Michigan’s Department of Agriculture is responsible for ensuring the safety of animals, but many pet owners and animal organizations say that the agency is not doing their job.
Almost a quarter of the estimated 70 pet shops in southeast Michigan have been cited in the past four years for ill animals, putting animals in dirty and cramped cages, and selling pets that are sick or below the legal age. But state records show that none of these pet stores in violation have been shut down or fined.
Also, the Department of Agriculture is stopping inspections altogether, unless there are complaints that involve serious abuse or disease outbreaks.
Officials for the Department of Agriculture said that a smaller budget is a factor to the lack of inspections, and that they must focus more on monitoring deer and cattle populations for contagious diseases.
One store, Pollywood Pets, has received more than 30 complaints from various customers. Inspectors found animals in overcrowded cages, and sick and injured puppies, and overall the animals are neglected and dehydrated. Since 2003, nothing has been done about the condition of the pet store.
Another store, Family of Pets, has not had an inspection since five years ago even though there have been complaints about animals living in dirty, cramped cages.
Animal organizations question if the Michigan Department of Agriculture was ever well equipped to inspect pet stops.
“There needs to be a lot more protection for pets,” said Deborah Howard, president of the Companion Animal Protection Society, a national nonprofit that monitors pet stores.
Source: Detroit Free Press
(Thanks Carolyn & Maggie)