Southpark Mall Supports Puppy Mill Brokers Despite Evidence

Greed is the inventor of injustice as well as the current enforcer.

- Julian Casablancas

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We all know cash is king, and easy money is the best money.  Let’s face it, corporations’ sole reason for existing is to make more money.  But at what cost?  When does the search for more money become inexcusable due to the swath of destruction of innocents that lay in its wake?  In other words, is the enrichment of corporations and businesses acceptable if the cost is the  health and safety of innocent animals?

Over the past three years, Darwin Dogs has been picketing Southpark Mall over their support of puppy mills by allowing Pick of the Litter and Petland continue their practices in the mall.  Council meetings have been attended by those horrified by what goes on in the mall.  So what information has come to light recently?  And more importantly, why is Southpark Mall’s management ignoring this information, even at the cost of risking their shopper’s health and safety? Is animal abuse really acceptable in return for a better bottom line?  Read the disturbing evidence for yourself.

 1) Strongsville Animal Control Officer, Chuck McCleary, had visited Tom Collins 22 times in the past year.

Exactly what has  McCleary been inspecting? The recent photo of the very sick husky above was taken by me, personally, on Sept.20, 2019, and posted to Darwin Dogs’ Facebook platform.  In a series of Facebook posts, as well as PM’s, McCleary reached out to inform me that the dog in the picture “is by itself, in its own cage not on display on oral antibiotics.”  That dog looked about as far from “by itself” as the dog could possibly get. IMG_47952) City of Strongsville’s own ordinance states that is an individually is criminally liable if they

“Keep animals… in an enclosure without wholesome exercise and change of air” *

and

“Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree. In addition, the court may order the offender to forfeit the animal or livestock and may provide for its disposition including, but not limited to, the sale of the animal or livestock.” *

To put it bluntly, Tom Collins’ puppies, as well as his breeding cats, never see the light of day once he acquirers them.  They are never taken out of their pens for healthy exercise.  So every day that his puppy mill store has been operating, he has violated Strongsville law, and McCLeary would have seen this all 22 times he inspected in the last year.  As a matter of fact,he may have seen the same exact animals in the same exact cages over the past year.

 

c. 2018 Pick of the Litter

c. 2018 Pick of the Litter

Why is this happening? The account of one person I spoke with may shed some light on this.  Speaking with her, she informed me that,  “Chuck McCleary flat out told me he is a friend of Tom’s when called because he had a dog for sale in the store with a note on it saying it was found in the parking lot of the mall that day.”  The individual I spoke with was an employee at the mall at the time, which was a bit over a year ago. The mall employee went on further to state that, “The warden chewed me out for calling him and that he wasn’t going to do anything to Tom, and they’ve been friends for a long time, and as far as he was concerned, Tom was doing it a favor.”

I have asked McCleary if he is indeed friends with Tom Collins; he denied any such relationship.  

3) Falsification of vaccination records/medical history **  Kaylin, a local animal advocate as well as a vet tech, recently adopted a puppy from Pick of the Litter, against her better judgment, based solely on the fact of how far in distress one of the puppies looked.  She adopted her puppy on July 14, 2018.  Having a vet tech background, Kaylin knew that the puppy was only 6-8 weeks old on the day of adoption.  POTL told her the puppy was 4 months old.  Kaylin knew better, as her puppy had absolutely no adult teeth in her mouth. To make matters worse, Kaylin was told by the employees to give the puppy crushed Fruit Loops on top of her dry food, as the puppy was hypoglycemic.  And if she didn’t, her puppy may go in and out of consciousness.

Puppy being sold at Pick of the Litter in Strongsville.  He looks to have significant hydrocephalus.  c 2018

Puppy being sold at Pick of the Litter in Strongsville. He looks to have significant hydrocephalus.  c. 2018

In Kaylin’s own words, “Well, also coming from a vet tech background, that does happen when you take a dog away from their mother too early and they aren’t getting the nutrients they need from the [mother's] milk.  If you have to do that, you supplement with some kind of simple syrup, like a Karo syrup, not Fruit Loops. That’s going to cost her in the long run.” And unfortunately, Kaylin has had plenty of problems with her Pick of the Litter puppy.  “Allergies, and things of that nature”, she stated, “Probably because her immune system didn’t get to be fully developed.”

