Kathy Bauck - Pick of the LitterInventory: The 1/8/03 USDA inspection report lists 830 adult dogs and 321 puppies.
Breeds included Boxers, Huskies, Mastiffs, Weimeraners, Pointers, Brittany Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, Maltese, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Shelties, Golden Retrievers, Bichons, Rottweilers, Schipperkes, Schnauzers, Labrador Retrievers, Chows, Norwich Terriers and Pekingese.
While driving down the lane to Ms. Bauck's facility, we saw several dog enclosures to my left. One Mastiff enclosure had an unsealed particle board shelter that was severely water damaged with rotted holes near the ground (3.4(c)). The shelter lacked wind/rain break at the entrances (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). These entrances were severely chewed by the dogs (3.1(c)(2-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces). These dogs had no shade (3.4(b)(2)-Shelter from the elements). We also saw large holes that the dogs had dug into the earth (3.6(a)(1)(ii)-Primary enclosures).
Beyond the Mastiff's enclosure, there were several wire enclosures with dirt floors that contained Brittany Spaniels and Pointers. The shelters had pieces of tin or metal bent into a U shape in front of the openings. It appeared that these bent pieces of metal were supposed to serve as a wind break because the direct openings to the shelter were missing wind or rain breaks (3.4(b)(2)(3)-Shelter from the elements). The bent metal had very sharp jagged edges that posed a danger to the dogs (3.1(c)(1)(ii)-Surfaces) (3.6 (a)(2)(1)(ii)-Primary enclosures).
There were 10 chain link and concrete kennels with Huskies. The dogs had shelter access to a main kennel building. A few of the entrances needed the dog doors repaired. Some were chewed and partially missing and a few others just needed put back in the hinges (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). Other than the inside of their dens, these dogs lacked protection from the direct wind, sun or rain (3.4)(b)(2)-Shelter from the elements). There was more than 48 hours worth of fecal accumulation on the concrete floors, and the Huskies were unable to avoid contact with feces as they walked through it or sat in it (3.1(c)(3)-Cleaning) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
There was a large accumulation of feces, urine and hair deposited in the concrete run off trough directly in front of the enclosures. The run off trough had deposited feces and debris about two feet from the enclosures (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). Tall weeds, grass and debris were in and around the dog enclosures and surrounding areas (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises).
Ms. Bauck was in the process of dipping dogs. She had hired teenage children and a few adults from her church to assist. They were wearing orange plastic jumpsuits to prevent the pyrethine dip from getting on their clothes but were not wearing safety goggles or gloves to protect their eyes and skin. Ms. Bauck was supervising. (3.12-Employees).
Pick of the Litter had an unusual process for dipping the larger breed dogs. Ms. Bauck and her employees caught a dog, put a harness on it, hook the harness to a wench and then completely submerge the dog in a metal vat, which was similar to a watering trough only larger. They then completely submerged the dog in Pyrethine dip that was held in place by a tractor. No one seemed concerned that this dip was going into the eyes, ears and mouths of the dogs (2.40-Veterinary care) The dogs appeared scared and apprehensive about the dipping process and were certainly distressed hanging from the wench and dripping with dip (2.40)
The dogs were tossed, sopping wet, back into their enclosures. I managed to get a sample of the dip, which I took to Dr. Wiliiam Rose, a veterinarian in Perham, MN. He didn't think that the dip was diluted enough. He was very concerned about the dip getting into the dog's eyes, ears and mouths (2.40). Dr. Rose also said that the dip should have been rinsed off after five minutes. According to Kathy, it should stay on the dogs for at least five days. She said that the Pyrethine dip cures everything from mange to butt fungus and also kills fleas, ticks, and lice - and even skin allergies.
The wet dogs had to contend with the harsh smell and burning skin as well as the weather. It was around 50 degrees and overcast with fairly steady winds.
There were several Boxers, one predominantly white, who not moving. They were very lethargic and laid curled up in a ball even though all the other dogs jumped and barked at me (2.40)
Ms. Bauck seemed wary of us and kept demanding that we say that we were not animal rights people. She acted paranoid. She finally set an appointment for us and said that she only shows puppies by appointment. Our appointment was for Wednesday 9/18/02.
We arrived that afternoon to see that everything looked as it did on our first visit except for the dip procedure. It was cold and raining. As I quickly looked around, I noticed a tethered Husky with no shelter (3.6(c)(4)-Prohibited means of primary enclosure) and a tethered Rottweiler with an unsealed wooden dog house (3.4(c)-Construction) that was missing a wind/rain break at the entrance (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).
