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Man dressed as puppy in Boardman comfortable in cold

Published: Thu, January 9, 2014 @ 12:08 a.m.

Weather doesn’t faze pet store’s costumed employee, who thinks sales tactic is ...




William Kofalt dances on the corner of U.S. Route 224 and Market Street in his Dalmatian puppy costume.

  Puppies For Sale

William Kofalt wears an unusual outfit when he goes to work.

William Kofalt wears an unusual outfit when he goes to work.

It was barely 20 degrees outside Wednesday afternoon, yet he was focused and loving his job as a live advertiser for Harbor Pet Center on Market Street.

“I just enjoy doing it,” Kofalt said.

Kofalt, 28, wants everyone to know that he is fine out in the bitter cold — or even in scorching hot weather. He dresses appropriately for the weather and, more importantly, it’s his choice to go out and work so the puppies inside the store can possibly have a home.

“This is really, truly what he loves to do,” said Gary Winslow, owner of Harbor Pet. “They don’t have to go out, but William takes his work seriously.”

Kofalt has dressed up as the puppy on the corner for the past four years. Before that, he worked for Universal Studios in Florida. The Canfield resident also works for a pizza shop and has his own collection of costumes including a frog, wolf and parrot.

Winslow calls the advertising “very effective.”

People will come into the store and say, “You know, if not for that guy out there, I wouldn’t have been in here today,” Winslow said.

Harbor Pet opened about 10 years ago. and business is still going well. Winslow says the store receives at least five more puppy sales thanks to Kofalt. Altogether, the locally owned pet store has about 25 puppy sales a week.

“We tend to follow with the general economy,” Winslow said.

The store offers both pure-bred and hybrid puppies.

“The No. 1 puppy is a puggle,” Winslow said.

Kofalt said it feels “awesome” to know he increases the store’s business.

“It makes me feel like I am doing my job to bring people in the store,” Kofalt said.

With multiple layers of clothing, Kofalt will happily continue to wave people into Harbor Pet every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday that he works.

“He would have gone out [Tuesday] if had we have let him,” Winslow said.


1janeyblue3(83 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

What a couple of idiots! Winslow for selling puppues at his store,and Kofalt for advertising that shameful practice.
Too bad the idiots buying these Puppy Mill pups and dogs are so ignorant and uneducated on how these poor creatures are treated.
Maybe Kofalt would like to sit in a one square foot wire cage,with cage after cage stacked upon him for years annd years. Maybe both need adjoining cages so they may "enjoy" lying in their own excrement for years. They both need to be locked inside an unheated,windowless warehouse,never touching the ground or seeing sunlight. This is where these adorable puppies come from. Your adorable pupoy will most likely have more than one genetic defect from inbreeding. You would be lucky if it lives more than two years.
If you want a dog so damn bad,go on Petfinder.com.
Rescue a dog. They make the best companions you could ask for. I have four rescued dogs,three rescued cats and three rescued cockiteils.(yes there are bird mills in Ohio). I rescued a Shih Tzu who was a puppy mill mamma. She was 16,nearly blind missing all but a few teeth. She is 19 or 20 now,happy,healthy and the sweetest girl ever.

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2lefty83(313 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Nothing more then a puppy mill.

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3taxme(359 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I guess you can say he is trying to rescue the dogs in the cages at the store. right? If he didn't do it they would probably die as well.

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4lovethiscity(163 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Well said. If you really love animals, I mean really love them, you would NEVER buy one from a store like this. They are the retail end of the absolutely deplorable puppy mill industry.

They are plenty of adorable animals waiting adoption into a good and loving home.

We have been rescuing dogs for over 30 years from shelters, and every one of them was a joy to have and gave our family incredible love in return.

i find it truly reprehensible that the Vindicator gave this business free advertising.

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5author50(1121 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@janey blue and @ love this city

WAY TO GO!!!!!

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6CYoungstown73(1 comment)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I had stopped in Harbor Pet Center ONCE and i was shocked by what i saw, those poor puppies, some looked so ill and weak. Those types of pet centers deal with puppy mills. If you want a new family member cat/dog go to rescue centers adopt adopt adopt I just cant say it enough. And spread the word and try to shut these places down.

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7rose2012(1 comment)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I can speak from personal experience that Harbor Pet Center has great puppies. I have purchased 3 pups from them over the years and they have been the best pets ever. Healthy and great personalities. I have also experienced pets that were adopted. Those pet have had issues with temperament, biting, food aggression and health issues. I would and plan to get my next puppy from harbor.

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8Gary330(1 comment)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

As an owner of Harbor Pet Center I can attest the the fact that our puppies are well cared for and healthy. We have our veternarian come in on a weekly basis to assure us that they are of good quality and good health so that we can offer the best warranty available on our puppies. I personally visit the breeders we deal with and pick up the puppies to make sure they are well cared for. We have a staff of Animal Care Technicians that care for our puppies 14 hours a day and to make sure all of our puppies are well socialized. Our customers and employees love the puppies we provide.

