A Michigan puppy mill is accused of knowingly selling sick dogs and falsifying records. As the Detroit Free Press reports, the office of state attorney general Dana Nessel released a letter alleging that Steury and Miller Puppy Mill in Hillsdale County sold dogs to consumers who would end up having to cover high vet bills.
The petition for subpoenas is requesting that Steury and Miller provide the state with a list of customers who they sold the sick dogs to including pet stores, all medical records for their dogs, and a cease-and-desist instructing the puppy mill to stop selling the sick dogs.
“In numerous instances, evidence suggests the Respondents sold dogs that were sick; provided falsified documentation regarding breed, age, health and vaccination history; and also sold dogs to pet stores, while not being licensed to do so,” the petition says. “It is unknown as to how widespread these practices have been and how many consumers have been affected. The Respondents are not only tricking consumers into purchasing the animals, but possibly leaving consumers stuck paying hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary bills due to the hidden medical issues the animals may face. Further, there is probable cause to believe that the Respondents have engaged in a widespread pattern of selling sick and injured animals to consumers knowing full well that the animal was sick.”
The attorney general’s office was compelled to investigate Steury and Miller after receiving complaints forwarded by the Monroe Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). According to the petition, Monroe SPCA president Katrina Stillwagon was approached by Steury and Miller on February 15, 2019. They offered to sell five puppies from the back of Miller’s vehicle. Stillwagon noticed that the dogs were in poor condition and set up a deal to purchase them for $275 each.
After the transaction, she took the dogs to the Allegan Veterinary Clinic to be assessed and discovered that they all tested positive for Giardia, a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal illness known as giardiasis. Stillwagon and the veterinarian also concluded that the health records Steury and Miller provided for the puppies were false and most likely not vaccinated contrary to what the health records stated.
Stillwagon proceeded to purchase additional dogs from Steury and Miller during the next several months. Five dogs from one of the transactions were transferred to the Michigan Humane Society for medical care.
MHS opposes the operation of puppy mills and fights them on many fronts. Attorney General Nessel announced back in April that her office would double down on puppy scams in Michigan during a press conference the MHS’ Detroit location.
“We are grateful to Attorney General Dana Nessel for taking the complaints against Steury and Miller seriously and acting to protect Michigan citizens and the animals involved in this case,” says MHS director of advocacy Ann Griffin. “This coordinated effort between law enforcement and the animal welfare community exemplifies the collaborative work needed to shut down puppy mills and care for the animal victims.”
Join the Michigan Humane Society’s Legislative Action Network for the latest updates on animal advocacy in Michigan.
Photo credit: Michigan AG Office