NOVI, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Petland store inside Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi is at the center of a recent undercover operation by the Humane Society of the United States.
Officials with the organization say what they discovered was disturbing and what they saw was captured on camera.
“We have consistently connected Petland to puppy mills and so we wanted to go behind the scenes with hidden camera and see if the problems were as pervasive in the Novi store as they are in other pet land stores and the answer was yes,” said John Goodwin with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
Goodwin is the senior director of the Stop Puppy Mills campaign for HSUS. An Investigator from the Humane Society worked at Petland Novi as a kennel attendant for about two months.
“We found bloody diarrhea,” said Goodwin. “We found incisions from surgeries that were not properly closed. We found all sorts of disease problems.”
The undercover video not only showed sick puppies but also caught a delivery of the puppies to Petland Novi. HSUS claims they have paperwork that shows puppies were delivered to store from mass breeding operations or puppy mills that are based in Iowa and Missouri. The organization further claims those puppy mills have a history of animal care violations.
Petland sent 7 Action News a statement about the allegations.
“Like clockwork, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) kicked off its annual fundraising season with false allegations from an undercover HSUS operative against a family-owned and operated pet store. Each year, HSUS, which does not operate a single pet shelter, nor provide any support to 98-percent of U.S. humane societies and shelters (Center for the Environment and Welfare report, “Struggling Shelters,” Nov. 2023) publicizes its false allegations against a lawfully owned and operated pet store to get media attention and solicit donations.This summer, an undercover operative posed as an employee at Petland, Novi (MI) and made patently false claims to undermine the store’s operations and integrity. This deceitful undercover HSUS operative also failed to provide any quantitative data in her “investigation.” “Petland has a strict ‘If you see something, say something’ policy that requires employees who witness or experience something that makes them feel uncomfortable to report it via an anonymous 800- number,” said Petland VP of Animal Welfare Brian Winslow. “Instead, the undercover employee and HSUS sources withheld the information and imagery she sourced in this plot for months. Not only did they not report their concerns via the tip line, they also chose not to contact store management, animal control, nor local or state officials. She and her HSUS counterparts remained silent; reinforcing the fact that none of the pets were in danger, and they were being cared for properly. Instead, these accounts were produced into a deceiving video clip and rhetoric to launch HSUS’s 2023 Holiday fundraising season.” The operative recorded video of a French Bulldog with “cherry eye,” a very common condition for the breed and exploited the dog on social media to solicit donations on behalf of HSUS. The truth is the puppy was immediately cared for through a corrective procedure performed by a state-licensed veterinarian and has fully recovered. Additionally, the HSUS campaign material includes a kennel photo with a false caption that claims “at least one puppy ....fell and broke a leg.” According to the store owner and records, in the store’s 20+ years of operation a puppy has never broken a leg by falling from a kennel. Unfounded, false allegations of sick puppies are scattered through this HSUS campaign. “The health and well-being of our pets is Petland’s number one priority,” added Winslow. “Petland abides by all local, state, and federal regulations when it comes to the care of its pets. Our highly qualified state- licensed consulting veterinarians check puppies weekly and more frequently if required. All care is documented for each pet.” Additionally, pets undergoing treatment for any illness are not available to our guests until they have been cleared by the veterinarian. Finally, the undercover operative provided HSUS with video of a distributor acting in an unprofessional manner. Several weeks prior to this report, Petland Novi owners terminated the transport company for its unprofessional demeanor.
“The camera tells the truth,” Goodwin said. “What we show in the video that we acquired is exactly what was happening behind these stores.”
If you bought a sick puppy from any Michigan pet store, Goodwin says he wants you to get in touch with the Humane Society of the United States right away. You can call them at 202-452-1100 or 866-720-2676.