Beyond the tethered Husky I could see chain link kennels with concrete floors that contained Cocker Spaniels and Shelties. There was quite a bit of hair and fecal accumulation on the concrete floor and in the grass and run-off trough (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). The dogs were damp (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures) and I noticed a male dog urinate through the fencing onto another dog. Directly in back of the parking area, I saw Schipperkes, Poodles and Bichons living in rusty metal hutch enclosures (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). The Poodles and Bichons were dirty and shaggy (2.40-Veterinary care).
Ms. Bauck finally approached us. She stated that she had decided not to do business with us.
CAPS Helps Prevent Return of Seized Dogs to Pick of the Litter
Inhumane Manitoba Puppy Mill had Contract with the Notorious Minnesota BrokerAuthorities seized 90 dogs and 10 puppies on July 24, 2001 from an unlicensed puppy mill in Steinbach, Manitoba, 50 miles from Winnipeg. Employees from the Winnipeg Humane Society found dogs with skin lesions, open sores on their paws, parasites, ulcerated eyes, and hernias. A number of the dogs were elderly, and many of them had uterine and mammary infections. Three of the seized dogs - a poodle with a massive inguinel hernia, a Dachshund with a uterine infection and a Great Dane with complications arising from spay surgery (suspected heart condition) - subsequently died. Seven Poodle mix puppies were born about three weeks after the raid. Criminal cruelty charges have been brought against the Hieberts.
Walter and Marlene Hiebert obtained their dogs under a contractual arrangement with Kathy Bauck, a breeder/broker who owns Pick of the Litter in New York Mills, Minnesota. For each adult dog she conveyed to them, they were to give her a certain number of puppies. Once the initial dogs were "paid" off, Ms. Bauck was going to pay the Hieberts cash for the puppies. Ms. Bauck sold these puppies to pet shops in the U.S. Ms. Bauck went to court in Manitoba in an attempt to recover the dogs she claimed belonged to her. Manitoba Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuck ruled against returning the seized dogs to Ms. Bauck. According to Vicki Burns, the executive director of the Winnipeg Humane Society, CAPS' documentation on Pick of the Litter was the primary reason Ms. Wowchuck decided that the dogs would be better off in adopted homes. The Winnipeg Humane Society found homes for all of the dogs.
Ms. Bauck told a Winnipeg Free Press reporter who visited her facility that she met the Hieberts six years ago when they pulled into her yard. She and Ms. Hiebert eventually became friends. "I could just tell this woman loved animals,'" Bauck stated. "I could tell she was a naturalist, animals just cling to her." Ms. Bauck said she knew of Mr. Hiebert's prior convictions, but believed he had changed. She visited the Hiebert's farm in Steinbach but didn't see a finished facility for dogs. Ms. Bauck claimed that "she has rescued dogs from actual puppy mills where they were being raised in tiny mink cages." She insisted that she does not operate a puppy mill, "no matter what the 'animal assholes' and humane societies say." Ms. Bauck, a born-again Christian, said, "I supply love. I raise love. I raise companions. Yes, I do it for a profit. I have 12 people working for me. We love what we do."
Pick of the Litter's February 2000 USDA inspection reports listed an inventory of 673 adult dogs and 409 puppies. The USDA inspector, Dr. Catherine Hovancsack, whom CAPS is investigating for fraud, found no non-compliances. CAPS has received a number complaints from pet shop customers whose sick puppies were bred and/or brokered by Ms. Bauck. Several Pick of the Litter employees complained to the local humane society about cruel, inhumane conditions and improper recording keeping, such as bogus AKC paperwork.
This was not the first time the Hieberts have run into problems with the law concerning their treatment of animals. In 1997, a judge convicted Mr. Heibert of cruelty and gave him a sentence of four months. He was prohibited from owning and breeding dogs for two years. Mr. Heibert was fined $500 in 1995 for causing unnecessary suffering to animals.
Ms. Burns accompanied provincial government veterinarians to the Heibert facility shortly before the raid. She saw dogs living in wire-floored cages or mud pens filled with feces. A crate of Chihuahuas was in an unused outhouse. She observed a number of malnourished animals. During this visit, the humane society seized a pregnant St. Bernard because she was too emaciated to walk.
