Message from Speak Up for Minnesota Dogs and Cats Coalition:


We have great news! Governor Dayton signed the Omnibus Supplemental Budget Bill (H.F. 3172) into law today (May 20, 2014) which included the dog and cat breeder regulation bill! This means the Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation bill is now officially law in the State of Minnesota!

THANK YOU for all of your calls, letters, emails, contacts with legislators, and support over the past several years! We finally did it.
Published in CAPS News
Tuesday, 31 December 2002 19:00

Bauck, Kathy - Pick of the Litter Kennels

Breeds included: Mastiffs, Great Danes, American Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Springer Spaniels, Brittany Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Siberian Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Shar Peis, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Coon Hounds, Blood Hounds, Pekingese, Poodles, Cairn Terriers, Maltese, Bichon Frise, Miniature Pinchers, Yorkshire Terriers, Silky Terriers, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Corgis, St. Bernards, Beagles, Pomeranians, Shiba Inus, American Eskimos, Dalmatians, Soft Coated Wheaton Terriers, Italian Greyhounds, Papillons, Shih Tzus, Rat Terriers, Ori-peis (Pugs or Boston Terriers crossed with Shar Peis), Terrier Crosses and Poodle Crosses. At the time of the inspection, Kathy Bauck told us she had approximately 1000 dogs and 200 puppies.

Minnesota State Humane Agent Wade Hanson conducted this investigation with CAPS investigators. We had the cooperation of Kathy and Allan Bauck and Andrea Keepings, the office manager. The Baucks have 14 employees and have been in business for 18 years. The time was approximately 12:00 and the temperature was 91 degrees farenheight. The employees were in the process of dipping the dogs for skin problems and pest control in Paramite dip. Ms. Bauck stated that they save the dip in barrels and reuse it every year (2.40-Veterinary care).

Outdoor Housing Area (to the left of the driveway)

This area housed primarily Mastiffs, Great Danes, Siberian Huskies, Boxers, Spaniels and a Basset Hound puppy that Ms. Bauck said was owned by Michelle Borchert (41-A-0369) of Eagle Bend, MN. The dirt floor pens were constructed of T-post and hog panels with some chain link. The dog houses had sharp tin on the roofs as wind and rain breaks (3.1(a)-Structure; construction). There were chewed, unsealed wooden surfaces at the entrances that were not impervious to moisture. These surfaces should be maintained on a regular basis (3.1(c)(2)-Surfaces) (3.4(c)-Construction) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). Several of the fence panels had wire protruding into the dog pen (3.6(a)(2)(i)(ii)-Primary enclosures).

A Mastiff named Dallas was favoring his left front leg. It was swollen, and he did not want to bear weight on it. Ms. Bauck stated she did not know what had caused the problem and had not contacted her vet (2.40-Veterinary care). Another Mastiff had an accumulation of food and feces in the primary enclosure (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The accumulation of feces and food debris was attracting a large swarm of flies. The flies had chewed large, open, bleeding soars on the Mastiff's ears (3.11(d)-Pest control). The dog's ears needed immediate treatment (2.40).

Ms. Bauck stated that her veterinarian is Dr. Randall Linderman (218-847-2922). Ms. Bauck showed us a young adult female St. Bernard named Gail that had been returned from a Shake-A-Paw pet shop on the East Coast. Gail had a large baseball size lump on her front leg and was limping. Ms. Bauck told us that she was returned because of her lump. She claimed a simple drainage procedure would fix the lump. Ms. Bauck did not say when the vet was going to take care of the lump (2.40). There were large holes dug in the dirt floor of Gail's primary enclosure (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.6(a)(2((ii)-Primary enclosures).

Sheltered Housing Facility

Adjacent to the outdoor pens described above was sheltered housing with Siberian Huskies and Great Danes. Their enclosures were made of chain link fencing with concrete flooring. Metal doors led to their shelter inside a tin building. There was more than two weeks worth of feces, urine and standing water in front of these enclosures (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). This accumulation of feces, urine and standing water was attracting flies (3.11(d)-Pest control). Adjacent to this building were hog panel pens with dirt floors. A few of these pens had hog panel ceilings for climbing dogs. These pens contained American and English Bulldogs. One female Bulldog named Jewel had an inflamed eye with discharge. Ms. Bauck thought dirt had gotten into the do's eye and had yet to see the vet (2.40).

Pervasive throughout all the areas listed above were chewed water bowls with dirty water in them (3.10-Watering). None of the shelters had adequate protection from the elements (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements) aside from the actual shelter structures. Under 3.4(b) of the Animal Welfare Act, "In addition to the shelter structures, one of more separate outside areas of shade must be provided, large enough to contain all the animals at one time and protect them from the direct rays of the sun."

Allan's Barn

Ms. Bauck told us it was called Allan's Barn because it housed the dogs cared for by her husband. Allan's Barn is a newer metal building with concrete floors. Chain link runs are on both sides. There were plastic buckets for water. This barn housed Boxers, Labradors, Lab mixes and other large breed dogs. Ms. Bauck told us that he keeps older breeding stock, which were in fair condition whereas she gets rid of her dogs when they reach six or seven years of age. She told us they do not produce large enough litters.

The concrete floors inside had standing water and some dogs appeared damp (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). One of the enclosures had standing liquid, urine and sludge water (3.1)(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). There was a heavy ammonia odor in the air (3.3(b)-Ventilation). Ms. Bauck said that the ventilation system was in the attic but there were no obvious vents or fans. The lighting was dim (3.3(c)-Lighting). Food in the containers was damp (3.9-Feeding).

The outside concrete had some standing water but most water had pooled at the ends of the building. The entire concrete area was surrounded with a moat of feces, urine and stagnant algae water. In some areas, it seemed as deep as six inches. The moat was attracting flies and had a foul odor. The width of the moat varied but in most areas was wider than a normal pace (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). Disposal and drainage systems should be constructed, operated and located far enough away from the dogs so that animal waste and water are rapidly eliminated and must minimize pests or insects, odors and disease hazards.

In one of the outdoor portion, there was very thin, inactive Boxer puppy, who was standing upright. Her litter mates were active and playful. Her head was hanging low and green discharge was coming out of her nose. Ms. Bauck stated that this puppy slipped out of her employee's arms while being dipped in the Paramite solution. Ms. Bauck said that the dog took in several mouthfuls of the dip. Consequently, they had wormed her the day prior to our inspection. Several piles of feces with the worms in it were in the Boxer's pen. Ms. Bauck stated that one of her employees had brought the Boxer to her attention that morning, but she had not contacted the vet (2.40).

The Big Condos

The Big Condos were built-up hutches made of wire with tin awning coving the entire area. The shelters were wooden boxes. The third enclosure from the end had rusted wire and needed to be replaced 3.1(c)(i)-Surfaces) (3.6(a)(2)(ix)-Primary enclosures). Bird nests were in the awning and around the primary enclosures. There were bird droppings (3.11(d)-Pest control). The dogs in this area appeared to be in fair condition. The breeds included Pugs, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Shar Pei, and Ori Pei (combinations of Pugs, Boston Terriers or Bulldogs always crossed with Shar Peis, according to Ms. Bauck).

The dogs' watering system was a community system constructed of white PVC pipe (4" to 6"diameter) with oval holes cut in each individual enclosure. The system ran the entire length of the enclosures along the bottom front and was capped off at the end. This watering system did not reduce disease risk because it could not be sanitized and was a community watering system (3.10 watering) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). The self-feeder boxers in most of primary enclosures had sharp rusted edges (3.9(b)-Feeding (3.11(ii)-Surfaces). There was than four weeks worth of fecal accumulation under these enclosures (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Ms. Bauck told us that her staff cleans underneath the enclosures on the first Monday and Tuesday of every month but that they were off-schedule due to the dipping of the dogs.

The Small Condos

This area was identical to the Big Condos only it held small dogs. The breeds included Pugs, Pomeranians, Poodles (shaved) and Shiba Inus. The dogs were in fair condition but had extremely long toe nails (2.40). This area had the same watering system as the Large Condo's.

There were bird nests and droppings and a large accumulation of food, hair and feces. Most of the entrances to the dog's wooden shelter were scratched, chewed and not impervious to moisture (3.3(e)(1)-Surfaces). A female adult Husky was tethered to the side of this building with no visible shelter. Ms. Keepings had employees move the dog from this area just after we had walked by (3.6(c)(4)-Prohibited means of primary enclosure). There was also large female Mastiff tethered to the office (3.6(c)(4)).

Bread and Butter Barn

The puppies in this barn provided most of the Bauck's income. The breeds in this building included Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, American Bulldogs, Dalmatians and Soft Coated Wheaton Terriers. The newly constructed tin building had concrete floors with chain link runs on both sides. Most of the entrances were scratched, chewed and not impervious to moisture (3.3(e)(1)-Surfaces). There was a very strong ammonia odor on the inside. Ms. Bauck told us that the ventilation system was in the attic. There was no visible ventilation system (3.3(b)- Ventilation).

Most dogs had chewed food and water bowls (3.11(b)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). The concrete was damp as were the dogs (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). A female yellow Labrador (KB#50) was lame (2.40); she was slipping and sliding on the wet concrete of the enclosure (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). At this point in the tour Allan Bauck joined us. We pointed out the Lab's lameness to Mr. Bauck. He stated that this was the first time he had seen this dog lame. He would need to call the vet. The inside concrete walkway had a pool of liquid in the center (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). The lighting was dim (3.3(c)-Lighting). A large heating unit was suspended above the entrance. Around the outside portions of the outdoor enclosures was the same kind of moat that we encountered at Allan's barn (3.1(f)-Drainage & waste disposal). Some of the dogs had extremely long toenails (2.40).

The Dollar Barn

These dogs always brought a dollar. There were built-up wood and wire enclosures. The entrances were scratched, chewed and not impervious to moisture (3.3(1)-Surfaces). The breeds included Pekingese, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Maltese, Dachshunds, Italian Greyhounds, and Papillon. The inside portion walkway had cracks in the concrete and standing liquid (3.1(e)(2)-Surfaces) (3.1(f)- Drainage and waste disposal). The Dollar Barn had the same watering system as the Large Condos.

The Holding Area

This area held the replacement puppies for Ms. Bauck's breeding stock. Their enclosure was made of wire hutches with wooden support (3.4(c)-Construction). The only shelter was a blue tarp hanging over part of their enclosure (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements). The breeds included American Eskimo, Shih Tzus and Boston Terriers. The water had algae (3.10 watering).

The Big Dog Puppy Building

This was the whelping area for the large breed dogs. The temperature in this building ranged from 80 to 85 degrees. There was a very strong ammonia and Paramite dip odor in the air (3.2(b)-Ventilation). Employees placed mother dogs who had just been dipped in the Paramite and were dripping with the solution with their puppies (2.40). The mothers and puppies were on coated wire. Plastic wading pools were the resting surfaces. Ms. Bauck and Ms. Keeping said that when the puppies reach three weeks of age, they remove the plastic swimming pools to allow the puppies to get used to walking on the wire. Several puppies had their feet passing through, and in some cases, their legs (3.6(a)(2)(x)- Primary enclosures. A female Weimaraner had extremely long toenails (2.40). There were no tops on the primary enclosures to contain the animal securely (3.6(a)(2)(iii)-Primary enclosures), and a German Shepherd mother was sticking her head and shoulders out of the top of her enclosure.

