Michigan Attorney General filing lawsuit against south Michigan puppy mill

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is filing a lawsuit against a south Michigan puppy mill, alleging the group engaged in several unfair and deceptive trade practices.

Announced Dec. 26, Nessel said charges were brought against the Hillsdale County puppy mill operator Paul Steury after an investigation into the manager's work found an "inhumane and unsanitary puppy peddling operation."

Initially, complaints had been referred to the AG's office from the Monroe County Animal Control and the Humane Society that allege Steury was selling sick puppies and adult dogs, while also providing false documentation of the breed, age, health, and vaccination histories.

During questioning by Nessel's office, Steury admitted to killing at least six young dogs because he could not sell them.

“This man’s actions are simply incomprehensible,” wrote Nessel in a news release.  “In many Michigan households, pets are treated as another member of the family. Puppy mill operators cannot continue to boldly take advantage of Michigan consumers and their love for animals with no regard for the health or welfare of the dogs they’re selling.”

Under the Michigan Consumer Protection Acto, Steury is charged with the following:

  • Representing that goods or services are of a particular standard, quality, or grade that they do not have
  • Failing to reveal a material fact which could mislead or deceive the consumer
  • Representing a fact or statement of fact that a person could reasonably believe that is not accurate
  • Failing to reveal facts that are significant to the transaction, in light of representations of fact made in a possible manner

FILE: A chihuahua puppy stands and looks out in Petland in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Saturday, December 15, 2007. (Photo by Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Over the course of the investigation, 33 dogs have been recovered and are undergoing medical and behavioral evaluations.

“Oftentimes these dogs are in conditions where their natural instincts to run, jump and play can be suppressed and many miss the critical socialization window for connecting to humans,” said MHS President and CEO Matt Pepper. “One of the cruelest elements of the puppy mill industry is that it reduces these amazing companion animals into a commodity – a thing to profit from rather than a being that can experience join and pain in similar ways to humans.”