Petland Novi
27200 Novi Rd
Novi, MI 48377
(248) 988-9059

Date and time of CAPS investigation: 3/19/24, 1309

Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: 54 puppies

There were about 18 puppy enclosures built into a wall of the store. Most were about were about four feet long and two feet wide and tall, though some were slightly taller and held puppies of larger breeds. Enclosures had wire floorings which had pads and mats covering a small portion of them, and dog toys and water bottles were in enclosures as well. Each held two to four puppies. A TV screen in the store showed videos of puppies and dogs playing in yards. Large signs in the store noted that it’s inspected by AKC.

Employee made misleading statements several times in under a minute

A young worker, who said she had worked at the store for 11 years, told me that she goes on trips to visit the store’s breeders, which she said are mainly in Indiana in order to have access to breeders through the Canine Care Certified program. She added that some breeders are also in Michigan, and Ohio. She said the store uses “licensed breeders” and “select hobby breeders.”

I asked what breeding conditions are like, and if dogs are kept in cages, runs, or yards, and she told me that Petland requires breeders to have indoor and ourdoor runs. She added that the dogs and puppies are required to have large turn-out yards in order to get exercise. In addition, she claimed that the breeders do enrichment with the dogs and puppies. “So they’ll hide treats out there to help them try and find it for them.”

Petland doesn’t seem to know what defines a puppy mill

I asked her to explain what makes a facility a puppy mill, and she answered, “Honestly, it’s really hard because everyone has their certain stipulations. A lot of people think it’s because they’re on top of kennels, on top of kennels, on top of kennels, where they are sitting in those crates all day long. We don’t work with anybody that’s like that.”  She added that Petland wants to sure the dogs have large enough areas to exercise. “The only time that you’ll ever see them in a smaller area is if the mom had their babies and they’re in the whelping pens.” She claimed that the that.the mothers still have access to the exercise area. I then asked, “But it is like a commercial kennel with runs?” She said, “Yeah.”

Employee claimed breeders have “socialization rooms” for dogs and that puppies play outside

The employee then showed me the TV screen, with dogs and puppies running and playing in yards, and said, “This is going to be their outdoor area that they’ll have. So they’ll have huge fences and yards for the puppies and the parents to be able to run in. And then having stuff out there. So they’ll have the grass.” I asked, “Okay, so every day they’re out in something like that?” She answered, “Yes. They’re not just sitting down.”  She told me that Petland works with a lot of Amish breeders who are dedicated to their dogs because the dogs are their life.

She said if Petland personnel visit these facilities, they dogs following these Amish breeders because they knew who takes care of them and loves them. And then they keep the puppies very socialized. “So, when they come to us, they’re used to socialization, and then we’re just keeping up with them by going into the rooms and stuff, too.”

I asked her if the store’s breeders have any USDA violations, and she said, “If there are any violations, we are actually not able to work with them. We have to cut them out. I think there’s three years span. Three years. And then they’ll have to make sure that they don’t have a violation within that time. A lot of the breeders we’ve been working with, we’ve been working with for many, many years. So we don’t really have a lot of them that had violations or anything like that for us not to work with them.”

The employee continued talking about breeders, saying they have “little socialization rooms” and while showing me the breeder video, insisted again that even whelping mothers have access to yards “They’ll have areas for them to be able to run into. This is going to be the whelping area for the moms and parents, so they are able to get out. They have two huge turn-out yards.” She also claimed that breeding runs have floors that can be heated and cooled.

I asked for breeder information on a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. The employeed played a video on an iPad about the facility for breeder Daniel Schlabach of Sunset Kennel in Fresno, OH. The video showed dogs playing in ponds and grassy yards.

Evidence of false statements and misrepresentations of breeders by store

The employee’s claim that breeders let their puppies play in yards is false. Puppies at breeding facilities are not fully vaccinated and have suppressed immune systems. Most vets recommend young puppies aren’t even allowed on park grass or sidewalks for fear of viruses that can kill them. Having investigated hundreds of puppy mills, worked undercover at a USDA-licensed puppy mill, and worked undercover at one of the largest USDA-licensed puppy brokers in the country, I have learned that breeders will have puppies with their mother until they are five or six weeks of age, after which they are separated and put into separate cages before being shipped to brokers or stores at eight weeks of age.