The Hay Shed

This building was called the Hay Shed because there were bails of hay stored above the dog enclosures. The enclosures were wire and wood built-up hutches with indoor dens. The breeds included Cairn Terriers, Bichon Frises, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Rat Terriers, American Eskimos, Pugs, Poodles Miniature Pinschers, Poodle mixes and Bichon mixes. Most of the dogs had long toenails (2.40). The dogs appeared in fair condition. Ms. Bauck tried to show us how well she and her dogs relate, but none of the dogs came to her.

The inside portion had no top (3.6(a)(2)(iii)-Primary enclosures). Sharp metal from the dog door had come loose in one of the enclosures, and the Rat Terrier in this enclosure had a severely scratched neck (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures). We pointed this out to Ms. Bauck. She immediately pulled this piece off and stated that she would have one of her employee fix it later. The front portions of the indoor primary enclosures had loose doors that allowed the dogs' heads and feet to pass through the cages (3.6(a)(2)(iii-Primary enclosures). Many of the enclosures had rusted wire panels (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). There was also a serious hair build-up (3.11(a) Cleaning of primary enclosures). Ms. Bauck told us that she would speak to a new employee who had not secured the fronts of the enclosures properly. Many of the self-feeders had rusty sharp areas (3.9(b)-Feeding).

The Small Dog and Puppy Area

This building was similar to the Hay Shed . There was an ammonia odor (3.3(b)-Ventilation), standing liquid on the concrete walkway (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal), and the wooden surfaces were not impervious to moisture (3.3(e)(1)-Surfaces).

Holding Area for Other Breeders

Ms. Bauck had several German Shepherds that belonged to someone else. These dogs were in an outdoor housing facility constructed of hog panels, dirt floors and wooden dog houses. The entire area for the German Shepherds lacked shelter from sun, wind, rain and snow (3.4(b)(2)-Shelter from the elements). One German Shepherd had a bent ear. She had an accumulation of food and feces in her primary enclosure that was attracting flies (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The flies had bitten large bloody areas on her ears (3.11(d)-Pest control). We brought this to Ms. Bauck's attention. An employee told us that he had applied fly ointment to the ears the week before (2.40). They assured us that they would put fly ointment on the dog's ears later.

The Cocker Spaniel Building

This tin building had concrete floors and chain link runs. The building smelled of ammonia and Paramite dip (3.3(b)-Ventilation). There was standing water on the walkway inside of the building (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). Employees were just outside the building dipping the dogs in the Paramite solution. The employees were not wearing protective eyewear and some were not wearing plastic gloves (2.40(b)(4)-Veterinary care). This area had Quick Bait fly traps that seem to effectively deal with pest control, and we wondered why they weren't in every area of her facility.

The Call Barn

This area housed the dogs that were no longer producing to Ms. Bauck's expectations. She stated again that she doesn't keep dogs past the age of six or seven years old. Ms. Bauck sells or contracts out these dogs to other people trying to get into the dog breeding business. What makes Ms. Bauck think these dogs will produce better for someone else? The waste removal system in this barn was an old-fashioned chain auger built into the walkway. Employees pushed in waste and wood shavings. The open auger system posed a danger to the employees and the animals. It was also extremely loud.

At the end of our tour Ms. Bauck and Ms. Keepings said that "Humaniacs" had set fire to one of the whelping buildings in April 1998. Ms. Bauck told us that no one had been caught or prosecuted. According to an April 30, 1998 article in The Perham Enterprise Bulletin, the fire was ignited by an ember from a wood stove. Ms. Bauck had decided to burn some empty dog food bags in the stove to warm the air in the barn. She hadn't realized that her husband had done the same thing five minutes earlier. When Ms. Bauck opened the stove's door, a couple of embers blew out of the opening into some sawdust bedding. A few minutes after she thought she had put out the embers, the barn caught on fire. The Baucks and their workers managed to remove all 200 dogs from the building; four puppies died. Two fire departments battled the blaze for more than eight hours. The article stated "The steel roof trapped the flames and kept water from cooling things down. Several times, just when it looked like the fire was under control, the flames raged back to life."

Ms. Bauck's mood during our tour was unstable. She went from smiling to crying very quickly. She seemed to have an excuse for every situation on her property. Ms. Bauck told us that she knew every dog's name even though she didn't know the names of a Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier with a comical Mohawk and several small toy breeds. She was extremely inquisitive about where our reports would be going. She asked to have a copy of the notes we had taken. She told Mr. Hanson to come back any time for a spot inspection. She did not seem shocked that there had been a complaint about a sick puppy. Ms. Bauck walked us to the vehicle and blessed each one of us.

Catherine Hovancsak, VMO, found just three violations during the 1/8/03 inspection of the Bauck facility. The inventory at that time was 830 dogs and 321 puppies. Dr. Hovancsak found a number of expired drugs, unopened bags of food on the floor and two tethered dogs next to the office building. The correct-by date for the tethering was 1/13/03. Ms. Bauck had not complied as of the date of our investigation. The most serious problems at the Bauck facility are drainage and waste disposal, ventilation and veterinary care, in particular the inadequate training of employees in the care and treatment of dogs. Ms. Bauck had the same violations when CAPS investigated her facility in 1997. It would appear that these are ongoing violations. Yet, Dr. Hovancsak failed to find any of these violations during the 2003 inspection.

During the 1/16/02 inspection, Dr. Hovanscak found four non-compliances. Dr. Hovancsak cited Ms. Bauck for three record keeping violations and for failing to provide wind or rain breaks at the entrances to four houses. Dr. Hovancak found no non-compliances on 2/7/00. Apparently, she skipped the 2001 inspection. The 2/23/99 inspection report had only two violations and the 2/25/98 inspection had four. Ms. Bauck failed to renew her license in a timely manner in 1997 and required another pre-license inspection on 4/24/97. Dr. Hovanscak found no violations during this inspection even though there were five non-compliances on 2/18/97. She failed to mention if Ms. Bauck had corrected these problems.

On 10/2/96, Dr. Hovancsak found 16 violations, including two Category IVs for repeat non compliant items. This inspection report seemed more consistent with the number and nature of non compliances that CAPS investigators found during their investigation on 8/26/03. Subsequent inspections seem to indicate that Dr. Hovancsak is failing to note violations and/or she is doing just a cursory inspection of the Bauck facility.

Jan Baltrush, ACI, conducted a transportation inspection at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT on 3/7/01. She cited Ms. Bauck for failing to provide transport crates large enough to comfortably accommodate two eight-week-old mixed breed puppies and two eight-week-old Poodle puppies (3.14(e)(1)-Space and placement). She also stated that Ms. Bauck had failed to comply with 3.17(c)-Care in transit. One of the puppies had an ocular green discharge in the left eye. The eye was closed and the animal was lethargic. Any animal that is obviously sick must not be shipped. Even though this dog was sick, it had a health certificate dated 3/6/01 stating that the dog was free of any infectious diseases. Ms. Baltrush cited Ms. Bauck under 2.78-Health certification and identification. It appears that Ms. Bauck's veterinarian is routinely signing health certificates without examining each and every dog that is to be shipped. We would like to see transportation inspections conducted on a routine basis at airports, brokerage facilities and outside of pet shops (the latter two inspections would be conducted inside transportation vehicles).
Published in Bauck
Thursday, 23 October 2008 00:05

USDA Investigation in Minnesota

USDA Investigation in Minnesota: Fall 2001


Chi Chi: Chi Chi is a Chihuahua puppy. He was covered in urine and had extremely long toenails. Chi Chi is quite shy around people. Paws & Claws, a no-kill shelter in Rochester, Minnesota, placed him in a new home.


Jasper: Jasper is a Jack Russell mix puppy. CAPS investigators came across him while trying to find a nearby puppy mill. He had been left outside so that a car would hit him. Jasper had no food or water and his collar was too tight. Thanks to Paws & Claws, he has a permanent home.


Howard: Howard is a mixed breed puppy. He had runny eyes and urinated submissively. Howard found a wonderful home with a groomer who provided care to some of our Minnesota rescue dogs.

Chichi and Jack

Chi Chi and Jack looking in the mirror at a hotel room in Minnesota.

Chi Chi and Jack playing together in a Minnesota hotel room.

Gizmo: Gizmo is a ten-year-old Maltese from one of the worst puppy mills CAPS has investigated. We found him, covered with feces, living in filth and darkness. He had severe gum disease and needed two dental surgeries in which our rescue vet used tissue regeneration just to save the canine teeth. Gizmo has alopecia (hair loss) and cataracts.


Gizmo and Maxx: Maxx, an 18-month-old Min Pin, and Gizmo were living in the same puppy mill. Maxx was also covered with feces and living in darkness. He was very overweight and extremely timid. He had terrible gum disease and was missing his front teeth. Gizmo lives with our lead investigator. Maxx is with a rescue organization.


Sasha: Sasha is a nine-year-old Bichon. She was overweight at 17 lbs. and had granulomas on her paws. The ammonia in the breeding facility made her wheeze. She is quite hyperactive. Thanks to Paws & Claws, a no-kill shelter in Rochester, Minnesota, she now has a permanent home.


Job: Job is a one-year-old Lhasa Apso. He had glaucoma in the right eye. The eye was bulging out of the socket and had to be removed. The left eye has a cataract and is too small for the socket. Both eyes were infected. He was turning repetitive circles at the puppy mill. Paws & Claws found a home for Job.


HoneyHoney is a five-year-old Chihuahua. She was overweight, suffered from impacted anal glands and had calcium crystals in her urine. She also has cataracts and missing teeth. Paws & Claws found her a home.

Jack: Jack is a two-year-old Poodle. He had a bad ear infection and was very dehydrated. He loves being with humans and suffers from separation anxiety. Paws & Claws placed Jack in a new home.

Published in Minnesota
Approximately 120 dogs and 30 puppies. Breeds: Bichon Frises, Yorkshire Terriers, Papillons, Poodles, Maltese, Cavalier King Charles, Boston Terriers, Beagles, Standard Poodles, Golden Retrievers

The main kennel area was a U-shaped building that contained cages with indoor and outdoor pens, connected by metal doggie-doors, and indoor whelping cages.

The outdoor pens were supported by wooden beams and constructed entirely of rusting, thin-gauge metal wire (3.6(a)(2)(xii)-Primary enclosures); (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). The investigator observed the dogs’ feet slip through the wire floorings of the cages (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures). Feces-matted hair hung from the flooring (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).

Underneath the cages were warped wooden boards that angled down towards concrete slabs. The boards and slabs were covered in fecal stains and had more than 24 hours’ accumulation of fecal material on them (3.6(c)(1)-Surfaces) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

The indoor cages had wooden walls and treated thick-gauge wire floorings. The concrete floor underneath the pens was stained with feces, and feces-stained hair hung from the cage floorings. The concrete gutters lining the walkway next to each row of pens were full of standing water, feces, urine, and pieces of food (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces) (3.1(f)-Drainage and Waste Disposal).

