Thursday, 18 October 2012 22:01

Uitermarkt, Melvin and Brent

On the premises at the time of investigation: about 17 dogs and six puppies

Breed: Shelties
Unlike before, no dogs were seen tethered to trees or kept in the wooden box outside of the kennel building. The box had old newspaper shreds that were heavily stained, but its door was opened and no animals were inside.

Main kennel
The kennel building’s design was the same as described in the CAPS USDA report dated 7/28/06. Indoor pens lined one side of the building, with doggie-doors to access outdoor runs with concrete floorings, wire walls and a roof for additional shelter. The other side of the building had indoor whelping pens, one of which was occupied by a black and white nursing Sheltie mother and six puppies that appeared to be about a week old.

The outdoor runs were relatively clean, though feces and fur were spread through the grass outside of the runs, primarily concentrated at their edge near the grass where flies were swarming (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal; 3.11(d)-Pest control).

Indoor pens
Most of the indoor pens had dark fecal stains covering their concrete floorings (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The nursing dog and puppies of the occupied whelping pen were in a shallow wooden box with feces-stained newspaper pieces in it. The wood of the whelping box also had feces stains on its surfaces, and a thin layer of dark, compacted feces was covering the pen flooring (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Metal food and water dishes were in the whelping pen, and had dried clumps of feces stuck to their outer surfaces (3.9(b)-Feeding; 3.10-Watering).

The inside of the kennel was very dark, and the pens could not be seen clearly into without the use of extra light (3.2(c)-Lighting).

Published in Iowa
Saturday, 09 April 2011 20:00

Bill would ban video of farming operations

Publication/Event date: 2011-04-08

Publication name: Star Tribune

URL for more info:


It would become illegal in Minnesota to produce or distribute information about animal mistreatment or agricultural pollution under a bill introduced this week at the Legislature.

Animal rights advocates say the bill -- which resembles measures being pushed by legislators in other states, including Iowa -- amounts to an unconstitutional infringement on free speech that would have a chilling effect on whistle-blowers trying to bring attention to cases of animal cruelty.

Continue reading...
Published in CAPS News
Tuesday, 12 April 2011 20:00

Iowa House File 589 Passes

All Iowans must contact their state senator to oppose HF 589 / SF 431!!!

The Iowa Legislature

Update: HF 589 / SF 431 has passed in the House and is now in the Senate.

When puppy mill operators know they can't win, they try to change the rules. That's precisely what they did in Iowa. A new bill, introduced by Rep. Annette Sweeney, provides unscrupulous breeders protections against undercover investigations.

Iowa House File 589 amends Iowa Code 717A, which relates to agricultural production including criminal penalties for animal facilities. The most troubling part of the bill pertains to the prohibition of producing, possessing, and/or distributing undercover video and/or audio recordings of activities within an animal facility.

The bill has some big name supporters like Monsanto, DuPont/Pioneer and several Iowa agricultural associations. While no big puppy mill facility in Iowa officially supported the bill, they will reap the benefits now that it passed. The final tally for the House vote was 66-22, with all the nays coming from democrats like Rep. Jim Lykam and Rep. Pat Murphy. The bill still needs to pass the Senate.

“The overwhelming majority of farmers and people that own breeding facilities and all that here in Iowa operate very reputable businesses and treat their animals well. That's how they make their money,” said Rep. Murphy. “But for that small percentage that has a problem with it, you've got to wonder what they want to hide.”

While livestock facilities are subject to state official inspections, companion animal mass breeders run their business with just occasional USDA surveillance. Without comprehensive legislation about the issue, even the federal government remains critically understaffed and powerless to handle the volume of work required to keep the industry in check in states like Iowa.

“Iowa is a relatively small state but ranks 3rd in the number of puppy mills, 2nd on the number of puppies sold, more than 74,000 a year and there's no state oversight of this booming industry,” said Emily Price in a special report for KCCI TV from Des Moines, Iowa.