I investigated one of the store’s breeders, Marjorie Graber (unlicensed) in Odon, IN, on 4/15/24. The facility had dogs in an outdoor pen with a crushed rock flooring, and other dogs and puppies in wire whelping pens. There was no turn-out yard at the facility, no area for enrichments or hiding treats, and certainly no area that looked like a “little socialization room” to play with dogs. At the kennel, I also saw days of feces under the whelping cages, and various pieces of junk and debris scattered by kennel structures.

The grassy yards the employee showed me on a video were not what I saw when I investigated another one of the store’s breeders, Dorcas Swartzentruber (unlicensed) in Loogootee, IN, on 4/16/24. The kennel consisted of a small barn with dirt dog pens attached to it. One of the pens had no windbreak on the doggie-door attached to the barn, the dirt pens had no dog toys in them, and the sides of the barn and a food dish on the floor were covered in grime. Overall, his facility was nothing like the kennel in the video the employee showed me. I saw similar pens at the facility owned by Edwin and Marlin Wagler (32-A-0269) in Loogootee, IN, also investigated on 4/16/24. Besides outdoor runs of dirt and crushed rock, there were numerous dogs in indoor/outdoor runs with concrete floorings, with only enough space for the dogs to move back and forth a few steps across the length of the pens or take single step from one side wall of the pen to another.

Additionally, my experience has taught me that commercial breeders in general do not play with their dogs and puppies. The employee’s claims about this are also false. Certificates of Veterinary Inspection from 2023 show that the store buys from breeders with dozens of dogs, as well as dozens of puppies. Dusty Road Kennel (32-A-0540), owned by Joseph and Rhonda Graber in Odon, IN, had 132 dogs and 85 puppies at its 1/31/24 USDA inspection. Edwin and Marlin Wagler (32-A-0269) in Loogootee, IN had 71 dogs and 67 puppies at their 1/2022 USDA inspection. These breeders are not playing with their individual dogs and puppies and hiding treats for them to find, nor is any commercial breeder I have ever encountered.

Breeder information obtained during store investigation

Sunset View Kennels (also says Valley View Kennel on inspection reports and on USDA APHIS website),  9801 Fall Creek Rd, Ste 332, Indianapolis, IN, 31-A-0665 (licensed cancelled 8/11/22), 151 adults, 125 puppies a6 5/23/22 pre-license inspection. Address is a UPS store. USDA should require breeders to use the address of their facility on their license and inspection reports. In addition, 31-A is for USDA licenses in Ohio, not Indiana, which is 32-A

Previous address: 30266 TR 213, Fresno, OH, 219 adults, 150 puppies at 2/8/21 USDA inspection; 253 adults, 130 puppies at 7/10/19 USDA inspection; 242 adults, 158 puppies at 5/18/23 USDA inspection; 265 adults, 215 puppies at 6/28/17 pre-license inspection. Having a total of 480 dogs and puppies at a pre-license inspection indicates that they were selling puppies to pet shops without a federal license.

USDA photos (2013) for Daniel and Ida Schlabach, owners of Sunset View Kennels

Broker information obtained from 2023 Certificates of Veterinary Inspection

Lovable Goldstar Puppies,,10242 E 1475 N, Odon IN, 32-B-0242,113 puppies at 10/14/23 USDA inspection

Patrick Fulton, Fulton Enterprises, 603 S Broadway, Alden MN, 41-B-0262,  0 puppies at 12/20/23 USDA inspection

Buckeye Elite Pets (listed as Puppy Lodge on USDA website), 3600 TR 219, Millersburg OH, 831-B-0230, 96 adults and 124 puppies at 9/27/23 USDA inspection

Karen Buffalohead, 776 First St, Langley OK, 73-B-1843,13 adults at 7/27/23 USDA inspection

Preferred Canine LLC, PO Box 336, Sugarcreek, OH, 31-B-0197; physical address: 29952 CR 10, Fresno, OH (residence of Abe Miller, which is listed as an agricultural property under county tax records)

The owner of Preferred Canine is Abe Miller in Fresno, Ohio. Miller has a long history of selling sick puppies, violating the Animal Welfare Act, and being the subject of lawsuits.

