Under the Community Microscope
Pollywood Pets 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?
Pollywood Pets & Accessories
Gibraltar Trade Center
237 N. River Road
Mt. Clemens, Mi
Owner: Shelly Myers
2013 Campaign Schedule
All events are posted on our Meetup Calendar. View and RVSP.
09/01/13 Sign Making Party
09/15/13 at 11:00 a.m. Puppy Mill Awareness Day Protest at Trade Center.
10/08/13 at 6:30 p.m. Town Hall Campaign Kick-off at the Library
10/21/13 at 7:00 p.m. Mt. Clemens Commissioners Meeting (Mt. Clemens) CANCELLED
11/18/13 Mt. at 7:00 p.m. Clemens Commissioners Meeting (Mt. Clemens) CANCELLED
12/02/13 Mt. at 7:00 p.m. Clemens Commissioners Meeting (Mt. Clemens)
Thanksgiving Weekend Protests
11/29/13 at 12 pm - (Gibraltar Trade Center)- Black Friday
11/30/13 at 12 pm - (Gibraltar Trade Center)
12/01/13 at 12 pm - (Gibraltar Trade Center)
December Protests (every Saturday 12-1:30)
12/07/13 at 12 pm - Protest (Gibraltar Trade Center)
12/14/13 at 12 pm - Protest (Gibraltar Trade Center)
12/21/13 at 12 pm - Protest (Gibraltar Trade Center)
12/28/13 at 12 pm - Protest (Gibraltar Trade Center)
2014 Commissioner Meetings
01/21/14 at 7:00 pm – City Commissioners Meeting (Mt. Clemens)
02/18/14 at 7:00 pm – City Commissioners Meeting (Mt. Clemens)
04/21/14 at 7:00 pm – City Commissioners Meeting (Mt. Clemens)
03/13/14 at 6:30 pm – MI-PAC Meeting (Mt. Clemens Library)
04/02/14 at 6:30 pm – Town Hall #2 Humane Pet Acquisition Proposal (Mt. Clemens Library)
April Protests (every Saturday 12-1:30 pm)
04/05/14 at 12:00 pm – Protest (Gibraltar Trade Center)
04/12/14 at 12:00 pm – Protest (Gibraltar Trade Center)
04/19/14 at 12:00 pm – Protest (Gibraltar Trade Center)
04/26/14 at 12:00 pm – Protest (Gibraltar Trade Center)
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.
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.