Virginia Obermark gave us the tour of her facility. Her kennel consisted of hutch enclosures and chain link kennels with concrete floors. An open concrete trough ran between the enclosures and served as the waste run-off trough. She had just used a hose to spray out the kennels. She hoses the feces and other debris to the trough and then sprays water into the trough to force the debris down into a gully beyond the enclosures. The dogs were all very wet and the concrete in the chain link enclosures retained puddles of water. Also, when she cleaned one enclosure, water, feces and other debris leaked into adjoining pens (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.11(b)(3)-Sanitization of primary enclosures). I saw water, dark liquid and leaves inside of the dogs shelter area (3.6(a)(v)(ix)-Primary enclosures). The shelters throughout most of the facility consisted of plastic doghouses. These houses lacked proper wind/rain break at the entrances (3.4(b)(2)(3)-Shelter from the elements). It had rained a day before my visit and that Ms. Obermark had just sprayed out the kennels. The source of the water build-up was probably a combination of the two.
I saw several rolls of new chain link fencing, a burn barrel, tall weeds, a partially burned brush pile, and a broken down riding mower directly in front of the kennel area (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises). Ms. Obermark had discarded generic bleach bottles right next to dog shelters. Some of the bottles of bleach were full with lids on them and some were empty, missing lids (3.4(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). I also noticed leaves and hair build-up in between and around the doghouses (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises).
Parts of the chain link kennels were severely rusted. In fact, the pole structures and fencing were rusty. In some places, there were large rusted holes in the poles that were also jagged and in reach of the dogs (3.1(c)(1)(i)(ii)-Surfaces). The rusted holes were large enough that a small to medium size dog could put its entire leg through.
The food receptacles in the chain link kennels were round metal pans and hubcaps (I could see the Chevy emblem). They were somewhat rusty (3.9(b)-Feeding) and flies swarmed on the uneaten kibble (3.9(b)) (3.11(d)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). The water bowls were large black plastic dishes. The rough edges caused from chewing were collecting hair (3.10-Watering).
The hutch enclosures had these same black plastic water bowls. Ms. Obermark told us that the dogs in the hutches were wet because they played in the water bowls. Actually, the dogs were wet from her spraying to clean the enclosures. The water bowls were too large for the size of the hutch enclosures. The dogs practically had to stand or walk through the water bowl to move around (3.10).
Some of the interior surfaces of the hutches were scratched and chewed leaving exposed wood. They were not impervious to moisture (3.4(c)-Surfaces) (3.6(a)(2)(ix)-Primary enclosures). Most of the hutch enclosures had self-feeder boxes in them. Several of the feeder boxes were rusty and in need of replacement (3.1(c)(i)(1)(2)-Surfaces) (3.9(b)-Feeding).
Lack of veterinary care was a concern. All of the dogs were damp or wet. Most of the Yorkshire Terriers were matted and in need of grooming (2.40-Veterinary care). One Yorkshire Terrier’s hind end was so matted that it had feces caked around its anus. When it defecated, the feces caught in the mats, which caused further problems (2.40-Veterinary care). Another Yorkie had a lame right hind leg and had an obvious limp and hobble (2.40). Most of the dogs in the hutches with plastic coated wire had swollen feet pads (2.40-). A white poodle hiding in its hutch shelter peered out at us. His eyes appeared infected with a yellowish discharge (2.40). Many of the Yorkie’s eyes were inflamed. The matted hair around their eyes needed grooming and cleaning (2.40). The Maltese, Shih Tzus and Pekingese living on the damp concrete had very red, swollen feet pads and extremely long toenails (2.40). One Maltese kept shaking its head and scratching its head and ears (2.40). An extremely lethargic Maltese lay on the wet concrete with its face resting inside a hole in the chain link fencing (2.40). A very ill Pekingese concerned me the most. This severely thin dog had greenish discharge from its right eye and its tail and hind end were covered in old and new diarrhea (2.40). The dog rested by the entrance to its kennel with its chin propping its head up on the kennel door. Flies and caterpillars were on this dog, but he had no energy to fight them off (3.11(d)-Pest control).
I immediately asked Ms. Obermark about this dog. Her reply was that this dog was very old. She added that she keeps most of her older breeding dogs until they die or her vet makes her put them to sleep. She said that her vet had not made her put this particular dog to sleep yet, and she hoped that it would die in its sleep. I asked what the dog’s name was, and she said that she didn’t remember the dogs’ names but could recall their ID numbers. She referred to many of the dogs by numbers and not by names. She uses tags and tattoos for ID and registers her dogs with APR. She charges extra per dog for having to register with AKC because they are strict and more expensive than APR.
Ben Flerlage, ACI, did an inspection on 7/30/02, less than one month prior to the CAPS investigation. It is incredible that he found no violations. He failed to find any violations during the 9/18/01 inspection either. The Obermark facility has some very serious problems. The most alarming is the lack of veterinary care.
Morris’s facility consists of two different kennel buildings. One, a single story structure, with tan wooden walls and a peaked, shingled roof, was about 20 feet long and 12 feet wide. The building was accessible through a door on one of the shorter walls. Both of the longer walls of the buildings had eight cages on the outside. These cages were about five feet above the ground. Each cage was about two feet wide, 16 inches long, and one foot tall, and made of treated wire. The cages had pool liners on a shelving about three feet below the cages to catch feces and urine, which, Betty explained, was washed into PVC pipes leading to a retention pond on the property. The cages had wooden boxes with treated wire tops inside the building. The dogs went through doggy doors to gain access to these boxes.
On one side of the building, one cage contained two 8 pound Poodles with less than six inches of space from the tops of their heads to the tops of their cages (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures). The wire at a top corner of this cage was separated from the walls so the Poodles were able to stick their heads up against it to raise it up and potentially cut themselves on the wire of the walls (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures). Visible from the outside was jagged frame metal protruding from the top left corner of the doggy door where wood had worn away (3.1)(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures).
Another cage housed three 10 pound Lhasa Apsos (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures), and the bottom left corner of their doggy door showed similar wood degradation with a piece of jagged metal protruding (3.1)(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures).
A third cage contained three Poodles (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures) who didn’t have six inches of space from the tops of their heads to the tops of their cages (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures). A fourth cage housed three Pomeranians 3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). These dogs also did not the requisite head room (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures). Another cage had four Schnauzers (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). Then there was a cage with three Chihuahuas (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). This cage had a jagged frame metal exposed at the bottom left corner of the doggy door where wood had worn away (3.1)(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures).
One cage containing two 8 pound Miniature Pinschers lacking six inches of space from the tops of their heads to the tops of their cages (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures) also exhibited doggy door damages with wood torn away from the bottom left corner, exposing a jagged edge of metal frame(3.1)(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures).
One of the cages contained three, eight-pound Maltese (3.6(c)(1)(i)Primary enclosures) lacking six inches of space from the tops of their heads to the tops of their cages (3.6(c)(1)(iii)Primary enclosures.) One cage housed two, eight-pound Poodles lacking six inches of space from the tops of their heads to the tops of their cages (3.6(c)(1)(iii)Primary enclosures.)
An outside cage on the other side of the building contained three 6 pound Yorkshire Terriers (3.6(c)(1)(i)Primary enclosures). All of the outside cages had plastic “lix-it” style bottles. Metal feed dishes on the wire flooring of their cages were not placed so as to minimize contamination by excreta (3.9(b)-Feeding.)
Eight wooden boxes, a foot tall, sixteen inches deep and two feet wide, lined the inside walls of the kennel building. More than six of these wooden boxes had holes that appeared to have been chewed and scratched through from inside by the dogs (3.4(c)-Construction) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures.).
The boxes had treated-wire tops, several of which were loose enough on top to allow dogs inside to reach their heads through and outside the boxes (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures) (3.6(a)(2)(iii)Primary enclosures), and potentially cut themselves on the sharp points of the wire (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures). In some cases, a red brick and buckets placed atop the wire roofing kept the wire from being lifted up by the dogs inside (3.6(a)(2)(ii)-Primary enclosures). The brick and buckets could have fallen on a dog trying to reach through the wire.
On one side of the kennel, eight wire cages about 16 inches tall, two feet wide, and 16 inches deep, sat above the wooden boxes, while on the other side of the kennel, eight similar wire cages were positioned below the wooden boxes. One cage contained three 6 pound Yorkshire Terriers (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures); another housed two 8 pound Lhasa Apsos (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). Plastic sheets inches below these inside cages were angled to siphon feces and urine to the PVC pipes outside.
A whelping enclosure inside the building consisted of four pens, two on top of another two. The cages were each divided in half. They consisted of a wooden box and a treated-wire cage. The wooden boxes were filled with newspapers, “lix-it” style water bottles were hung on the wire cages, and metal food bowls sat on the cage floorings. The food bowls were not placed so as to minimize contamination by excreta (3.9(b)-Feeding). The wire cages had sheets of newspapers placed underneath them to catch feces and urine. The top and bottom pens were placed so that the wooden boxes were back-to-back. The cages were on opposite ends of the enclosure. Betty showed me that one of the pens had a Jack Russell female with two six-week-old puppies.
Another single story building, about 20 feet long and 15 feet wide, with white vinyl siding on its walls, wooden front and rear doors and a peaked, shingled roof, was used as a whelping facility. Inside were enclosures identical to the whelping cages described above. The wire cages of the bottom enclosures had newspaper placed on top of their wire ceilings to attempt to prevent feces and urine from falling into the cages from the enclosures above them (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures). One cage contained a 6 pound Yorkshire Terrier, another a 6 pound Pomeranian with a Pomeranian puppy about five to six-weeks-old, a third what appeared to be three eight-week-old Pomeranian puppies, and a fourth an 8 pound Poodle. The building also had heat lamps next to the cages. The lamps were not operating.
A shed, about a hundred feet long and wide, made with metal siding and a peaked, green roof, was used to hold tools and cleaning supplies. Inside was a whelping room about 20 feet long and 10 feet wide, defined by wooden walls put up inside the shed. This room had 12 cages of treated wire. Each cage was about 16 inches tall and deep, and two feet long. The cages were stacked three high and placed directly against each other so that six were set in one unit, and another six set in one unit. All of the cages were placed against one wall of the room. The cages were about four inches above one other. The middle and bottom level cages had newspaper placed underneath the trays and on top of their wire ceilings (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures). All cages had “lix-it” style water containers hooked up to their wire walls and metal food containers on the wire flooring of the cages. The food containers were not placed so as to minimize contamination by excrete (3.9(b)- Feeding).