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9salem1361(5 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

While I do not in anyway condone purchasing a dog from a puppy mill, which often is where these stores get their dogs, it is not so easy to just say adopt a rescue. Have you tried?? Tell them you have kids, live in the country without fenced in acreage or that you don't believe in taking your dog to the vet because he sniffles. You won't be approved. Many rescues think that they a God and would rather see the animals never have a "less than perfect" home. I am an extremely responsible pet owner and have never had a dog run from me, never lost one to not providing it the appropriate care, and yet I would not be approved by these so called rescues standards. So these stores exist and right or wrong they provide warm noses to loving hearts. Next time you say adopt look into it yourself and you may find that they are just as unfair to animals.

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10JoeFromHubbard(1532 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Awh, this is just too touchy to touch.

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11southsidedave(5166 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

It takes all types to make this world a crazy place!

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12DACOUNTRYBOY(726 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Yes, it is sad that people don't get fired up over the slaughter of humans in Youngstown.

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13Askmeificare(810 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Only Youngstown stupidity and mental illness can take a wonderful news article and twist it up.

I have been inside Harbor Pet Center purchasing products for MY RESCUED CAT and the place is clean and inviting.

And who of you mental midgets responding to this article state that they DON"T utilize rescued animals?

Harbor gives families the opportunity for a wonderful pet addition to their family. These pets are cared for with vaccinations and care, etc., something that many of those who rescue animals do not provide.

@ janeyblue3: You are going to tell everyone that your apparent mental illness has Bull-S'd and hoodwinked the keepers of rescued animals to then give you and entrust you with the care of the pets they are giving up?

-Do these people know you yourself are in essence running a pet mill? -With so many of your own "mill pets" in your own home [ You know that is what you have with so many pets, right? YOU have a pet mill -REGARDLESS if the animals you have are rescued or not ], how do you provide individual love and care and financial resources for your own "Home pet mill"? -Do children services and county home inspectors know you cannot take care of all of YOUR HOME PET MILL responsibly? -Can the smell of the PET MILL IN YOUR HOME infiltrate your neighbors 'air space'?

And janeyblue3, did you know psychology books on the college level state those whom hoard animals have a mental illness? You cannot solve all the worlds problems. Shame on you janeyblue3, I hope you feel guilty- NOW go out there and "adopt" another 11 animals and stress your new 'rescues' out with that "zoo environment". Why don't you just smoke or exercise or drink to relieve stress instead of taking your issues out on poor defenseless animals?!

Thank you everyone WHO IS RESPONSIBLE AND NOT FEEDING A MENTAL ILLNESS for at least caring about animals and making them a part of your family.

I agree animals need to be rescued and I agree there are excellent and responsible businesses that are doing their part to care and give able, responsible homes a family pet.

Enjoy your day and thank you Mr. Winslow for the excellent care you provide to animals awaiting adoption and thank you Mr. Kofalt as it is always wonderful to see you out and dressed up. I'll keep honking my car horn at you if you continue to stand out there giving everyone a happy day and a smile :)

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14Askmeificare(810 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@ not_gilligans_ginger:

Seriously, did you beat the ass of your rescued animal so it wouldn't growl or 'attack' any other animal?

"I have never even heard her growl!"
Did you beat that 'rescued' animals ass so bad that it is now terrified to be and do what is part of its own nature to do?! Not hearing a dog growl is like not hearing a cat meow.

And you bully Rose2012, "Don't EVER group all rescue dogs into one category. It just highlights your ignorance on the subject."

Why don'y you bully me? All rescue dogs CAN BE IN ONE CATEGORY. I have been to the Mahoning County Dog Pound many, many, many times and do you really want to talk about cages, cleanliness (compared to Harbor Pet Center), stressful animal conditions, and on and on?!?!?!

I don't believe rose2012 is ignorant on the subject. - I think you want to minimize and take attention away from a REAL PUPPY MILL - THE MAHONING COUNTY DOG POUND.

On behalf of the illegal puppy mills, I would like to thank not_gilligans_ginger for her support of a legal puppy mill. Why not adopt about a dozen more and prove another of my points?

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15Askmeificare(810 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@ 123goz:

I get it, but do the others? They want to talk about puppy mills, etc., but in the same invein attitudes, the clothes these mental midgets are wearing were produced by slave labor camps overseas.

I stand by my comments and if you wish to continue debating this issue here on vindy, I am all in my friend.

There... well, I'll wait to see if you reply with what I believe you may reply with, -if you reply :)

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16dontbeafool(1696 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@123, I believe his point is that people are all up in arms about puppy mills, meanwhile they don't care if they buy clothes that were made in a third world country in a sweatshop run by 9 year old children workers in harsh conditions.

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17lovethiscity(163 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Harbor Pet is a retail outlet for puppy mills.

Puppy mills would not exist without retail outlets.

And for all you f'ing "mental midgets" who think puppy mills are a tea party f'ing part of your god bless America capitalist divine right...

I'd love to right your sorry ass to one of these hell holes and lock you up with the poor animals.