Dr. William Rose, a veterinarian in Perham, Minnesota who has worked closely with CAPS, told the Winnipeg Free Press, "She [Kathy Bauck] pulls this sort of thing all the time, Rose said. "But if those are her dogs, then she's responsible for them and is liable for the mistreatment of them." Rose cited a similar case in 1992 that went to court in Minnesota. The Baucks had a contractual arrangement with Patricia and Lori Nelms of Wadena, Minnesota. The Baucks loaned 22 adult dogs to the Nelms with the understanding that the Baucks would receive two puppies from each female dog and one puppy from each male dog. The court initially awarded the dogs to the Baucks but reversed its decision after Dr. Rose appealed directly to the judge.
After the raid, CAPS provided extensive documentation and the names of interview sources to the Winnipeg Sun, the Winnipeg Free Press, CBC Radio and CBC-TV. The Winnipeg media initially found information on Kathy Bauck and Pick of the Litter on the CAPS website. The Winnipeg Free Press quoted CAPS president Deborah Howard on Bauck's facility: "Those dogs are being raised like livestock." said Howard. "They're breeding machines. What she's doing isn't right." In September, Ms. Burns conducted a one-hour interview with Ms. Howard and Liz White, director of Animal Alliance of Canada on "All About Animals, a program Ms. Burns hosts on CJOB-AM. For the second half of the show, Ms. Howard and Ms. White took on Robert Church, the public relations coordinator for Petland Canada. They urged listeners to stay away from pet shops and to adopt unwanted animals from shelters and rescue organizations.
Kathy Bauck's Internet Puppy Businesses
Pick of the Litter, aka Puppys on Wheels and POTL PuppysIn 2007 and 2008, Kathy Bauck sold 180 puppies in a 10 month period to individuals all over the country. Between November, 2007 and November, 2008 Kathy Bauck sold 262dogs online.
Bauck had two online websites: www.puppysonwheels.com and www.potlpuppys.info (POTL stands for Pick of the Litter)
She also promoted her online businesses through these websites:
Ads may be listed under Corinne, who is Kathy's daughter.
Her USDA license is now listed under Puppys on Wheels.
Minnesota 2804 41-B-0159 Bauck, Kathy Puppys On Wheels 51402 410th St New York Mills 56567
Kathy Bauck Criminal Investigation and Case Documents
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USDA Licensed National Dog Broker Found Guilty
Companion Animal Protection Society’s Undercover Investigation Convicts
National Dog Breeder & Broker Kathy Bauck in Minnesota(Boston, MA) – An undercover investigation by the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companion animals from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in pet shops and puppy mills, is pleased to announce that Kathy Bauck, the owner and operator of Pick of the Litter (aka Puppies on Wheels) in New York Mills, Minnesota, has been found guilty of four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and torture.
Ms. Bauck was one of the largest national USDA licensed dog brokers, distributing thousands of dogs to pet shops across the country and via the internet. Based on evidence compiled by CAPS, Ms. Bauck was found guilty by a jury for four misdemeanor counts of cruelty and torture at a trial that began on March 18th and ended on March 24th 2009.
While under a cease and desist order from the State Veterinary Board for the practice of veterinary medicine, including doing C-sections on her dogs, Ms. Bauck continued to practice vet medicine, which was documented by her employees. However, the state allowed her to plea bargain for just one charge for the practice of veterinary medicine and dropped the cruelty charge for killing a puppy by bashing it against a pole. While on parole and serving work release, she continued to commit cruelty that was documented by a CAPS undercover investigator. CAPS submitted the investigator’s hidden camera footage, photographs and reports to local authorities. This documentary evidence was the basis of the criminal case against Bauck.
At the time of the investigator’s employment, Ms. Bauck’s facility held 900 adult dogs and approximately 400 puppies. The undercover video shot by the CAPS investigator shows dogs that are sick, wounded, and emaciated. Dogs at her facility commonly became wounded through fights, even some of the small breed dogs.
CAPS has an online pet shop and internet puppy complaint form and over the years has received a number of complaints from consumers who purchased sick puppies that were bred or brokered by Bauck.
Ms. Bauck has been licensed by the USDA since 1983 and despite CAPS investigations since 1997, the USDA has failed to take action. The July 2008 USDA inspection report for Bauck had no violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). CAPS has been investigating the USDA’s failure to enforce the AWA since 1995 and has been lobbying members of Congress for oversight hearings regarding USDA’s lax enforcement of the AWA. CAPS returns to the Capitol in April to meet with USDA officials and members of Congress and will use the Bauck case as evidence of the USDA’s malfeasance.
At 9:18pm on Tuesday March 24, 2009 after reviewing all of the evidence by the CAPS investigator, the jury determined that Ms. Bauck was guilty of four misdemeanor counts. The sentencing hearing will be on April 24, 2009.
Click here to view the video for the investigation report.