Every time, Miller is in trouble, he changes the name of his facility. When Sarasota County held a hearing for the ordinance banning the retail sale of dogs and cats in January 2016, he testified against the ordinance, using the kennel name of Quail Creek. Certificates of Veterinary Inspections over the last few years showed him using the names, Comfort Canines and Holmes for Canines. Miller hired a bus to transport at least 30 of his Amish breeders to testify against the ordinance, which passed in January 2016.

The dogs he brokered included those with the campylobacter virus that made dogs and people ill in the outbreak at numerous Petland stores.

Golden Seal Puppies, LLC, PO Box 467, Sugarcreek, OH, 31-B-0193; physical address: 29939 CR 10, Fresno. OH (listed as a commercial property under county records); this property appears to be next door to Preferred Canine. lists a John Yoder as the person associated with this address. We suspect that Yoder is a manager for Abe Miller.

Both businesses had filing dates of 2/4/19 by the same registered agent with the Ohio Secretary of State. Both had a pre-license inspection on 2/12/19 and subsequent inspections on 2/10/19 and 1/8/20. We don’t believe this is a coincidence.

Under USDA regulations, an individual or one business (LLC, corporation, partnership) cannot hold two USDA licenses. However, two different LLCs can hold two licenses, which is a convenient loophole

Breeder information obtained from 2023 Certificates of Veterinary Inspection


Malinda Hilty, Four Corner Puppies, 10512 Schwartz Rd , Ft. Wayne, IN 46835, 32-A-1003, 32 adults at 3/21/24 USDA inspection; also sells through their own website.

Previous CAPS pet shop investigations listed Malinda’s husband as the breeder. This information is from the Petland Wichita investigation on 8/13/21: James Hilty/Four Corner Puppies, 10512 Schwartz Rd, Fort Wayne, IN, 32-B-0257, 30 adults, 40 puppies at 7/15/21 USDA inspection. License address is 9801 Fall Creek Rd, #322, Indianapolis, IN on 2/21/21 and 7/30/21 reports, although this is a UPS store. Prior license lists Ft. Wayne address on 2018 and 2019 inspection reports. Actual facility in Ft. Wayne is 122 miles from the UPS store in Indianapolis.

The Hiltys also own Pawfect Puppies, PO Box 75, Grabill, IN, 32-B-0276. Grabill is north of Ft. Wayne. Their 3/21/24 inspection had 19 puppies. Why is USDA allowing facilities that require inspections to have their addresses at post office boxes? The inspections under both licenses are all on the same dates, which indicates that the Hiltys are most likely keeping animals listed under Four Corner Puppies and Pawfect Puppies at 10512 Schwartz Rd, Ft. Wayne, IN., which is the Hilty residence.

Phillip Knepp, 10091 E 600 N, Loogootee, IN, 32-A-0515, 30 adults,22 puppies at 12/19/23 USDA inspection

Jason Wagler, Boggs Creek Kennel, 4525 N 1050 E, Loogootee, IN , 32-A-0245, 152 adults, 99 puppies at 2/2/24 USDA inspection;

Edwin and Marlin Wagler, 10323 E 475 N, Loogootee, IN, 32-A-0269, 72 adults, 68 puppies at 9/12/23 USDA inspection

Jeffery Wittmer, Sunset Pets, 13241 E 700 North, Loogootee, IN, 32-A-0999, 14 adults, 7 puppies at 9/14/22 pre-license USDA inspection

Melvin Knepp, 7509 N 1000 E, Montgomery, IN, 32-A-0441, 75 adults, 58 puppies at 7/27/21 USDA inspeciton (has not had inspection in nearly three years)

Darrell Knepp,  Silky Pets, LLC, 4503 N 875 E, Montgomery, IN, 32-A-0524, 36 adults, 14 puppies at 3/27/24 USDA inspection

Jason Wagler, 6012 E 55N, Montgomery, IN, 32-A-0937, 12 adults,10 puppies at 5/31/23 USDA inspection