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18rnmarlin(1 comment)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Hello All,
I can assure you all that OUR puppies do not come from puppy mills. You ask us for breeder information, and we hand it to you. No questions asked. We provide excellent customer service, backed with many years of experience. We strive to make you and your new family member as happy as possible. Please don't harass Harbor Pet Center when you are unsure of where our puppies actually come from. I know many of the breeders that we get our puppies from. Many are customers of our store, and offer some of the healthiest puppies I've ever seen.
An employee working 5.5 years for Harbor Pet Center.

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19TheSaint(5 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Shame on the Vindicator for giving this store free publicity and promoting a business that perpetuates and profits from animal cruelty.  Harbor Pet will tell you their puppies come from small breeders but they absolutely sell puppies from puppy mills.   Give us some real journalism, Vindy.  Report on both sides of an issue.  Better yet, do some undercover work.  Look at a puppy’s AKC papers to see the breeder name and address, and go see the breeder’s facilities first hand.  Watch the Oprah episode when Lisa Ling went to the puppy mills and the horrors she saw.  Oprah’s investigation was prompted by a billboard by Bill Smith, founder of Main Line Animal Rescue asking her to show the world the abuse and neglect that takes place in puppy mills.  Laws are being passed across the country outlawing puppy mills.  The information is out there.  Please, people, educate yourself before you buy a puppy from a pet store or even a breeder.  When you know better, you do better.  Shelter dogs are wonderful, grateful pets.  ADOPT, DON”T SHOP.

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20Roger_Thornhill(971 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

So, how much does a puppy cost at Harbor Pet Center?
Are they purebreds?

The person who called the dog pound a puppy mill is a moron. The dogs there are all spayed/neutered before being adopted out, so they are NOT capable of reproducing.

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21Roger_Thornhill(971 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

What happened to teddy was disgusting. I hope horrible things happen to the people who hurt the poor kid .
But what does Teddy have to do with dogs?
Absolutely nothing.

Because Teddy was killed doesn't mean people should not be upset at poor treatment of dogs, too.

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22TheSaint(5 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

rnmarlin - Post the addresses of the breeders of the puppies you currently have in the store.  A quick look through Google Earth may be all we need to tell if they are puppy mills.  That’s if they give the real address.

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23dontbeafool(1696 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

How about this, for all of you who are making accusations against this business. Why don't you show some PROOF that they are indeed getting their puppies from a puppy mill. Don't just assume. You give us the names of the places where they get their animals. It is easy to lump every business into one category, but it is wrong. It is as bad as saying that this white guy smokes crack, so all white guys smoke crack.

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24dontbeafool(1696 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

and 123, try researching a little about what countries use child labor or forced labor. Those people don't have a voice either. It is easy a Google. But then you might not be able to buy the stylish things that you like. Here is a quick search on Google. Boycott stuff made in these countries. Sure it might be inconvenient, but if it is important to you, you can do it.

In Brazil, the report found a "trafficking phenomenon." It said thousands of trafficked and forced laborers had been found on plantations growing sugar cane for Brazil's booming production and export of the biofuel ethanol.

The report cites shrimp processed in Thailand and Bangladesh; clothing from Bangladesh, India, Jordan and Malaysia; and bricks made in India, China and Pakistan as being among the products of booming industries in which workers are subjected to forced labor, debt bondage and hazardous working conditions. Laws are not adequate to punish those responsible, it adds.

China was found to have a "significant" problem with forced labor, including forced child labor. Children as young as 12 are reportedly subject to forced labor under the guise of "work and study programs" and subject to excessively long hours, dangerous conditions, low pay and physical abuse. The report found China's growing brick industry is fraught with cover-ups of the problem.

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25AtownParent(565 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Backyard breeders are just as much a problem as puppy mills. Do not buy your next best friend - RESCUE them!

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26JoeFromHubbard(1532 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I'll be dog-gone.

This story is just too hot to handle.

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27wolfman20012(5 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I have been a employee for 4 years at harbor pets and did anyone actually read this article or did they just ignore the great news that this article was all about. U people who call this a puppy mill u should really do more research before u say stuff u dont know about we get all of our puppies from local breeders yes I am the puppy outside mr winslow who owns the store is a very wonderful person who cares about his employees and the well being of the store this article is about the puppy and the cold and hot weather and to ensure people that I am not forced to be outside at all that mr winslow and staff give me that option this is a family run pet store and we are all family there who treat each other like brother and sisters so please look at the great article and do research before u speak

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28Askmeificare(810 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@ 123goz and @ thesaint:

@ 123goz:

I understand what a puppy mill is as my discussion was toward those stating false information against our Mahoning County retail community business.

So 123goz, why do you stand up for the low IQ fellow posters here? They are simpletons and morons who couldn't connect coherent thoughts even if they were a former City of Youngstown Deputy Director of Public Works who claimed a fake college degree.

Take for example, 'not_gilligans_ginger'. This mental midget states, "Also, before a dog from MCDP is ever released to the new owners, it is spayed or neutered. The pound takes the dog to the vet, it has surgery, then the new owner picks it up from the vet after paying the vet bill. How is that a puppy mill?"

And my response is- Well, doesn't our community animal business in discussion do and provide the same? But our community animal business in discussion does not euthanize animals it doesn't find a home for. So I confidently and condescendingly state, will the real puppy mill please stand up and state they are a government entity.