The trial has generated the following news coverage:
ABC Boston aired on March 25, 2009 “Conviction in Animal Cruelty Case”
ABC Boston reports sick puppies from online purchases
ABC Boston aired a two-part expose on the CAPS undercover investigation of Pick of the Litter, owned by Kathy Bauck.
CBS 2 and KCAL 9 in Los Angeles aired "Buy Internet Puppies at Your Peril"
CBS2 Chicago aired the third installment about the CAPS undercover investigation of Pick of the Litter, owned by Kathy Bauck
CBS Minneapolis aired an expose on the CAPS undercover investigation of Pick of the Litter, owned by Kathy Bauck.
USDA Considering Action against Puppy Mill Owner
CBS2 Chicago aired an exclusive expose on the CAPS undercover investigation of Pick of the Litter, owned by Kathy Bauck
For more information please visit www.caps-web.org or call the Companion Animal Protection Society at 781.210.0938.
About Companion Animal Protection Society:
Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companions from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in Pet Shops and Puppy Mills. Founded in 1992, CAPS actively addresses this issue through undercover investigations, consumer education through the media, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet shop employee relations. CAPS has gained worldwide recognition for targeting puppy mill operations and converting pet shops to humane animal adoption centers. The Companion Animal Protection Society is based in the Boston, MA area. For more information please visit www.caps-web.org.
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Notorious USDA Licensed Dog Broker Sentenced to Only 20 Days in PrisonKathy Bauck, Owner and Operator of one of the Largest Commercial Breeding Facilities in the United States is Locked Away for Only 20 Days with Work Release
(Greater Boston, MA) – Touching his face with her hands, Kathy Bauck said “Don’t be scared. The Lord let’s me see what you’re thinking… are you a CAPS investigator?”
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Media Contact: Bob Parks
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Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
Notorious USDA Licensed Dog Broker Sentenced to Only 20 Days in Prison
Kathy Bauck, Owner and Operator of one of the Largest Commercial Breeding Facilities in the United States is Locked Away for Only 20 Days with Work Release
(Greater Boston, MA) – Touching his face with her hands, Kathy Bauck said “Don’t be scared. The Lord let’s me see what you’re thinking… are you a CAPS investigator?”
The undercover investigator from the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) -- the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companion animals from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in pet shops and puppy mills — replied, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” Bauck used her self-proclaimed Christianity for years to justify her unrelenting mistreatment of animals.
Kathy Bauck is the owner and operator of Pick of the Litter (aka Puppies on Wheels) in New York Mills, Minnesota. Her facility, one of the largest USDA licensed commercial dog breeding and brokering operations in the country, distributes thousands of sick and dying dogs to pet shops across the country and via the internet. Based on evidence from a six-week undercover employment investigation by the Companion Animal Protection Society, a jury in Fergus Falls (Otter Tail County), Minnesota convicted Bauck on March 24, 2009 of four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and torture.
Unfortunately, on May 1, 2009, in what CAPS and animal advocates consider a miscarriage of justice, Judge Waldemar Senyk sentenced Bauck on just one of the counts, which he believed encompassed the other charges.
Bauck received a 90-day sentence, reduced to 20 days (weekday work release at the sheriff’s discretion), a $500 fine (reduced from $1,000), 80 hours of community service and one year of probation.
Bauck’s lawyers may have manipulated the judicial system by claiming the breeding animals were livestock and not companion animals, which would have required seizure of the animals under the statute. The sentence also mandates that a state humane agent can make unannounced visits to the facility (which is now owned by Bauck’s husband and daughter) although Bauck is clearly still in charge. Being on work release means that Bauck will spend nights in jail during the 20 days of her sentence, yet be able to oversee kennel operations on weekdays, just as she did while serving an earlier sentence.
During the trial, as the CAPS investigator walked by Bauck, she said, “I forgive you.” Yet while Bauck and her attorney waited in the courtroom with the CAPS investigator and the assistant prosecutor before the jury and judge came in, Bauck cryptically said to the CAPS investigator, "It's good to see you again, Jason. I'm glad you're not dead."
At the time of the investigator’s employment, Bauck’s facility held 900 adult dogs and approximately 400 puppies. The undercover video shot by the CAPS investigator shows dogs that are sick, wounded and dying. This graphic video portrays emaciated dogs nursing their puppies, dogs immersed in caustic pesticides, bleach water used for wounds, and animals simply left to suffer and die.
