The Humane Society of the United States has filed this class-action lawsuit against Petland, which has several local stores, claiming Petland buys dogs from puppy mills. This actually comes as some good news to my landlord, because now I am totally not going back to Petland to adopt that Weimaraner I saw there yesterday.
While I was at the Petland in Davie, I asked super-nice employee Anthony to show me the dog's AKC papers. Anthony dashed into a back room and produced papers that reveal the pup in question was born in December at a Nebraska breeding facility owned by one Sheryl Tietz. At this point, Anthony was wondering why I was writing all this down, so I changed the subject by suggesting Anthony hold the pup while I take photos with my phone.
Anywho, turns out Sheryl Tietz of Bancroft, Nebraska, has been identified by Petshoppuppies.com as owner of a puppy mill. The website even links to USDA violations, like this one, at Tietz's facility. Among her violations: excessive fecal matter, a whelping mother dog with an inflamed wound, a dehydrated Weimaraner pup that wasn't moving, and other things that I could write, but then I would start weeping little-girl-style and be unable to type.
Not trusting what I read on the intranets, I put in a call to said puppy mill owner Sheryl Tietz of Bancroft, Nebraska.
Husband Duane Tietz answered the phone. He's a 52-year-old father of six who seemed a bit surprised by my call. Asked if his family ran a puppy mill, Duane said: "Well, we don't think we do."
Duane -- who was super nice, by the way -- guessed the puppy-mill label probably came from PETA or the media. "We love animals," he said. They've got chickens and cows and raise some dogs too, he said. Duane wouldn't say exactly how many dogs. "Oh, I guess that kind of information I wouldn't give out."
Duane, you had me until that one. If you're not a puppy mill, you just say you've got like four dogs, so there's no way you could be a puppy mill, right? But if you are a puppy mill, don't you act all sweet, talk about chickens and shit, and then refuse to say how many dogs you have? Either that, or he's just really private about just that one thing.
Duane said the Weimaraner I saw in Davie ended up there from a dog broker. He sold the dog to the broker when they were unable to unload the pup and a couple of others from the litter. He guesses the broker probably deals with Petland and other stores.
I mentioned to Duane that it was one beautiful, gangly, cuddly, puppy that I saw in Davie. "Oh good," he said. "I like to hear that our dogs end up in good homes."
Good homes? No, Duane, your dog did not end up in a good place.
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I should mention that I sent an email to Petland P.R. person Lacey J. Clever to ask about the Humane Society lawsuit. She sent me a response that began:
CHILLICOTHE, OHIO - March 17, 2009 - Petland Inc. is outraged and disappointed at the latest false accusations propagated by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a radical animal rights group that has no affiliation with local humane societies.
Lacey didn't return my phone call or email to follow up on how that Weimaraner I saw had come from a breeder accused of being a puppy mill. But Lacey did end her email with this salutation: ">Have a Great Day!"
I will, Lacey. I just wish I could say the same for that Weimaraner.