Rusting-metal self feeders were attached to the walls of the cages, and water spigots fed each cage (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). These indoor/outdoor enclosures each contained two to four dogs.

Whelping cages
The whelping cages had plastic walls and treated, thick-gauge wire floorings. The walls were covered in dirty build-up (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces). There was more than 24 hours’ accumulation of fecal matter, and soaked kibble, under each cage on a feces-stained concrete floor, and feces-stained hair hung from the flooring of the cages (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures) (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).

Metal self feeders and water dishes were attached to the cage walls, all of which were covered in rust and grime (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces). Each whelping cage contained two to four dogs or one to six puppies.

Second building
An additional kennel building was located about two hundred feet east of the above described building. It consisted of about a dozen outdoor runs accessing indoor enclosures with by means of doggie-doors. The outdoor runs had concrete floors and chain link walls. Wire doors made of untreated, thin-gauge rusting wire set on rusting metal frames provided access to these runs (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures)

The floors were covered with more than a week’s accumulation of feces (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Feces accumulation was heaviest where the walls and floors met. Feces also covered plastic self feeders on the pen floors (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).

Plastic water dishes near the wire doors of each pen were filled with green and brown water (3.10-Watering). The dishes themselves were covered with dirty build-up (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).

The indoor enclosures had concrete floors covered with a layer of straw. The pens’ plastic and wooden walls exhibited dirty build-up (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).

Published in Minnesota
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 20:57

Wee, Reuben

wee sentence

Breeds: Miniature Pinschers, Pomeranians, Bullmastiffs, Boxers

There were about 38 dogs and 12 puppies on the property at the time of investigation. The physical layout of Wee’s property was the same as described in previous CAPS reports

Pomeranian and Miniature Pinscher Pens.

The Pomeranian/Miniature Pinscher pens each contained about five dogs. These pens had a single plastic dog house that was about two feet wide and tall and three feet long. The dog houses were not of sufficient size to house all of the dogs in their pens at once (3.43.21 Subd. 2-Shelter) (343.40 Subd. 2-Building specifications) and allow the dogs to lie in a normal manner or turn about freely (3.46.39 Subd. 4-Shelter size). All of the dog houses lacked windbreaks (343.40 Subd. 2-Building specifications). There was no shade other than the insufficient housing (3.43.40 Subd. 3-Shade) (3.46.39-Subd. 4-Shelter size).

In addition, the dog houses rested on the concrete floorings of the pens and were not elevated above the ground (3.43.40 Subd. 2-Building specifications). Week’s worth of fecal accumulation was on the flooring of each pen (3.46.39 Subd. 10-Confinement surfaces) (3.46.39 Subd. 12-Sanitation). Feces was particularly built up around the bottom edges of the dog houses and chain link walls pen (3.46.39 Subd. 12-Sanitation). This indicated the pens were likely hosed out with water, which caused the feces to accumulate in certain areas where it was not cleaned out (3.46.39 Subd. 11-Drainage).

Each pen contained metal food and water dishes. The inside of the water dishes were filled with a brown, dingy scum (3.43.21 Subd. 1-Torture) (3.43.21 Subd. 2-Nourishment) (3.46.39 Subd. 2-Water) (3.46.39 Subd. 12-Sanitation). The food dishes were all filled with bits of kibble completely saturated with rain water (3.43.21 Subd. 1-Torture) (343.21 Subd. 2-Nourishment) (3.46.39 Subd. 1-Food).

Bull Mastiff and Boxer Pens
The Bull Mastiff and Boxer pens had week’s worth of feces mashed into their muddied floorings (346,39 Subd. 12-Sanitation). Each pen contained two dogs. There were two plastic dogloo shelters with no windbreaks (343.40 Subd. 2-Building specifications). The bottoms of the shelters were covered in mud, leaving the dogs with no place to stand or lie down without getting wet (343.21 Subd. 2-Shelter) (3.43.40 Subd. 2-Building specifications) (3.46.39 Subd. 10-Confinement surfaces). The plastic food and water dishes in each pen had brown, dingy scum lining the inside of the water dishes (3.43.21 Subd. 1-Torture) (3.43.21 Subd. 2-Nourishment) (3.46.39 Subd. 2-Water) (3.46.39 Subd. 12-Sanitation). Only rain water was inside the food bowls (3.43.21 Subd. 1-Torture) (343.21 Subd. 2-Nourishment).

A pen with a Bullmastiff and a Boxer had an outdoor enclosure connected to a wooden barn that was on the southwestern end of the kennel. The Bullmastiff’s front right leg had several bleeding sores on its ankle, which was swollen to over twice its normal size (343.21 Subd. 1- Torture) (3.43.21 Subd. 7-Cruelty). In another pen, a non-whelping Boxer’s nipple was swollen to over 10 times the size of its other nipples (343.21 Subd. 1-Torture) (3.43.21 Subd. 7-Cruelty).

Whelping Building
With the exception of heat lamps for some puppies, the whelping building had no heating or air conditioning (3.46.39 Subd. 7-Temperature). Proper ventilation was not present, especially considering the large accumulation of feces (3.46.39 Sub. 8-Ventilation). An unheated shelter must provide shelter and bedding as prescribed by 343.40, yet there were no shelters inside the whelping building that satisfied this requirement (3.43.40 Subd. 2-Building specifications)

The whelping building appeared to have a nursing Boxer, three Bullmastiff puppies of about six months of age, a Miniature Pinscher, and seven Bullmastiff puppies of about eight weeks of age. The larger Bullmastiff puppies were able to roam freely in the middle aisle of the whelping building with access to an enclosed outdoor yard west of the building.

The younger puppies were on a flooring of wood chips and shredded paper with week’s worth of feces mixed into it (3.43.40 Subd. 2-Building specifications) (3.46.39 Subd. 12-Sanitation).

Bits of kibble were in two metal food dishes and scattered about the ground (3.43.21 Subd. 1-Torture) (343.21 Subd. 2-Nourishment) (346.39 Subd. 1-Food). A water dish with a brown, dingy buildup on its inner surface was next to the food dishes (3.43.21 Subd. 1-Torture) (3.43.21 Subd. 2-Nourishment) (346.39 Subd. 2-Water) (346.39 Subd. 12-Sanitation).

The bottom half of a plastic dog house rested in one corner of the pen. The surface and walls of this dog house were covered in a layer of fecal residue (346.39 Subd.. 10-Confinement surfaces) (3.46.39 Subd. 12-Sanitation). All of the surfaces inside the whelping building had a brown build-up on their surface (346.39 Subd.. 10-Confinement surfaces) (346.39 Subd. 12-Sanitation).

The adult Boxer was in a pen about three feet wide and four feet long. The pen had a heat lamp shining down into one corner, indicating nursing puppies were in the pen. A pen on the north end of the whelping building had a nursing Boxer mother with a heat lamp set about three feet above the ground. At least one Boxer puppy was visible beneath the light.

The middle aisle of the building had a dirty metal desk and rusting metal chair sitting in it. Several bottles of exposed medicine were sitting on top of a cover over one of the pens (3.43.21 Subd. 1-Torture).

The only light source in the pen at the time of investigation, other than the heat lamps noted above, was through the windows of the building (346.39 Subd. 9-Lighting). This was insufficient light to clearly see inside the building beyond what is noted above.

The southeast end of Wee’s yard contained an area of uncut grass just east of two trash piles. The grass had a wooden board about 2.5 feet wide and four feet long. Under this board was what appeared to be two Pomeranian carcasses and a dog skull (35.82 Subd. 2-Disposition of carcasses) (343.21 Subd. 1-Torture). Flies were swarming around the bodies.

Mr. Wee told the CAPS investigator on 6/15/05 that he sells puppies to Patti Noethe (42-B-0078) in Britt, Iowa. Mr. Wee said he claims the dogs belong to his son and daughter even though the dogs live on his property and are in his care. Effectively, he is selling his dogs to a broker through his children. Mr. Wee states on paperwork that his children own the dogs at his facility. The children are thus exempt from licensing because they have supposedly fewer than four breeding females.

Published in Minnesota
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 20:54

Wee, Reuben

Approximately 40 dogs and 15 puppies. Breeds included Boxers, Mastiffs, Pomeranians, MinPins, Maltese, Pomeranian/Dachshund mix and one Pug.

We arrived at the Wee facility around 9:30 am on Sunday. Mrs. Wee answered the door and told us that she and her husband were getting ready for church. She offered us an appointment time of about 12:30 the same day.

The bodies of two older Pomeranians who had been dead about two weeks.

I asked if they had any Pomeranian puppies available. Mrs. Wee replied that they had some, but she wasn't sure if they were booked already. She told us we would have to discuss the dogs with Mr. Wee later. She was very friendly. I noticed a small dog barking from inside their house and what appeared to be bloody dog prints on the outside of their storm door.

Hershey covered in matted fur balls prior to grooming.

We returned near the appointment time. We looked for Mr. Wee and walked about looking at his dogs. I could not find Mr. Wee, but what I did find appalled me. An old, emaciated, sickly female boxer was loose on the property. Even before she approached me at a distance I could see her ribs, lumbar, vertebrae, pelvic bones and other bony prominence. There was no discernable body fat and she had an obvious lack of muscle mass according to the Purina Body Condition System with a scoring system from 1-9. Nine being obese and overfed, The Boxer scored a 1. She had numerous cuts and scrapes on her legs and feet. She made any awful wheezing, rattling, gasping sound with most every breath that she took (2.40-Veterinary care).

Matted Pomeranians living on cracked, eroding concrete with fecal and hair accumulation and no windbreak or shade.

I noticed a pan of kibble on the ground near the station wagon. Mr. Wee was still storing dog food in the car (3.1(e)-Storage). Possibly the Boxer or rat - there were large rattraps placed near the whelping building - had eaten a small portion. The Boxer showed no interest in the food; she needed vet care. Generally a dog that thin with lack of appetite has had an ongoing health problem. She was just wasting away and I am quite certain that she was suffering or at the very least uncomfortable (2.40).

Matted Pomeranian living outdoors on feces-covered concrete.

As I walked about, still looking for Mr. Wee, I noticed a few familiar faces. The mother Pomeranian who had been inside the whelping building with her pups last year was in a chain link kennel outside. The older female Brindle Mastiff with the eye problem was in a cage behind the whelping building. She had been tethered on my previous visit and still had the same eye problem (2.40). Her cage mate was the young female Mastiff that I had noticed during my last visit. The Mastiff had been in a small chain link pen near a tethered older female Boxer. I didn't see the older female Boxer that had been tethered.

Matted Pomeranians living in whelping building. The floor is covered with feces, kibble and debris. Feces is smeared on walls, and an unsealed wooden board lies against the back wall.

A red male Miniature Pinscher and Pug were in the outdoor housing area. They had been in the whelping building last time. There were a couple of older dogs - a black, very fuzzy Pom and a reddish fuzzy Pom - that were still in the outdoor enclosures. Their enclosure was severely overgrown by huge weeds (3.1(b)-Condition and site). These dogs had made tunnels through the weeds just to get in and out of their shelter. The dog enclosures had the same violations as noted in the last report. The concrete flooring of the enclosures had not been repaired (3.4(c)-Construction) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures) (3.6(a)(2)(ix)-Primary enclosures). Feces was collecting in the huge cracks of the concrete and sustained plant life inside of the enclosures. Fecal & hair accumulation was still a serious problem (3.11(b)-Sanitization of primary enclosures).

