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Friday, 02 March 2012 19:00

Puppy Mills Revisited

Publication/Event date: 2012-02-29

Publication name: Pet Health Care Gazette

URL for more info:;utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PetHealthCareGazette+%28Pet+Health+Care+Gazette%29

I’ve talked quite a bit here on Pet Health Care Gazette about puppy mills; about the living conditions of the breeding dogs, about the health of the puppies that come out of puppy mills, about why buying puppies (and kittens) from pet stores is a bad idea, about the documentary Madonna of the Mills and so much more.

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Friday, 02 March 2012 19:00

Puppy Mills, CAPS and the Domino Effect

Publication/Event date: 2012-02-27

Publication name: Animal Cafe

URL for more info:

Puppy mills and pet shops are locked in a loop of perpetual cruelty and abuse of animals unlucky enough to be cycled through their doors. An ASPCA study showed that 78% of the general public is unaware of the connection between pet shops and puppy mills, and 80% of adults would not buy a dog that came from a puppy mill.

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Saturday, 03 March 2012 19:00

IA Gov Signs Ag-gag Bill

Publication/Event date: 2012-03-03

Publication name: Animal Law Coalition

URL for more info:

Update March 3, 2012: Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has now signed the Ag-gag bill, H.F. 589 into law. This despite a strong effort by animal welfare and civil liberties organizations and the general public to stop this assualt on the First Amendment. For more on this bill and what it means for the animals, read Animal Law Coalition's report below. For a look at the kinds of investigations this bill will stop, visit the sites of Mercy for Animals or as other examples, the Hallmark Meat Packing Co. investigation by the Humane Society of the United States. The investigation of the Rose Acre egg producers in Iowa would never have happened had this law been in effect at that time. There are dozens more examples.

Continue reading…
Top egg and pork producing state has second largest number of USDA-licensed facilities

The Iowa legislation and Gov. Terry Branstad put the fate of future puppy mill undercover investigations in jeopardy after making the infamous Ag-gag bill, H.F. 589, officially into law. Gov. Brandstad signed the bill Saturday evening, disregarding the vocal opposition of animal lovers in Iowa and across the country.

CAPS will continue to champion against similar bills being considered in various states and will make sure the people of Iowa understand the repercussions of this law. The bill makes it illegal to obtain access to or obtain employment with an agricultural facility using false pretenses. Although companion animals don’t appear to fall under the definition of Ag animals in Iowa, this law still applies to crop facilities. Taking into consideration the ease with which puppy mill owners trick the system and use it to their advantage, it is logical to assume that they will find a way to use this law to protect their shady businesses.

For example, puppy mills are sometimes located on farms that grow crops, especially in Iowa. Even with a weak legal team, the puppy mill owners could argue that CAPS investigators violate this new law just by entering the property to videotape blatant violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). This would make it nearly impossible to keep these puppy mill operators in check without risking penalties and the investigator being found guilty of a serious misdemeanor. Virtually all the puppy mills caught abusing dogs were put under the spotlight thanks to undercover investigations. Announced inspections allow the unscrupulous breeder to, in most cases, discard of the evidence and put up a mildly believable front. At times, they don’t even bother hiding the evidence of abuse because they can’t be easily prosecuted unless there is evidence (either undercover video footage or a reliable witness) of a misdeed.

The bill is so broad that it will likely be contested because it borders on unconstitutional. By creating the crime of ‘agricultural production facility fraud,’ the government of Iowa sided with the big agricultural corporations and the puppy mill cabal, effectively shielding them from public scrutiny. They have also made it very difficult to enforce animal rights legislation and the most likely scenario is that these people will continue their abuse, now implicitly sanctioned by the state of Iowa. When a law affects the enforcement of another, it’s clear to see that policy makers were duped by or caved to special interest groups that benefited from the arrangement.

Even though some USDA inspectors, due to pressure from the Office of Inspector General Report,* seem to be documenting more Animal Welfare Act violations and in some cases, taking photographs, little, if any, enforcement actions against Iowa puppy mills have taken place.  Moreover, inspectors rarely report animal neglect and cruelty to local authorities.  A photo taken by a USDA inspector in October 2011 at a puppy mill in Clayton County, Iowa, shows a Chihuahua with a mammary tumor nearly half the size of the dog.  Why didn't the inspector present this evidence to the sheriff?

House Amendment 589 and Senate Amendment 5004 read in part:

“Makes a false statement or representation as part of an application or agreement to be employed at an agricultural production facility, if the person knows the statement to be false, and makes the statement with an intent to commit an act not authorized by the owner of the agricultural production facility, knowing that the act is not authorized.”

