The Family Puppy of Genesee Valley Center


The Family Puppy of Genesee Valley Center
3341 S Linden Rd Suite 670
Flint, MI 48507
(248) 880-4997

Date and time of CAPS investigation: 3/20/24, 16:00

Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: 35 puppies

There were about 26 puppy enclosures set against a wall, each about two feet wide and deep and between one and two feet tall. Two of the enclosures were slightly longer for larger-breed pups. The enclosures each held one to two puppies, and had solid floorings covered in shredded paper, and all had water bottles attached to their rear doors.

Bigger means cheaper

An employee told me that the store offers a health guarantee for puppies over $1,000, which is a warranty against parvo, hepatitis, and distemper for the lifetime of the dog. Puppies under $1,000 have a “canine” warranty which he said “is a limited warranty for those.”

The employee said that there were numerous puppies on sale for $900, a “spring sale event.” He said the owner wanted to “make room for the new ones that we’re trying to get in here.” The cheaper puppies were older, and while he said that the oldest puppy there had been there for three or four months, he noted that two other puppies were eighteen and twenty-two weeks old.

They play all day

I asked the employee about breeders that the store uses. He told me, “Oh yeah, they come from third-party breeders that work with the owner. And that the owner knows personally, and he knows by reputation.” I asked if dogs were in cages or homes, He responded, “The breeders put them out into a big yard to play.” When I responded with, “Really?” he said, “Yeah. They play all day.”

An AKC inspection means no puppy mills

I asked him if he knew how many dogs that the breeders have. He  replied, “At the top of my head, no. I just know that they’re inspected by the AKC, the USDA, and by state departments in Ohio and Michigan.” I asked, “Do they make sure they’re not puppy mills or what do they do?” The employee said, “Yes. They came in, the AKC, back in June last year. They came in here, they inspected us. We didn’t know they were coming, and they made sure everything was good. If we were not up to their standards, that blue ribbon that’s right on the other side of the camera, it would be gone.”

I asked if he knew for how long breeders use dogs for breeding or what they do with the dogs when they are no longer being used for breeding. He responded, “I have no idea.”

I reiterated that I wanted to make sure the store doesn’t buy from puppy mills. He told me, ‘If we were anything like that, we would not pass our inspections by the AKC. Oh, and another thing, the owner upholds different standards for the breeder, too. If he sees something wrong, he’s like, “Yeah, fired.”’ He added, “The inspections that he upholds for the breeders. They got to pass all their inspections by the people that are listed on that paper. The AKC, the USDA, and the state departments. If they fail one of these, even one of these, he ain’t going to do business with them. They’re done. One strike, you’re out. And I don’t blame him. Don’t blame him one bit. I would do the same thing, too. I’d be like, “You failed your inspection, you’re fired.”’

Footage of dogs playing on TVs

He then showed me footage on a TV in the store. The video showed a mother dog and puppies in a whelping cage and had text that said, “MOM AND THE KIDS.” Next, the video showed dogs sharing an indoor cage and had text that said,, “SOCIALIZATION WITH OTHER DOGS.”  Then, the video displayed dogs using a doggie-door from an indoor cage and had text that said,  “INDOOR AND OUTDOOR ACCESS. Finally there was footage of dogs running in a grassy yard, insinuating dogs have access to such a yard at all times.” The employee commented as watched it, “They got their own little apartment set up. They hang out in. And they can come out.” He added, “No, they don’t spend all day in the cage.”

Evidence of false statements and misrepresentations of breeders by store

The employee’s claim that breeding dogs “play all day” in yards, and the footage of them running in grassy yards, are lies and misrepresentations of commercial breeding facilities. Most commercial breeders don’t have exercise yards. Those that do don’t give dogs regular access to them, and none give the dogs “free roam” in them. The yards are most often dirt or crushed gravel instead of lush grass.

The employee’s claim that AKC registration ensures breeders are not puppy mills is false. AKC regularly works with commercial breeders who keep dogs in cages and runs in commercial facilities that are quintessential puppy mills. AKC regularly speaks against bans of pet stores selling puppies and kittens from puppy mills.

The Family Puppy’s main supplier used to be Pick of the Litter, owned by Kathy Bauck

At one time, The Family Puppy had five locations in Michigan and sourced the majority of its puppies from Minnesota-based Pick of the Litter, owned by notorious broker and breeder Kathy Bauck. The Family Puppy was Pick of the Litter’s largest account. Due to evidence I obtained during a six-week undercover employement investigation in 2008, Bauck was convicted of animal cruelty in 2009 and lost her USDA license. During my investigation, Bauck had around 900 adult dogs and 400 puppies. CAPS President Deborah Howard investigated the Oakland Mall store a few months before I started my investigation of Pick of the Litter.

Breeder information obtained from Certificates of Veterinary Inspection

The Michigan Department of Agriculture was unable to provide Certificates of Veterinary Inspection for out-of-state breeders selling to this store.






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