The shelters still lacked wind/rain breaks (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). The entire outdoor area lacked shade or wind breaks (3.4(b)(2)-Shelter from the elements). Despite temperatures and wind chills dipping into the lower 30's at night, there was no bedding (3.4(b)(1)-Shelter from the elements) and (3.4(b)(4)-Shelter from the elements).

Boxers living on feces in walkway of whelping building. Filthy, feces-covered white cage doors and an old urine-soaked wooden hutch are pictured.

A lot of debris, junk, and garbage were near the side of the whelping building facing the outdoor housing. Tall weeds and grasses were growing in clutter and littering the property around the rest of the facility (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises). Chewed buckets and portions of unused kennel crates were strewn about near the food storage station wagon and outdoor housing area (3.10-Watering) (3.11(c)).

There were blue plastic barrels near the first Mastiff's enclosure (the one with the eye problem). I have seen these blue plastic barrels used as shelters at other facilities. There were empty filthy metal bowls in several of the enclosures (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). Some of the dogs did not even have water (3.10-Watering).

Mother Pomeranian and her puppy living in the filth of the whelping building.

All of the Pomeranians in the outdoor enclosures were severely matted (2.40). Large mats hung from their bodies and I noticed a male Pom in the first enclosure of the outdoor area had diarrhea coating the matted fur of his hind end (2.40). The dogs were not wearing any form of ID (2.50- Identification).

Since I couldn't find Mr. Wee outside, I looked for him inside the whelping building. The whelping building did not appear to have had any cleaning or improvement of conditions since my last visit. The same Boxers and now adult pups were still being kept inside. There were also a couple of new young adult Boxers. They were huddled on feces around the three-tiered old wood/wire whelping hutch. The walkway floor was covered in feces (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures) and teaming with flies, maggots and cockroaches (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, cleaning) (3.11(d)-Pest control). A decaying rat carcass was also lying on the feces covered floor (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.11(d)). Filthy metal bowls, coated with feces, were flipped over and tossed about on the feces covered floor (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). There was urine soaked wood on the old wooden/wire whelping hutch where the young male boxers had relieved themselves (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). The only light provided for the dogs came from a couple of dirty windows (3.2(c)-Lighting). I did not see any heat or bedding (3.2(a)-Heating) and the ventilation fan was still clogged with dog fur and not operating (3.2(b)-Ventilation). The ammonia and feces odor was very strong (3.2(b)). The fronts of the pens lining each side of the walkway were covered with a thick layer of filth and feces (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, cleaning) and (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

The inside portions of the pens looked like the walkway area - feces, kibble and debris everywhere (3.1)(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of primary enclosures). The inside walls of the pens were also coated with filth and feces (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, cleaning). Dirty empty bowls were tossed about (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). Some of the dogs had the lower half portion of a chewed, filthy kennel crate in which to keep their pups (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). Pomeranian puppies were wandering about and sleeping on the feces that coated the floor of their enclosure. The Pomeranians kept inside and out had large feces encrusted mats hanging from their fur (2.40). The situation was still deplorable.

Young Pomeranian living in whelping building.

I then moved further back on the property trying to find Mr. Wee. There were two big fur balls lying besides the out building where the tethered Boxer had been tethered. One of the fur balls was black and white, and the other was predominantly black. To my horror, I discovered that these were not just balls of fur but two dead Pomeranians (2.40) (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). The two old poms had been with Gizmo in the same enclosure last year. They had been placed headfirst near the base of the out building. The had been dead long enough to go through the bloat stage of decomposition and were putting off a very foul odor of death and decay. The bodies were approximately 10-20 foot away from the outdoor housing facility (3.1(f)). The black and white Pomeranian had severely matted fur on the hind end of its body. During this time Mr. Wee was not home. We decided to come back later.

We returned later in the day and Mr. Wee was home. He immediately started the conversation off by explaining the emaciated Boxer. He just said that they said she might have cancer and needed to be put down. She was getting skinnier and skinnier. He did not say anything about a vet. I replied something to the effect that she was old and had a good life. Mr. Wee made no response.

Mr. Wee had Pomeranian pups but his broker had booked them. He stated that many of his puppies go to the Chicago area. Mr. Wee is still selling his dogs to a broker (Patti Noethe, Britt, IA) even though he failed to renew his USDA license in February 2001. The only dog he offered to sell us was an 18-month-old Pomeranian/Dachshund mix. Mr. Wee said that the dog had never been around kids or people but should be okay.

Mr. Wee led us over to the outdoor housing facility where he keeps the Poms and Min Pins. The sickly boxer tried to follow and keep up. He directed us to an enclosure that had been empty on our first visit. He said that he had been keeping the Pomeranian/Dachshund mix, whom we later named Hershey, inside the whelping building. Mr. Wee told us that he had placed Hershey in this enclosure so that we could see him. Hershey was scared and was panting nervously. He was covered with large mats (2.40). Mr. Wee said that we could call the dog whatever we wanted because he didn't have a name. Mr. Wee offered to enter the enclosure to catch Hershey. Hershey nervously eyed him and kept running away from him. Mr. Wee kept chasing and grabbing at Hershey and finally caught him by the matted hair on his back (2.131(a)(1)-Handling of animals). Hershey frantically tried to pull away from him without success. Mr. Wee handed Hershey to the other investigator. The dog was rigid and shaking with fear. His eyes were very wide. Mr. Wee kept glancing at the place where the two dead Pomeranians had been. Between our visits, Mr. Wee had moved the bodies. But he hadn't moved them very far. We could see the hair trail. There was also fur sticking out of a tall clump of weeds near the furthest row of enclosures containing Mastiffs.

Again, I caught Mr. Wee looking at the spot where the two dead dogs had been. Then, he looked at me and asked how the ugly bald Maltese was. The association of the two dead dogs that used to be Gizmos' cagemates was more than evident. He apparently remembered that they had been in the enclosure together and that Gizmo would have suffered the same fate. Mr. Wee then switched topics and said that he wanted 5 for Hershey. He said that he was going to list him tomorrow if we weren't going to take him. Mr. Wee admitted that the dog needed a bath and grooming (2.40). We said that we would pay 0 for Hershey. Mr. Wee accepted.

He told us that Hershey's father, a chocolate Pom, had died. Mr. Wee told us that he had gotten rid of all of his Dachshunds, including Hershey's mother.

Mr. Wee told us that the sickly emaciated Boxer was around 9-years-old and that Boxers are doing well if they live to ten years or more. He offered to get Min Pin and Pomeranian puppies out of the whelping building. Mr. Wee said that his broker gives him 0 per puppy plus bonuses for early bookings of his litters of pups. He said that he had been raising dogs for about 13 years. He pointed to a little male Pom, Leo, in the outdoor area and told us that he was one of his first dogs.

The pups he showed us were filthy and had very cloudy eyes and long toe nails (2.40). They had no ID (2.50). Mr. Wee then opened up the station wagon that was used for food storage area. He scooped out some Diamond brand dog food for us to take home with Hershey (3.1(e)-Storage). Mr. Wee helped to load Hershey into the kennel crate in our vehicle. He said that I should start breeding dogs and get into the business. He told us that we could make decent money if we got hooked up with a broker near a big city. Mr. Wee then went into his house to get wormer and a Parvo/distemper shot for Hershey. Before he went into the house he asked for my last name for his records. He then injected Hershey through his dirty fur (2.40). Mr. Wee stated that he wormed all his dogs three to four times a year, but said not to be alarmed if we saw worms in the dog's stool. He then asked me when I had adopted Gizmo. I guess he couldn't find his paperwork

Mr. Wee said that it was nice to see me again and to stop in anytime. He again mentioned I should breed dogs to make money.

Mr. Wee failed to renew his USDA license in February 2001. He told our investigators in the fall of 2001 and 2002 that he is selling to a broker in Iowa. He cannot do this without a federal license. We wonder why the USDA inspector, Dr. Catherine Hovancsak, who inspects other facilities in the area, didn't bother to see if Mr. Wee was still breeding. We presented our findings on the Wee facility to Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jim Moseley during a November meeting in Washington, DC. He then instructed USDA's APHIS/Animal Care to send an inspector to Mr. Wee's puppy mill. Animal Care Inspector Melissa Swanda visited Mr. Wee on December 6 2002, and he confirmed that he had sold "several" puppies wholesale to a dealer. Mr. Wee claimed that he was going to sell only through retail channels in the future. Ms. Swanda informed him of the activities that require an AWA license and provided him license application materials. It is incredible that she gave Mr. Wee a license application after seeing the very apparent violations at his facility. Unfortunately, CAPS knew that this would happen.

Published in Minnesota
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 20:52

Wee, Reuben

Reuben Wee
Balaton, MN
Catherine Hovancsak, VMO
Last USDA inspection prior to CAPS investigation: 3/28/00
Date of USDA license cancellation (failure to renew): 2/1/01
CAPS investigations: 10/31/01, 11/1/01, 11/2/01, 11/4/01

View as PDF: Wee-1.pdf View as PDF: Wee-2.pdf View as PDF: Wee-3.pdf

Approximate number of dogs: 70. Breeds included Miniature Pinschers, Pomeranians, Maltese, Boxers, and Mastiffs.

No one was home. We went to the first set of outdoor enclosures, which were chain-link kennels with very cracked eroding concrete floors (3.4(c)-Outdoor housing facilities, Construction) (3.6(a)(1), 3.6(a)(2)(ix)-Primary enclosures) that were encrusted with feces (3.1(c)(3)-Housing facilities, general; Cleaning) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary surfaces). On 3/28/00, Dr. Catherine Hovancsak, VMO, cited Mr. Wee under 3.6(a)(1) for cracked cement flooring in the outside pens and stated that there were large separations where feces and dirt was accumulating. She also stated that under 3.6(a)(2)(ix) that the cement flooring was no longer impervious to moisture and could not be cleaned and sanitized. The correct-by date for both violations was 7/1/00. Obviously, he had not fixed the severely cracked cement by the dates of our investigation.

Filthy, matted Maltese living on cracked, eroding concrete floors with fecal accumulation. They had no food, water or bedding.

The outdoor kennels in the first set of enclosures contained Miniature Pinschers, Pomeranians and Maltese. Each enclosure contained one (3.4(b)(2) and (3)-Shelter from the elements) filthy plastic doghouse (3.1(c)(1) (2), and (3)-Housing facilities, general; Surfaces) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures) with very large front openings (3.4(b)(1)-Outdoor housing facilities). There were no wind/rain breaks or shade (3.4(b)(2) and (3)-Shelter from the elements). Even though the temperature was 49 degrees with gusts up to 20 miles per hour and a severe wind chill factor, the dogs had no bedding (3.4(b)(4)-Shelter from the elements).

Filthy, very matted Maltese living on cracked, eroding concrete floors with feces accumulation. They had no food, water or bedding.