An act “not authorized” would most likely include photography and videography, activities that would have been illegal under the first version of Iowa’s Ag-gag bill and to which the Attorney General of Iowa objected. The Iowa legislature cleverly found a way to make these necessary investigative tactics illegal. This statute language is too broad to withstand legal scrutiny. Since when do we give citizens the right to decide what is authorized and what is not under the law? This is, in effect, privatization of public laws.

A very similar bill passed the state House of Representatives in Utah, which indicates that Iowa is just the tip of the iceberg. States like New York, Minnesota, and Florida all had similar legislation that failed to pass, despite the support of big name corporations. Minnesota and New York, both puppy mill states, have re-introduced Ag-gag legislation.

Had Minnesota had an Ag-gag law in place, the CAPS undercover employment investigation of Kathy Bauck, the largest dog broker and breeder and Minnesota, wouldn't have been legal. Bauck wouldn't have been convicted of cruelty, and USDA wouldn't have terminated and ultimately revoked her federal license. CAPS investigative evidence for Reuben Wee, a USDA-licensed breeder in Minnesota who dropped his license, resulted in his conviction for animal cruelty. Missouri, Indiana and Nebraska are considering bills that would impede undercover investigations of farm animal abuse. All three states have large-scale breeding facilities that supply pet shops around the US and Canada.

* In late May 2010, the Office of Inspector General for USDA released a scathing 69-page report for an audit and investigation conducted between 2006 and 2008. This audit and investigation was prompted by a meeting that CAPS and Crowell & Moring attorneys had with OIG officials in May 2006. CAPS reports, video footage and photographs from our investigations of Iowa puppy mills were part of this meeting. The complete OIG report is available on our website. CAPS will continue to cooperate with USDA while conducting ongoing oversight of the Animal Care inspection program. Since 1995, CAPS has been to approximately 1,000 puppy mills, most of them USDA licensed.
Friday, 23 March 2012 20:00

This is the Face of a Puppy Mill Dog

Fashion model Kiley Wirtz Jennings and CAPS Spokesmodel Beatrice team up to tell the story of Beatrice's journey from living in a Midwest puppy mill to being a national advocate on behalf of pet shop and puppy mill dogs.

Models Against Pet Shops and Puppy Mills

Learn more, take action, donate now!

Sunday, 25 March 2012 20:00

Gorham bans dog-breeding farms

Publication/Event date: 2012-03-21

Publication name: Democrat and Chronicle

URL for more info:

GORHAM — The Gorham Town Board voted unanimously Wednesday to adopt a moratorium on new dog kennels and dog-breeding operations.

The move was prompted by widespread opposition to a plan for a dog-breeding facility in the town.

Curtis and Jolene Martin of Varick, Seneca County, want to move their dog-breeding business from rented property in Varick to a 20-acre parcel they purchased at 4446 Route 247.

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Sunday, 25 March 2012 20:00

Cry of the Innocent

Please watch and share "Cry of The Innocent: The Voices That Can't Speak," a compelling documentary about the fur industry produced by Kathleen Lowson.

From "Cry of The Innocent" website:

"A spiritual and psychological study of the human condition, this precedent-setting film will awaken consciousness, with its center on the fur trade as a paradigm of a more expansive nemesis permeating our world.

This critical film will convey the truth from a deeper level of the psyche, bridging the link to cruelty, lack of compassion or empathy, and its interrelationship with disconnection to soul.

A film that people will want to see, not close their eyes in horror."
CAPS San Diego Coordinator Sydney Cicourel was interviewed by CBS San Diego for a story that aired Wednesday night.  The story also featured undercover footage shot by Cicourel at Puppy Star's, one of three pet shops under the same ownership.   On Tuesday, more than 100 animals were seized by law enforcement and the local humane society.

Publication/Event date: 2012-03-28

Publication name: CBS 8

URL for more info:

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8 ) - New video has surfaces that gives an inside look at the conditions at one of three pet stores raided by the San Diego Humane Society.

A customer shot undercover footage just weeks before Humane Society and law enforcement officers rescued dozens of animals.

In this News 8 video story, Doug Kolk takes a look at the video and how the animals are doing.

Continue reading....

CAPS Investigation (Fall 1997)

As part of our campaign against Shake A Paw, CAPS investigated Pick of the Litter, a large-scale brokerage facility in Minnesota in the fall of 1997. The owner, Kathy Bauck, told our investigators that she had 573 dogs who all have names. The February 25, 1998 inspection report listed 603 adult dogs and 309 puppies.