In the absence of effective government processes, organizations like CAPS followed up on complaints and performed undercover investigations. In some cases, like Kathy Bauck, the evidence collected was crucial in stopping unlawful animal cruelty. Without undercover video and audio, these organizations would lose a critical weapon in the fight against mistreatment of innocent animals.

The website Iowa Voters for Companion Animals showcased in their website how CAPS gathered incriminating undercover footage from three separate Iowa locations. The graphic images represent a stark reminder of the necessity of such measures and the ineffectiveness of the overworked USDA inspectors.

For more information about puppy mills go to CAPS' website and for ways you can help fight HF 589 go to the Iowa Voters for Companion Animals website.
Published in CAPS News
Thursday, 23 October 2008 00:05

USDA Investigation - Spring 1999

USDA Investigation - Spring 1999


Suzie: She was bred incessantly by Mickalyn Crawford (43-A-2488) and had numerous uterine tumors. Suzie found a home with a kind woman in Iowa.


Mandy: She came from the Crawford facility in Missouri and has genetically deformed kneecaps. Mandy has a home with an elderly woman in Iowa who had knee replacement surgery.


Frog:Ed Van Doorn (42-B-0090), an Iowa broker, sold her to a CAPS investigator because she had a scratched retina. Frog lives with a family in Iowa


Marina: A Petland customer returned her after five months because of luxating patellas and shallow hip sockets. She was back with Steve and Susan Steele (42-B-0159) in Iowa. Thanks to Paws & Claws, a no-kill shelter in Rochester, Minnesota, Marina has a wonderful home. She has had two successful patella surgeries.


Published in USDA
Monday, 14 March 2011 17:26

Iowans Getting Involved

Taken from the Iowa Voters for Companion Animals website:

National Puppy Mill Awareness Day video from Iowa Voters for Companion Animals website.

A bill has been introduced which will amend Iowa Code 717A, Offenses Related to Agricultural Production. Iowa Code 717A provides protections against disruption of operations or willful destruction of property or animals at an animal facility or crop operation.

The new bill, HF 431, introduced by Rep. Annette Sweeney, amends 717A to outlaw producing, possessing or distributing undercover video and/or audio recordings of activities within an animal facility. You'll recall that Rep. Sweeney was one of the most vocal opponents to HF 2280, the Puppy Mill Bill.

Here's a sample of the kind of video that could forever be hidden from public view: Leroy and Gertrude Kruse puppy mill in Salem, Iowa. (This mill is still in operation even after multiple citations for violations to the Animal Welfare Act.)

We ask that you contact your State (not Federal) Representative and respectfully request that they OPPOSE HF 431.

Visit the Iowa Legislature website to find your Representative's contact information.

This bill could move through the Capitol very quickly. Please send a message to your Representative today.

Published in CAPS News
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 21:25

Yoder, Reuben

Breeds: Pugs, Beagles, Puggles

On the premises at the time of investigation: approximately 18 dogs and 11 puppies.

Tethered Dog
A single Beagle was tethered outdoors near the kennel building, with a wooden dog house lacking a windbreak (3.6(c)(4)-Prohibited means of primary enclosure); (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter). The dog house walls were scratched and worn (3.1(c)(2)-Surfaces). The dog was obviously frightened of people, as it ran back and forth while crouching low as we approached. Reuben Yoder said he tethered the dog for socialization.

Outside the kennel building
Reuben Yoder had a kennel building with indoor/outdoor pens on two sides of the building. The outdoor pens had galvanized-wire walls with concrete floorings. Five pens on one side of the building housed Beagles and Pugs, with three dogs per pen.

Each pen had a metal grate in the flooring next to the wall with the doggie door. These grates were about two inches above the ground, completely covered in rust, and covered more than half the area of the pen. The metal wall at the rear of the pens was covered in dirty build-up, rust, and scratches (3.1(c)(3); 3.1(c)(2)-Surfaces).

