cleaned when I was in the store ( after noon) but the employee stated that the normal cleaning person hadn't shown up for work and that it was usually done before this time. I will stop in again within a month to folloe up on cleaning cages and separating incompatible dogs

24 7/30/01 Lisa Nasr

Complainant purchased a 5-month-old puppy from this store on 6/21/2001. Was coughing at purchsed. Called store and given medication by store on 6/23/2001. Took to Centerline Veterinary Hospital, Dr Laura. on 6/26/2001 and was diagnosed with kennel cough. Began treatment, puppy seemed to start getting better. 7/21/2001 began panting and became lethargic, took to Dr. Baumhart 7/23/2001, diagnosed with pneumonia. Told to take to ER vet if breathing became worse. Took to East Suburbs Pet Emergency in night of 7/23/2001 due to extremely labored breathing Kept overnight. treated with intraveneous meds. Diagnosed with pulmonary edema, congestive heart failure, congenital heart defect by ER vet, started doing better with treatment. Took to Dr. Baumhart on 7/24/2001, kept on Lasix and Batril, referred to cardiologist. Started getting weak again night of 7/24/2001 Found puppy dead at 4am 7/25/2001 Puppy was sent to MSU for necropsy.

Complainant understood that all puppies have 3~-day health warranty. Complainant contacted store vet, Centerline Vet, on 6/30/2001 because not getting better. Told by vet that complainant did not have health warranty due to lower price purchase. Told had to take to a breathing treatment center at the Macomb store rather than treat thru vet Facility was disgusting and complainant refused to leave puppy there. Store is not willing to honor any warranty or reimburse for any medical expenses

25 8/2/2001 Complainant received a call from the UniverSity Preliminary autopsy reports indicate congenital defect in puppy. Should have been found by veterinarian at initial exam before sold from pet store.
26 7/26/01 Connie Nye Complainant visited store 7/25/2001. There were 3 dogs being kept in one crate. Overcrowded, the retriever was chewing on the cocker spaniel. Employee picked up cocker and literally threw it into another cage. All cages had evidence of diarrhea and all puppies appeared ill. Store reaked. floors were dirty do treat those animals and isolate them. All animals appeared healthy on the day of my visit.
27 6/6/00 Nanette Sikora Visits store every morning while walking. Cages are filthy, there is no water in several cages. The animals are not let out for excercise other than a glass 2x2 area. Not given any cages. Concerned that ventilation is inadequate
28 6/28/00 Sheryl Prieskorn

Purchased puppy on 6/19/2000. Came with MI Pet Shop Health Certificate, exam date 6/12/2000. Took to store vet for warranty check-up on 6/23/2000, diagnosed with kennel cough eye infection, bed sores on rearend.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: I followed up on this complaint 07-05-2000. I was unable to access the health certificate, as the store only files them by animal breed., which I did not know. I discussed with the store manager, Cindy, that they should also file them be date for easier access. Cindy was aware of the situation and indicated that the store had payed for the puppies care as well as the purchaser's other animals which were affected. She stated that they did not currently have a problem with kennel cough, but that they do quarantine animals if they are ill.

29  11/17/00 Trudy Russ

Complainant visited store on 11/6/2000. The dog cages were filthy with waste and the dogs were covered in it, complainant alleges that the store was not disinfecting cages when animals were moved. Additionally, complainant is concerned about the health of the animals. While she was the store she observed two dogs ill with a cough she thinks kennel cough, and addressed an employee about her concerns. They told her that it was just a cold and that they did not need veterinary care.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: I followed up on this complaint on 12-1-00. The cages at the store on the day of my visit were clean. I questioned the store manager about their protocol for cleaning and disinfecting cages. She stated that all cages are cleaned at least once a day and cages are disinfected prior to putting new animals into them I also asked if she had recently had any animals ill with kennel cough. She stated that they occasionally do have an animal with kennel cough, but the

30 12/12/00 Racheal Lenier

She and her friend have been watching the store for some time. They were in the store this week. The little puppies are in cages with wire grates on the bottom and their little feet almost fall through. There is no pad for them to lay on and so they are laying in their food dish. It looks like a very uncomfortable situation. They mentioned it to the clerk and she said when they put a towel in the cage the puppies just tear it up, so they don't bother.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: There were two cages that needed a padding on towels to keep the puppy's feet from going thru. I talked to the owner's daughter who immediately went to get clean towels for the cages

31 07/22/99 Karen Cusumano

Complainant visited store 7/21/1999 twice and once again 7/22/1999. There are 2 puppies being kept in the front window display. They appear lethargic and have not food or water bowls in the display with them. Complainant asked an employee if the animals have air in the display and was answered with a shrug. All puppies are kept in cages with wire flooring and many of the small dogs feet slip through.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: *The small puppies did home mats partially covering the cage so their foots could not go thru. *There is adequate air ventilation in the display cage for them.

32 9/27/99 Anita Koffel

Purchased kitten from facility on 9/18/1999. Came with MI Pet Shop Health Certificate. #382687, Issued by Pet Authority, 4588 Walton Blvd, Waterford Kitten was thin and boney at purchase, wouldn't eat called store vet Thursday, 9/23/1999, didn't have open appointments Took to vet, Arborview Vet Clinic. 9/27/1999. because was becoming lethargic and had developed diarrhea, still wasn't eating. Vet diagnosed with FIV. Was euthanized. Health certificate had weight of 2.8# on 9/10/1999, weighed 1.6# today when euthanized.

DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION: kitten was replaced with another from another litter store manager had contacted purchasers of the litter and indicated that there were no problems

33 10/6/99 Nancy Bouchard

Complainant looking for a Lhasa Apso. Contacted many stores. Found one that did have one, 5 months old. Visited store 10/4/1999, employee brought dog out from back room. Fur was matted to the skin had Cherry Eye, had a nervous skin condition, smelled very bad, loaded with fleas, very high strung, appeared to be either deaf or blind. Owner wasn't going to get rid of dog, would keep all until sold, but cannot sell in current condition.