SOLON TWP., Mich. (WZZM)- A Kent County woman is defending her business after receiving complaints that she's running an alleged puppy mill.
The woman is breeding and selling the dogs out of her home. Normally, she would be able to do that, if she had a permit or license. In this case she doesn't and was cited for it. She has a little over 50 dogs.
"It's a tough thing, 24/7. There is no vacation", says Renee Suchil. She started in 2008, with just one dog. She purchased a few more over the next two years. "I decided to start breeding in 2010, I had my first litters. It's taken off ever since."
Suchil calls her business Pixie Puppies. She describes them as hybrids; a mixture of Pekinese, Shi Tzu, Chihuahua, Papillion, and Maltese. "Last Friday, I had four litters in one day."
Suchil runs Pixie Puppies out of her home in Solon Township. Local ordinance allows three dogs. Last year, a neighbor complained. "And she's like; you're running an illegal kennel. I said, 'I am?' I was surprised. It didn't occur to me."
Suchil also received an anonymous e-mail accusing her of running a puppy mill. Just last week, WZZM 13 News received a similar tip. Renee says, "We love them. Take care of them, they get attention and grooming."
On April 20th, Kent County Animal Control went to the home and found approximately 56 dogs; 30 adults and 26 puppies. Suchil was cited for not having a permit and told to get rid of the dogs. The officer also stated in his report that the animals appeared to be outwardly healthy and normal and that the home was sanitary.
Namiko Ota-Novesky, a Behavior Specialist at the Humane Society of West Michigan, is concerned about that the dogs can't be properly socialized. "It's really hard to adequately do that, if you have 30 puppies running around and all they see is litter mates and other dogs."
Novesky is also concerned about the numbers of dogs getting out of control. Females go in heat twice a year and each litter could produce 4 or 5 puppies.
On her website, Suchil says she keeps most of the females. "I don't intend to keep keeping them," says Renee. She says she is trying to find the right mix, and then she'll stop. In the meantime, she plans to continue the business and says she is trying to find a place for a legal kennel.
Suchil says she give the dogs all of their shots. If there is a major problem, she takes them to the Veterinarian. She was warned by animal control that if she failed to move the dogs, it would result in enforcement.
By Sarah Sell