Large Scale Commercial Dog Breeder Act SB 339/hb 4898

In 2012, authorities removed more than 350 dogs from a commercial breeding kennel in Allegan County that had spiraled out of control. The mother dog at left is shown nursing her puppies under layers of feces-matted fur. The animals were found soaked in urine, with severe dental problems and fleas. Stronger laws and oversight could have prevented this facility from declining to this condition, and could have prevented the significant expenses for investigation, evidence gathering, animal care, and court proceedings incurred by local agencies.

 Once in effect, this law will: 

  • Require registration and minimal standards of care at breeding facilities with 15 or more intact female breeding dogs. HB 4898 includes a minimal registration fee. 
  • Establish a limit of 50  intact female breeding dogs at each facility.
  • Help to prevent inhumane puppy mills from establishing themselves in Michigan.
  • Help to prevent large-scale cruelty or neglect cases like those in Allegan County in 2012 and Missaukee County in 2013.

Bill facts:

  • SB 339 primary sponsor Sen. Steven Bieda (D-9). HB 4898 primary sponsor Rep. Mike McCready (R-40)
  • Prohibit selling puppies at less than 8 weeks of age.
  • Require vaccinations, parasite treatment and health certificates signed by a veterinarian, annual reporting, and daily record-keeping.
  • Give the MDARD authority to make rules for minimum standards (i.e. housing, sanitary conditions, enclosure space, exercise, and veterinary care of dogs).
  • Launched by Michigan Humane Society.
  • Supported by the Michigan Association of Animal Control Officers and the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association.

Michigan Kennel Study:

Members of Puppy Mill Awareness of Southeast Michigan conducted a study of county and USDA-licensed breeding facilities in Michigan, with the goal of determining how many large commercial breeders are currently operating. We requested a listing of licensed kennels from each of Michigan’s 83 counties, including a listing of the number of dogs each kennel was licensed to have. We received 2009 kennel records for 80 counties totaling 1,947 kennels. Through the USDA’s online database, we also compiled a listing of Michigan’s USDA Class A (wholesale breeders licensed to sell puppies to pet stores).

Of the 685 licensed breeding kennels, approximately 234 may have over 15 intact breeding dogs. Only 3% (20) of all licensed kennels may have over 50 dogs.  Kennels with an unknown purpose do no not show signs of heavy advertising or activity and most (85%) of them have under 15 dogs.  

Take Action

  • Review the Bill Language and Legislative Action History SB 339 / HB 4898
  • Download the Fact Sheet
  • Sign our Petition to receive action alerts and updates. Make sure you include your city, state and provide authorization to receive notifications. 
  • Ask your state Senator and Representative to pass the legislation when up for a vote! Find your Senator and Representative.
  • Request your County Commissioners to pass a resolution to support the legislation (Resolution Template)

Legislation History

Resolutions

Oakland County Commissioners (HB 5095)

Michigan Kennels

2009 Michigan Kennel Study

USDA Licensed Dog Breeding Kennels


History of Abuse

Below is a listing of recent animal abuse or seized cases involving Michigan breeding kennels, often with more than 50 dogs in each kennel:

  • 2014 – 100 dogs surrendered by Renee Suchil, Pixie Puppies in Montcalm County
  • 2014 – 90 dogs and puppies seized from online seller, Elaine Komorny, Raisin Tree Farms in Livingston County
  • 2013 – 66 shelties seized, 2 found dead from Jean Hansen in Midland County
  • 2013 – 160 dogs seized from John Jones in Missaukee County
  • 2012 – 350 dogs seized from Cheri and George Burke in Allegan County
  • 2011 – 80 dogs seized from Candace Shepard-Younce in Montcalm County
  • 2011 – 11 dogs seized from James Griffin in Ontonagon County
  • 2011 – 16 dogs taken by rescue group in Newygo County
  • 2011 – 16 cockers dumped  in Washtenaw County
  • 2010 – 77 dogs seized from Roxanne Webster in Livingston County
  • 2010 – 37 dogs seized from Don & Kathe Burkett in Washtenaw County
  • 2010 – 24 dogs seized from Laura Springborn in Livingston County
  • 2009 – 70 animals Seized from Kim Koss in Genesee County
  • 2009 – 33 dogs seized from Ackley Kennels in Washtenaw County
  • 2009 – 69 dogs seized from Joan Skillman in Ingham County
  • 2008 – 67 dogs seized from Lori Nichiow (Lornich Kennels) in Macomb County
  • 2008 – almost 60 animals seized from Patrick and Dixie Plunkett in Sanilac County
  • 2007 – 232 dogs seized from John & Suzette Jones in Barry County
  • 2006 – over 80 dogs seized from Virginia Lawrence in Calhoun County
  • 2005 – 79 dogs seized from Pamela Keehbauch in IsabellaCounty