One cage housed a 6 pound Poodle who didn’t have six inches of head space from the top of its head to the top of its cage (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures). A cage adjacent to this had two more Poodles (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). Below these cages was a cage with another Poodle lacking six inches of space from the top of its head to the top of its cage (3.6(c)(1)(iii)Primary enclosures). This poodle shared a cage with two, six-week-old poodles, and a six-week-old French Bulldog (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures).
Another cage in this row housed three more Poodles (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). Below these cages was a cage with yet another Poodle lacking six inches of space from the top of its head to the top of its cage (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures) and two, five-week-old Poodle puppies (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). Another cage in this row contained two Boxers lacking six inches of space from the tops of their heads to the top of their cage (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures) (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). In the other unit of cages, there were three six-week-old Poodle puppies huddled in the corner of a cage without their mother (2.40-Vet Care). Another cage had two French Bulldogs (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). Below these two cages was a cage containing two more French Bulldogs (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures) and another cage with three French Bulldogs (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures).
Ms. Morris continues to have numerous violations. The most obvious violations are lack of headroom and overcrowding. The most serious problem is the danger posed to the dogs by sharp exposed metal and wiring. It is incredible that Ben Flarlage failed to find a single non-compliant item during his inspections on 9/17/02, 1/30/02 and 8/29/01. Although we don’t have access to recent inspection reports, it is more than likely that his 2003 and 2004 inspection reports also do not list any violations.
Once we reached Galatia, Illinois, we stopped at a small gas station to buy a newspaper. I asked the woman behind the cash register if she knew where I could find a puppy. She quickly responded “Yes” and called Betty Morris to arrange for our visit. I asked this woman her name and she replied “Joyce – Joyce Patterson.” She said that she used to work for Ms. Morris and at one time had her own kennel, but had closed it and sold off her dogs. Willie, the Dachshund rescued from Lorton’s wore an ID tag with Joyce Patterson’s name and USDA number. Joyce gave us directions to Ms. Morris’ kennel. The directions she gave us were out of the way. We did not follow her directions, but went the quicker route.
We arrived at Ms. Morris’ place. When we pulled up her drive, we saw junky trailers (house), double-decked hutch style dog enclosures, and a small shack. The shack, Ms. Morris explained, was where she allowed visitors (perspective buyers) to look at puppies. She generally does not allow people back by her breeding dogs due to disease control.
At first, Ms. Morris was nowhere to be found. So, I snooped around and saw her quickly trying to spray feces from fecal trays before we were supposed to show up. She was using cold water out of a garden hose (3.11(b)(3)-Sanitization of primary enclosures). We introduced ourselves and she instructed us to wait for her back at the “shack” (the puppy visiting place) near the driveway. We attempted to linger near the dog enclosures, but she adamantly insisted that we do as she said.
Once inside the puppy shack, we noticed that the walls were neither sealed with paint nor impervious to moisture and the ceiling consisted of rolled insulation (3.2(d)-Indoor housing facilities-Interior Surfaces). The floor was a piece of linoleum with a very dirty remnant of carpet that smelled like urine (3.1(c)(1)and (3)-Housing facilities, Surfaces). Dried blood stains and filth were evident on flooring (3.1(c)( 1) and (3) (3.11(b)(3)(iii)-Sanitization of primary enclosures). A table against the back wall of this one room shack contained APR papers, small bags of puppy food (one opened), ID collars, bloody napkins, a small garbage can with dog food in the bottom and paper cups, napkins and other garbage thrown on top. There were plastic lawn chairs, boxes and towels cluttering the room (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, Condition and site).
Ms. Morris brought two female Chihuahuas in first and placed a jagged piece of fencing in the entrance to prevent the puppies from escaping. She then left us alone with the puppies.
The pups appeared to be in fair health (clean coat, clear eyes), but were shy upon my approach. They appeared to lack proper socialization with humans and seemed happy when I left them alone. They preferred their own kind.
When Ms. Morris returned, she had two more Chihuahua pups. They also appeared in fair health but lacked socialization. Ms. Morris chased them and grabbed at them, then handed them to me. They were scared. She said that you just have to grab at them fast to catch them. I asked Ms. Morris about the dried blood on the floor and she replied that it was from trimming toenails too short and made their feet bleed (2.40-Veterinary care).
We left the puppies alone for a short while – no grabbing or chasing – and they started to run and play with each other. Then, they urinated on the carpet remnant. Ms. Morris did not attempt to clean (3.1(c)(3)-Cleaning). The pups started defecating. One would defecate and the others would eat it (2.40(3)-Veterinary care). Ms. Morris made a poor attempt to clean it up and then sprayed air freshener onto the carpet remnant. She also squirted one pup directly in the face – it gagged, coughed, sneezed and rubbed its eyes with its paws. I do not feel this squirting was deliberate, but Ms. Morris showed no concern or remorse for the pup.
Ms. Morris announced that the Lord provides for her through these dogs. She also expressed that there have been many times that if it weren’t for the dog money she would have been out on the street or starving. She then informed us that there are about 3000 laws protecting animals from abuse and suffering. More laws for dogs than for battered women and children.
Finally, she agreed to let us tour the facility. We noticed mostly white double-decked sheltered housing. The trays had fecal accumulation (3.11-Cleaning of primary enclosures). There were several Shih Tzus, including an apricot one that was matted so badly that you could not tell his face from his hind end (2.40-Veterinary care). Ms. Morris screamed at us to get away from his cage. “He will bite your finger off,” she yelled.
She had many Schnauzer pups with diarrhea in their cage, in the tray underneath their cage and crusted to their bodies (2.40-Veterinary care) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
Beyond this area were rows of hutch style enclosures with dens attached. The dens were painted white. The paint was cracked and peeling. These enclosures contained breeding stock Schnauzers. They were severely matted (2.40), overcrowded (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures) and lacked sufficient headroom (3.6(c)(1)(iii)-Primary enclosures). Under these enclosures were puddles of standing urine and some fecal accumulation (3.11-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The tops of these enclosures were entirely covered with white tarps. Ms. Morris again screamed to get away from that area and to stay right by her.
Ms. Morris then showed me a manufactured sheltered housing unit that was not being used yet. She bought it from a company in Missouri, and they delivered and assembled it. This unit had plastic coated wire cages, heat, air conditioning, automatic water and food receptacles. It conforms to the USDA manual perfectly – too perfect for me. I’m pretty sure Ms. Morris has had her share of trial and error through USDA and now a company has answered her prayers with this all ready up to code housing.
We tried to look around, but Ms. Morris would only allow us in certain areas where she was. She screamed at us if we wandered too far away.
A nursing Schnauzer was in a top row enclosure that had a large amount of feces in her cage (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). As we passed by, she jumped around and smeared feces through the bottom of the wire and all over her feet. She then jumped up and smeared feces on the sides of her cage (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures). Also, a Dachshund had a coffee can for a water bowl and different breeds, male and female, were living together in cages.
At that time, some people arrived to buy a Schnauzer puppy. I could tell by their demeanor that they had no problem with Ms. Morris’ Dog Farm. They didn’t seem to care how the adult dogs had to live as long as they got their precious puppy! Ms. Morris had a sale so she was ready for us to leave. We pulled up further onto the property to turn around – now we could see part of the facility that Ms. Morris wouldn’t allow us near earlier. Here I saw more dilapidated conditions of enclosures and dogs – some very matted poodles (2.40-Veterinary care) and cage upon cage of Dachshunds with overcrowded conditions (3.6(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures). Many of Ms. Morris’ newer cages were empty. Maybe these were Joyce Patterson’s breeding stock. Also, the grounds and property were littered with debris and junk (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises).
It was evident that Ms. Morris’ primary concerns were money and praying to the Lord so she can pass USDA inspections. Ben Flarlage, ACI, found no non-compliances during his 8/29/01 inspection. CAPS inspectors found numerous violations just one month later.
A large Rat Terrier, who was running loose, greeted us. The dog had no tags or I.D. There were approximately 30 domestic rabbits in a yard. No one answered the door when we rang the doorbell and knocked. We could see a Pomeranian in the house.
We walked over to puppy and dog area to the left of the house. The Rat Terrier went up to the door of a Quonset style hut which was behind a car and some junk. He waited there as if to alert us to a presence inside. We called out to the Lortons but there wasn't a response. We continued to the whelping building where we had previously been on 1/24/01 (information below). I tried the door, but it was triple locked. The loose Rat Terrier took a drink out of a black rubber water container. This water was green with algae (3.10-Watering)
In the whelping building, I saw a female Rat Terrier with puppies in the pen that had been occupied by Jack Russell Terriers on 1/24/01. The puppies appeared to be 2-3 weeks old. We then went to the side door of the whelping building where there was a dead body of a small black Poodle with a chain around her neck (3.1-Housing facilities, Drainage and waste disposal). She was thrown out like garbage. This poodle had been with her puppies in the whelping building on 1/24/01. It appears that she may have had mastitis (2.40-Veterinary care).
Across from the whelping building was another Quonset style hut with at least 150 dogs, including Boxers, German Shepherds, Great Pyrenees and Shelties.
From there, we went to the bird contraption that Mr. Lorton uses to trap and kill starlings and grackles because they eat the dog food. The dogs eat out of large feeders. The birds have access to the food in the feeders and to the accumulation of food that the dogs have spilled from the feeders (3.9(b)-Feeding) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures) (3.11(b)-Sanitization of primary enclosures and food and water receptacles). The wood and chicken wire contraption traps different kinds of birds, including those that may be protected by law. The contraption is approximately four feet by six feet. Mr. Lorton has placed poisoned birdseed and grapefruits on the bottom. The birds can fly inside this contraption, but cannot get out. Live birds were flying around inside and trying to get out while we were there. There were at least 12 carcasses piled beside this contraption.
Next, we moved to the kennels that housed the Great Pyrenees. These dogs had chewed the wooden openings to their shelters (3.1(c)(2)-Housing facilities, Surfaces) (3.4(c)-Outdoor Housing facilities, Construction) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). These shelters were made of hog panels and wiring. We saw a lot of bird droppings (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures), exposed wire (3.6(2)(i)-Primary enclosures) and solid concrete floors that appeared to be damp (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures). It had just rained. The dogs were not in these pens. Instead, the dogs were sharing a muddy lot (3.1(f)-Housing facilities, Drainage and waste disposal) with goats. This lot was across from their pens. The fence around the lot was in disrepair. The wooden fence posts were rotted and broken (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). There were sharp, exposed wires holding the fence together (3.6(a)(2(i)-Primary enclosures). We didn't see any water (3.10-Watering).
There were around five or six Great Pyrenees. One of these dogs had a very large growth on the right side of her face (2.40-Veterinary care). This growth was about the size of a grapefruit was close to her jaw. Even though she had this condition, the dog was very friendly.