Months of fecal accumulation was built up under the grates and on the concrete floor around the grates. Feces also had accumulated outside the pen walls furthest from the doggie-doors, likely the result of the dogs running back and forth in the pens. Directly where the wire walls met the concrete flooring, however, there was a heavy feces build up (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Flies covered the kennel area (3.11(d)-Pest control).

One of the dog doors had no windbreak on it (3.1(c)(1)(i) Surfaces); (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).

Weeds as tall as four feet were growing just beyond the concrete flooring of the pens (3.1(b)-Condition and site).

The opposite side of the barn had a Bull Mastiff pen similar in design to the smaller dog pens. It had concrete flooring and galvanized-wire walls. This pen housed two Mastiffs.

Feces stains covered the concrete, and there was a dirty build-up on the pen wall with a metal doggie door (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).

Another pen on the same side of the building as the Mastiffs housed a whelping Beagle and a litter of five Puggles.

Indoor pens
The indoor pens had plastic walls and floorings, metal self-feeders on the pen doors, and water spigots serving each enclosure. Brown stains were on all of the walls and doggie doors. In some places, the stains were so thick they were black (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).

There was feces accumulation in the corners of the pens and the crevasses where the walls and floor met (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

A cage of six Puggle puppies, with a metal water dish and metal self-feeder, was elevated over an indoor Beagle/Pug pen. The puppy cage had treated-wire flooring that allowed feces to fall onto wooden shavings; however, it was evident the waste had not been cleaned up in several days (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). A brown build-up was on the plastic walls forming three sides of this cage (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).

The indoor pen of the nursing Beagle and Puggle litter had thick, dark brown and black build-up on its walls and doggie door (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces). A plastic sheet was nailed over the bottom half of the doggie door, presumably to keep the puppies from going outside; this sheet was stained brown (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).

Sheetrock on the ceiling over the pens had yellowish-brown stains from water damage (3.1(c)(2)-Surfaces). Dead flies littered the floor (3.11(d)-Pest control).

Published in Iowa
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 21:21

Yoder, Delmar Ray

Note - we do not have a written version of this report, just the video on file.
Published in Iowa
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 21:19

Yoder, Delmar Ray

On the premises at the time of inspection: approximately 88 dogs and 33 puppies.

Breeds: Clumber Spaniels, Swiss Mountain Dogs, Pugs, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, Chihuahuas

Whelping kennel
This facility consisted of several kennel areas. The building closest to his home was a barn with indoor, elevated cages of various sizes, most housing whelping mothers with their puppies. These cages were made of plastic and treated wire and had wire floorings.

Two of these cages were three feet wide and three feet long, one housing a whelping Shih Tzu and four puppies and the other a whelping Yorkshire Terrier and five puppies. The Shih Tzu cage had a large pile of dried feces stuck to its flooring (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

In both pens, the puppies’ legs were small enough to protrude through the holes of the wire floorings; similarly, another cage housed a whelping Yorkshire Terrier with several newborn puppies whose legs were small enough to protrude completely through the wire flooring (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures).

A fourth cage of the same size contained seven Swiss Mountain puppies, each about a foot long from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures).

Two elevated cages each contained an adult Swiss Mountain Dog and several whelping puppies. These cages, about five feet long and four feet wide, had treated-wire and plastic walls and treated-wire floorings. The whelping mothers were each about 4.5 feet long from the tips of their noses to the bases of their tails and lacked six inches of space between the tops of their heads and the tops of their cages (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures); (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures).

Injured/sick dogs
Three other cages, each about five feet long and 2.5 feet wide, were positioned next to each other against the backs of the Swiss Mountain Dog cages. One housed a whelping Clumber Spaniel mother and puppies, another a single adult Clumber Spaniel, and the third contained an adult Pug and a Clumber Spaniel puppy. The single adult Spaniel had a section of skin about six inches long and six inches wide missing from her left side; the wound appeared to be clean and had no visible signs of infection. Yoder pointed out that the dog had been wounded in a fight with another dog and was being treated. When it was pointed out that the Pug had ulcers on both of his eyes – evident by raised vein-like patterns on the eyeballs –the owner had no comment (2.40-Vet care).