But that was just the start of Kaylin’s problems with her puppy. remember, according to POTL, her puppy was 4 months old, born in March 2018.  Kaylin believed her puppy to be 6-8 weeks of age, born on or about May 19-31 and her vet confirmed it.  That made the vaccination records POTL provided to Kaylin with her new pup extremely disturbing:

 

“The records I have from Pick of the Litter for this dog are, some of the vaccine records written in.  Working in a vet clinic myself, you take the lot number sticker off the vial, and you put it on the record for if there is any recall or any issue.  Three of these are handwritten in.  There’s no lot numbers. “

Even more disturbing evidence presented itself on the vaccination records, as Kaylin explained.  The dates POTL has stated for the vaccinations of Kaylin’s puppy were before the puppy was even born.  According to Kaylin (a vet tech) and Kaylin’s own veterinarian, the puppy was born some time between May 19-31.  According to POTL, the puppy’s first shots were given on:

- April 21 (4 weeks before the puppy’s birth)
- May 3 (2 weeks before the puppy’s birth)
- May 20 (the week of birth)
- May 25 (the week of birth)

 

Parvo and distemper are both very contagious, deadly infections, for which this puppy was never properly vaccinated against.  During the Oct. 1 council meeting, Tom Collins stated, “I know the difference between a four week old puppy and an eight week old puppy.  A lot of vet techs know everything and they don’t know everything.  I’ve been in the business for 35 years.” *

As Kaylin puts it, though,  ”This is just a blatant, falsified record of my puppy.”

Falsifying health records is a very serious thing, especially if you are supplying your store with puppies from unethical breeders.  Evidence was given that the sick husky puppy photographed above, as well as puppies in the store, had been dosed with “metro” (Metronidazole), due to diarrhea.  Metronidazole is used to treat:

Animal Control Officer McCleary even stated in a comment that, according to his inspection at the beginning of October this year, “…this dog came from the breeder this way, and was going to be put to sleep”.  He further states that, “…in reality it was saved [by POTL] from euthanasia by the breeder”.

Yet Tom Collins vehemently denies being involved with unethical breeders and puppy mills.

Southpark Mall is allowing these infected puppies in their establishment and allowing children to come in contact with them right before heading to the food court to eat. Evidence has also shown that Tom Collins falsifies his vaccination records, so who knows what else your children may pick up while there.  But enjoy Southpark’s indoor trick-or-treat event on Sunday, October 27!  Candy and parasites for everyone!

What about all the bite instances we’ve been hearing about?  It’s the most disturbing and gruesome story I’ve heard so far (and that’s saying a lot).   I spoke personally with the witness, Ken, and here’s what he had to say.

Date of incident Aug 17, 2019

A puppy was kenneled in fish tank with other different dogs from a different litter. Puppy was in a 50-100 gallon fish tank. At least 7-8 dogs in there with him. I asked why he was in there, and an employee said that puppy (pittie) was in there b/c of the bite. A little kid was touching the puppy, and child was unsupervised, and there were no employees around. At least three employees were working that day, but nobody was with the public in the store, which was crowded. Dog jumped up and nipped the child. Employee told me that if nobody bought it, they would try to give it back to the breeder, and otherwise they would “put it down”.  If the breeder didn’t take it back or if nobody bought it, it would be euthanized. I tried to find a home a home for the dog, but couldn’t.

POTL tried to sell the dog to Ken for $750 initially. Half an hour later, the employee said that the breeder didn’t want it and Ken could have the puppy for $30 . Ken tried to find a way to take the dog home, or find someone to take it, but he couldn’t as he has a newborn, and nobody else he contacted could take it.

The last image ever seen of the brindle pittie before he disappeared.  Alone and scared, tightly packed in with other dogs, all for the crime of being born a puppy mill dog.

The last images ever seen of the brindle pittie before he disappeared. Alone and scared, tightly packed in a fishtank with other puppies, all for the crime of being born a puppy mill dog.

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We can only guess what eventually happened to the the poor pittie in the photo. By law, the puppy should have been micro-chipped within 24 hours of his arrival at POTL.  Most likely, it wasn’t so we will never know.

But what about the individuals who are allowing this to continue?  Let’s face it, money talks.  Unfortunately, the puppy mill dogs and cats that Tom Collins deals with are unable to speak for themselves.It’s time we stand for those who have no voice. Learn more here.

Contact Southpark Mall, and demand to know why they allow puppy mill brokers and pet stores selling puppy mill dogs to do business within their mall. Let them know publicly, via reviews, that we will not do business at establishments that allow for animal abuse. Let them know via Facebook that you won’t stand for this mistreatment of animals. Or call/send a letter:

Southpark Mall c/o Starwood Retail Managers 500 SouthPark Center Strongsville, OH 44136 (440) 238-9199

Join us at our next protest.  You can find out when we are protesting next on the Darwin Dogs Facebook page. So in short, protests bring a lot of attention to situations like Tom Collins and Pick of the Litter, but at the end of the day, not all of us are willing/able/crazy enough to protest outside in all kinds of weather.  The way to shut these establishments down can be as simple as one phone call.  One email.  One review.  Let them know this won’t be tolerated anymore, and that we demand better. And we will fight for it. -  For more information on puppies and puppy mills, read this. – For information about AKC and breeding practices, read this. – For information on why puppies suck anyway and you should adopt an older dog instead, read this.

keep

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

* See Sections 618.05(a)&(c) of Strongsville Code **See Strongsville City Council minutes for meeting dated Oct. 1, 2018, available here

Pets Stores – End of an Era

“A dog is not a thing. A thing is replaceable. A dog is not. A thing is disposable. A dog is not. A thing doesn’t have a heart. A dog’s heart is bigger than any “thing” you can ever own.”
― Elizabeth Parker, Paw Prints in the Sand

Puppy being sold at Pick of the Litter in Strongsville.  He looks to have significant hydrocephalus.