Philip Graber, 8385 E 875 N, Odon, IN, 32-A-0506,30 adults, 25 puppies at 8/8/23 USDA inspection

Lester Raber, Cedar Valley Puppies, 9445 N 875 E, Odon, IN, 32-A-0704, 52 adults, 39 puppies at 5/2/24 USDA inspection

Levi Wagler ,10478 E 1000 N, Odon, IN, 32-A-0757. 21 adults, 12 puppies at 2/13/24 USDA inspection

Joseph and Rhonda Graber, Dusty Road Kennel, 9258 E 875 N, Odon, IN, 32-A-0540, 132 adults, 86 puppies at 1/31/24 USDA inspection. USDA fined them $7,500 in 2013 for Animal Welfare Action violations: insufficient veterinary care; inadequate housing that can be readily cleaned and sanitized or replaced; excessive accumulation of waste in primary enclosures.

Matthew Herschberger, 48-A-2175,1849 5000 Road, Chetopa, KS, 51 adults, 35 puppies at 11/1/22 USDA inspection

Mike West, 33992 485th St, Unionville .IA, 42-A-1085, 41 adults at 9/26/23 USDA inspection

Cletus Bontrager, W3805 Heritage Rd, Markesan, WI, 35-A-0467, 31 adults, 44 puppies at 3/4/24 USDA inspection


Jonathan and Rosemary Raber, 11532 E 550 N, Loogootee, IN

Dorcas Swartzentruber, 9745 N 3300 E, Loogootee, IN

Eldon Wagler, 6016 N 1200 E, Loogootee, IN

Nathan Wagler, 11491 E 550 N, Loogootee. IN

James Wagler, 6512 N 1200 E, Loogootee, IN

Henry and Amos Wagler, 10690 E 200 N, Loogootee, IN

Brandon Wagler, Hickoty Lane Puppies, 4517 N 1050 E, Loogootee, IN (related to Jason Wagler, Boggs Creek Kennel, which is next door)

Dale and Marjorie Wittmer, 6246 N 1200 E, Loogootee, IN

Adrian Coblentz, 8912 E 800 N, Montgomery, IN

Matthew Graber, 9337 E 800 N, Montogomery, IN

Kenny Graber, 8008 E 625 N, Montogemery, IN

Nelson Graber, 8510 E 650 N, Montgomery, IN

Steve and Laura Raber, 7237 E 600 N, Montgomery, IN

Myron Raber, 2600 N 800 E, Montgomery, IN

Dennis and Amanda Stoll, 5076 N 575 E, Montgomery, IN

Sam Wagler, 9674 E 800 N, Montogomery, IN

Uri Wagler, 3535 N 850 E, Montgomery, IN

David Graber, 9515 E 875 N, Odon, IN

Joe Graber, 8721 E 875 N, Odon, IN

Marjorie Graber, 7049 E 800 N, Odon, IN

Vernon Raber, 8474 N 900 E, Odon, IN

Randall Stoll, 7817 E 875 N, Odon, IN

John Wittmer, 9255 E 925 N, Odon, IN

Jason Wagler, 8744 N 725 E, Odon, IN

Deena Sanson, 13100 N Burlington Drive, Breckenridge, MO

Note regarding number of dogs at above breeding facilities

The number of adult breeding dogs and puppies at the above facilities is consistent with being commercial breeding establishments, also known as puppy mills, that mass produce dogs for resale to pet shops.  Please refer to the following link (Summary of legal cases defining “puppy mill”) for a summary of legal cases defining the term “puppy mill.”

Lack of USDA violations

The fact that few breeders and brokers have USDA violations does not mean that none exist. During our undercover investigation of USDA-licensed facilities, we document violations. USDA has made it very easy for licenses not to have violations.  In response to regulatory ordinances, USDA was using teachable moments, self-inspections and a trial announced inspection program.  Their guidelines also instructed inspectors not to cite ear, eye and dental diseases as veterinary care violations. Due to pressure from animal advocates, USDA has terminated these programs. Nonetheless, the citation of violations by inspectors continues to be extremely limited.




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