Additionally, you stated, "Almost all pet store puppies come from puppy mills. Ask the pet store employee to show you the paperwork identifying the puppy's breeder and origins. If he or she refuses to do so or is reluctant to show you the paperwork, consider that a red flag."

If I was in the pet business and you asked me that I'd tell you to go pound salt, but not before the Vernal Equinox (in the winter time to you christian bigots). A business has the right to maintain trade secrets and that includes suppliers. If you disagree then the next time you walk into your adult pornography retail trade center, ask them where they purchase their 'Doggy Style' brand t-shirts from and see what they tell you.

Also 123goz, you stated, "Are you wearing a hat? Just wondering if that's why I can't see your point".

Actually, I am a indeed a conehead from the planet Remulak and quite frankly I for one do not, repeat, do not appreciate your racist tone. To you I have a racial disfigurement, but to my conehead people I am a god so get off my ass and quit being a bully dressed as a Village People wanna be.

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29Askmeificare(810 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@ thesaint:

You are on the wrong team spiritually and literary.

Spiritually you support pedophiles and co-dependent alcoholics.

Literary you yourself stated you can go on Google Earth so why not stake out the plasma screen and do your own homework.

Why don't you get off your lazy ass and start a fake pet store and begin to make inquiry into animal products and supplies instead of spouting off at honest taxpaying businesses that provide employment and happiness in our community?

Go live in the great late City of Detroit to see what comes of your dreams.

Additionally, you dismiss a Vindicator article that certainly mentioned a local businesses, but the article was about happiness of an individual whom wants to make all of us happy and you twist and shout all of it to hell. Have you NO soul? Oh how your MKUltra secret plans must have traumatized your children into Satanism.

Now for most of you, I dropped my pen and I will be bending over to pick it up. I am not asking, but if you have just put on Chapstick...

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30Askmeificare(810 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

"I'll be in over the weekend and ask to view some of the puppys' papers. See ya then!"

I have $50.00 for ANY store employee who can provide me with a photograph of this fool.

This fool going by the pen name, 'not_gilligans_ginger' has no actual formal business coming onto your property and that makes this individual a trespasser. This individual is breaking the law.

Be careful because these kooks and mental midgets have been known to carry red paint, bad breath, and video and voice recorders with them on their fact finding tree hugging missions.

Again, I am offering $50.00 for this individual and ANY individual, for that matter, who does the same. I will be posting their photograph on the internet explaining the situation.

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31kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't get "AskmeifIcare's" comment- the attack on the first comment by "Janeyblue": that she's some kind of mentally deranged hoarder- in her post she mentions four dogs, three cats and a few birds- so- Where's the Hoarding?

A lot of responsible pet owners have that many animals- my own sister in Florida has almost that many and she treats them all very well. A true animal hoarder- and there was just recently one arrested in Struthers- has dozens of animals confined in a small space and living in deplorable conditions.

If I were Janey- I'd look up the laws concerning Libel and, possibly, seek legal representation (Dave Betras is excellent in that area and I'm sure he would defer his fees based on settlement).

Regarding the Dancing Idiot in the Costume- I work in Boardman and every time I drive by him I want to go over and kick him in the Ass for being a Jerk. Those kinds of places are cruel to animals. If you want a pet, either rescue or go to a legitimate breeder.

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32kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Come to think of it- what I just said about Animal Hoarders- "dozens of animals confined in a small space and living in deplorable conditions"- What does that remind you of? A Puppy Store Naturally.

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33Askmeificare(810 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@ kurtw:

Aren't you known to drink alot of alcohol? Aren't you a 'homophobe'?

Your comments are as moronic as you are.

I welcome the law as its on my side, even without an argument, by definition, you mental midget. And when I win my own case (how long will it take for you to figure that one out, even if you are sober kurtw?), you will pay the court fees, settlement fees, gross (literary, non covered by amendment) neglect awards, settlement awards, and on and on.

Betras likes me better anyway you jackass. Go have a drink fool...

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34Askmeificare(810 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@ kurtw:

From December 6 2013-

"BREAKING NEWS | Read full report on sexual harassment claims against Kitchen

S--t! It sounds like what Kitchen said is no different than the kind of flirtatious banter that men have been directing at attractive (I assume she's attractive- ugly women are usually, thank God, spared that kind of disgusting behavior on the part of men) women since time began. The only difference- unless they were dumb enough to send letters- it was all verbal in those days and couldn't later be proved- now, we have the Internet and Text Messaging and horny idiots like Demaine (Anthony Weiner, too) are snagged into creating a record later used against them.

Another case of the "little head doing the thinking for the big head". Demaine you're a Moron- but I know where you're coming from."

No kurtw, your a moron and you said it yourself.

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35kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I stand by what I said in Comment 44- that I saw no reason- based on her comment- to accuse Janey of Animal Hoarding- what you said made no sense- like just about all your comments including the last one.

