PLATTSBURGH—When protesters lined up here recently to protest Northern Puppies’ owner Tammy Staley and her husband Michael for their treatment of puppies and kittens in their care, it was not the first protest they had seen.
In April 2012, a picture was taken at Northern Puppies showing close to a dozen puppies in a pen with no bedding, with feces and urine strewn across the floor. The photo made it to Facebook, and ignited a firestorm of controversy and calls to shut down Northern Puppies.
Some of those puppies were owned by Mary Kleber, who was selling them on consignment at Northern Puppies.
“I’ll probably never forgive myself,” Kleber said in a phone interview. “Those are my grand-babies.”
When Kleber saw the picture on the internet, and recognized two of the dogs in the photo as hers, she was mortified. She returned to Northern Puppies and tried to get back the two miniature schnauzers which hadn’t been sold yet but Staley, she says, refused to return the puppies. Kleber ended up taking her to small claims court and won a judgement against her for $500, which she claims Staley never paid.
Protests of the pet shop were organized for several days, according to Kleber, with protestors calling for Northern Puppies to be closed down.
Tina Rock, who took the picture on her cell phone in 2012, said she didn’t walk into the store that day just as the pet store opened, as Tammy Staley had alleged.
“When we went in the store had been open for half an hour,” she said. “That was the third time I went in and had seen either neglect or abuse.”
She went to the Plattsburgh City Police with her photo, which her daughter posted on Facebook. When City Police followed up on her complaint, she said, the puppies had already been cleaned up, so they were not able to act. The photo went viral, and protests sprang up almost immediately.