During this whole visit, the Lortons remained inside of the first Quonset type building. When we decided to leave the residence, they pulled out with a heavily laden truck and followed us a short way.
We drove for approximately 10-15 minutes to give them time. Then, we went back and all violations were still there. They had not done a thing to improve the conditions even though they knew we had been on their property.
We were only able to get inside the whelping building on 1/24/01. This is a crude building that has five rooms, including a furnace room. There were at least 80 dogs including Chihuahuas, Jack Russell Terriers, Pomeranians, Shih Tzus, and Dachshunds. The whole facility had urine and feces build-up (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). One could smell ammonia throughout the building (3.2(b)-Indoor housing facilities, Ventilation).
The first room contained puppies that are ready to go to pet stores. We saw dirty needles and syringes lying in old, dirty bowls and in the sink (2.40(b)(1)-Veterinary care). By the sink, we saw bottles of bleach, spray cleaner bottles, and WalMart bags with more cleaning solution. These supplies were not stored in cabinets (3.1(e)-Housing facilities, Storage). There were several bags of rat poison that had been torn open (3.1(e)). The poison was scattered and tracked throughout the entire building. For the Lortons to using rat poison on the floor, there must have been a very serious pest problem. Poison on the floor is dangerous for both humans and dogs. The ceiling of this first room had moisture condensation and was sagging (3.2(b)-Indoor housing facilities, Ventilation) (3.2(d)-Interior Surfaces). We also noticed stacked kennel crates with soiled papers (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
The next room had a dismantled water heater and a wood-burning furnace with elbow pipes that pumped warm air toward all the rooms. The floor of the furnace room had piles of garbage, including empty, rusty cans of dog food and soup, rusty can lids, loose dog kibble, and empty bags of dog food (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, Condition and site). There were bags of opened (not sealed) and unopened bags of dog food (3.1(e)-Housing facilities, Storage). The Lortons were using an empty, rusty can to scoop out the dry food (3.9-Feeding). There was a black female Poodle with her two puppies. This was the same dog whose body was outside the whelping building on 2/08/01. We also saw a Chihuahua ready to whelp, a Pomeranian with newborns that Mr. Lorton allowed us to touch (2.40(b)(2)-Veterinary care) and a Rat Terrier female with her newborns.
Moving on to the next room, we saw a very dimly lit (3.2(c)-Indoor housing facilities, Lighting), poorly heated area (3.2(a)) with rows of wire cages. Most of these cages were rusty (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Housing facilities, Surfaces). The wire floors did not appear to have plastic coating but the metal strands appearted to be larger than 1/8 of an inch. Some of these dogs had matted fur (2.40-Veterinary care). There was an accumulation of urine and feces (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The ammonia odor was extremely strong (3.2(b)-Indoor housing facilities, Ventilation).
Males and females were in cages together. There was no water in the cages (3.10-Watering). The food containers consisted of rusty dog food or soup cans (3.9(b)-Feeding). We saw a tan female Jack Russell Terrier who was very shy and tried to hide from us (2.40(b)(3)-Veterinary care). She shared her cage with a shy male. There was an extremely matted male Shih Tzu (2.40-Veterinary care). This dog was very aggressive. He growled, snarled, charged at the sides of the metal cage, and grabbed the wire with his teeth. This dog was definitely emotionally disturbed (2.40(b)(3)-Veterinary care)
The last room in the whelping building housed mostly male dogs. One male Dachshund could get his entire head and shoulders out of an opening in his wire cage, which was at least four feet off the ground (3.6(a)(2)(ii) and (iii)-Primary enclosures). He tried to get out to see us. Four or five cages were near a section of bare wall (3.1(a)-Housing facilities; Structure; construction) (3.2(d)-Indoor housing facilities, Interior surfaces). Pieces of insulation and wood from the wall were on the floor. The dogs could easily reach some of the exposed insulation that remained on the wall.
We saw a number of domestic rabbits running around the property. Mrs. Lorton told us that her husband used to raise rabbits for personal consumption and sale of meat. Mr. Lorton either bashed the rabbits in the head or snapped their necks. Mrs. Lornton added that you can eat only so much rabbit meat and that their freezer had been full. Mr. Lorton finally decided not to raise rabbits any longer and turned them loose.
We were greeted by a yapping red Pomeranian, the large Rat Terrier and a small, red, male Dachshund. The Dachshund was wearing USDA tags on his chain collar.
Mrs. Lorton gave us a tour of her facility. Again, we saw numerous domestic rabbits hopping around loose on the property. The bird contraption was still there. We noticed sparrows and grackles flying around inside of it and some dead bird carcasses at the bottom of this contraption. Mrs. Lorton told us that they feel the birds are pests. The Lortons have also installed a device to scare birds away from a sheltered housing facility where the birds like to nest. The device emits high pitch squawks and chirping sounds to supposedly deter birds from nesting. The dogs located in that sheltered facility get to hear this twenty four hours per day and appeared extremely agitated by the noise. This noise was annoying enough to humans, let alone to dogs who have very sensitive hearing. But it wasn't effective since birds continued to fly in and out of the sheltered housing facility (3.11(d)-Pest control). There were even nests in the facility. I will go into further detail regarding dogs in this area later in this report.
Mrs. Lorton told us that the male Dachshund (later named Willie) was for sale for .00 and that a family had turned him over to her last month. She said he was current on all vaccinations including rabies. The Dachshund was friendly. He had some scarring on his nose, and this area of his nose was also missing hair (2.40-Veterinary care). His ears and tail were also missing fur.
We looked around the property and noticed a lot of junk, clutter and debris, such as an old junk car, rusted barrels, empty kennel crates, unused dog shelters, ladders, fencing materials, cans of oil, trash, burn barrels and a burn pile (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises). The property had tall grass and weeds (3.11(c)). We also observed rodents and flies (3.11(d)-Pest control).
We first approached an outdoor housing area with four to six hog panel enclosures with concrete floors. It appeared that these enclosures had been hosed out with cold water (3.11(b)(3)-Sanitization of primary enclosures). The fecal material had accumulated in a trough located in front of these enclosures (3.1(f)-Housing facilities, Drainage and waste disposal). This area had a distinct odor of fecal material and flies were swarming around (3.11(f)-Pest control). These enclosures were partially covered by a piece of tin over each separate enclosure. The houses were made of wood. One wooden doghouse in the end pen to the right (enclosure with shaved Shih Tzus) was in a state of disrepair (3.1(a)-Housing facilities, Structure; construction). It was rotting (3.1(c)(2)-Housing facilities, Surfaces) and not impervious to moisture (3.4(c)-Outdoor housing facilities, Construction). The entrance to this wooden shelter was chewed (3.1(c)(2) (3.4(c) and the wind/rain break over the entrance had rotted and was partially missing (3.4(b)(3)- Outdoor housing facilities, Shelter from the elements). Each enclosure contained four or more dogs. Pomeranians were to the left. To the right were gray and white shaved Shih Tzus. The dogs' water dishes were green with algae (3.10-Watering) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of primary enclosures and food and water receptacles). The self-feeder boxes here appeared to be newer, plastic and were sealed with lids. The dogs appeared in fair health and barked at us.
Next, Mrs. Lorton took us to the indoor housing facility that contained whelping bitches, puppies and dogs in isolation. When I entered this building, the strong ammonia odor was overwhelming (3.2(b)-Indoor housing facilities, Ventilation) and flies were everywhere (3.11(d)-Pest control). There was moisture condensation on the ceiling, brown water damage spots and some green fungi looking spots (3.2(d)-Indoor housing facilities, Interior surfaces). The primary enclosures were made only of wire. The wire on most of these enclosures was rusty (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Housing facilities, Surfaces) or had peeling paint (3.1(c)(2)-Housing facilities, Surfaces). The puppies' feet were passing through the wire flooring and some puppies sat in their food or water dishes to get off of the wire (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures).
Mrs. Lorton showed us three Jack Russell Terrier puppies in the first enclosure. Two of the pups had plastic ID collars on. Mrs. Lorton said she only puts the plastic ID collar on the pups when they are sold, but are still too young to leave the facility (2.50(a)(2)-Identification). She also stated that sometimes she sold five-week old pups and taken from the facility (2.130-Minimum age requirements). These pups appeared in fair health with clean coats and clear eyes. The Boxer pups in the next pen, however, were severely dehydrated and had severe diarrhea that was clear with a greenish yellow color (2.40-Veterinary care. There was a light gray mother Shih Tzu with her puppies. The pups appeared to be two-three weeks old. They could not stand on the wire because their feet were too small for the wire flooring (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures), so they just lay down and tried not to move. Next to her were approximately seven Jack Russell Terrier pups. They were also having difficulty walking or standing on the wire flooring. Their feet kept passing through the wire floor (3.6(a)(2)(x). One puppy just sat and howled. Across from these pups were several Rat Terrier pups living in the same conditions.
Last, but not least, I must mention the very nervous brown and white Jack Russell Terrier mother with her two pups in the end pen. She was very nervous and appeared scared to even care for her pups in our presence. She growled at us. Her pups were having the same degree of difficulty with the wire flooring as the other pups, and her puppies huddled in their food and water dishes to get off of the wire flooring (3.6(a)(2)(x). Under these wire enclosures were trays lined with newspapers soiled with urine, feces, diarrhea, food and hair (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The water was green with algae (3.10-Watering) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). There were gray metal self-feeder boxes attached to these cages. The feeder boxes had very sharp corners (3.1(c)(1)(ii)-Housing facilities, Surfaces) and had no lids. The room itself had very bright fluorescent lights (3.4(c)-Indoor housing facilties-lighting). These lights were located directly above the primary enclosures containing the puppies. A table near the door contained a scale, grooming supplies, plastic ID collars, bottles of medications, used needles and syringes (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, Condition and site). At the other end of the room were several unused kennel crates with shredded newspaper that was soiled with feces and urine. We saw a lot of hair build-up in and around cages (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The floor and surfaces were not clean anywhere in this building, and dry kibble littered the floor (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, Condition and site).
Next, Mrs. Lorton took us to a sheltered housing facility for the adult Boxers. The enclosures were chain link with concrete flooring. The concrete was wet with some puddles of water, urine and some fecal accumulation (3.1(f)-Housing facilities, Drainage and waste disposal). The dogs' water dishes were green with algae (3.10-Watering). Birds were flying in and out of this area. Bird droppings were present on the wet concrete, dome shelters, chain link fencing and wooden support beams (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The Boxers barked and jumped around flinging water and liquid off of their paws and onto other dogs and me (3.1(f)). Some dogs appeared aggressive and tried to bite me as I walked between the rows of enclosures. Some dogs seemed friendly and attention starved. The friendly dogs tried to touch me gently with their outstretched legs and paws to get my attention so that I would stop and pet them and give them a few kind words. One female Boxer remained in her dome shelter the entire visit. Even though the other dogs were moving about and barking, she just sat quietly looking at me with her head down. Mrs. Lorton said she might have been acting this way because she may be pregnant (2.40(b)(3)-Veterinary care).