Around the kennels, we saw old rusty fence posts, chewed unused plastic buckets, tires, heat lamps, hoses, electrical cords, empty bags of dog food, unused filthy kennel crates and clumps of hair (3.1(f)-Housing facilities, general; Drainage and waste disposal) (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises). Also dirty buckets filled with stagnant green water (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) were outside of the kennels. One of these buckets had a dead rat floating on the top (3.1(f)) 3.11(d)). A white station wagon near the first set of enclosures was filled with bags of Diamond brand dog food 3.1(e)-Storage). Leaning against one of the doors of the car was a bag of Ol' Roy dog food (3.1(e). It wasn't opened at all during the first three days of our investigation even though the dogs desperately needed food (3.9(a)-Feeding).

Rusty bowls with filthy drinking water.

The Miniature Pinschers had a filthy, chewed plastic doghouse with no bedding (3.4(b)(4-Outdoor housing facilities, Shelter from the elements). Min Pins should not live outdoors in cold climates (3.4(a)(1)(ii)- Outdoor housing facilities, restrictions). There were no wind/rain breaks or shade (3.4)(b)(2) and (3)-Shelter from the elements). The rusty metal food (3.1(c)(i)-Surfaces) and water bowls were empty (3.10)-Watering). The concrete floors had more than 48 hours worth of fecal accumulation (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, Cleaning) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary surfaces). There was feces imbedded in the cracks of the concrete (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, Cleaning) (3.6(a)(1) and (a)(2)(ix)-Primary enclosures).

Rusty water bowl for tethered Mastiff contained algae and filth.

Some of the Min Pins were old and had cataracts (2.40-Veterinary Care). One older black and rust female had a large lump on the lower left side of her abdomen (2.40). Old dogs should not live outdoors (3.4(a)(1)(iii)-Outdoor housing facilities, Restrictions). Most of the Min Pins were trying to climb the sides of the chain-link fencing, and one almost made it to the top (3.1(a)-Structure;construction) (3.6(a)(2)(i) and (ii)-Primary enclosures).

Matted Pomeranians living on feces covered cracked concrete.

The Pomeranians were all matted to some degree (2.40)-Veterinary care). Most had very large clumps of matted hair and were in desperate need of grooming. Matted hair compromises a dog's ability to maintain body temperature, especially in cold, damp weather. Some of the older dogs had cataracts, (2.40) and walked stiffly. There were six to eight Poms per cage, and only one (3.4(b)(2) and (3)-Shelter from the elements) dirty plastic shelter (3.1(c)-Housing facilities, Surfaces) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). All of the dogs could not fit comfortably in this small shelter. The Poms did not have food, 3.9(a)-Feeding) and they had a minimal amount of stagnant green water in a rusty metal dish (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) (3.10-Watering) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). Pomeranians, especially the older ones, should not live outdoors in cold climates (3.4(a)(1)(ii) and (iii)-Outdoor housing facilities, Restrictions).

Matted Pomeranians living on feces covered cracked concrete.

The conditions in the Maltese enclosure were the same as those that we saw in the Pomeranians' enclosure. The Maltese were filthy with severely matted, feces-encrusted fur (2.40-Veterinary care) (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures). They had trouble seeing and opening their mouths due to these horrible face mats. One Maltese continuously scratched his head and ears and shook his head repeatedly (2.40). The wind blew the encrusted mats aside, thereby exposed areas of skin to the elements. Again, these dogs had no food (3.9(a)-Feeding), water (3.10-Watering) or bedding (3.4(b)(4)-Outdoor housing facilities, Shelter from the elements). Their bowls were rusty and dirty (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) (3.10-Watering). Maltese also should not live outdoors in cold climates (3.4(a)(1)(ii)-Outdoor housing facilities, Restrictions). These dogs were particularly vulnerable since they had exposed skin.

A dog run with a cracked and broken concrete floor. Note the wire grate on the ground.

Beyond the first set of enclosures, was another outdoor enclosure containing two Mastiffs. They had no food, 3.9(a)-Feeding) and were eating a dead bird (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). There was a large filthy white plastic bucket with stagnant green-brown water (3.10-Watering) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). The water contained flies and other debris (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). In and around their enclosure were weeds (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, Condition and site) and more than three days worth of fecal accumulation (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures) (3.11(c)-Houskeeping for premises).

A Miniature Pinscher with empty bowls. Note the rust in the bowls. The floor of his run was cracked and covered with feces.

The Mastiffs' shelter was a garden-shed type building in a severe state of disrepair (3.1(a)-Housing facilities, Structure;construction) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures): paint peeling, holes in the roof and sides, dirt floor with holes dug by the dogs (3.4(c)-Outdoor housing facilities, Construction). No bedding was evident (3.4(b)(4)-Shelter from the elements).

Dead rat in contaminated drinking water.

The fencing for the enclosure was not structurally sound (3.1(a). The large Mastiffs were jumping up and placing their front feet on the hog-style panels. Since the panels were not attached securely to the fence posts, the dogs were almost successful in knocking the panels over (3.6(a)(2)(ii) and (iii). There was also a fence panel on the ground inside the pen that posed a danger to the dogs (3.1(b).

A car used to store bags of dog food.

The male Mastiff had a severe limp in his hind leg and was lethargic. He seemed to be in pain (2.40-Veterinary care). He chose to sit rather than move around like his cage-mate who was thin but very active. She had saggy nipples (2.40).

Further back on the property were more outdoor enclosures with dirt floors. Mastiffs and Boxers lived in these enclosures. The first enclosure in this area that I approached contained a very lethargic Mastiff (2.40) who was hiding in his filthy Dogloo shelter, (3.1)(c)(1)-Surfaces) (3.6(a)(1-Primary enclosures) with no bedding (3.4(b)(4)-Shelter from the elements). This dog kept acting like he/she wanted to vomit (2.40). There were very large weeds going to seed in his pen (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, general; Condition and site). He had dug a very deep hole in the dirt floor (3.1(c)(2)-Surfaces) (3.4(c)-Outdoor housing facilities, Construction). I wondered why there was a dirt floor since Dogloo shelters normally come with a built-in plastic floor. There was no food (3.9(a)-Feeding), and the green-brown drinking water was in a dirty plastic bucket (3.10-Watering) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles).

Tethered Boxer.

The next enclosure, which was made of hog-style panels, had two Boxers. They had a Dogloo shelter with a dirt floor. The thin (2.40), scared female brindle Boxer approached me and stayed crouched near the ground. The other Boxer would not come of the shelter; it just nervously peered out at me and then hid inside. These dogs also had no food (3.9(a)-Feeding). The green-brown water was in a dirty plastic dish (3.10-Watering) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles).

Next to the Boxer pen was another Mastiff with an injured hind end who limped (2.40). This dog had the same pen conditions as those in the Boxer enclosure.

Tethered Mastiff. I encountered a tethered female Mastiff 3.6(c)(4)-Prohibited means of primary enclosure). She had approximately three feet of tether and was walking through her own excrement (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, Cleaning) (3.11(a). This dog had an inflamed left eye in the area of her tear duct and a tick on her left ear (2.40). She had no food (3.9(a) and a small amount of stagnant greenish-brown water in a filthy chewed plastic bowl (3.10, 3.11(b)(2). Her shelter was a dirty plastic dome (3.1(c)(1), 3.6(a)(1) - a cheaper and inferior version of a Dogloo - with a dirt floor and no bedding (3.4(b)(4). She had dug holes in this shelter in an effort to keep warm (3.1(c)(2), 3.4(c), 3.6(a)(2)(vi).

Across from the tethered Mastiff was an older female Boxer with about four feet of tether (3.6(c)(4). An old, filthy dome also served as shelter (3.1(c)(1)-Housing facilities, Surfaces) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). It was cracked and broken (3.1(a)-Structure; construction) (3.4(c)-Outdoor housing facilities, Construction). The front section had broken off and was missing (3.4(b)(1)-Shelter from the elements). This dog had also dug deep holes in and out of her shelter (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.4(c)-Construction) (3.6(a)(2)(iii) and (iv)-Primary enclosures) and had chewed and scratched the wood of the nearby shed-type building (3.4(c). She was walking and standing on her own excrement (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, Cleaning) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). There was no food (3.9(a)-Feeding). Her dirty, chewed plastic bowl contained a small amount of stagnant green water (3.10-Watering) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles).

On the other side of the shed-type building was an outdoor chain link enclosure with a dirt floor that contained a young adult Mastiff. The shed-type building formed one side of her too small enclosure and served as her shelter (3.1(c)(i)-Surfaces). The dog had really scratched the wood (3.4(c)-Shelter from the elements) and the door was propped open with a cement block (3.1(a)-Structure;construction). There was a lot of fecal accumulation (3.1(c)(3)-Cleaning) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). A filthy white metal pan had stagnant green water (3.10-Watering) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). There was no food (3.9(a)-Feeding). This Mastiff had a lot of energy and really wanted to play and run around (3.8(a)-Exercise).

Across from the first set of outdoor enclosures, I saw a severely weathered building (3.1(a)-Structure;construction) This building came to my attention because of the foul odor (3.2(b)-Indoor housing facilities, Ventilation) and the barking dogs inside. As I entered the unheated building (3.2(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature), a mother Boxer and her two young puppies, all running loose, greeted me 3.6(a)(2)(iii)-Primary enclosures). They had no food (3.9(a)-Feeding), water (3.10-Watering) or a clean place with bedding (3.2(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature).

The ammonia,, feces and filth odor overwhelmed me (3.2(b)-Ventilation). The building had very minimal lighting 3.2(c)-Lighting). Heat lamps were hanging from the ceiling, but only one had been turned on. A ventilation fan, clogged with dog fur, was not operating (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.2(b)-Ventilation).

There was a central walkway. Filthy white pens, floors covered with feces (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, Cleaning) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures), lined sides of the long walls of the building. The floor of the walkway was completely covered with feces, both new and old (3.11(a). In some places, it had two feet of accumulation (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). The mother Boxer and her puppies watched me as I slipped on the feces and almost fell.

The walkway had empty bowls that were flipped over and lying in the feces and debris (3.10). In the middle of the walkway there was an old empty three-tiered wood and wire whelping hutch that had feces and hair (3.1(b)-Condition and site).

All of the pens were damp with urine and covered with feces (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, Cleaning), 3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The walls of the pens were smeared with a thick coating of feces (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, Cleaning) 3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). There was no bedding (3.2(a)-Indoor housing facilities, Heating, cooling, and temperature). The dogs rested on the driest spots of compacted fecal matter. I saw empty, rusty metal bowls (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) with no food (3.9(a)-Feeding) or water (3.10)-Watering).

Some of the pens had no light (3.2(c)-Indoor housing facilities, Lighting). Thus, it was difficult to see the black/rust Min Pins in their pens. These dogs had the ability to jump high enough to clear the walls of their pen thereby falling into other adjoining pens (3.6(a)(2)(ii) and (iii)-Primary enclosures).

