February 17, 2010
Pam Sordyl: Puppy Friendly
Dedicated activist fights puppy mills
Tough, smart, resilient, upbeat, unstoppable—Pam Sordyl stands out among Michigan animal activists, even in a state full of hard-working, dedicated types. And if you’re a puppy mill operator, or you own a pet store that sells puppies, Sordyl wants to have a word with you.
Spreading the Word
Sordyl founded the group Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup of Southeast Michigan, which works to end the mass production of dogs in puppy mills. The group spreads its message through petitions, leafleting, information booths, Letters to the Editor, media stories, library displays, and peaceful demonstrations.
They show up at parades, pet adoption events, festivals, open houses, and – this being Michigan – ice shows.
Sordyl says the question she gets asked most often is, "What can I do?" Her answer? Educate the public!
"Increased awareness leads to decreased demand for puppy mill puppies," she says. "When consumers learn the truth about puppy mills and the pet stores that sell them, they make informed choices."
The Pet Store Pledge
Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup has worked consistently on campaigns with The Humane Society of the United States. The group uses the HSUS' "Puppy Friendly Pet Stores" initiative to encourage pet stores to stop selling animals from mass breeding facilities, and so far, has convinced seven pet stores in the Detroit area to sign the puppy-friendly pet store pledge.
Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup members have tirelessly supported the national campaign to get Petland stores to stop selling dogs from puppy mills. They've held 30 rallies—in all kinds of weather—outside of Petland stores in Westland and Novi.
Members of the group know it is important to take their grassroots work to the next level, and educate elected leaders so that better laws are passed to end animal suffering. In 2009, many group members made the long trip to Washington to lobby for humane legislation as part of the Taking Action for Animals national conference.
This year, Puppy Mill Awareness Meetup will be front and center at the February 23 Humane Lobby Day at the state capitol in Lansing.
"It's important to show elected leaders tangible evidence of these horrific breeding practices," said Jill Fritz, Michigan State Director for the HSUS. "Pam and her group are working every day to make sure that message gets to the people who can make a difference in these dogs' lives."