Mt. Clemens pet store closes after ill pet complaints

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
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A pet store in Mount Clemens closed this week after its owner was accused of selling sick puppies.

Nearly 30 customers filed complaints in Macomb Circuit Court against Little Dogz, formerly known as Pollywood Pets, at 1128 Gratiot Ave. The shop’s owner, Shelly Myers, closed Wednesday because she could not afford to pay damages or lawyer expenses, according to attorneys in the case.

Myers was accused of selling puppies with parvovirus, a contagious viral disease that attacks blood cells and can produce a life-threatening illness.

The store sold animals at Gibraltar Trade Center on weekends before the trade center stopped selling animals in 2015 and began a collaboration with Macomb County Animal Control and Shelter to adopt animals.

Some customers received refunds for their cost in treating their sick pets, but most received a tax break when attorney Jenifer Measel, who worked on behalf of pet owners, donated items from the closed pet shop to nearby animal shelters.

Myers’ attorney, Bryan Sunisloe, said Myers is not admitting responsibility to the complaints. He said it was an economic decision to close the store to avoid litigation.

“On behalf of Shelly Myers and the named defendants in the pending litigation, a decision was made to end the litigation in consideration for an agreement to give the contents of her business to an animal rescue organization,” Sunisloe said.

“Shelly Myers sincerely hopes that the contents of her former business can be used in a worthwhile manner,” Sunisloe said.

Measel said she started working on the case February 2015, but Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan, an organization dedicated to ending commercial breeding, had been working to get Myers shut down for the last five years.

“We tracked all the way back to 2013 with the USDA, no one was inspecting these pet stores after (that year) ... You don’t need a registration or license to open or sell,” Measel said. “It’s pretty crazy ... she kept animals in the animals in the freezer when they passed away.”

Measel said Myers bought puppies from Amish mills in Michigan’s Upper Thumb area and would advertise on Craigslist.

“She owned the shop for at least 30 years. You would Google Pollywood Pets and the stuff that came up was disgusting. So, she renamed it Little Dogz,” Measel said.

Kathleen Spain bought a Yorkshire terrier she named Itsy Bitsy from Myers at the trade center in November 2014. She said the litter was in a hamster cage under a heating lap. The day after the purchase, the pup was lethargic and stopped eating. At the first vet visit, she was immediately placed on intravenous fluids and antibiotics, Spain said.

In her complaint, Spain said she confronted Myers about not disclosing that her “dog had been treated for parasites and coccidian, a common parasite in chickens, for weeks prior to purchase. Myers said it wasn’t her job, Spain said. Spain filed a compliant for $881 in damages.

“Itsy Bitsy lived,” Measel said. “Luckily, Kathleen is a nurse and took action right away.” .

Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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