From here, Mrs. Lorton walked us down to a muddy paddock enclosure to see the Great Pyrenees. This enclosure was made of rotten wood fence posts, metal T-posts and wire fencing connected by pieces of wire(3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). Many sharp points of wire could have injured these dogs (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures). There was no shade or protection from sun, wind, rain or snow (3.4(b)(2)-Outdoor housing facilities, Shelter from the elements). Furthermore, the unsealed wooden shelter (3.4(c)-Outdoor housing facilities, Construction) had no wind/rain break at the entrance (3.4(b)(3)- Shelter from the elements). The water bucket was green with algae (3.10-Watering). Their coats were very matted (2.40-Veterinary care).
Next, we toured the sheltered housing facility that contained the anti-bird device. Here, I noticed Chihuahuas, Rat Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers and Dachshunds. The front of the enclosure was made of thick gauge rusted wire similar to hog panels (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Housing facilities, Surfaces) and the floors were made of concrete. The concrete floor was damp with water and urine (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). A river of fecal accumulation was deposited on the concrete walkway area in front of their enclosures (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The urine, feces and ammonia odor was really nasty (3.3(b)-Sheltered housing facilities, Ventilation). There were birds flying in and out of this sheltered facility, despite the anti-bird device (3.11(d)-Pest control). In fact, they were nesting close to the device. Bird droppings were evident everywhere you looked - on the concrete kennel floor, dripping from the fronts of the enclosures and on the support beams and walls (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Flies were swarming over the river of feces, around the dogs and around me. The dogs appeared to be in an agitated state caused by their environment and the loud high-pitched sounds emitted from the anti-bird device (2.40(b)(3)-Veterinary care). I noticed some of the dogs being aggressive with each other. I do not know if they were incompatible or just crazy due to their living quarters.
Adjacent and connected to the sheltered housing facility was the goat area. The Lortons also raise and sell goats for meat and Jewish sacrifice (at least Mr. Lorton thinks these buyers are Jewish) (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, Condition and site).
Mrs. Lorton told me that the two Jack Russell Terriers at the far end of the area were for sale. She said that if she couldn't sell them she would dump them at the pound. During our next visit, Mr. Lorton said that one way or another these dogs would be gone. I asked Mrs. Lorton if they would make good pets. She replied that they may bite, they are not good with children and probably not capable of being house-trained. Meanwhile, Willie the Dachshund wandered around the entire facility. He waddled right through the river of feces and co-mingled with all of the dogs.
Mrs. Lorton took me back to the whelping building. Once inside, I asked Mrs. Lorton about the red male Dachshund (Willie). Upon our arrival, Mrs. Lorton led me to believe he had only been on her property for about one month. Now, she told me that he has been there almost one year. Willie's USDA tag did not have Mrs. Lorton's USDA license number, but that of Joyce Patterson of Patterson's Kennel in Galatia, IL (USDA license 33-A-0396) (2.50-Identification). The tag was barely legible and the metal was nearly bent in half (2.51-Form of official tag). Possibly it had been caught or chewed on. Willie also had a tattoo of the number six in his ear. He was infested with fleas and smelled like motor oil (2.40(a)-Veterinary care).
Mrs. Lorton really wanted to sell me one of the Jack Russell Terrier puppies. She pulled one female puppy out and showed me her hernia (2.40-Veterinary care). Mrs. Lorton assured me that the hernia would heal on its own. I mentioned that I might like a larger dog, so we went to another room filled with dogs. To get to this room, we had to pass through the furnace room cluttered with debris on the floor, such as buckets, grooming supplies, etc (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, Condition and site). I saw bags of dog food stored on an old wooden worktable by the wall (3.1(e)-Housing facilities, Storage). Shelves over by an exit door had cans of dog food, medications (3.1(e) and many non-dog related items such as a saw, cans of oil (3.1(e), extension cords and miscellaneous tools and clutter (3.1(b)). There was dog kibble on the floor as well (3.1(b)).
We entered a dingy room filled with two rows of 2' x 4' rusted wire cages (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Housing facilities, Surfaces). The wall directly across had water damaged wood (3.2(d)-Indoor housing facilities, Interior Surfaces) and exposed insulation and electrical devices (3.1(a)-Housing facilities, Structure; construction). I noticed dry dog food kibble on the floor (3.1(b)). There weren't any windows. The only light came from bright shop lights above the dog cages (3.2(c)-Indoor housing facilities, Lighting). The water dishes were green with algae (3.10-Watering) and some of the food in the self-feeder boxes appeared to have mold growing on it (3.9(b)-Feeding). The self-feeder boxes here also had sharp edges and were not sealed (3.1(c)(1)(ii)-Housing facilities, Surfaces).
Also in this room was a run-off trough going down the middle of these two rows of cages. The trough was full of feces, urine, algae and yellowish green liquid (3.1(f)-Housing facilities, Drainage and waste disposal). The trough was so full that it was overflowing back into the cages. The dogs' feet and legs were damp with this liquid (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (2.40(b)(2)-Veterinary care). As they jumped around in their cages, the movement caused this liquid to fling on other dogs (2.40(b)(2)) and humans. Wires holding the self-feeders to the cages were projecting in towards the animals (3.6(c)(1)(ii)-Housing facilities, Surfaces). One young Pomeranian had damp fur (3.6(a)(2)(v) and most of the dogs had extremely long toenails (2.40-Veterinary care). We noticed a matted brown Shih Tzu (2.40), several Rat Terriers and Pomeranians, and one three-and-a-half month old Boxer puppy (Happy). The conditions these dogs were kept in were dismal and depressing. These dogs had no fresh air (3.2(b)-Indoor housing facilities, Ventilation) or diurnal lighting (3.2(c)- Lighting). They slept on thick gauge wire and had no solid place to rest. The little brown Chihuahua in a cage next to Happy had some difficulty walking on the wire floor because his feet were so small (3.6(a)(2)(xii)-Primary enclosures). There was a room similar to this one across from the furnace room. One of the times I visited, this room contained dogs, but there were no dogs on this particular visit. This room had been even bleaker than the room we had just visited. To my knowledge, these dogs spend 24 hours per day in these cages with no exercise or playtime (3.8(b)-Exercise for dogs).
The primary whelping area was in this indoor housing facility. The room had bright shop lights above the enclosures (3.2(c)-Indoor housing facilities, Lighting). The room was painted a yellow color and has one window. The whelping mothers are kept in thick gauge metal enclosures (2' x 3') with wooden plywood whelping dens. Many of the wooden whelping dens had severely chewed entrances (3.1(c)(2)-Housing facilities, Surfaces) (3.2(d)-Indoor housing facilities, Interior Surfaces) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures) and the paint on the metal bars was peeling, leaving areas of exposed rust (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Housing facilities, Surfaces). The water in here was green with algae (3.10-Watering). The self-feeder boxes were attached to the metal cages by bungee cords and straps. They were in the same condition as the self-feeder boxes previously mentioned. They had no lids, were unsealed and had sharp edges (3.1(c)(1)(ii)-Housing facilities, Surfaces). Some of these enclosures had self-feeder boxes and unused bowls stored on top of them (3.1(b)-Condition and site)
I noticed a familiar face right away. It was that of the extremely shy tan female Jack Russell Terrier that I had seen in the doom and gloom room (as mentioned in the 1/24 report). She was ready to whelp. She remained trembling inside of her den area (2.40(b)(3)-Veterinary care). I noticed some sort of medication bottle on top of her whelping den. Mrs. Lorton said that she is not a very good dog as far as temperament but has good puppies. This dog's den area was severely chewed on the left side (3.1(c)(2)-Housing facilities, Surfaces) (3.2(d)-Indoor housing facilities, Interior Surfaces) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). She growled nervously at me like some of the other Jack Russell Terriers at this facility. The wire bottom of her enclosure had peeling paint (3.1(c)(2)-Housing facilities, Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) and was rusted (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). Her water bowl had algae in it (3.10-Watering).
Mrs. Lorton showed me some newborn Pomeranian puppies a few cages down. The mother Pomeranian had the same living conditions listed in the above paragraph. Mrs. Lorton handed me a puppy and the mother Pomeranian became extremely distressed (2.40(b)(2)-Veterinary care). She paced, nervously panted, pawed at the metal bars and looked at us with a pleading look in her eyes. It was obvious that she didn't want to be separated from her puppy. Mrs. Lorton disregarded this dog's distress and removed yet another puppy for me to hold (2.131(a)(1)-Handling of animals). Flies were buzzing around the young pups and me (3.11(d)-Pest control).
A pregnant brown and white Jack Russell Terrier emerged from her den in the cage behind me. She appeared lethargic and uncomfortable (2.40-Veterinary care). She wagged her nubby tail a few times, and then retired into her den again. Mrs. Lorton did not care that this dog was not feeling well and just walked off talking about the different registries she uses. She uses United Kennel Club, American Pet Registry and Universal Kennel Club International registries.
I noticed plastic PVC pipes running from these cages to the floor as some sort of run-off for waste (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). The Lortons had hosed these cages out with cold water (3.11(b)(3)-Sanitization of primary enclosures). There was a green hose located on the floor and draped over the female Pomeranian's cage (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, Condition and site). I could not see where the run-off pipes deposited. It appeared that they went through the floor and under the building (3.1(f)).
The whelping mothers appeared in fair condition, but were not very active. They were not damp and I did not notice any obvious discharge or health problems other than bad temperament and lethargy.
All of the dogs at this facility displayed behavioral problems, lack of veterinary care and lack of positive human contact. A lot of the dogs displayed signs of abuse by crouching, growling at humans, watching hands & feet suspiciously or by not wanting human contact at all (2.131(a)(2)(i)-Handling of animals). I suspect the dogs displaying these tendencies have been at the facility for awhile. The newer dogs begged for ANY interaction with humans.
Conditions at this facility were primarily unchanged since the previous visit. Violations previously documented on the 5/30/01 report were still present.
Numerous domestic rabbits were hopping around the property, as well as Willie, the Dachshund, a.k.a. Sam. The Great Pyrenees were not in the muddy pen, but instead in the goat building.
Mr. & Mrs. Lorton asked us to pull the truck up by the goat building so we could load the Great Pyrenees more easily. The goat building is attached to the sheltered housing facility with the anti-bird device. However, the entrance/exit that the Lortons use is on the other side of this gray metal building. To gain entrance, Mr. Lorton pulled and moved part of the back wall. It was on rollers so that it slid back and forth. He entered the building and slid the door shut. He asked me to remain outside by the truck. A few moments later he appeared with two Great Pyrenees.