Our investigators saw dogs in a variety of enclosures. They saw numerous outdoor dirt pens with only doghouses for shelter. Ms. Bauck owner told them she brings all the dogs inside during winter. CAPS' investigators observed this would be impossible due to lack of space. Pick of the Litter had six buildings for breeding dogs, two buildings for puppies and one building for brokered puppies. Our investigators noticed that all the buildings had large accumulations of feces and inadequate ventilation. The building with the brokered puppies was the worst facility with respect to sanitation and ventilation. A concrete drainage ditch that ran the length of this building was covered with feces encrusted grates. All the buildings had a heavy fly infestation. In one building, the CAPS investigators saw old disposable syringes and needles scattered about.

Several Shelties housed underneath a pole barn had no hair. One CAPS investigator saw a dog with a prolapsed uterus. He also encountered a Dalmatian licking her dead puppy. The mother dog picked up the puppy several times and desperately tried to hand it to our investigator so that he could help her. According to a former Pick of the Litter employee, Ms. Bauck left puppies with the mother dogs so they could grieve. This employee claimed that dead puppies sometimes stayed in mothers' pen for as long as a week. Because Ms. Bauck's husband came into the kennel, the CAPS investigator was unable to take a photograph.

According to a former employee who filed a complaint with the Otter Tail Humane Society, Ms. Bauck threw dead dogs in a manure spreader. This employee saw her throw live newborn puppies in the spreader. The employee rescued the puppies. This employee stated that Pick of the Litter had animals buried out back or burned in the wood burner. In addition, she claimed there were dead dogs under the hay shed and in the silo.

Another former employee told the local humane society that Ms. Bauck made her hold down a mother dog while the owner did a C-section without adequate anesthesia. The mother and puppies died.

According to former employees and a local veterinarian, Pick of the Litter was keeping extra AKC blue slips. They alleged that computer records indicated Pick of the Litter was selling more dogs than they were whelping. Former employees claimed Ms. Bauck bought dogs listed in the newspaper and sold them with the extra blue slips. In addition, these employees claimed Pick of the Litter reused the AKC numbers of deceased dogs.

Based on information the Otter Tail Humane Society collected from former Pick of the Litter employees, sheriff investigators and the state veterinarian went on a "raid" of Pick of the Litter in November 1996. The sheriff's department would not allow a humane society employee to accompany them. However, they let a local veterinarian, Dr. William Rose, go with them. The kennel manager told Dr. Rose they had lost 35 puppies in a five-day period. Employees also told him that Ms. Bauck had known about the raid in advance. The employees had been cleaning and painting for a couple of weeks. According to Dr. Rose, there were around 270 dogs on the premises even though Pick of the Litter had more than 500 at the time. The sheriff's department did not file charges. When Dr. Rose called the AKC to complain about Pick of the Litter's records, they told him they were not interested.

CAPS investigators also inspected two horrendous puppy mills in Minnesota and Wisconsin that sell puppies to Pick of the Litter. A USDA licensed breeder, who is just up the road from Pick of the Litter, bred Penny, the Shake A Paw puppy that died eight days after Ann Margaret Hinrichsen received her as a birthday present. An unlicensed breeder in Wisconsin bred LaVerne Reenan's Chow. This Shake A Paw puppy had bladder repair surgery for a congenital condition and now has severe hip dysplasia.

As part of the "Hard Copy" story, one of our investigators returned with a camera crew to Pick of the Litter and the two other puppy mills. They obtained hidden camera footage of all of these facilities. The conditions at the Minnesota breeder's facility were horrendous. There were more than 100 dogs in mink sheds and outdoor pens in the snow. The housing was piled with excrement. When the CAPS investigator asked the owner if this was her "puppy mill," she said "yes." It is unusual she didn't deny it was a puppy mill. She and her husband obtained a Class A license (breeder) after canceling their Class B license (broker) in August 1997. According to a USDA inspection report dated 8/4/97, this facility had no non-compliant standards or regulations identified on this inspection and met all requirements to be licensed as an "A" dealer. It is hard to believe such an inhumane facility would pass inspection.
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Bea's Beat

Blog with CAPS Spokesmodel Beatrice, a puppy mill survivor and vegan advocate.

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Deborah Howard

Deborah Howard

Learn more about Deborah Howard, president and founder of Companion Animal Protection Society.

Meet Deborah


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759 CJC Hwy., #332
Cohasset, MA 02025
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Class Action Lawsuits

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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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