All of the cages had water spigots served by PVC piping and metal self feeders attached to the cage walls. Many of the feeders had a dirty build-up on their surfaces (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization).

Outdoor runs
There were two other kennel areas about a quarter mile from the whelping kennel. One kennel was a barn with about a dozen outdoor runs surrounding it. Each run was about 300 feet long and shaped like a triangle, connected at one point of the triangle to the building with a doggie-door that led to one of several indoor pens. Electric wire separated the pens, which each housed one or two adult Swiss Mountain Dogs.

Another whelping building
A second whelping building was nearby, with a row of eight enclosures on one side and two rows of eight enclosures, one on top of the other, on the opposite side of the building. The outdoor cage of each enclosure was made of treated wire, and a metal doggie door allowing access to an indoor cage. Each cage housed one or two adult dogs, and some also housed whelping puppies.

During the investigation, a black Poodle puppy in one of these enclosures came outside and its legs protruded through the wire flooring (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures).

More than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces was built up below each cage on plastic sheeting (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

Outdoor pens
About 20 elevated outdoor pens were located near this whelping building. Some of the pens were positioned in rows of three, others stood by themselves. Each pen consisted of a cage with untreated, thin-gauge-wire walls and untreated, rusting, thick-gauge wire floorings (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) and a wooden dog house accessible from the cage via a doggie door without a windbreak (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). The dog houses were covered in peeling white paint (3.1(c)(2)-Surfaces). One or two Airedale Terriers were in each cage.

Metal self feeders positioned on the floorings against the walls of the cages were not placed so as to minimize contamination by excreta and had rust and a dirty build-up on their surfaces (3.9(b)-Feeding); (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization). Water dishes also were on the floors.

Several days’ accumulation of feces was built up under each pen and had attracted swarms of flies (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures); (3.11(d)-Pest control).

Published in Iowa
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 21:18

Yoder, Clayton and Laura

On the premises at the time of investigation: approximately 126 dogs and 18 puppies.

Breeds: Dachshunds, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, Japanese Chins, Poodles, Jack Russell Terriers

Breeder building
There were two kennel buildings at this facility. One building had two rows of indoor/outdoor enclosures on each of two sides. One row of eight enclosures was set above another row of eight enclosures on each side. A metal gutter at one upper corner of the building was disconnected at its joint (3.1(a)-Structure; construction).

Each enclosure consisted of a treated wire outdoor cage connected to an indoor cage via a dog door. The indoor cages were made with a treated wire door and flooring and plastic walls. Water spigots were plumbed into the cages, and plastic self-feeders were attached to the inside cage doors.

Each outdoor cage was about 2.5 feet wide and high and three feet long. The indoor cages were each about 2.5 feet cubed. There were three adult dogs of various breeds per cage.

Plastic sheeting was beneath each row of enclosures to catch feces and debris. Feces and hair had accumulated in pools in the grass and rocks around the building as if it had been washed there (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal); (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures)

Flies were inside and around the kennel (3.11(d)-Pest control).

The surfaces of the indoor cages had a dirty build-up on them, especially on the floors (3.1(c)(2)-Surfaces). Some of the floors showed more than a day’s accumulation of feces (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

A strong ammonia odor was in the air inside the building (3.2(b)-Ventilation).

Whelping building
The other kennel structure was a whelping building with about 12 indoor/outdoor enclosures. The outside cages were constructed with untreated, thick-gauge wire and had treated wire floors. Each cage contained two dogs of various breeds.

There was several weeks’ accumulation of feces piled underneath the cages, attracting a large amount of flies (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures); (3.11(d)-Pest control).

A PVC pipe delivered water for all of the dogs. The water appeared dingy, and the inside of the pipe was covered in algae and a brown residue (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization).