The male, Buck, had severely matted hair, dental problems and was very scared (2.40-Veterinary care). He trembled and crouched down. The female, Daisy, was trembling so badly she could barely walk. Her condition was worse than Buck's. Daisy had severely matted hair with a large patch on her back that was completely void of hair (2.40). This hairless area was bright red in color, had scabs, puss and scaly areas. Her teeth were in very poor condition (2.40). Both of these dogs kept trembling and shaking. They kept looking at Mr. Lorton's hands and feet (2.131(a)(2)(i)-Handling of animals). He yelled at them and yanked and pulled them by ropes toward the truck (2.131(a)(1) and (2)(i)-Handling of animals). Their eyes were wide and scared. They became rigid and afraid to move. Mr. Lorton hit them on their backs and hind end area with his hand and pulled on their ropes to no avail (2.131(a)(1) and (2)(i)-Handling of animals). He finally became frustrated and grabbed at Buck. Once he caught Buck, he picked him up and threw him at the back of the truck and finally shoved him into the travel cages (2.131(a)(1) and (2)(i)-Handling of animals). By this time, Daisy was crouched as low to the ground as she possibly could go. Mr. Lorton yanked her rope hard and tried to pull her towards him (2.131(a)(1)). She was fearful of Mr. Lorton. She would not go to him. He grabbed her by the left ear and dragged her to the truck (2.131(a)(1) and (2)(i)-Handling of animals). She never made a sound. He picked her up and shoved her into the travel carrier with Buck (2.131(a)(1)).
Then, Mr. Lorton stated he would catch the "wild one," referring to Sassy. He entered the building and pulled the sliding door shut behind him. I heard him yelling and screaming. Then, I heard him hitting Sassy and I heard her yelp and cry out several times (2.131(a)(2)(i)). I approached the door and asked if everything was all right. Mr. Lorton flung the door open, almost knocking it off of its rollers. He exclaimed what a pain and problem this dog has always been. He had a long pole with a noose attached to it and he resumed beating Sassy with the end of the pole (2.131(a)(20(i)). He hit her many times across her back with the pole (2.131(a)(2(i)). Then he jabbed her in the rib and groin area with it several times (2.131(a)(2(i)). She was whimpering and yelping. She urinated on herself during this beating. She kept trying to back away from him but he finally had her cornered. He hit her on the back three or four more times (2.131(a)(2(i)). Then he hit her on her head a few times, almost knocking her out (2.131(a)(2(i)). He then, quickly turned the pole around and put the noose around her head and throat (2.131(a)(1)). He seemed very skilled with the usage of the noose/pole, as though he had used it many times before. Sassy's tongue was hanging out of her mouth and when he tightened the noose, he caused her to bite through her own tongue (2.131(a)(1) and (2)(i)-Handling of animals). Her tongue remained clamped as he dragged her nearly unconscious from the building (2.131(a)(2)(i)). She was scared, dazed and her tongue was bleeding.
Once outside of the building, Willie the Dachshund, approached Sassy and started pulling fur from her hip and tail area. Mr. Lorton kicked Sassy and tried to kick Willie (2.131(a)2)(i)). He was still holding the noose/pole, strangling Sassy (2.131(a)(2)(i)) and trying to grab Willie. He stated that he was going to break Willie's neck when he caught him (2.131(a)(2)(i)). I told him that I would take Willie while we loaded Sassy into the travel carrier. He told me that it was absolutely necessary to treat untrained dogs the way he did or they would be uncontrollable. I told him that I would keep that in mind.
Next, Mr. Lorton tried to load Sassy. He grabbed her ear with one hand and held the noose with the other (2.131(a)(1)). She yelped and yelped. He slapped her head and told her to "Shut Up!" He finally grabbed her and threw her in the back of the truck (2.131(a)(1)). One of her legs got caught in the tailgate and he just kept shoving, slapping and pulling her (2.131(a)(1)). She was so upset and traumatized that she defecated on herself and the truck! He finally shoved her in the travel carrier and removed the noose. Then, he slammed the travel carrier door shut. He told me he was glad to get rid of her. I had offered to help during the loading, but he refused. I felt very sorry for these dogs. Under 4.10(b), "In any case of actual of threatened physical harm to animals in violation of the Act, or the regulations or standards issued thereunder, by a person licensed under the Act, the Administrator may suspend such person's license temporarily, for a period not to exceed 21 days…"
I had picked up Willie so that Mr. Lorton wouldn't kill him. He was covered with fleas and had ticks in his ears (2.40-Veterinary care). Willie and the Great Pyrenees smelled like motor oil (3.11(d)-Pest control) (2.40(b)(2)-Veterinary care). Some people used to use this as fly or pest control by pouring it on the dogs. Mr. Lorton allowed me to place Willie in an outside pen while I went to get the Boxer pup, Happy.
Once inside the whelping building, Mr. Lorton and Mrs. Lorton finally explained that Daisy had a skin problem (2.40-Veterinary care). Mr. Lorton poured Para-mite dip solution into an old bottle that used to contain Excedrin PM (2.40(b)). The residue from the Excedrin PM - acetaminophen and Diphenhydramine Citrate - was not rinsed out before pouring in the Para-mite solution (2.40(b)). Neither of them could state specific amounts or proper usage of this solution (2.40(b)). They did not even know how much water should be used to dilute the solution or how often it should be used or for what skin conditions (2.40(b)). They just said they had poured it on Daisy once already and that I should pour some more on her a week or so later and then maybe one more time. Mr. Lorton told us that the Great Pyrenees were due for rabies vaccinations. They also stated that the male Great Pyrenees had had a terrible infection a couple of years ago that caused him to be sterile (2.40).
Mrs. Lorton and I went into the "doom and gloom" room to see Happy, the Boxer puppy. Mrs. Lorton told me that Happy was three-and-a-half-months-old. I asked to see Happy's parents, so we went into the Boxer building. The concrete floor was damp with some standing puddles of water (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures). This was also the condition on the previous visit. Mr. Lorton told me that one of the female Boxers had produced twelve puppies for her first litter. All of these puppies had died (2.40-Veterinary care). He stated that they probably died because of the wood shavings that they had used for their bedding. Wood shavings are toxic to puppies according to the Lortons. Mr. Lorton further explained that a girl that worked for their vet raised Collies, and she told the Lortons that the wood shavings are only toxic to puppies when the shavings become damp or wet. Thus, he was admitting that the bedding had been damp or wet (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures).
The Lortons assisted me as I loaded the Happy and Willie into my truck. The Lortons did not remove Willie's USDA tag. While I was inside with Mrs. Lorton paying for the dogs and filling out paperwork, the other investigator took a tour of the property with Mr. Lorton.
The outdoor enclosures had a large deposit of fecal matter in the concrete run-off trough located in front of the enclosures (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). The shelters were still in a state of disrepair (3.1(a)-Housing facilities, Structure; construction) and not impervious to moisture (3.4(c)-Outdoor Housing facilities, Construction). The rotting, chewed fronts had not been replaced (3.1(c)(2)-Housing facilities, Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.4(c)-Outdoor housing facilities, Construction) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). The same clutter, debris, garbage and weeds on the property were evident (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises).
The sheltered housing facility with the anti-bird device had a large amount of feces deposited on the concrete in front of the enclosures next to the green garden hose (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The kennels were damp (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures) and had bird droppings (3.11(a)). Also, the self-feeder boxes here and throughout the facility (indoor & out) did not have lids and spilled kibble was scattered on the floors (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, Condition and site). This allowed birds and other pests complete access to the food (3.11(d)-Pest control).
Connected to the sheltered housing area was the goat/Great Pyrenees barn area (3.1(b)-Condition and site). A wall and a gate separated it. Mr. Lorton opened the gate and a six-month-old Great Pyrenees nervously approached. She appeared abused and afraid of Mr. Lorton. She watched his hands constantly (2.131(a)(2)(i). As he approached her, she crouched and acted very submissive and nervous. Inside the building was a fenced-off cage area where Mr. Lorton had been keeping the older three Great Pyrenees. This area led to the roller door on the back of the building where we had loaded the dogs and where Sassy had been beaten. It was damp and dark. Dog and goat urine and feces was apparent (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). I saw a rat run under the building during the loading of the dogs (3.11(d)-Pest control). Many birds' nests and bird droppings were visible. Flies were everywhere (3.11(d)).
Mr. Lorton called the goats up from the pasture and they entered this building. Some of the goats appeared to have eye infections and skin problems. It seems that the Lortons provide the same negligent level of care for their goats as they do for their dogs.
As he pulled a tick off of his hand with a pair of pliers (3.11(d)-Pest control), Mr. Lorton discussed the need for the Great Pyrenees to keep Coyotes away from his livestock. He stated that he had sold the other adult Great Pyrenees that we had seen back in February. Earlier in the day, he had told us not to worry about what had happened to other Pyrenees. We wondered if he had shot them or sold them to research.
The young Great Pyrenees kept scratching and biting at her fur (2.40-Veterinary care) (3.11(d)-Pest control). Mr. Lorton stated he used "that stuff" on their necks for flea and tick control, but ticks were really bad this year (3.11(4)(d). The goats and Great Pyrenees' water tank was green with algae as well as most of the other water dishes inside and out on this property (3.10-Watering). Mr. Lorton further stated that he uses the goats for milk, meat and sells them to "the Jews" for sacrifice (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, Condition and site).
On the way back to the house we walked back by the sheltered housing facility. Mr. Lorton pointed out several dogs. Two female Jack Russell Terriers in the pen closest to the goat area were not producing puppies, and he said they were for sale or "whatever." "They were going to be gone somehow, very soon." Some of the other dogs stayed very far away from him in their damp (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures), dark enclosures (3.3(c)-Sheltered housing facilities, Lighting). There were no houses or dens for any of these dogs to get off the damp concrete floor (3.3(d)-Sheltered housing facilities, Shelter).
Mr. Lorton discussed parentage of the Jack Russell Terrier pups that were for sale in the whelping building. He admitted that he had no idea which one was the father. He only knew which dog was the mother.
After this discussion and still on the way back to the house, Mr. Lorton stopped and proudly explained the birdcage contraption. He stated that he sometimes puts food in there to lure the birds in through the top that is designed to let the birds in, but not out. They die a slow death by starvation or by Mr. Lorton breaking their necks. The contraption does not distinguish between protected species and those that are not. In fact, Mr. Lorton may be violating state law by killing birds that are not considered pests. It is just plain cruel! He stated that he felt that this is the most humane way of controlling the bird situation. He also stated that the birds eat and cause manure build-up more than his dogs ever could. This is his way of pest control and he thinks it is quite grand (3.11(d)-Pest control).