What does my position on Homosexuality or any other issue that I may have addressed in any of my posts (Global Warming or whether or not D. Betras is the worlds greatest attorney or a Political Hack) have to do with the issue at hand: my view that retail establishments that sell animals (apart from recognized breeders) are Bad- bad for the animals and, ultimately, bad for the humans that buy them. If you want a pet, go to the Pound or any of the Animal Rescue Shelters, there are plenty of loving creatures there waiting to find a good home.

Stick to the Issues Man- instead of hitting below the belt. What in God's Name do my drinking habits (which I talked about mostly in a tongue in cheek manner anyway) have to do with anything. Does my writing suggest incompetence or drunkenness? I don't think so.

When you talk about being a "mental midget"- I think you nail yourself. If you can't win an argument on it's merits you descend to personal attacks- and that's what you've done- You Mental Midget.

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36kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

OK, Askme, so you dug up something I said in early December about D. Kitchen- something I regret saying now-( because at that time I really thought Demaine was being framed by the Betras-Cafaro machine) and which I subsequently corrected in following posts- which naturally you omit- and you're saying that because of that rash statement on my part I'm now invalidated from addressing this particular issue: Puppy Mills- Good or Bad?

Askme, that makes no sense- in fact it's down right stupid. I'm repeating myself here- but I'll say it again- Stick to the Issue at Hand, Man!

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37kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Askme, I read your Comment #41 directed to The Saint and I have just one question: Where You Sober when you Wrote That?

If so, relax Man, have a few drinks- it may improve your spelling, syntax, logic and overall compositional style- the 6th paragraph especially starting "Additionally, etc., etc...." is a real Pip.

I invite anybody to read that paragraph and tell me if it makes any sense. If they can coherently explain it to me, I will award them a $50.00 Gift Certificate to be used at the State Liquor Store of their Choice. It's a safe bet- I won't be losing my money.

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38kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Askme, based on what you said in your Comment #46- you must know Dave Betras- if you do- tell him next time Hello for me! I was at the Davis-Y just yesterday Pumping Iron (I'm up to 3 pounds now building up to 5) and I didn't see him there as I have before on the Stair Machine- pretending to work out but, really, just checking out who notices him and combing his hair every time he passes a mirror. Cheers!

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39YtownParent(745 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

As 123goz pointed out there is no legal definition of a "puppy mill". "Puppy Mill" is simply an inflammatory/derogatory statement used by those who feel there should be stronger legal requirements imposed on licensed breeders. Their ire and actions should be against the USDA and elected officials who have set the legal standards so low, not against taxpaying licensed businesses who are fully in compliance with the laws of the day. Write, call, email, tweet and post hundreds of times a day to our state and congressional reps until they change the law, but until then you'd be smart not to slander law abiding businesses, retailers and breeders, who might turn around and sue you.

Mr. Winslow could sue for slander and defamation and he would win, because legal truth is the only defense against libel, slander and defamation. The law places the burden of proof on those making the statements to show that Mr. Winslow buys from unlicensed breeders. All he'd have to do is show his invoices from licensed breeders to collect damages.

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40kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Point taken. I go back to what I said earlier- there are plenty of rescue animals (as well as AKC breeders if you want a pure bred animal) out there for anybody who wants a pet. Why go to a storefront retail establishment to buy an animal where you have no idea where the animal came from- how it was bred or treated, etc.etc.

Obviously, the animals kept in a store front operation are not bred there- they're bred somewhere else and shipped in- so how they were treated in the past remains a dark mystery. On the other hand, if you go to an AKC breeder (for a pure bred animal) or to a rescue shelter- you have a pretty good idea of the animals background and it's treatment- which isn't the case in a store front operation separated from the source.

As far as being a "licensed breeder"- it seems to me the legal standards are not very high when it comes to the treatment of animals so what, exactly, does having a "license" mean in terms of how the animals are actually treated? My point is that, if you want a pet- it's better to go a rescue shelter or the pound- or an AKC kennel for a Pedigreed Animal.

Maybe I'm prejudiced in this matter, but the idea of buying an animal in a place that reminds me a department in a Walmart Store- complete with costumed dancers to lure in customers- bothers me- but, if I am prejudiced- Sue Me- you won't get very much.

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41TheSaint(5 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Because I care about animals, I volunteer at a local shelter, I walk dogs at the pound, I transport shelter animals, I pick up strays, I foster dogs and cats, and because I care about people and kids I donate time to veterans organizations, I make monetary donations to charities for kids among other things. People can care about humans and animals. If you want to see an undercover operation where someone goes to the breeders address listed on pet store puppies papers, simply watch the Oprah episode when she send in an undercover reporter. And ginger I'll meet you at Harbor Pets.

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42typical(9 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I also have bought two awesome puppy's from Harbor Pet! I love my animals with all of my heart. I also rescued a dog and unfortunately that baby died young (6 years). The two from Harbor Pet are wonderful additions to our family and we wouldn't trade them for anything. The staff has been nothing but helpful!

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43TheSaint(5 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I stated these things not to boast, just in response to askemeificare:"@ thesaint:You are on the wrong team spiritually and literary.Spiritually you support pedophiles and co-dependent alcoholics.Literary you yourself stated you can go on Google Earth so why not stake out the plasma screen and do your own homework.Why don't you get off your lazy ass and start a fake pet store and begin to make inquiry into animal products and supplies instead of spouting off at honest taxpaying businesses that provide employment and happiness in our community?"Just to show that I am not a lazy a**.

