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The Westfield Franklin Park Mall was picketed Saturday by local animal rights activists.
The Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates claims a new store there, Family Puppy, will sell dogs bought from so-called 'puppy mills.'
The group says dogs in the mills are bred in cages with little or no human contact, filthy conditions and limited vet care.
"The majority of them have health problems, a lot of behavioral problems and they're coming from large scale operations that are for profit," said Jean Keating of the Coalition.
John Stottele owns Family Puppy.
He has five stores in Michigan malls and has just signed a long-term lease with Franklin Park.
Mr. Stottele says Family Puppy does not do business with mills.
"If we're buying from somebody that is not caring for their dogs, that's bad," said Mr. Stottele.
Mr. Stottele adds Family Puppy opponents only want people to adopt dogs, not buy them from a breeder.
He says the pooches in his store are healthy.
"For every puppy in the store we have a report here available for anybody to see. We're pretty transparent as to who the breeders are," said Mr. Stottele.
Meanwhile, the Coalition is asking people to boycott the mall because of its new tenant.
"And to have someone come in that's going to bring in a couple hundred dogs a year from a puppy mill is extremely disappointing," said Ms. Keatins.
Family Puppy will open by the end of the month.
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