Publication name: philly.com / Philly Dawg
URL for more info: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/pets/Miracle-in-Missouri-Gov-activists-breeders-reach-deal-on-kennel-bill.html
Last week it looked like Proposition B, "The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act," in Missouri was dead.
Lawmakers in the puppy mill capital of the nation had scuttled the voter-approved referendum aimed at making commercial kennels - of which there are more than 1,000 - more humane.
Today Gov. Nixon announced a deal to save the major provisions of the proposition, drawing praise from animal welfare advocates, breeders and the farm lobby alike.
"The agreement that was signed today upholds the intent of the voters, protects dogs and ensures that Missouri agriculture will continue to grow," said Nixon in a statement.
USDA Investigations in South Dakota, Kansas and Missouri: 2003
Grandma Basset: During a three-week investigation of USDA licensed facilities in South Dakota, CAPS rescued three Basset Hounds. CAPS obtained eight-year-old Grandma Basset because she no longer produced large enough litters. Mid America Basset Rescue found a wonderful home for this regal looking dog.
Mama Basset: The South Dakota puppy mill gave up Grandma's daughter, Mama Basset, because she produced a congenitally deformed puppy, Baby Basset. Mama has a permanent home thanks to Mid America Basset Rescue.
Baby Basset: Mama Basset's daughter, Baby Basset, has congenitally deformed elbows and will need surgery. She may have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which was possibly caused by untreated pneumonia. She will need specialized care at a veterinary teaching hospital. Baby Basset needs sponsors to cover her considerable medical expenses.
Grandma, Mama and Baby in the Rescue Vehicle:
Mid America Basset Rescue drove from Kansas City to South Dakota to pick up the three CAPS rescue dogs.
Buster: CAPS rescued Buster, a Pug puppy, during an investigation of Kansas and Missouri facilities that were selling to The New Zoo pet shop in Massachusetts. The puppy mill owner had placed Buster outdoors even though he had a "cold." Buster was initially diagnosed with pneumonia and then started having almost constant seizures. CAPS' rescue vet suspected distemper. Sadly, our vet had to euthanize Buster because he was so ill.
Shasta: CAPS rescued Shasta, a Huskie puppy, during our second investigation of the Poor facility in Missouri. Shasta, who was covered in dried urine and feces, had severe diarrhea. CAPS found numerous violations at this puppy mill just nine days after the USDA inspector failed to find a single non-compliance. Shasta is with a new family thanks to Illinois-based Homes for Huskies
Neiner: CAPS rescue vets treated this emaciated Chihuahua, who came from a Missouri puppy mill, for a frost-bitten penis, undescended testicles, urination problems, ear infections, bad teeth and alopecia. Neiner is in a long-term foster home.
Tiger: CAPS rescued Tiger, an emaciated pet shop reject, from a Missouri puppy mill. He had a healed fracture on his left hind leg and was born without a right hip socket. He had two surgeries for perforated intestines but ultimately succumbed to peritonitis.
USDA Investigation - Spring 1999
Suzie: She was bred incessantly by Mickalyn Crawford (43-A-2488) and had numerous uterine tumors. Suzie found a home with a kind woman in Iowa.
Mandy: She came from the Crawford facility in Missouri and has genetically deformed kneecaps. Mandy has a home with an elderly woman in Iowa who had knee replacement surgery.
Frog:Ed Van Doorn (42-B-0090), an Iowa broker, sold her to a CAPS investigator because she had a scratched retina. Frog lives with a family in Iowa
Marina: A Petland customer returned her after five months because of luxating patellas and shallow hip sockets. She was back with Steve and Susan Steele (42-B-0159) in Iowa. Thanks to Paws & Claws, a no-kill shelter in Rochester, Minnesota, Marina has a wonderful home. She has had two successful patella surgeries.
Breeds: Weimaraners, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Pit Bulls, Basset Hounds, Australian Shepherds, Beagles, Irish Setters, Great Danes
Single outdoor pens
A pen housing two adult Irish Setters contained a dog house that was not large enough for the dogs to fit in and lie down in a normal manner or turn about freely (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements). The dog house was lacking a wind/rain break on the entrance (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). One of the Setters had several calloused sores on its upper right lip (2.40-Vet care). Another outdoor pen housing two adult Beagles contained a dog house with no wind/rain break on the entrance (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).
Row of five pens
Five outdoor pens adjacent to each other and in a row had concrete floorings smeared with several days’ accumulation of fecal matter (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). On the side of the pens with chain link doorways, the concrete floorings extended about a foot beyond the chain link walls; at the far end of the extension, an indentation in the concrete was filled with standing urine and feces (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal).