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44walter_sobchak(2418 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

My family and I discussed this last night after I read them excerpts and comments about the article. I said that I think this kid deserves a lot of credit for doing a nasty job. My son says the kid is a "furrie", which gave me new info into the yutes of today. My dog sat down, licked her butt, and looked at me with those sad eyes. I looked at her and told her not to say anything as I know how she feels since she was a rescue pup. She is, after all, very emotional about this touchy subject.

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45dontbeafool(1696 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@Kurt, and do you really have to bash this young man who wears the suit? Call him an idiot and state that you want to kick his ass? At least he is working.... 2 jobs at that. He could be out selling drugs or sitting at home playing Xbox. Or better yet, he could be collecting gov assistance instead. And then you have the nerve to cry to someone about hitting you below the belt??? Funny

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46handymandave(564 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

That wasn't a real Dog?

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47kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I reread the story and all the comments including my own and I have to say I think I went more than a little overboard on this one. It's true my own preference, if I were looking for a pet, would be a rescue animal or going through an AKC Kennel if interested in a pure breed, but I know a lot of people go to Pet Stores and are happy with them. I'm sure the overwhelming majority of people connected with these stores are decent people who try to take good care of their animals as well as their customers. I'm sure that includes the establishment mentioned in the story as they've been around awhile and I haven't heard anything said against them.

As far as my comments about the young man working as a Sign Waver are concerned, I'm truly sorry I made those statements. He's out there trying to make an honest living and he doesn't deserve to be attacked needlessly by an Armchair Warrior sitting in front of a computer screen pontificating about the state of the world and how it should be improved. I apologize for what I said.

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48kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Dontbeafool, I just read your comment and what you say is absolutely correct- the way I attacked that young man was "a low blow"- something I complained about in my post ironically. I've felt guilty about this all day and couldn't wait to get home for access to a computer so I could apologize.

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49dontbeafool(1696 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I can respect that. He is just a kid working. But you should apologize to him, not me.

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50kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I did in post no. 62 which I made before I read yours. The apology, obviously, is directed toward him- the injured party (you're just another Armchair Warrior- just kidding!).

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51wolfman20012(5 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I appreciate your apology however u dont owe me the apology u owe someone else a apology how about the store u guys turned such a great article into something negative how can u do that better yet how do u feel for making those comments I bet u feel pretty bad for turning something positive into something completely negative

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52kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I appreciate what you're saying- the Vindy story was a human interest type story dealing with the weather and how the young man was coping with same- it wasn't intended to be a discussion of the Pros and Cons of Pet Stores- but it was turned into that from Comment No 1- losing the original focus.

But please remember- I didn't join the discussion until Comment #44- by that time the topic of the discussion was established- the Pros and Cons of Pet Stores- and that was how I dealt with it in my Comments.

In hindsight- upon sober reflection- about the only thing I really, really regret are the nasty things I said about that young man- he doesn't deserve that.

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53Education_Voter(1014 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I will not shop at this store until they stop selling these poor puppies. I saw some people with their poor little glassy eyed puppy from this store shopping at ANOTHER store for supplies. They were buying house-breaking pads. Good luck with that people. Pet store puppies defecate and urinate right in their cage because they HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE.
You can crate train a puppy from a responsible breeder or a home, but not these guys because they have already learned to do something unnatural for a dog -- defecate in their dens.

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54kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Pros and Cons of Pet Stores. You have it in the last two comments. It's definitely a discussion worth having, although reading this entire thread most of it seems to consist of people attacking and biting each other (of which I was guilty myself) than a reasoned discussion. It's a controversial issue, indeed, to generate that kind of heat.

Speaking personally, and having spent some time (since I commented last) considering the issue (giving the matter sober reflection), I'm still somewhat undecided. In our family we've always owned cats and dogs-never strayed unto the territory of snakes, parrots and hamsters- and everyone of our pets has been a rescue animal of some kind or a registered animal from a Breeder. We've never considered going to a Pet Store because there was no need- our needs were met elsewhere.

I know a lot of people, though, who have had good luck with these places (such as previous commentator) and that's good- any animal in a good home- no matter where it came from- is a blessing. Others haven't been as lucky- but that's probably true of all pet owners no matter where the animal came from (much depends on the owner). I think I would seek the advice of a Vet before deciding one way or another.

One major consideration would have to be the animals background- the quality of the Breeder and the way it was raised (degree of inbreeding, etc). Taking in a young animal is a big, big responsibility and not to be undertaken lightly and- assuming I saw an animal in Pet Store I liked- I would want to know a lot about that animals background- but without having access to the Breeder- How do you do that? From that standpoint, it seems to me that dealing directly with a Breeder or Individual Owner (or shelter in case of a rescue) makes more sense than dealing with a store front removed from the source.

Edu_cation's comment is interesting and ought to be discussed: Are pups from a Pet Store more likely to be hard or impossible to house train because of the way they're confined (apart from the morality of that kind of treatment)? That's a key issue and I think would decide the matter for me.

