Good evening Commissioners,
My name is Sharon Gallacher. I am a teacher and have been a member of Puppy Mill Awareness for seven years. I joined the group because I have two puppy mill dogs. One was rescued from the pet store in the Gibraltar Trade Center who had many issues that we are still dealing with.
Community leaders at all levels need to know about puppy mills and I want to make sure you understand what they are and how they are impacting Macomb County residents.
“Puppy mills” and “kitten mills” are large-scale commercial breeding operations that produce millions of animals every year for sale with little regard for the health and well-being of the animals. Our ordinance would limit pet retailers from selling cats and dogs obtained for the purpose of retail sales where the animal is not bred on the premises.
We have gathered some information specific to Macomb County:
• We found there are seven puppy and four kitten retailers.
• In 2013, a home-based retailer in Lenox Township shipped over 700 puppies from Clearwater Kennels, the largest breeder/broker in Minnesota with over 700 breeding dogs.
• Little Dogz, formally known as Pollywood Pets is currently being sued for fraud for allegedly knowing the animals were sick when they were sold.
• Many southeast Michigan pet stores have been linked to out-of-state puppy mills that have violated the federal Animal Welfare Act – sometimes repeatedly.
• In 2013, 15% of the puppies shipped to The Family Puppy (Macomb Mall) had serious and costly defects.
There are many problems associated with retail sales of cats, dogs and puppy mills:
• First, Animal Control staff hours would be better spent addressing the homeless animal problem and not spending their time continually policing chronic offenders in pet stores.
• Ill and genetically defective puppies can cost their new owners hundreds or even thousands of dollars in veterinary care. Common costly defects include: unattached kneecaps, restricted nasal passages, inverted eyelids, hernias and undescended testicles.
• And there are no disclosure laws in Michigan.
There are humane alternatives for acquiring pets in Macomb County. We always tell families and we hope you do as well, to support their local shelters and then try finding a pet through a foster based rescue which can be found on Petfinder.com. There are plenty of great animals right here in Macomb County. In 2013, the Macomb County Animal Shelter received 2,000 dogs and 1,393 cats. The Humane Society of Macomb received 640 dogs and 744 cats. We need to help our homeless animals first and protect families from puppy peddlers.