While in the house filling out the paperwork, I noticed a Do Bo Tri brochure. Mrs. Lorton stated that they want the Lornton to sell puppies to them for pet stores. She did not admit that she already sold to them. H & H Kennels (J.B. Hunt Trucking and the Hunte Corporation brokerage facility) recently bought out Do Bo Tri Kennels.
I asked Mrs. Lorton for registration papers for Happy and Willie. She told me that Willie was not producing pups and was useless to her and that she doubted he would ever produce any more pups. That's why she didn't want him any longer. She refused to give me the paperwork on the Great Pyrenees due to the fact that they would be suitable for pets, not breeding stock. I thanked them for their time and they said to come back to visit anytime.
Re-investigation confirmed that all previously reported violations were still in effect.
The secondary purpose of re-visiting this facility was to rescue a young, male Jack Russell Terrier puppy (Boscoe). This puppy was examined by Dr. Larry Baker on 6/27/01 and was found to have roundworm eggs in his stool sample (2.40-Veterinary care). The groomer also found fleas on him (2.40).
The puppies in the room with Boscoe seemed frustrated and bored. They were chewing on the wire of their cages as if they wanted to get out.
While we were in the house filling out paperwork, I saw a male Chihuahua. This was the same dog who had lived next to Happy, the Boxer, and whose feet were falling through the wire floor. This dog had bilateral luxating patellas (2.40-Veterinary care). He would not come to the Lortons. They told us that they had to corner him in the evenings to put him in a wire kennel crate.
Mr. Lorton told us that they would sometimes place unwanted breeding stock near their house in the hopes that the dogs would be run over by vehicles. The house is close to a dead-end road. However, at the end of this road is a farm equipment store and repair facility. He said eight out of ten times these animals would be hit (3.6(a)(2)(iii)-Primary enclosures) (2.40(b)(4)-Veterinary care).
It was rainy on this visit and I saw birds trapped and dying in the wood and wire death trap. There were several dead bird carcasses littering the floor. The odor of the decomposing carcasses hung heavy in the moist air. Some birds were flopping and writhing around on their backs. Some birds were too weak to do anything except stare at me through the rain. The birds were not sparrows, starlings or grackles. They were similar to a small black finch species. Mrs. Lorton explained that the birds flopping on their backs were birds whose necks her husband had tried to break earlier that morning but didn't quite get the job done. She also stated that he would come back out after his lunch to finish killing them. They were very indifferent to the birds suffering.
Dr. Larry Baker, the owner of the Northgate Pet Clinic in Decatur, and Melanie Koch, an anchorwoman from WAND in Decatur, accompanied me on this last investigation. A complete examination of the Lorton facility revealed that all of the same violations were still evident. I contacted the state department of conservation about the cruel bird trap. They promised they would send an agent to investigate. I had contacted them on August 14, and they still had not sent someone out to the Lorton facility. We rescued mother and daughter Chihuahuas. They both had coccidia, and the puppy had kennel cough.
In conclusion, the conditions at Lorton facility are horrid. The clutter, debris, pest control problem, living conditions, lack of vet care, neglect and blatant disregard and lack of respect for other living beings need immediate action. It is impossible to fathom how both state and federal agriculture inspectors found no violations. In fact, Bernard Flerlage, the USDA inspector, found no violations during an inspection on 9/25/01, just one day after we visited the Lorton facility.
We saw syringes outside on the ground near the whelping building door (2.40-Veterinary care; 3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises). The Lortons were remodeling the first puppy room. There were old cages stacked outside by the burn barrels (3.11(c)). We also saw building materials tossed around: pliers, wire, saw, electrical cords, pieces of cut metal and particleboard (3.11(c)).
The new cages in the whelping room had a middle partition that extended to the far wall. Cages came off both sides. The flooring consisted of large gauge plastic coated wire. There was a run-off trough going to the wall drain. This enabled the Lortons to spray under cages toward the drain for easier cleaning (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). We saw Jack Russell and Chihuahua puppies with feet and legs falling through the plastic coated wire (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures). Puppies still huddled in their food and water bowls. These bowls were also chewed (3.9-Freeding).
New cage doors were too low, allowing puppies easy access to crawl out and fall three-and-one-half feet to the ground (3.1(a)-Housing facilities, general; Structure; construction) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). Mrs. Lorton shut several JRT puppies' feet in the door (2.40-Veterinary care). The puppies screamed and yelped, and she didn't even turn to see why they were yelping. The other CAPS investigator had to bring her attention back to these pups. All she did to remedy the situation was re-open the door and shove them back, and then slammed the door again, catching another puppie's foot in the door. Mrs. Lorton said they would have to fix it later (3.1(a)) (3.6(a)(2)(i)(ii)(iii)-Primary enclosures). There was a six-inch ledge built in front of all the doors. It extended the length of the cages and was made of unsealed particleboard that was not impervious to moisture (3.2(d)-Indoor housing facilites, Interior surfaces).
The floor and room were still dirty. Mud, hair, kibble and debris were on the floor. Medicines, syringes, unused dirty kennel crates, shredded newspaper, cleaning supplies (bleach), and a box of chewed bowls were all present - a definite housekeeping problem (3.1(b)-Housing facilities, general; Condition and site).
We noticed three Boxer pups with severe diarrhea and lethargy (2.40-Veterinary care). We also saw five to six Shih-tzu puppies in one cage. They were supposedly from the same litter, but they appeared overcrowded (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures). This side of the new cage project was unfinished. There were cut pieces of wire on the cages that could cause injury to the puppies (3.6(a)(2)(i)(ii)-Primary enclosures).
The violations in the room next to the whelping room were still present. This room was full. In some cages, there were four to five dogs. They jumped and bumped into each other and could not sit, stand or lie down comfortably without touching another dog (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures). Some dogs were showing stress by attacking their cage-mates, chewing at the cage or turning in small circles over and over in a repetitious cycle (2.40(b)(3)-Veterinary care) (3.8-Exercise for dogs). The Lortons were still using rusty coffee cans as water receptacles (3.10-Watering). Insulation on the wall was still exposed (3.2(d)-Indoor Housing facilities, Interior Surfaces).
The furnace, grooming, storage and food storage area was very cluttered with bags of dog food (sealed and unsealed) (3.1(e)-Housing facilities, Storage). We also saw empty bags of food, firewood, ashes and debris from the wood burning furnace, shredded newspaper, electrical cords, old hoses and empty cans of dog food (3.1(b)-Condition and site). The floor was made of unsealed wood (3.2(d)-Indoor housing facilities, Interior Surfaces).
In the Boxer building, the first cage on the right contained a mother Boxer and her puppies, who appeared to be about four-weeks-old. There was no heat source for this drafty building (3.3(a)-Sheltered housing facilities, Heating, cooling, and temperature). The floors were damp, cracked concrete (3.3(e)(1)(i)-Surfaces) and had puddles of urine standing water, and fecal accumulation (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The shelter areas did have straw bedding (3.3(a)-Sheltered housing facilities, Heating, cooling and temperature). The mother Boxer greeted me, but the pups would only peer out of the den, then they moved out of my sight (2.40(b)(3)-Veterinary care). I question whether these young puppies should have been living in sheltered housing (2.40-Veterinary care) (3.3(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature).
The sheltered housing facility with the anti-bird device was almost empty. Most of the dogs had been moved into the whelping building. I noticed large deposits of bird droppings (3.1(c)(3)-Housing facilities, general; Cleaning). The Lortons had turned off the squawking anti-bird device. The wooden shelters for dogs in this area were severely chewed (3.3(e)(l)(i)(iii)-Sheltered housing facilities) (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces). A lot of fecal accumulation was present - more than 48 hours in the pens (3.1(c)(3)-Cleaning) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The Jack Russell Terriers) were aggressive with each other and fence fighting (2.40(b)(3)-Veterinary care). We didn't see any bedding, either (3.3(a)-Sheltered housing faciltities, Heating, cooling, and temperature). Occupied vermin holes were present (3.11(d-Pest control). All previous violations were still present.
I saw the young Great Pyrenees (mentioned above). It was still scratching at its fur (2.40-Veterinary care) and being kept with the goats. Mrs. Lorton stated that they would be getting another one so that they could breed Great Pyrenees again! I immediately thought of Daisy, Sassy and Buck.
The bird trap was still there. Dead bird carcasses littered the floor area. Domestic rabbits were also noted hopping freely around the property.
I purchased a six-week old JRT puppy - "Tara" from Mrs. Lorton (2.130-Minimum age requirements). She told me that under state and federal laws it was wrong for her to sell puppies this young. But, she would just list it as dead on their paperwork (2.75(a)(l)-Records). In addition, she did not fill out the necessary USDA paperwork (2.75(a)(1)-Records). She told me that it needed another vaccination and she gave me the syringe, needle and bottles of vaccine. She told me to vaccinate the dog myself once I got home. Mrs. Lorton did not mention that the vaccine needed to be refrigerated or that when the vaccine is compounded, it needed to be used immediately (2.40-Veterinary care). She also stated that I should re-worm the pup as well. She told me four times not to tell the state or anybody about the sale of an underage puppy. The puppies did not have identification (2.50-Identification). She instructed me to call her if I had any problems with the puppy. Mrs. Lorton told me to only call her if the puppy became ill. She did not instruct me to contact a veterinarian (2.40-Veterinary care).
Mrs. Lorton handled the pups roughly, picking them up by their legs or shoving them away from her (2.40-Veterinary care). Yet, she kept telling me how much she likes breeding dogs. I have a feeling that she likes the money from breeding dogs, not the dogs themselves. She never said one kind word or made any sort of kind gesture or positive interaction with any of the dogs or puppies during the many visits we made to their kennel.
Update on the dogs rescued from the Lortons
The dogs we rescued are Willie, Happy, Daisy, Buck, Sassy, Boscoe, Molly and Lokie. Willie is a seven-year-old male Dachshund who is afraid of men. He has lived in at least two puppy mills and two homes. Improper nutrition caused him to lose hair on his ears and tail. His chest, abdomen and testicles have black, leathery sores. He was covered with fleas and ticks. The Lortons had covered him with motor oil as a form of pest control. His teeth had terrible tartar build-up. Willie is in a permanent home.
Happy is a four-month-old female Boxer. A family may have recently returned her because she didn't have the bad odor of a puppy mill dog and seemed rather socialized. The investigators found her living in a rusty mink cage. Urine and feces run-off was backing up into her cage. We placed her in a state-of-the-art Boxer rescue facility where she had obedience classes. Happy now has a new home with another Boxer.
Boscoe is a Jack Russell Terrier puppy. We placed in a permanent home. He is a therapy dog at a school for people with special needs.