Pomeranians in a pen on the right turned in repetitive circles on the feces covered floor (2.40(b)(3)-Veterinary care). A mother Pomeranian in another pen on the right side did her best to care for her puppies as they huddled on dry, cold feces (3.1(c)(1)-Surfaces) (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.2(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

In one of the pens on the left side, I noticed a filthy table covered with dirt, feces, medications (2.40(b)(1)-Veterinary care) dirty syringes (2.40(b)(1)), old plastic milk jugs containing yellow liquid, scissors, pliers and a hammer (3.1(b)-Condition and site) (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces). A veterinarian at Marshall Animal Hospital in Minnesota told me that she has heard that Mr. Wee uses the hammer to kill unwanted dogs (2.40(b)(4)-Veterinary care). Underneath the table, Poms ran around on feces (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces, Cleaning) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

The pen next to the pen with the table had liquid seeping onto the feces in the walkway (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). This pen contained six Poms (three were very old) and an old Maltese, who was bald with the exception of very matted tufts of hair on his head and clumps of feces coated matted clumps of fur on his front legs (2.40-Veterinary care). The tips of his ears were scarred from frostbite (2.40) (3.4(a)(1)(ii) and (iii)-Outdoor housing facilities, Restrictions). The younger Poms were trampling the Maltese (3.6(c)(2)-Primary enclosures, Compatability). This pen had the same deplorable conditions as the other pens. The empty plastic bowls were filthy and very chewed (3.9(a) and (b)-Feeding) (3.10-Watering).

The atrocious conditions were present each day of our investigation. While we were at the facility on 11/1/01, Mr. Wee was still not home. His son showed up and said that his father was out of town. The son said he didn't know who was caring for the dogs and stated that he didn't do anything with the dogs. He didn't even look at the dogs to see if they needed food and water. On 11/2/01, Mr. Wee had not returned. His wife answered the door, and we expressed interest in buying a dog. She said that she never goes near the dogs and knows nothing about them. I finally reached Mr. Wee by phone on 11/3/01 to arrange an appointment. He requested that I come before 9 a.m. since he was spending the entire day at his church to put together a supper.

Mr. Wee was waiting for us by the whelping building on 11/4/01. The bag of Ol' Roy dog food had been opened, yet none of the dogs had food. Some of the dogs in the first enclosure had water in their filthy bowls. He told us that he uses a broker in Britt, Iowa. The only USDA licensed "B" dealer in Britt is Patti Noethe, a woman who sells most of her dogs to Chicago-area pet shops.

We adopted the old, bald Maltese, whom we named "Gizmo" and a very overweight Min Pin, whom we named "Maxx." Maxx had no USDA tag (2.50(a)(1)-Identification). I didn't fill out USDA paperwork for either dog (2.75(a)(1). Dr. Hovancsak cited Mr. Wee under 2.75(a)(1) on 3/28/00 because the record of dogs on hand was missing 10 dogs. He is still not keeping an accurate record since he transferred Gizmo and Maxx without filling out the required USDA paperwork. Gizmo had severe gum disease and required two dental surgeries (2.40). The vet had to remove all of his teeth except for his canines, which required special tissue regeneration in order to be saved. He also has cataracts, and his toenails are permanently stained yellow from constant contact with urine 3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures). The vet has not been able to determine why Gizmo lost his fur. Maxx also had gum disease and needed dental surgery (2.40). The vet had to remove some of his teeth. We placed Maxx with Min Pin rescue. Gizmo is in permanent foster care because of his age and fragile condition.

This is one of the most atrocious USDA licensed facilities that CAPS has investigated. The conditions are appalling! Dr. Hovancsak is finding just a small percentage of the violations. Dr. Hovancsak has not been back to Mr. Wee's facility since the 3/28/00 inspection to see if he has corrected the four non-compliant items she listed on his report: 3.4(b) for two chewed dog houses in a Mastiff pen (correct-by date of 5/1), 3.6(a)(1) (see above), 3.6(a)(2)(ix) (see above), and 2.75(a)(a) (see above).

How could it be that Dr. Hovancsak found no non-compliances on 1/21/99 when just 13 months earlier (12/3/97) she found the following violations: 3.6(c)(1)(iii), for improper headroom 3.11(a) for an excessive accumulation of feces and food waste, 2.35 for improper recordkeeping (this should have been a 2.75 because 2.35 applies to research facilities), and 2.40(b)(2) for a number of matted Maltese and Pomeranians. With the exception of the violation under 3.6(c)(1)(iii), I encountered all of the other non-compliances. In addition, Dr. Hovancsak has cited Mr. Wee three times (8/15/98, 12/2/98 and 2/3/00) under 2.126 for not having a responsible person available to conduct an inspection. Mr. Wee seems to be out quite a bit, yet no one - not even his wife or son - takes responsibility for the dogs. This is very serious problem that Dr. Hovancsak is not properly addressing.

Mr. Wee failed to renew his USDA license in 2001. Therefore, the USDA canceled his license on February 1, 2001. He is illegally operating a commercial breeding facility and selling dogs for resale without a federal license. USDA should seize Mr. Wee's dogs and fine him. If they are not willing to do this, then local authorities should take action. In addition, Mr. Wee should be charged with cruelty and neglect and prohibited from owning any animals ever again.

Published in Minnesota
Approximately 1200 dogs and 200 puppies. Purebreds: Siberian Huskies, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, Coon Hounds, Blood Hounds, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Yorkshire Terriers, Silky Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Scottish Terriers, West Highland Terriers, Rat Terriers, Wire Hair Fox Terriers, Smooth Coated Fox Terriers, Miniature Pinschers, Poodles, Bichon Frises, Maltese, Shih Tzus, Schnauzers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Brittany Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Dachshunds, Italian Greyhounds, Border Collies, American Eskimos, Weimaraners,

Mixed breeds: Sheltie, Cocker, German Shepherd, Lhasa Apso, Shih Tzu, Chihuahua, Boxer, Gordon Setter, Poodle, Labrador, and various hound, setter and terrier mixes.

CAPS conducted this investigation with Minnesota State Humane Agent Wade Hanson and Deputy Sheriff Eric Hanneken (320-632-9233).

Fletcher Creek Kennel did not have any caregivers or responsible persons at the facility. Deputy Sheriff Hanneken escorted us through the facility. There had been a complaint about the dogs lacking shade and water in very hot weather (92 degrees).

The house located on the property that was once inhabited by the Susalskis had been converted to a whelping and storage area. We could see through the windows and saw stacked boxes, kennel crates and full garbage bags taking up almost the entire space. Shredded newspapers were sticking out of garbage bags, and kennel crates were littered about the rooms. Against the sliding glass patio door were boxes of garbage bags, garbage and kennel crates (3.1(b)-Condition and site) (3.1(e)-Storage).

The whelping area inside the house and garage had metal cages stacked on top of each other. Most of the collection trays were full of feces, food and waste. The collection tray for a female West Highland Terrier and her young puppies was extremely full, and the contents were touching the wire bottom of her enclosure (3.1(a) Cleaning of primary enclosures).

The feces and food waste were attracting flies to the storage and whelping area inside the house and attached garage. They were around the dog enclosures and trays. Numerous fly carcasses lay on the floor and window ledge (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures) (3.11(d)-Pest Control).

The only light source at the time of inspection came from the windows (3.2(c)-Lighting). The walls, floors and ceilings of these areas inside of the home and attached garage were not impervious to moisture (3.2(d)-Interior surfaces).

The dogs inside the whelping area were panting and lethargic (3.6(a)(vi)-Primary enclosures). The air blowing out of the ventilation system was hotter than the 92 degree outside temperature (3.2(a) heating/cooling temp) and had a very foul odor of ammonia and feces. The slat work covering the outer portion of the vent system was covered with a slimy brown grunge that was dripping onto the side of the house and ground (3.2(b)-Ventilation). On the back patio area behind the house were rolls of non-coated wire and a cage-making assembly area.

Beyond this area was one kennel made of chain link with a dirt floor. One white Husky lived there. The dog had a Dogloo shelter and a brown tarp was stretched across part of the top of the enclosure. There was over four days worth of fecal accumulation that was attracting flies (3.11(a)-Cleaning). The flies were biting the tips of this dog’s ears leaving open bloody sores (2.40-Veterinary care). The water was dirty and had algae in it (3.10-Watering). There was no visible form of ID on the dog or enclosure (2.50-Identification).

The outdoor kennel areas with chain link fencing used to house other Huskies had Dogloo shelters in them. The Dogloo shelters lacked a wind/rain break at the entrance (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). The enclosures also lacked shade (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements). Flies were biting ears of the Huskies (2.40). The water buckets in these enclosures had an accumulation of algae and debris (3.10- Watering). These Huskies had no identification.

Building #1

Building #1 (describing the property clockwise from the west) contained dirty, urine stained, and severely matted dogs (2.40) (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures). The area smelled of feces and strong urine (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

The water containers were dirty and contained algae (3.10-Watering). The water for three Golden Retrievers was black and scummy (3.10-Watering). The water containers were blue or white plastic buckets or plastic containers recycled into water receptacles. Most of the water receptacles had chewed edges and could not be property sanitized (3.10 Watering).

The indoor shelter area of these enclosures did not have an operating ventilation system and the ammonia level was extremely strong (3.3(b)-Ventilation). It was extremely hot and humid (3.3(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature), and the dogs were panting hard and were lethargic (3.6(a)(2)(vi)-Primary enclosures).

There was only one light bulb in the ceiling of the indoor area which made inspection difficult. With the door open it was a bit easier to see. There was dog food, liquid feces, flies, fur and debris in the shelter areas and the walkway (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.3(c)-Lighting).

Building #2

This area had chain link kennels with concrete floors on both sides of the building. The dogs accessed the den areas inside the building through dog doors. On the west side of the kennel area in the second pen to the right was an extremely matted dog that had an injured front left leg (2.40). Many dogs in this area were severely matted and urine-stained (2.40).

The outdoor portion of the dogs’ primary enclosure lacked shade (3.3(d)-Shelter from the elements) (3.6(a)(2)(vii)-Primary enclosures). The water receptacles were sitting in the sun and had a lot of algae growth in them (3.10-Watering). Four black Labrador Retriever mixes had black scummy algae water (3.10). Some of the dogs had knocked their water buckets over and did not have water (3.10). The run-off trough had an accumulation of urine, liquid feces and food debris that was attracting flies (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal).

A ventilation system was not operating. The ammonia level was extremely strong inside the building (3.3(b)-Ventilation). The temperature inside of the building was approximately 91 degrees. There were no fans or cooling system (3.3(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature) (3.6(a)(2)(vi)-Primary enclosures). There was one light bulb suspended from the ceiling (3.3(c)-Lighting).

Building #3

This was a longer, more rectangular metal building with hutches built off all sides. The dogs accessed their shelter areas inside of the building through dog doors.

The outdoor portion of their primary enclosures lacked shade. Many of the enclosures were overcrowded and only some dogs could get out of the direct sun by going into the den area of the building. The den areas were not large enough for all dogs to fit in at one time (3.3(d)-Shelter from the elements). The thermostat inside the shelter areas was at 91 degrees (3.3(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature) (3.6(a)(2)(vii)-Primary enclosures). The dogs were panting from the heat.

Overcrowding and dogs that were too large for their primary enclosure were severe problems. Dogs were not able to walk or turn without hitting the sides of their enclosures 3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures) (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures).

The primary enclosures were made of uncoated, rusted wire (3.1)(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) and lacked a solid resting surface (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures). Several dogs had bare inflamed areas of skin on their legs, chests, feet and underbellies (2.40-Vet care).

