NOVI, Mich. (WJBK) -
Customers are putting on pressure to shut down Petland at Novi City Council to get the store closed for good.
People are accusing the business of lying about breeds and selling them sick dogs. Animal rights activists are targeting the same store said to have sold a woman a fake teddy bear puppy. FOX 2 spoke with one woman who would say as bad as that is, at least the dog is still alive.
"We bought a puppy over $3,000 and his name is Charlie and nine days later he passed away," said Alexandria Kelly.
And Kelly's story may be a common one.
Pam Sordyl from Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan has tracked more than 300 complaints against the Petland in Novi.
About 24 pets died shortly after customers took them home. There are 17 cases where the store is said to have lied about a dog's pedigree and 55 complaints of the store selling sick dogs.
"His nose is runny and crusty, so in addition to being severely underweight these are all signs of a respiratory infection," said Susan Wheeland, holding up a photo of a dog.
Wheeland, an animal rights activist, says she could've been one of them.
"They knew this dog was sick and they were willing to sell me that dog and that's just scary," she said.
Activists want Novi City Council to close Petland by banning retail sales of dogs and other animals. But supporters like Vechelle Onufrak say Petland is a godsend. Her family bought a puppy from the shop for her terminally ill grandson.
"I don't know how anybody can say one thing bad," said Onufrak. "It was the most positive grateful experience I've ever had in my life."
FOX 2: "They say you're getting your dogs from puppy mills?"
Neither a rep from corporate or the store's owner wanted to talk on camera.
"We have a very detailed statement that shows that's not true please refer to that," one of them said.
In a statement they say: "Only a small percentage of their pets require any extra veterinarian care. The Novi store is the most inspected and regulated place to get a puppy and they don't buy dogs from unlicensed breeders."
FOX 2: "How do you know that these dogs are coming from puppy mills?"
"We collect shipping records that are public records and we trace them back to puppy farms in the Midwest states," said Sordyl. "And we look at their inspection reports and they have a lot of violations from the Animal Welfare Act and we have 700 photos of those violations."
As for Alexandria Kelly -- she just needs one.
"It turned out he had pneumonia and then he ended up passing away," she said. "His body couldn't fight it.
"Petland, I would love to see them shut down because there are barely any Petlands in the nation and they're all getting shutdown for the same reason - because they're getting dogs from puppy mills."
But no action or comment from Novi City Council on an ordinance that would put Petland out of business. Animal rights activists say they're fight is far from over.