Don't buy the pet store lie, puppies come from puppy mills.
Conscientious consumers should arm themselves with the facts before ever considering purchasing a puppy from any pet store. The Family Puppy has perfected puppy-peddling here in Michigan and is leading the way for other sellers in the pet trade. They know how to draw you into their store with birthday parties and ensure your children spend ample amount of time bonding with their puppies, or shall we say ‘products’. They know your sticker shock will be overrun by your emotional connection to a cuddling puppy. They know how to answer all the tough questions and recently took some “fairy tale” photos of some breeders to appear transparent. The Family Puppy will mislead buyers, not only about their large breeders, but everything from their "All American Adoption Program" to how their breeders are selected. Don’t be fooled. If you can’t see the parents and their living conditions, walk away.
Conscientious consumers should arm themselves with the facts before ever considering purchasing a puppy from this store.
1. Public records provided by the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the USDA prove The Family Puppy purchases puppies from large commercial breeders and brokers located out-of-state where consumers can not easily visit the parents.
2. The Family Puppy’s primary Indiana breeder, Marlin Bontrager, had 177 adult dogs in June 2012 with direct violations including not seeking veterinary care for a sick puppy. Also in June, the USDA inspector recorded temperatures in the 90’s inside the shelter. Dogs were heavily panting and puppies were stretched out on the wire floor trying to stay cool. Bontrager has a history of violations going back to 2008 including: housing, shelter, primary enclosures, cleanliness, feeding and vet care.
3. USDA, zoning and undercover photos from The Family Puppy’s dog breeding kennels show surgical rooms and instruments, electric fencing, matted fur, puppies in small cages, accumulation of grim and feces, wire floors, no shade, rusted cages, chewed surfaces, and limited space.
4. Since 2009, 14 of the 18 primary suppliers have violations to the Animal Welfare Act, including shelters with very high temps, excessive feces, no heat, unlicensed personnel performing surgeries, unattended bite wounds, poor ventilation, feet dangling in wire floors, dirty dogs, accumulated grime and lack of veterinary care.
5. In June, 2010 an Indiana breeder, Lavern Whetstone, was cited for not seeking veterinary care for an animal that was in pain and suffering. Once told to seek veterinary care by the USDA inspector, the kennel had a non-professional remove the membrane of a dog with cherry eyes. This could be considered torture.
6. Most Indiana breeders, on average, house 52 animals with 8-16 different breeds.
7. Commercial breeders lack oversight. The USDA does not inspect all breeders, they do not always inspect annually and they have publicly announced their failure to regulate based on a recent internal audit. The Indiana State Board of Health does not have funding for inspections and not all of The Family Puppy pups come from Indiana. The AKC does not inspect all kennels. The AKC is not a regulatory agency and do not have authority to enforce laws.
8. The Family Puppy does not have exclusive breeders. Since 2009, eight of the store’s primary suppliers also supplied other stores, including Petland.
9. The Family Puppy does not pick-up and transport all of their puppies. Since 2010, approximately 250 puppies have been shipped from a broker/distributor, Patrick Fulton, in Minnesota with repeat violations to the Animal Welfare Act, including selling puppies under age and insufficient floor space requirements.
10. Dr. Pinkston, of Swartz Creek Veterinary Hospital, stopped servicing the Flint store on February 29, 2012. The MDA 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. The relationship abruptly ended after a pet store employee brought in a Bichon Frise/Yorkshire Terrier mix with diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting and anorexia. The puppy tested positive for parvovirus. 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.Download The Facts Flyer
Under the Community Microscope
The Family Puppy is the largest Michigan puppy-pushing chain with five locations in the southeast Michigan area. Since 2009, over 1,400 pups a year have been shipped from commercial breeders and brokers located in Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, and Missouri.
Suspect Brokers Supplying Sick Dogs
The store’s website stated they have made it their policy to only purchase directly from breeders and not through distributors. The owner was also quoted in the local paper “Sept 23, 2010 Flint Township - Stottele admitted that in the past, the store purchased bought from distributors, but now the store buys puppies directly from breeders.”
Distributors are also called commercial brokers. Commercial simply means they sell wholesale and for profit. Distributors/brokers work as a middleman with the breeders and pets stores. .
One broker, Patrick Fulton from Minnesota, was shipping to The Family Puppy in 2010 when The Flint Journal article was released. Shipping records reveal that the store had shipped over 250 pups from Fulton between between 2010 and mid 2012. Patrick Fulton not only supplied all of the Family Puppy locations, but also dropped off shipments to Petland Novi, Westland Dog Food Supply and Paws-N-Claws of Eastpointe. View Distributor Shipping Records.
On 10/30/10 a cocker spaniel was purchased from The Family Puppy Novi with reported luxating patellas, submissive urination and reverse sneezing. Luxating patellas can be corrected with expensive surgeries. Breeder information shows this puppy was transported from Kaskie Farms in Iowa through Fulton Enterprises
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.
Above Photo: Roy Schlabach April 2010
Shipshewana Enterprises Kennel & Shipshewana Woodworks
Observations: excessive feces, wire floor cages & limited space
It may be hard to believe puppy stores support cruelty.
Help end the cruelty and
mass production by boycotting all
The Family Puppy stores.
Did you purchase a sick puppy 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 and obtain a free puppy report.
Genesee County Animal Control, 810-732-1660
Livingston County Animal Control, 517-546-2154
Oakland County Animal Control, 248-391-4102
Troy Animal Control, 248-524-3477
Roseville Animal Control, 586-775-2100 press 6
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Owners: John & Debbie Stottele