Inside this kennel was a row of three whelping cages on each of the longer sides of the building. These cages, which housed nursing mothers and puppies, were installed above the indoor sections of the indoor/outdoor enclosures.

The whelping cages were about three feet wide and 1.5 feet high and long and were made entirely of treated wire. The nursing mothers in the whelping cages lacked six inches of space between the tops of their heads and the tops of their cages (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures). One of the cages contained a whelping Jack Russell mother that was about a foot long from the tip of her nose to the base of her tail, and two nursing puppies that were each about eight inches long from the tips of their noses to the tips of their tails (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures).

One cage that housed a whelping Chihuahua mother and three puppies had half of its roof slanting inwards several inches into the pen (3.1(a)-Structure; construction).

The Chihuahua puppies in this cage were in a plastic tub with a low lip that allowed them to crawl out to their mother. It appeared that the puppies’ legs were small enough to protrude through the wire flooring (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures).

Plastic self-feeders and water spigots were attached to each cage. The PVC piping that framed the wire under each cage was covered in fecal stains, as were plastic sheets under the cages to catch debris (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).

Published in Iowa
Breeds: Shar Peis, Maltese, Shih Tzus, Dachshunds, Pekingese

There were two kennel areas on this property, one in the owner’s garage and the other in her back yard.

Garage area kennel
The kennel in the garage included three Shar Pei puppy pens. These pens consisted of indoor and outdoor enclosures connected by doggie-doors. There were two to three puppies, eight to ten-weeks-old, per pen.

The indoor enclosures were wooden boxes with doors of untreated thin-gauge wire (3.6(a)(2)(xii)-Primary enclosures).

The concrete floors were covered in wood chips. Metal food and water dishes on the floors were not placed so as to minimize contamination by excreta or pests (3.9(b)-Feeding).

The outside portion of these pens was concrete runs with wooden fences. The outdoor runs, about two feet lower than the indoor pens, were accessed by wooden steps. The floors of these outdoor enclosures were covered with more than a weeks’ accumulation of feces (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

Directly next to the indoor Shar Pei pens was a pen housing an adult Shih Tzu and two puppies about five weeks old. This pen consisted of two treated wire walls set against a Shar Pei pen and a wooden wall of the garage. This enclosure created a space about 1.5 feet wide and three feet long. The adult dog was about 12 inches long from the tip of her nose to the base of her tail (3.6(c)(1)(i)(ii)-Primary enclosures). Metal food and water dishes were on the pen flooring.

Main kennel building
The main kennel building was a wooden structure with indoor chain link pens with concrete flooring. Each pen had self-feeders and water spigots. Doggie-doors allowed access to outdoor runs with chain link walls. Ms. Vander Schaaf explained that she had not been able to clean this kennel in about two months due to an injury suffered by her husband.

Three runs facing the owner’s house had dirt floorings with weeds as high as five feet (3.1(b)-Condition and site). Each pen contained two or three Dachshunds and several weeks’ accumulation of feces (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

Five outdoor runs with concrete floors each held two Shar Peis. The lack of cleaning for two months resulted in fecal accumulation more than two inches thick in several places on the flooring and feces piled up higher in the corners of the pens (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). In one pen, there was only one area of concrete visible where the dogs had walked in circles around the feces.

Weeds several feet high were growing next to the cages just beyond the owner’s property. The weeds had grown through the fencing into the cages (3.1(b)-Condition and site) (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises).

Five other outdoor pens had dirt and concrete floorings One held three Shar Pei puppies that were several months old; another held four Maltese; the third had two Shih Tzu; the fourth housed a Shih Tzu and Pekingese; and the fifth had two Yorkshire Terriers. Weeds up to a foot high were growing in the pens. Floorings were covered with weeks’ accumulation of excrement (3.1(b)-Condition and site); (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

Published in Iowa
Page 1 of 4

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If you purchased a sick or dying puppy from Barkworks or Happiness is Pets, you may be able to join consumer class action lawsuits. The first step is to fill out the CAPS complaint form.

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