Puppy being sold at Pick of the Litter in Strongsville. He looks to have significant hydrocephalus.

Over the years, quite a few of you have been very vocal in supporting ending puppy mills.  Some of you have even joined me in protesting the two puppy mill brokers at Strongsville Mall, Pick of the Litter and Petland.  We’ve even gone before Strongsville City Council with evidence that Pick of the Litter is indeed a puppy mill broker.  (Council essentially said it was up to the state oversight to handle cases of puppy mills and brokers – convenient).

I realized suddenly that I’ve been going about this wrong:  why would we shut down individual mills, one by one, when we can work towards legislation to stop the sale of dogs and cats altogether.  According to the Humane Society, “300 local governments—cities, towns and counties—of all sizes and demographics across twenty-four states, have enacted such policies at the urging of concerned residents”.  Let’s start our personal crusade with the City of Strongsville.

pick of the litter 1

There are so many pros to this train of thought.

- Without venues to sell their goods (puppy mill brokers like Pick of the Litter and Petland), puppy mill operators will have no incentive to continue breeding;

- The Dept. of Agriculture (under whose jurisdiction places like puppy mills and brokers fall) will no longer have the limp excuse of not acting upon animal rights/abuses cases because of lack of personnel.

- It will break the vicious cycle of unscrupulous breeders and puppy mill operators dumping their “unsaleable merchandise” into local rescues and shelters, taking up space that is desperately needed.

- Owners of pet stores can focus on selling goods and services, and still offer rescue animals for a reasonable adoption fee, rather than strictly the revolving door of profit/supply.

- By decreasing the demand for store-bought puppy mill survivors being sold through brokers, puppy mills become unprofitable, thus destroying those parasites reliant upon puppy mills for their products.

It will be a very long and difficult fight.  I guarantee that people like Tom Collins, who has never had another occupation other than Professional Puppy Mill Broker, will raise holy hell at the thought of losing his pain for profit scheme.  Petland is already very vocal in the states that are looking to pass laws similar to those in California & Maryland, with plenty of lobbying going on behind the scenes.

So what can you do to help?

- Become an amateur journalist.  Begin by stopping by Pick of the Litter on a daily basis and photograph whatever you may find there.  Be polite, be kind, and be decent, but be aware and document.  Send your pics to us kerry.stack@darwindogs.org, where they will be documented for evidence, and publicly posted (anonymously if you wish). We will be setting up an album of offenders on our Darwin Dogs Facebook page as well as on DarwinDogs.org. Use #SickOfTheLitters

- Help start the petition drive.  We will need as many people to obtain signatures for this petition.

- Spread information through our protests.  Stay on the Darwin Dogs Facebook page for info on the next scheduled protests.

- Attend the Strongsville City Council meetings in support of ending pet stores.   Again, check Darwin Dogs Facebook page for council sessions we will be attending. Currently, we will be attending the meeting on July 15 starting at 8:00, Council Chamber, located in the Strongsville Police Station, 18688 Royalton Road

- Contact Strongsville City Council, as well as the Mayor’s office.  Find out why they are allowing pet stores puppy mill brokers in their city:

The City of Strongsville
Attn: City Council
16099 Foltz Parkway
Strongsville, Ohio 44149
440 580 3100
Email(s)
michael.daymut@strongsville.org,ann.roff@strongsville.org,kelly.kosek@strongsville.org,gordon.short@strongsville.org,jim.carbone@strongsville.org,

matt.schonhut@strongsville.org

city@strongsville.org

Contact Southpark Mall, and demand to know why they allow puppy mill brokers and pet stores selling puppy mill dogs to do business within their mall. Let them know publicly, via reviews, that we will not do business at establishments that allow for animal abuse.

Southpark Mall
c/o Starwood Retail Managers
500 SouthPark Center
Strongsville, OH 44136
(440) 238-9199

- Have any legal background?  Contact me directly at kerry.stack@darwindogs.org.  After all, there is so much more to petitions that merely gathering signatures.  We are looking to change city ordinances.  If you can spare one hour or several days, anything will be of assistance.

- Spread awareness.  Most people don’t realize what that puppy store puppy represents, or why the backyard breeders are killing shelter dogs by proxy.  Educate.

We are starting in Strongsville, Ohio, but will be diligent in working in other cities as well.  Let’s finish these parasite puppy mill brokers once and for all.

“But perhaps most important, when you buy a pet-store puppy, you contribute to the demand for puppy-mill-bred puppies, and add to the cycle of misery of mill-owned breeding dogs.”
― Denise Flaim, Rescue Ink: How Ten Guys Saved Countless Dogs and Cats, Twelve Horses, Five Pigs, One Duck,and a Few Turtles

Keep calm and pilot on

Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs
Dog Training/ Animal Rights Activist in Cleveland Ohio