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55YtownParent(745 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I understand why people have the perception that it is harder to deal with a pet shop dog than an individual breeder, while others think it's harder to deal with a rescue dog than a pet shop puppy.

I don't think it matters one way or another where the dog came from. What matters is the love, care and patience the animal gets when you take it home. If you care for an animal properly, give it love and attention, and are patient enough to firmly deliver commands without screaming at or getting physical with the animal the animal is going to thrive and be well behaved. If an animal isn't given that care and attention by loving patient owners, it doesn't matter how good its pedigree is nor how well its living conditions were before you brought it home.

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56kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

You're right, but, if I had a choice in the matter, I would still prefer knowing as much as possible about the animals background before starting to care for them. The biggest consideration, it seems to me, is the degree of inbreeding. I've noticed, again and again, that mutts seem to do better health wise than closely bred animals- it's called genetic diversity which is a good thing.

You can't get much more "diverse" than a rescue animal from the Pound or a Shelter Organization, and, for that reason- unless I wanted a Pedigreed Animal- I would move in that direction.

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57kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Good point. I didn't like that when they brought in that old discredited argument that because human beings suffer, you can't- or shouldn't- be concerned about the plight of animals. We all can care (if we want to) "about more than one thing at a time".

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58Askmeificare(810 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@ kurtw:

"As far as my comments about the young man working as a Sign Waver are concerned, I'm truly sorry I made those statements. He's out there trying to make an honest living and he doesn't deserve to be attacked needlessly by an Armchair Warrior sitting in front of a computer screen pontificating about the state of the world and how it should be improved. I apologize for what I said."

" the way I attacked that young man was "a low blow"- something I complained about in my post ironically. I've felt guilty about this all day and couldn't wait to get home for access to a computer so I could apologize."

As a commentator, you do an overwhemingly amount of apologizing for things you have either done or said/stated. You comment on the weak and those whom attempt to improve their lot in life.

How can you live your life in a state of making, time and again, the wrong decisions? Easily any of us reading your hack musings can point the finger at you and bring up your misgivings, but we don't.

kurtw., Why not give it a break for awhile and get sober?

BTW, yo're not burning enough calories at the Y.

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59AnnNelson(2 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I stand firmly against this particular pet store, and I won't restate the same things that have been stated again and again in these postings about puppy mills. What I WILL comment on, however, (and I created an account here, just to call you out on this, Gary...) is that the Gary, who posted saying he's an owner just told an outright lie. I know this because I went into Harbor Pets over the summer, with the soul intent of asking if they were still supporting puppy mills. I was told they do not, and all of the breeders are local. I asked to see a Basset Hound puppy...took him into one of those little rooms where they allow you to play with them. While in the room, the young worker came over and tried to begin her convincing sales pitch to sell me a puppy for 2000.00- but, then she got called away, and accidentally left behind the paper work, which was in her hands about this particular dog. When she did, I grabbed it, and at the top corner was the breeders name and address. I quickly wrote it down with the intention of googling it, to see if they were being honest about the dogs home.... Sure enough, when I got home, it was an amish puppy mill in rural,Ohio, and not only that, one that had already been cited before, and warned about the horrible practices going on there. SO, gary, if what you say is true, then you are obviously touring and ok with these kinds of places???? Or else you're lying and know very well that you haven't visited these places, and are only swindling your customers, and allowing this inhumane treatment to go on? Which is it???

you KNOW very well your dogs are coming from amish puppy mills, and if you have toured them and don't see anything wrong, you have real issues. A simple google search of the address the puppy came from would have told you all you needed to know.

Shame on you for not only bringing more puppies into your store and advocating this practice, but also lying bold faced to your customers and telling them they're not from puppy mills. And I don't want to hear it from the people who say puppy mill is all a matter of perspective. These are not backyard breeders, these are huge, inhumane, PUPPY MILLS. period. that's exactly where you are getting them from. Why don't you give out the address? Well, anyone can do what I did and go in and look at the little white bundled paperwork that they carry around. Why don't you try that.

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60kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Good point. I wouldn't adopt a dog, or any other pet, unless I knew where it came from. You can do that with a local Kennel- but not with a place- a Factory Operation- located in another part of the State or Out of State- That, alone, is good reason to avoid a Pet Store- apart from the fact you may be subsidizing a place where the animals are mistreated.

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61kurtw(1539 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Ask me, let me see if I have this right: You think I'm a hack writer, an alcoholic, a guy who only goes to the Y to spy on Dave Betras, a Bully who picks on the Weak, and, in general, a complete F--ck Up- "an overwhelming amount of time spent apologizing".

That's your opinion and my only reply is a Question: ASK ME IF I CARE? Answer: I DON'T!

P.S. I don't write my post's to please or displease anybody- I write them to please myself- and I'm having fun now over a glass of Burgundy. Cheers!

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62Askmeificare(810 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Well, Bygod!

PS: Cheers.