There was a severe ammonia and feces odor inside and out of the building. A ventilation system was installed but not operating (3.3(b) Ventilation). Air conditioners were not operating (3.3(a)-Heating/cooling and temperature).

The dog in enclosure #7 was covered in urine. The enclosure was filthy (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Two to three weeks worth of feces, kibble and fur were under the hutches (3.11(a)-Cleaning).

There was only one working light bulb inside of the shelter area (3.3(c)-Lighting). A couple of windows provided a little more light so that I could see packages of light bulbs, cleaning supplies and clutter on top of the den areas (3.1(b)-Condition and site).

Most of the water containers were dirty with minimal water (3.10-Watering). The water containers were rusted large tin cans (3.10 Watering). Two dogs had no water (3.10).

Building #4

Building #4 had the same violations as Building #3. In addition, a shaved Husky with fly bites on its ears (2.40) was sitting in its own excrement and many dogs were urine stained (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Several weeks’ worth of feces and urine was attracting flies (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). Rusted self- feeder boxes could not be properly sanitized and needed to be replaced (3.9-Feeding). None of the dogs had identification (2.50).

Building #5

The south end of this metal building was used for whelping. The thermostat in this building clearly indicated the temperature inside was 91 degrees. An air conditioning unit was not operating (3.3(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature) (3.6(a)(2)(vi)-Primary enclosures). This building had an overpowering stench of ammonia and feces. A ventilation system was not operating (3.3(b)-Ventilation).

The primary enclosures in this building were made of uncoated rusted wire (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures). Collection trays and areas under primary enclosures were heavily soiled (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

Just outside the door, a blue plastic garbage can without a lid held stagnant mosquito water (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises). Large tin cans served as water containers (3.10-Watering).

Building #6

Building # 6 was another out-building with metal siding and a metal roof. It had hutches on all sides. The hutches were made of uncoated wire that were not as rusted as the other hutches at the facility (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures).

There was a sharp piece of metal that had broken off from the dog doorway in the second enclosure (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures) and (3.1(c)(1)(ii) Surface). There were unsealed wooden surfaces around dog doors (3.3(e)(1)-Surfaces) and hair accumulation in and around primary enclosures (3.11(a)- Cleaning of primary enclosures).

There was no visible form of ID on the dogs or their enclosures (2.50-Identification). Again, there was a ventilation system that wasn’t operating, and the ammonia levels made my eyes water and my nose and throat burn (3.3(b)-Ventilation). Had the ventilation system been on, the exhaust would have been blowing directly onto the dogs when they were in the outdoor portion of their primary enclosures. The air conditioner was not operating despite the hazardous heat (3.3(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature) and (3.6(a)(2)(vi)-Primary enclosures). Large tin cans served as water containers (3.10-Watering).

This building had many of the same violations found in the other buildings. In addition, many of the Beagles had toe nails that had started to curl back towards the pads of their feet (2.40-Vet care). There was a severely matted Yorkshire Terrier that was encrusted with feces and soaked with urine (2.40-Vet Care) (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures). A Sheltie did not have six inches of head room in its primary enclosure (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures).

Building #7

This was a large out-building made of metal with a metal/tin roof. Hutches were built off the sides of the building with den areas inside of the building. The dogs accessed their den shelter area through dog doors. The hutches were made of uncoated rusted wire (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) and lacked a solid resting surface (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures).

The outdoor portion of the primary enclosures lacked shade and the enclosures were overcrowded so that only one or two dogs had access to shade inside the shelter area. The thermometer located inside of the building where their shelters were clearly indicated that it was 90 degrees (3.6(a)(2)(vi)(vii)-Primary enclosures). An air conditioner was not operating (3.3(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature).

Many of the dogs in the north row of enclosures were too large for their primary enclosures. This did not allow them sufficient space to turn about freely, stand or walk about in a normal manner (3.6(a)(2)(xi) Primary enclosures) (3.6(c)(1)-Primary enclosures)(3.8(a)-Exercise). They lacked six inches of headroom (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures).

A strong ammonia and feces odor was pervasive. Several weeks’ worth of feces and hair was under the hutches (3.11(a)-Cleaning). There was a ventilation system installed but it was not operating. The enclosed part of sheltered housing for dogs must be sufficiently ventilated when dogs are present to provide for their health and well-being and to minimize odors and ammonia levels (3.3(b)-Ventilation). Here again, the dogs had large, somewhat rusted tin cans with minimal water.

The fecal accumulation was attracting swarms of flies that were biting the dogs (3.11(a)-Cleaning) and (3.11(d)-Pest control). A large green dumpster full of garbage and garbage bags was in front of the north-facing rows of hutches. The dumpster was putting off a very foul odor and also attracting flies (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal).

In front of the dumpster (to the north) was a collection of old tires and an old incinerator that had ashes inside. Water that had collected in the tires served as a mosquito breeding ground (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises) (3.11(d)-Pest control).

On the south and east edge of the kennel areas were large mounds of dirt. A foul, rancid odor was emanating from the dirt pile areas. The other investigator and Deputy Sheriff Hanneken explored the areas. We all agreed that the odor was very unpleasant but could not determine the origin.

There were a series of small metal buildings used for whelping and weaned puppy areas. The buildings were not numbered but lettered, and they were all indoor housing facilities. All lettered buildings contained violations pertaining to their lack of ventilation, excessively high humidity, and hazardous heat (3.2(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature) (3.2(b)-Ventilation) (3.6(a)(2)(vi)-Primary enclosures). No interior lights were on in any of the letter buildings, and all letter buildings contained nebulizors and bottles of Levasole. Each building had one window above a sink that did not provide sufficient light for the animals to see inside their structures or for someone to perform a routine inspection (3.2(c)-Lighting). All letter buildings also had excessive amounts of fecal accumulation in and under the dogs’ primary enclosures (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). There was an overwhelming stench of feces and ammonia.

Building A

When Deputy Sheriff Hannaken opened Building A, we were met with an overwhelming stench of feces and ammonia, and high humidity from inside the building (3.2(b) -Ventilation). The thermostat located just inside the door registered 91 degrees (3.6(a)(2)(vi)-Primary enclosures). A cooling system was not operating (3.2(a) Heating, cooling and temperature). Double-tiered cages were on both sides. The fecal collection trays had at least one week’s worth of feces (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). There was a nebulizor and a bottle of Levasole.

Building B

The cage containing a female Bloodhound failed to provide sufficient space for the dog to turn about freely, lie or sit in a comfortable position, and it didn’t allow her to walk in a normal manner (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures) (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). She didn’t have six inches of headroom (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures). She had a yellowish-green ocular discharge (2.40). Cage #294 had a mother Springer Spaniel and her large litter of puppies. The puppies were approximately a week old and starting to move about freely. They were getting their heads and extremities stuck in a crack in their whelping tray (3.1(c)(1)(i) and (ii)-Surfaces) (3.6(a)(2)(i)(ii)-Primary enclosures).

Dog #59R was a mother Husky with a large litter of puppies. Each bitch with nursing puppies must be provided with an additional amount of floor space. This dog could not walk without stepping on her own puppies (3.6(c)(1)(ii)-Primary enclosures). The mother Husky was extremely thin and had a poor hair coat (2.40). This enclosure and others in Building B were full of feces and dark urine (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

Near the doorway entrance to Building B was a small sink and countertop. A small window sill above the sink had drugs. A syringe with a needle was sticking out of the top of the bottle of Levasol. Veterinarians prescribe this drug of deworming of cattle. It is also used for heart worm and lung worm treatment, and it is an immune system stimulant in cases of upper respiratory infection. It should be stored at room temperature not above 75 degrees. Levasole could be placed in the nebulizors and used as an upper respiratory treatment. Many dogs had watery eyes, congestion, and upper respiratory symptoms including nasal discharge, coughing, and wheezing. They also appeared lethargic from the heat and humidity.

Building C

Cage #282 contained a mother Basset Hound and her puppies in inadequate space (3.6(c)(1)(ii)-Primary enclosures). The fecal tray underneath this primary enclosure was mounded with feces touching the wire bottom of the cage (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Cage # 280 had a small cardboard dish that contained old, dried canned dog food covered in flies (3.9-Feeding) (3.11(d)-Pest control). Dog #31R had severe greenish-yellow diarrhea (2.40). In cage # 200, Dachshund puppies’ feet were passing through the bottom of their wire enclosure (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures). The dogs in cage #288 had extremely long toe nails (2.40). The mother dog and puppies in cage #255 had yellow diarrhea (2.40).

Building D

A mother Sheltie and her puppies were in a primary enclosure that did not provide sufficient floor space (3.6(c)(1)(ii)-Primary enclosures). A pile of feces in the tray was touching the bottom wire of their cage (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The Italian Greyhound in cage #276 had extremely long curled toe nails that were growing back into the pads of the dog’s feet (2.40). There was a considerable pile of feces under the dog’s cage. (3.11(a)).

Building E

There was no form of ID on the dogs or cages of the dogs (2.50). There was an emaciated, shaved female Husky (2.40) (3.9(a) Feeding). This dog had severe diarrhea (2.40). The dog’s eyes were watery, and she showed signs of respiratory distress, such as wheezing and coughing (2.40), which resulted from a lack of ventilation in the building (3.2(b)-Ventilation). The primary enclosure of the dog prevented the dog from standing, sitting, or lying in a comfortable position or walking in a normal manner (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures) (3.6(c)(1)(i)(ii)-Space).

A mother Collie had raw, open irritated patches of skin, and possible mange, and the puppies had red, irritated skin around their mouths and muzzles, on their paws, and up their legs (2.40). The mother and her puppies also lacked adequate space for their size in number in relation to their primary enclosure (3.6(c)(1)(ii)-Space).

The Husky in the first cage on the right was emaciated (3.9(a)-Feeding) and had severe yellow diarrhea (2.40). Her primary enclosure lacked sufficient space to allow her to stand, sit or lie in a comfortable position or move about in a normal manner (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures) (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Space).

Building F

Cage # 268 had a young black and white Shih Tzu puppy. The puppy and her enclosure were caked feces (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). This puppy’s feet were passing through the wire flooring of the primary enclosure (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures). There was a disposable feeding dish that had very old, caked canned food covered in flies in it (3.9(a)-Feeding) (3.11(d)-Pest control).

In cage # 261, a mother dog and her puppies lacked sufficient space to stand, sit or lie in a comfortable position or move about in a normal manner (3.6(c)(1)(ii)-Space).

Many of the cages and dogs lacked ID (2.50). Dogs had runny eyes and were coughing and wheezing (2.40 Vet care) (3.2(b) Ventilation). The expiration date on the Levasole was March 2003. There was an open bottle of bleach near the medication in the building (2.40).

Building 8

Building #8 was located near the front of the property. This building was the tallest and largest building on the property and housed approximately 200-220 dogs. The dogs in enclosures down the center aisles of this building did not have access to the outdoors. So, part of this building served as sheltered housing and the other part was only indoor housing, which contained small breeds. To avoid confusion, regulations pertaining to sheltered housing (3.3) will be used.