Daisy was an eight to nine-year-old female Great Pyrenees. She had badly matted fur, skin and mouth ulcers, gum disease and a large patch of missing fur on her back. The skin and fur problems were a result of improper nutrition and neglect. The breeders were dipping her with an anti-parasitic even though she didn't have mange. She had fleas and ticks even though she was coated with motor oil. During her spay procedure, the vet stated that Daisy's uterus was evidence that she had delivered too many puppies. The uterus was severely stretched and began to fall apart in the vet's hands. Daisy was afraid of loud noises, especially thunder and fireworks. On the fourth of July, she was so scared by the fireworks that she ran through a fence and badly scratched herself. She was also afraid of men and watches people's hands and feet. In addition, Daisy was afraid to eat in front of people. Daisy was treated for irritable bowel syndrome that is a result of her anxiety. She passed away in November, and an autopsy revealed that she had heart disease.
Buck is an eight to nine-year-old male Great Pyrenees. He was very matted and had mouth ulcers and gum disease. He was also coated with motor oil but had many fleas and ticks. He had an infection of the testicles that had caused sterility. While he was being neutered, we could see that he still had a chronic infection. Buck is afraid of men, and in their presence, he keeps his distance. Buck is living in long-term foster care. CAPS covers the cost of his food (five to six cups per day) and veterinary care.
Sassy, the daughter of Buck and Daisy, was a two-year-old female Great Pyrenees who had been severely abused by Mr. Lorton. This abuse caused her to be timid/aggressive. Sadly, without the permission of CAPS, a woman from Great Pyrenees Rescue in Illinois had Sassy put down immediately after picking her up from one of our investigators. We had not signed a relinquishment form. The vet who euthanized her did not even check for contusions or broken bones. One can work with dogs that are timid/aggressive due to fear to change their behavior. Unfortunately, some rescue people don't want to take the time to work with dogs like Sassy. Furthermore, the rescue woman could have returned Sassy to our investigators.
Molly is a six-year-old Chihuahua with a severe case of coccidia. Two months ago, she gave birth to one puppy. During Molly's spaying, Dr. Baker found a stilllborn puppy still in her uterus. This reabsorbed puppy could have caused a serious infection. Molly also had gum disease, and Dr. Baker had to remove most of her teeth. Her puppy, Lokie, has coccidia and kennel cough. Molly lives in a foster home, and Lokie has a permanent home with three other dogs.
Breeds: Jack Russell Terriers, Pomeranians, Shih Tzu, Labradoodles, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Bassett Hounds, Shelties
The kennel design at Lorton’s Puppy Land was identical to that reported in the CAPS USDA report dated 6/11/06 though some pens held different breeds of dogs than observed before.
Shih Tzu pens
The Shih Tzu pens closest to the parking area at the kennel still had two Shih Tzus per pen, and a repeat USDA violation of no windbreaks on the wooden dog houses (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements) was evident. This time, I also saw over 24 hours of feces piled up outside of the pens, as though it had been hosed out and not taken away (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). This attracted a large amount of flies to the area (3.11d)-Pest control).
Two elevated outdoor cages stood by themselves at the kennel in between the whelping building and the Lorton’s house. One was empty while the other, which held two Shelties in a previous CAPS inspection, held a single Jack Russell on 8/24/07. The plastic water dish on the cage flooring had a water hose set in it, though the dish was completely dry (3.10-Watering). A wooden dog house connected to the wire cage had no windbreak on its entrance (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).
The series of concrete runs extending off of the whelping building in the direction of the Lorton’s house held two dogs each. Water dishes were placed at the front of each pen, and all of them were filled with murky brown water, the same color as feces on the pen floorings (3.10-Watering).
A second area of outdoor concrete runs made with chain link fencing and covered with a roof had two to four dogs per cage. Plastic dog houses were in each pen, though they all lacked windbreaks (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). Two Pomeranians were together in a pen. Both dogs had a bottom left tooth that stuck out of the sides of their mouths. On one of them, a tan Pomeranian, had a bottom left tooth that was yellow and brown and about three times the size it should have been (2.40-Vet care).
Each whelping cage contained a nursing mother and one or more puppies or several weaned puppies. The first room held whelping and puppy cages as well as medical and cleaning supplies. The supplies were sitting next to the same wall as the door that accessed the room from the outside, and amongst them I saw a small plastic medicine bottle containing a thick yellow liquid with no cap or seal on it (3.1(e)-Storage).
One cage held a black and white Jack Russell and tan Pomeranian. The Pomeranian appeared to be in good health until it was picked up and the fur was parted, at which point a CAPS investigator saw the fur closest to the skin was matted, and the skin itself was scaly and flaking (2.40-Vet care).
White plastic sheets were at the backs of the elevated cages, and they had a dingy brown build-up on them (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces). The cages were each about two feet wide and tall and 3.5 feet long. One cage held four Shelties, each about 18 inches long from the tip of their nose to the base of their tail. They required 16 square foot cage, and only had a cage with seven square feet of space (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Space).
Sick dog and puppies
Along the row of whelping cages in the direction of the Lorton’s house I saw a dog and several puppies with health concerns, and one puppy that appeared to be dying. The most ill puppy was a tan Chihuahua about three weeks old in a cage with two other siblings and its mother. The sick puppy was unable to stand or lift its head. I pointed this out to Betty Lorton, who said, “Yeah, it’ll probably die. That happens.” I picked the puppy up to show to Betty, and when I set it down the puppy began opening and closing its mouth and was unable to roll over or lift its body up (2.40-Vet care).
I then noticed a nursing brown Chihuahua mother and brown puppy of about three to four weeks of age in a cage adjacent to the cage containing the puppy unable to move. The mother and brown puppy had hair loss and scaly skin. The mother had about 60% hair loss, while the puppy in her cage had about 80% hair loss (2.40-Vet care).
There was also hair loss on the puppy that was unable to move and its siblings and mother. A cage wall connected their cage to the two dogs with hair loss next to them, meaning they could physically contact the other animals. I pointed out the hair loss to Betty, who asked me what I thought it was. I replied, “It’s probably mange, because it doesn’t look like ringworm. I’m not sure, though.” Betty said nothing after my statement. I washed my hands in a nearby sink with dish-washing liquid immediately after handling the dogs with hair loss.
Afterwards, Betty continued to show me several dogs in two different kennel buildings. She made no action to treat the puppy that was unable to move in its cage and appeared to have an imminent threat to its life from its condition. This indicated to me that Betty had not treated the puppy for its condition and had no intention of treating the puppy. Therefore, I left as quickly as possible so I could contact authorities to try to have the puppy confiscated.
Attempt to promote legal action
At 10:18 am I called the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, who referred me to the Fayette County Animal Control office. At 10:31 I called Officer Dean with Fayette Co. A.C., who said that Illinois Department of Agriculture Officer Neal Zelasko had been out to the Lortons’ property on Monday, 8/20/07, and that there was nothing wrong with the kennel. I repeated to Dean that I believed a puppy was currently dying inhumanely on the property, at which point Neal said he had to “ask his boss.” In under a minute he was back on the phone and said, “She said its fine. I’ll go right out there.”
I decided to take the video evidence I had to Fayette Co. A.C. Administrator Dr. Heaton anyway. Dr. Heaton is the veterinarian for the Lortons. When I met with her she said that she had to go to lunch, but would look at the footage. I said that a puppy was dying at the property, and she repeated she would look at the footage but that she was going to lunch. I asked where Officer Dean was, and she said he had another call but would go to the Lorton’s soon.
I then went to the Fayette Co. Sheriff’s office and spoke with a deputy whose name I did not record. The officer spoke to Officer Dean on the phone and then told me that Dean was told by his boss not to go to the Lorton kennel because “Ag. Officer Neal told him not to.” At this point, I had determined that I was lied to by Officer Dean and Administrator Heaton. I also suspected that Officer Neal Zelasko with the IL dept. of Agriculture was unable to tell a county animal control office to not act on evidence of cruelty to animals. The deputy put Neal Zelasko on the phone with me. Neal said that he didn’t like my agenda and that he had been to the Lorton property on Monday and that they passed his inspection. I reminded Neal that it was currently Friday, not Monday, and that I believed a puppy was dying at that very moment. He then said that he refused to go to property.
I then asked the deputy who I should go to, since I believed the authorities responsible for acting on evidence I had obtained were not doing their jobs and that I was concerned for the Chihuahua puppy I believed to be dying there. The deputy told me to go to the State Attorney’s office and present the evidence directly, at which point I went directly to speak to State Attorney Stephen G. Friedel and presented him with my story and video evidence of the Lorton’s kennel.
Lorton’s Puppy Land had several kennel areas.
First kennel area
The kennel closest to the Lortons’ house consisted of a row of four outdoor pens with concrete floorings and galvanized wire walls. One pen housed five Pomeranians, another had four Pomeranians, a third contained three Pomeranians, and the fourth housed two, 40-pound Great Pyrenees puppies. Each of the Pomeranian pens contained a wooden dog house about two feet wide and three feet long. There were no windbreaks (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).
The dog houses in the five-dog pen and the four-dog pen were not large enough to hold all the dogs in the pen without the animals lying on top of each other (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements).
The Pyrenees pen had a wooden dog house about 2.5 feet wide and 3.5 feet long that lacked a windbreak and was not large enough to hold both puppies at once without them lying on top of each other (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements) (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements)
Plastic water buckets were on the pen floorings, and metal self-feeders were attached to the walls. Several days’ accumulation of feces, swarming with flies, appeared to have been washed out of the pens and was piled up outside the pens (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises); (3.11(d) Pest control).
Second kennel area
Another kennel area was made up of about a dozen outdoor runs with concrete floors, rusting galvanized wire walls, and a metal roof. Fecal stains covered the floorings (3.1(c)(3)-Surfaces).
Each pen contained two or three dogs of various breeds, including Boston Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers. One Boston Terrier pen had rusty wire at the bottom of one wall protruding into the pen (3.1(c)(1)(ii)-Surfaces). The protruding wire was a thinner gauge than the actual wall wiring, and it was wrapped around the bottom of the wall.
Rusting metal water buckets were attached to the walls of each pen. An accumulation of feces, about five feet long and half as wide and high, that was warming with flies covered the cement walkway near the pens (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises); (3.11(d)-Pest control).
Third kennel area
Near the second kennel area were two hog pens that had been converted to dog enclosures. One was empty; and the other was occupied by three Shelties, one of which had large mats in its fur (2.40-Vet care).
The pen was a wooden hog house attached to a rusting wire cage that had no roof and an untreated, thick-gauge rusting wire flooring (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces).
Weeks of feces accumulation was evident under the flooring and mashed into the corners of the house, which had an empty water bucket and feeder inside (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The dog house had no windbreak (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).