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63caretoomuch(1 comment)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Our family purchased four puppies from this "pet" store. One died before she turned one year old. The paperwork had no phone number and only had a P.O. Box on it. I called and asked how to contact the breeder because the vet said our puppy died of a congenital defect. A girl told me the breeder doesn't have a home phone they use pay phones. And the only way to contact them was write a letter.
Next our lab would need a double hip replacement to be able to walk correctly. Another congenital defect.
And just this past month our precious Pomeranian who wasn't yet three years old also died of a congential defect. She was so small the kidney disease progressed slowly.
Gary is never there to talk to about our grief and sadness. Replacing a puppy with another sick puppy is not the answer. The staff is programmed with certain answers but sometimes they go off script and say more than they should. Harbor Pet buys sick puppies.
What do I think of the big guy dressed in the dog suit standing on the corner?
I think of the sadness in my heart over the loss of my puppies and the anger I hold against Gary for lying about where he got my puppies from.
Local breeders do not use pay phones or P.O. Boxes.
So I have one dog with a crooked foot but healthy out of four dogs purchased from there.
I won't even buy a dog biscuit from there.
Greedy s.o.b.s

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64navcorey(2 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

All I can say is Wow! Such anger and foul language postings with very little real attempts to persuade others to listen and possibly hear your side of the story. Instead embarrassing rhetoric of who is right and who is wrong and damn them if they disagree. If those of you feel the vindicator ran this story to give the retailer a boost in sales vs a human interest story about a person who seems to like his job ( I wave at you every time I see you ) then DON'T buy the Vindicator. If you think the journalism is poor or they never run "the other side of the story" ( you may want to read 1/18/14 front cover story ), then DON'T buy the Vindicator. If you do not like the very thought of purchasing an animal from a retail store ( I did, and still have my buddy Jackson who is full of energy and often mischievous, but has never had a health issue and filled a large void left from the loss of my 16 year old stray collie over 6 years ago. My grief was immediate and the sale was quick.)then DON'T shop there!. I also have a rescued dog Sadie who came from a puppy mill with only one ear and the temperament of a kitten. She also pees when I pick her up (she won't go outside on her own, even tho she loves it once there) and barks at my husband every time she sees him but sleeps beside him every chance she gets.)We have had her almost 3 years now and got her when she was 6. Clearly she has been scarred which is why I am forever cleaning the floors, changing my clothes and listening to her bark. But we love her. If you would rather get a pet from a breeder, then DON'T get a rescue.
We HAVE choices and getting nasty with each other is so ugly!
Isn't the point that you should get your animals from where YOU want. Love them, care for them and do what you can for other animals that didn't have the good fortune to find a little happiness.
A little respect for each other please.
I expect to be slammed by a few (or more) of you, but I'm okay with it.
By the way, my son just got 2 lovely dogs from the Mahoning Valley pound 2 weeks ago that are as friendly as any dog I have ever met and my sister adopts elder dogs from the Trumbull County Pound since nobody ever wants dogs at the end of their lives. So say what you will, we are a pretty nice family. And are animals are all pretty cool too, wherever they came from!

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65wolfman20012(5 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Listen people i am that dog on the corner i love my job very much this is what i was born to do i habe been doing this for 4 years now i enjoy dancing and providing daily entertainment for u guyd while u are stuck in traffic or just having a miserable day ti where u need to smile and thats what i do best these are very wonderful and respectful people i work for and no mater what anyone thinks i will not leave that corner or them even if i got offered a job making more than what i do now i will never leave cauae these guys are family and i totally respect them to evwryone who said nice things i thank u for your support for those who say nothing but mean and ignorant things well maybe u are the ones who need to get jobs and stop living off the welfare and believeing everything u hear

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66steelwagon(284 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Way to go AnnNelson !!!!
If this sob is charging 2000.00 for a basset puppy then he can damn sure afford to buy his stock from a humane,licensed breeder where the health and social temperment of the animal is the top priority.

And these goddamn amish are not the simple God fearing folk they pretend to be.
Unfortunatley I've been around to many of these parasites to know that they're greedy and will do anything for a dollar.
And I knew this long before the Amish Mafia show was even a thought.

In fact that show doesn't begin to show how dangerous and corrupt the amish cult truly is.
Nasty unwashed uneducated and as imbread as the puppies they sell !!

I don't know why the state of Ohio doesn't close these mills down and prosecute these tax evading scumbags

If you want a pet go to petfinder,check with your local shelter or seek out a good humane breeder who will gladly allow you on the property to see their operation.

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67Roger_Thornhill(971 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Good job Ann Nelson.

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68Education_Voter(1014 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

At one time I didn't know any better either. Go to a dog show, talk with the breeders of the type of dog you like. Ask them to put you on a list after you research the breed.
Call Youngstown All Breed Training Club. They have a large facility in North Jackson. They can put you in touch with a breeder AND help you train your new puppy.

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69wolfman20012(5 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Stop focusing on the comments and look more what the article was about the puppy on the corner and how he is comfortable in the cold or hot focus on that people

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70Education_Voter(1014 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

We wish the best for you -- like a job in another store! Or better yet, why couldn't you stand out there to advertise a store that sells premium dog food, dog accessories, etc., not caged puppies?
A puppy is not a gerbil. It cannot stay in a cage for months.

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