One ventilation fan was inoperable, and the other fan was the only source of ventilation for the entire building (3.3(b)-Ventilation).

The wire on the outdoor portions of the primary enclosures was rusted and uncoated (3.1(c)(1)(i)-surfaces). Most of the frame work for the dog doors was made of unsealed and scratched wood not impervious to moisture (3.3(e)(1)-Surfaces). Many of the dogs were lying in the sun and were lethargic (3.6(a)(2)(vii)-Primary enclosures). There was more than one weeks’ worth of fecal accumulation under the outdoor portions of the primary enclosures (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

Deputy Sheriff Hanneken opened the door and entered the building, and was immediately overwhelmed by the stench of feces and ammonia and the noise of dogs barking and cages clanging together. A portion of table-top in a storage area was smeared with dried feces (3.1(c)(2) and had needles and syringes (2.40).

There was a filthy green plastic garbage can nearly full of dog fur from previous grooming. The floor of this building was made of concrete. Cleaning supplies, hoses (water and air), an air compressor, a dolly for moving heavy objects and dog fur littered this entry area (3.1(b)-Condition and site).

The interior walls of this building were, in places, just the inside of the metal sheet sides of the building. Pieces of wooden paneling, particle board and wooden shelf units were covering some of the metal (3.1(a)-Structure;construction). These wooden surfaces were not impervious to moisture. Mold and water condensation were on the metal wall area (3.3(e)(1)-Interior surfaces).

The ceiling panels had a few rows of fluorescent lights yet only a couple of the lights actually turned on. There had not been any lights on inside of this building upon arrival. There were no windows for light. The minimal lighting was not sufficient for routine cleaning, observation, or for the well-being of the animals (3.3(c)-Lighting). A door near the west side of the building and the entry door were left open to provide a little more light. We also used a flashlight. The ceiling panels had dark green mold, water condensation and some rusted areas (3.3(b)-Ventilation). The primary enclosures had uncoated, rusted wire bottoms (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces).

Only a few of the enclosures contained a solid resting surface. Large tin cans or rusted self-feeder boxes were used for food and water receptacles (3.9-Feeding) (3.10-Watering). Dogs were sitting in or on the cans to get off of the wire flooring. A small Shih Tzu was curled up inside of tin can food receptacle to sleep (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures). This Shih Tzu had urine and feces dried in her fur (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures) and it contaminated her food (3.9(b)-Feeding).

The dog food in the cans and feeder boxes consisted of moldy, caked kibble, which was covered with flies (3.9(b)-Feeding) (3.11(d)-Pest control). Flies were swarming inside the building and biting the dogs.

Enclosure # 67 contained two Beagles. They were located along the west wall and had access to the outside. Due to the size of the enclosure, both dogs could not fit inside of the den shelter area at the same time (3.6(a)(2)(vii)-Primary enclosures). They did not have sufficient space to walk, stand or turn about without touching each other or their enclosure (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures) (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Space). The Beagles also lacked the required six inches of headroom (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Space).

The metal wall area around the dog door was severely rusted (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). The wooden entry way of the dog door was made of scratched unsealed wood (3.3(e)(iii)-Surfaces). Most of the enclosures along this wall had rusted, and/or unsealed wooden surfaces and were in need of maintenance and replacement in order to be structurally sound and properly sanitized (3.3(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces).

A Fox Terrier in an enclosure to the right of cage # 67 had a broken dog door that posed possible injury to the dog (3.1(a)-Structure; construction). This dog was covered in urine and had inflamed pads on its feet and long toe nails (2.40) (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures) (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures).

Most of the dogs in this part of the facility had irritated, watery eyes (3.2(b)-Ventilation), urine-stained and/or feces-encrusted fur (2.40) (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures) (3.11)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). They also had red, bare sores on their legs, chests, underbellies, and feet, and long toe nails (2.40) (3.6(a)(2)(ii) Primary enclosures) (3.6(a)(2)(x) Primary enclosures). Many dogs were panting heavily from the heat, heavy ammonia and humidity inside of this building (3.2(b)-Ventilation) (3.6(a)(2)(vi)-Primary enclosures).

Some dogs displayed behavioral characteristics such as turning in repetitive circles. A Dachshund in #80, who was housed alone, made continuous repetitive circles. This dog and many others would benefit from positive physical contact by humans that encourages exercise through play or similar activities daily (2.40 Vet care).

On the east side of the inside of this was a cage with a three-legged Yorkshire Terrier and a white Shih Tzu. These dogs lacked adequate space. Each time the Shih-Tzu moved it could not avoid bumping or knocking the Yorkie into the sides or floor of the primary enclosure (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures) (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Space). The Yorkie’s feet were passing through the uncoated wire flooring (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures). Both of these dogs were coated with dried urine (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures), had watery eyes (3.2(b)-Ventilation), and inflamed, irritated pads on their feet (2.40)(3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures).

The concrete under the enclosures had an accumulation of standing water, urine, liquid, feces, hair and moldy dog kibble (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.2(b) Ventilation) (3.11(a) Cleaning of primary enclosures). A golf club and other items were on top of primary enclosures (3.1(b)-Condition and site). Melissa Swanda, ACI conducted an inspection on 5/14/03 and found just four violations: a 2.75 for improper recordkeeping, a 3.6(a)(2) for broken and rusty metal edges and pieces, a 3.6(c)(1)(iii) insufficient interior height and a 3.11(a) for fecal accumulation. The last three violations were repeat NCIs. These violations were still present during the CAPS investigation on 8/26/03.

In fact, CAPS investigators encountered violations previously documented by USDA inspectors, including severe ammonia and feces odors inside and outside due to a lack of cleaning and a very inadequate ventilation system, a severe fly and pest problem , matted and injured dog, lack of veterinary care and outdated drugs. There was also overcrowding, fecal accumulation, space and height violations and many other violations that Ms. Swanda and Catherine Hovancsak, VMO documented on a number of inspection reports.  Obviously the documented repeat violations held little meaning because no action was taken to ensure compliance. Based on the number of violations that this facility has had over the years and taking into consideration the cruelty of leaving dogs in extreme August heat without adequate cooling, the USDA must bring immediate charges against Ms. Susalski and demand the revocation of her license.

Published in Minnesota
Approximately 380 dogs and an undetermined number of puppies in the kennel

Breeds: Poodles, Bichon Frisees, West Highland Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Shih Tzus, Pekingese, Lhasa Apsos, Italian Greyhounds, Scottish Terriers, Beagles, Pugs, Dachshunds, Cairn Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Airedale Terriers, Chihuahuas, Maltese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels

Happy Tails Kennel was a U-shaped building with a peaked metal roof, metal doors accessing it from all sides, and indoor/outdoor cages on three of its four longest walls (the wall facing the direction of Riverview Dr. did not have cages). Each of the outside walls had about 50 cages, while the inside walls had about 40.

Each of the outside cages was raised about three feet above the ground on wooden stilts. They measured about two feet wide, two feet long, and two feet high and had untreated, thin-gauge wire walls and ceilings (3.6(a)(2)(xii)-Primary enclosures) and treated-wire floorings. The cages were framed underneath by rusting metal beams (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). Stainless-steel water buckets were attached to the outside wall of each outdoor cage. Each enclosure housed two dogs.

A paved walkway ran underneath and next to the cages along the outside of the building’s longest walls. The ground directly under the cages was dirt, and several weeks of fecal accumulation was piled underneath the cages amidst stagnant, standing water filled with algae. The outdoor cages on the inside of the U (the outdoor cages that faced each other) also were positioned over dirt ground and had several weeks’ accumulation of feces piled under them. Rain had created small pools of feces-filled water underneath the cages and in the walkway in between the rows. In addition, several days’ accumulation of feces was observed inside about 10 percent of the cages, most of it dried and piled up in the center of the cage (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures) 3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). Flies were swarming around the outside of the facility (3.11(d)-Pest control).

The wooden building siding that served as the back wall of these cages was covered with fecal stains, fur, and algae build-up (3.1(c)(1)-Surfaces).

A West Highland Terrier had feces-stained mats covering its chest and belly (2.40-Vet care) in a cage on the wall opposite the direction of Riverview Rd. There were two cages housing Airedale Terriers that lacked six inches of space above the tops of the dogs’ heads (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures).

Indoor cages
The indoor cages were of the same design and dimensions as the outdoor cages and were accessed from the outside cages by metal doggie doors. The indoor cages had metal self-feeders attached to the cage walls. Flooring was concrete.

A room closest to the parking area of the building contained indoor cages about 2.5 feet wide, 1.5 feet long, and 1.5 feet high. These cages were stacked on top of each other, three high in six different stacks. Each housed a single dog. One cage housed an Airedale Terrier, another housed a Sheltie, and another a Cocker Spaniel; each dog was about 1.5 feet long from tips of their noses to the bases of their tails (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). These cages lacked six inches of space above the tops of the dogs’ heads (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures).

Metal trays underneath the treated wire floorings of the stacked cages served to catch feces and debris. The walls and tops of the cages were made of untreated, thin-gauge wire (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures). All of these cages had metal self feeder and plastic water bottles attached to their walls.

Published in Minnesota
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 18:30

Lanz, Sharon

Approximately 100 dogs. Breeds: Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles, Keeshounds, Irish Setters

The investigator saw the kennel that contained Lanz’s breeding dogs but was not able to inspect the whelping building. The breeding dogs were in 16 outdoor pens arranged in two rows of eight pens each, set back-to-back. These pens were about 400 feet from Lanz’s house; two dirt roads led up to this kennel area.

These pens, about five feet wide and ten feet long, had concrete floors, chain link walls, and included a wooden dog house about four feet wide and three feet long and tall at the rear of the pen. Each pen housed two to four adult dogs. Some pens contained two to three dogs that were each about four feet long from the tips of their noses to the bases of their tails (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Space).

The floors of the pens were covered with feces mixed with tufts of fur. The flooring next to the dog houses and along the bottoms of the chain link walls exhibited a thicker accumulation of feces (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Many of the chain link walls were broken near their bottoms, resulting in rusted, jagged ends protruding into the pens (3.1(c)(1)(i)(ii)-Surfaces).

The dog houses had a thick layer of feces and fur inside of them, and the outside surfaces also had a build-up of feces splatter on them (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces). One dog house, in a pen containing two Keeshounds, had several piles of feces on top of its roof (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).

The surfaces of the houses were chewed and torn (3.1(2)-Surfaces), and the houses lacked windbreaks (3.4(b)(3)-Outdoor housing facilities). In many of the pens, the dog house was not of sufficient size to accommodate all the dogs at once and allow them to lie in a normal manner or turn about freely (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements).

Metal self-feeders set on cinder blocks were attached to the walls of the pens. Many feeders were rusting (3.9(b)-Feeding). Plastic water dishes were on the pen floors. Many were empty and had fecal stains covering their surfaces (3.10-Watering).

There were large puddles of feces on the dirt ground past the dog pens (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal).

An outdoor pen located between the main kennel area and Lanz house had a single Irish Setter. The pen had a dirty flooring with more than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). This pen had chain link walls, a metal self feeder and plastic water dish, and a wooden dog house lacking a windbreak (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).

Published in Minnesota
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