A metal self-feeder was attached to the cage (outside pen) where it was exposed to rain (3.9(b)-Feeding). A metal water holder in the outside pen contained floating algae and water so dingy it was almost black (3.10 Watering).
An enclosed whelping building had several rooms with elevated cages. One room contained two rows each of six cages that were made of treated wire. Each cage had plastic self-feeder and self-watering dish. One cage that held two Miniature Pinscher puppies had a section of rusting wire attached to its front (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces).
There were two to three puppies of various breeds per cage. One cage housed a whelping Sheltie mother and three puppies. The Sheltie cage was about four feet long and two feet wide and two feet high. Because the mother dog was more than 2.5 feet long from the tip of her nose to the base of her tail, she lacked six inches of space from the top of her head to the top of her cage when she stood in a normal manner on all four feet (3.6(c)(1)(ii) and (iii)-Primary enclosures).
More than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces, covered with flies, was evident under each cage (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures); (3.11(d)-Pest control).
A whelping Shih Tzu mother and three puppies were in a cage of the same size as the Sheltie cage noted above. The mother was about 18 inches long from the tip of her nose to the base of her tail (3.6(c)(1)(ii)-Primary enclosures). The puppies’ paws fell through the wire flooring as they moved about the cage (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures).
A table just inside the doorway of the room was covered with medical supplies, syringes and needles, a lighter, a bucket of eggs, and various supplies. Plastic dog carriers were stored underneath the table. A sink and a second table in the room also stored cleaning supplies (3.1(b)-Condition and site).
Another room in the building contained dozens of elevated cages made of galvanized wire with treated-wire floorings. These cages each had a metal self-feeder and self-watering dish. Each cage, about two feet wide and four feet long, housed one or two dogs. Three cages housed Jack Russell Terriers, each about two feet long from the tips of their noses to the bases of their tails. Another cage housed two Jack Russell Terriers, and another cage housed two Shih Tzus – all of these dogs were about 1.5 feet long from the tips of their noses to the bases of their tails (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). The other cages in the room were empty.
A third room contained about 20 whelping cages made of treated wire. Each cage had a wooden whelping box attached to it, the surfaces of which were worn and heavily scratched (3.1(c)(1)-Surfaces). About half of the cages contained a whelping mother and puppies of various small breeds.
Fifth kennel area
A separate kennel area housed two rows of ten dog pens on concrete floorings. The walls were chain link and rusting galvanized wire. Half of the pens each contained two Basset Hounds, while the remaining pens each contained five Shih Tzus or Chihuahuas. Metal and plastic self-feeders were attached to the walls, and plastic water buckets containing brown water were latched to the chain link near them. One metal feeder in a Shih Tzu pen was loose from the wall. The bottom of the feeder rested on the flooring, so it wasn’t placed to minimize contamination by excreta (3.9(b)-Feeding).
A plastic, igloo-style dog house with no windbreak was attached to the back of each pen (3.9(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).
A metal roof covered the pens. There was no protection around the walls, so all surfaces of these pens were wet (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal).
Headings’ property consists of three kennel areas. The main kennel area had about a dozen pens, each five feet wide and 20 feet long, with three foot tall chain link walls. This area had a slanted metal roof raised about six feet above the kennels and was supported by untreated wooden beams. Between each pen was a piece of metal siding about a foot tall that ran the length of the pens. Also, each pen contained a single plastic dog house, a water dish, and a self-feeder attached to the chain-link walling near the doorway.
The water dishes were thick with green algae (3.11(b)(1)-Sanitization), and the feeders had standing water and very water-saturated food (3.9(b)-Feeding). Half of the pens closest to the house on the property each contained three full grown Corgis, while the other half each contained three full grown West Highland Terriers.
All of the dogs had blooding ear tips with flies swarming over the wounds (2.40-Vet Care) (3.11(d)-Pest Control). Some of the West Highland Terriers seemed to actually have chunks of their ears missing from the wounds. This seems indicative of insect bites that have caused the dogs to scratch, which attracts flies and causes an infection the dogs scratch at further.
Many of the dogs in the runs appeared wet. Since most of the dogs in a single pen did not seem to be able to fit into a dog house without lying on top of one another (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures), it seems that dogs would get wet from rain. Also, I noticed a water spigot with a red handle in the ground. It was near the middle of the row of cages with a water hose attached to it. This indicated water is used to clean the pens. Since the dogs are unlikely to all fit into a dog house at once, the dogs would get wet during the cleaning of the pens (3.11(a)-Cleaning).
Near the pens described above was an enclosure about two feet deep, three feet tall, and four feet long. It was made with treated wire walls and flooring, wooden beams for the corners and edges, and a slanted plastic roof. Inside were about three 10-week-old West Highland Terriers. There was a plastic water and food dish on the wire flooring of the cage. The food dish was not placed so as to minimize contamination by excrement (3.9(b)-Feeding). Below the cage was a pile of feces with flies swarming over it (3.11(a)-Cleaning) (3.11(d)-Pest Control).
About 10 pens were next to a single story white barn with a peaked metal white roof. The pens had doggy doors extending inside the barn and ran 30 feet long and about three feet wide. They had concrete floors and three-foot high chain link walls. Chain link doors were at the ends of the pens away from the barn. Outside was a concrete gutter. A water hose was near the pens. Also near the pens was a wheel barrel full of about 40 pounds of feces with swarming flies (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises).
Most of the pens contained two to three full grown Yorkshire Terriers. The one closest to the pens described in the first paragraph contained two Beagle puppies, a Corgi puppy, and a West Highland puppy. All appeared to be about three to four months of age. The concrete flooring of all of the pens was wet (3.11(a)-Cleaning).
The part of the barn closest to the pens described in the above paragraph was an enclosed room used as a dog kennel and whelping building. The room is about 10 feet wide and forty feet long. The dogs in the 10 pens described above had treated wire cages with PVC piping used for the edges. These pens were accessible through the doggy doors at the wall they were built against. Three of the pens were in a room about five feet long and wide. This room had shelves, a refrigerator, and cleaning supplies.
Against the opposite wall from these cages in the whelping room were about 20 wire cages in two levels. The bottom cages were about two feet above the ground, and the top cages were about six inches above the bottom ones. Each cage was about three feet long, two feet tall, and two feet deep and made of treated wire. The top cages had a plastic liner below them for catching feces and urine; the bottom cages had nothing below them.
There were Yorkshire Terriers, West Highland Terriers, and Corgi adults and puppies in the cages, including one adult West Highland Terrier that was lying in the corner of its cage breathing shallowly and not moving. The dog had a carpet mat smeared with feces in its cage, its anus was packed with dried feces, and halfway up the dog’s abdomen on its right side, the dog had a large amount of feces smeared in its fur (2.40-Vet Care). One pen in front of a floor drain contained four Corgi puppies, each about four to six pounds in weight. This pen had a pile of feces about two feet long, one foot wide, and two inches high piled underneath it (3.11(a)-Cleaning).
Though the flooring of the whelping building is concrete, plastic sheeting was on the ground under the bottom cages. It extended three feet from the wall. This white sheeting was stained brown on most of its surface area; it was obviously not thoroughly cleaned (3.11(b)(1)-Sanitization). The cages had black plastic water bowls and metal self-feeders filled beyond their brims with food. The feeders were about eight inches tall, three inches deep and six inches wide. They contained more food than the puppies of any cage could eat in a day (3.9(a)-Feeding). Some cages contained ceramic and metal bowls of food placed on the cage flooring. Some puppies were standing in these bowls. The bowls were also completely filled (3.9(a)-Feeding), and were not placed so as to minimize contamination by excreta (3.9(b)-Feeding).
About six full grown Corgis loose on the property had large bloody sores on their ears; flies were swarming over the sores (2.40-Vet Care) (3.11(d)-Pest Control). The Corgis had a black, plastic food dish inside the chain link wire gate at the back of the house. The food dish was filled with standing water and waterlogged food (3.9(b)-Feeding).
The Headings facility has very serious violations for improper feeding, watering, pest control, cleaning and sanitization, housekeeping for premises, primary enclosures and veterinary care (the condition of the visibly sick Westie was alarming). Yet, Chad Moore, during his 2/26/03 inspection found just one non-compliance, a 3.11(b)(2) for multiple food and water dishes that were no longer able to be sanitized due to their chewed and scratched condition. He noted that several of these dishes were visibly dirty. The violations uncovered by CAPS don’t just happen in a short period of time. It is likely that many of these conditions were present during Mr. Moore’s inspection.
The Corrigans have two sections in their kennel. Mr. Corrigan takes care of the dogs in his section, and Ms. Corrigan takes care of the dogs in her section. Mr. Corrigan’s kennel area is in a barn about 85’ long and 40’ wide with a peaked metal roof. The bottom half of the walls is red and the top half is white. In the entryway was a metal pen about two feet off of the ground with three inch metal bars as the sides. The pen had no treated wire flooring (3.6(a)(2)(xii) and no covering. It contained four Labradoodles (3.6(c)(1)(i)-Primary enclosures). Plastic food and water containers were on the flooring of the pen and therefore not placed so as to minimize contamination by excreta and pests (3.9(b)-Feeding). The top edges of the enclosure were about three feet high. The dogs could lift themselves up onto the edges with their front paws hanging over. Any effort by the dogs would result in them toppling out of the pen. (3.6(a)(2)(iii)-Primary enclosures).
The kennel flooring was concrete and divided into two sections, one against each 85’ long wall. Each section contained about 17 pens with chain-link doors and galvanized wire walls that extended 10 feet up to a flat, white metal ceiling. Each pen was about five feet wide and eight feet long. Three foot wide metal grates ran width-wise through the middle of every pen from one side of the kennel to the other.
Under the grates of the cages were pools of feces, urine and water (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). Mr. Corrigan told me that he sprayed the pens out with a water hose and sprayed the dirt and debris in every pen into the grates, which he then flushed and scraped out. (3.11(a)(1)-Cleaning). All of the grates had dark fur matted on them and too much filthy water for them to have been cleaned out this morning. It isn’t likely that Mr. Corrigan cleans them every day (3.11(a)(2)-Cleaning). There was a water hose hook-up in the kennel. There was no water heater in the barn, and the dogs in the pens had nowhere to go to escape the water. Mr. Corrigan must not use hot water used to clean the pens (3.11(a)(3)-Cleaning).
Plastic food and water dishes for all of the dogs and puppies were on the kennel floors and therefore increasing contamination by excreta and pests (3.9(b)-Feeding).
CAPS would like to thank all the demonstrators working hard on an almost weekly basis to SHUT DOWN Happiness is Pets in the Lombard, IL and Orland Park, IL locations.
Keep up PAWSOME work!