While under a cease and desist order from the State Veterinary Board for the practice of veterinary medicine (including doing C-sections on her dogs), Bauck continued to practice vet medicine, which was documented by her employees. Despite her blatant disregard for the law, the state allowed Kathy Bauck to plea bargain to just one charge for the practice of veterinary medicine and dropped a cruelty charge that was brought about for the killing of a puppy by bashing it against a pole. While on parole and serving work release, she continued to commit cruelty that was documented by our undercover investigator. CAPS submitted the investigator’s hidden camera footage, photographs and reports to local authorities.
CAPS has investigated more than 1,000 puppy mills – mostly USDA licensed breeders and brokers – in the United States and handles pet shop complaints from all over the U. States and Canada. Over the years the organization has received numerous complaints from consumers who’ve purchased sick puppies that were bred or brokered by people like Bauck.
The USDA has licensed Bauck since 1983 and despite CAPS investigations since 1997, the USDA will not take action. The July 2008 USDA inspection report for Bauck had no violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). They didn’t inspect her again until March 4, 2009, just three weeks before her conviction. The inspector cited her for veterinary and cleaning violations. CAPS has been investigating the USDA’s failure to enforce the AWA since 1995 and has been lobbying members of Congress for oversight hearings regarding USDA’s lax enforcement of the AWA.
CAPS returned to Capitol Hill the week of June 7 to meet with USDA officials and congressional aides, using the Bauck case as evidence of the USDA’s dereliction of duty.
CAPS’ pro bono lobbyists are submitting a petition for rulemaking requesting that AWA regulations be amended to require the automatic revocation of a USDA license upon the conviction in a court of law of a licensee, such as Bauck, for animal cruelty.
Click here to view the video for the investigation report. WARNING: Some of the visuals are graphic.
For more information please visit http://www.caps-web.org or call the Companion Animal Protection Society at 781-210-0938.
About the Companion Animal Protection Society:
The Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companions from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in pet Shops and puppy Mills. Founded in 1992, CAPS actively addresses this issue through undercover investigations, education, media relations, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet shop employee relations. CAPS has gained worldwide recognition for targeting puppy mill operations and converting pet shops to humane animal adoption centers. The Companion Animal Protection Society is based in the Boston, MA area.
No fair punishment for Kathy BauckThe former owner of Pick of the Litter (aka Dogs on Wheels), Kathy Bauck, was convicted of 4 misdemeanor charges (3 of torture and 1 of animal cruelty) in March. Those following the case were expecting the judge to be tough on the notorious puppy mill owner, especially after all the evidence and the undercover videos. However, last month Judge Waldemar Senyk handed down a sentence that seemed unfair to many.
According to court documents, Bauck will serve 20 days in jail, pay a $500 fine, contribute 80 hours of community service, and spend one year under probation. Regardless of the legal procedures, she will continue being the brains behind the Minnesota puppy mill, which is now conveniently run by her family. Because she'll be on work release, Bauck will spend nights in jail but will be able to oversee kennel operations on weekdays.
The USDA licensed dog broker (surprisingly since 1983) has eluded the full extent of the law on previous occasions. CAPS has exposed the cruelty behind her kennels multiple times, but lax laws have allowed her to continue with the unscrupulous business (for more information about CAPS investigations, click here or click the tab on your right). The latest sentence downplayed the severity of her crimes and failed to put a stop to one of the largest puppy mills in the country. With this kind of leniency, it's evident she won’t change her ways any time soon.
To contact the Honorable Judge Senyk, call or send a letter to:
Honorable Judge Waldemar Senyk
121 West Junius Avenue, Suite 310
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Phone: (218) 998-8420
Be a voice to the countless dogs who have suffered and will continue to suffer in silence.
Motion to Terminate Bauck's USDA License Granted; Bauck Appeals DecisionDue in part to the efforts of the Companion Animal Protection Society, Kathy Bauck may soon no longer be able to sell to pet shops and other dog breeders and brokers. On August 13, 2009, the USDA/APHIS filed a Motion for Summary Judgment requesting the termination of Bauck’s license. It is rare for the agency to request the revocation of a license, especially through the expedited means of a summary judgment. On September 29, the administrative law judge issued a decision and order in the Bauck case, granting APHIS’ motion for summary judgment. On October 29, Bauck appealed that decision to the judicial officer. APHIS filed a response to her appeal on November 18, and sometime thereafter the judicial officer will issue a decision on the appeal.
Video of the protest at Pet Fashion in New York City
On November 28, 2009 CAPS organized a demonstration outside of Pet Fashion in New York City to protest its sale of dogs from puppy mill breeders like Kathy Bauck. Click here to view the video.