Plastic buckets and bowls on the pen floorings were smeared with feces and had dark brown water in them (3.10-Watering). One of the pens, housing two Weimaraners, had broken, jagged wire near the bottom corner of one of the chain link walls (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures).
Row of four pens
Another set of four outdoor pens, similar to the ones described above, were in a row and adjacent to each other on concrete floorings. Some of these pens were made of thin-gauge, untreated wire (3.6(a)(2)(xii)-Primary enclosures). One wall was rusting 3.6(c)(1)(i)-Housing facilities, general – Surfaces). There was several days’ accumulation of fecal matter in the pens (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). A small concrete ditch outside the pens was filled with standing urine and feces (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal).
One pen housed three adult Great Danes. One dog had a concave abdomen and very visible ribs, spine, and hips (2.40-Vet care). The dog houses in the pen were not of sufficient size for any one of the dogs to fit in and lie down in a normal manner or turn about freely (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements) and lacked wind/rain breaks on the entrances (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). Another pen housed three adult Shetland Sheepdogs with thick mats in their fur (2.40-Vet Care.)
Second row of four pens
Another set of four outdoor pens, identical to those described above, were on concrete slabs. Some of the cage walls were made of thin-gauge, untreated wire (3.6(a)(2)(xii)-Primary enclosures). There was several days’ accumulation of fecal matter in each pen (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). A concrete ditch full of standing urine and feces was just outside of the pens (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). Last row of pens Another series of outdoor pens, made of thin-gauge, untreated wire (3.6(a)(2)(xii)-Primary enclosures), were raised above a concrete flooring. There was more than 24 hours’ accumulation of fecal matter under the cages (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures.
Around many of the outdoor pens of this facility, miscellaneous items such as cinder blocks, plastic buckets, a trailer hitch, and tarps were on the ground and within feet of the cages (3.1(b)-Condition and site).
Breeds: Cocker Spaniel, Boxer, Shetland Sheepdog, Dachshund, Miniature Pinscher, Pug, Rat Terrier, Bichon Frise, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier, Shiba Inu, American Eskimo, Poodle, Jack Russell Terrier, Chihuahua, Italian Greyhound, Siberian Husky, Shar Pei, Chow, Labrador Retriever, Puggle, Keeshond, Beagle, and several mixes.
The facilities housing the dogs on Robert Taylor’s property included several medium-sized sheds, outdoor homemade pens, and fenced-in kennel runs. All indoor facilities had a strong smell of ammonia (3.2(b)-Ventilation).
Building Type #1:
The first building types seen on the property were two white sheds known as Hunte Corporation’s “sundowners.” The buildings measured approximately 15 feet long and 10 feet wide. Each of the sheds were constructed in a double-decker kennel style, with two rows of cages on each side of the building, one elevated above the other. Beneath the elevated row of cages on each side was a white plastic platform which collected feces and urine and prevented it from falling onto the dogs in the cages on the lower level. There were approximately 40 cages in each shed with two to three dogs per cage.
Each cage in the “sundowner” contained an outdoor portion and an indoor portion which the dogs could access via a small metal dog door. The inside portion of the cages were made of white plastic and had red feeder boxes attached to each cage. These cages did not contain water spigots, only ceramic water bowls, most of which were empty (3.10-Watering).
Clumps of dog hair and feces that had dropped through the wire cage floors were accumulated on a plastic platform positioned under the cages (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
A small metal dog door connected each indoor cage to an outdoor pen. A white plastic platform positioned under the outside cages had collected dog urine and piles of feces that fell through the wire cage floorings (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
There were numerous flies throughout the kennel and surrounding the dogs (3.11(d)(4)-Pest control).
Building Type #2:
There were also two sheds painted red, approximately 15 feet long and 10 feet wide. Each shed had one row of approximately six cages elevated two to three feet above the ground which ran along the length of each side. These kennels housed fewer dogs than the “sundowner” sheds described above because of their one-tier structure rather than a double-decker style. The outdoor sections of these cages, supported on wooden posts, were accessed from the inside pen by a metal doggie door in the same way as the cages in the “sundowners.”
The inside portion of each cage was constructed of white-painted wood with wood flooring. The tops of these kennels were covered with a wooden plank that blocked air flow into or out of the cages. Each cage housed two or three adolescent dogs.
Red plastic feeder boxes were attached to some of the pens, while others contained ceramic food bowls. Many of the water bowls were empty.
Female dogs with puppies were housed separately, and none of those pens contained whelping boxes or carpeting; as a result, the small feet of the puppies kept slipping through the wire floorings (3.6(a)(2)(x)-Primary enclosures).
Because the flooring was made of wood instead of wire, feces and urine collected upon the flooring of the indoor portion of each cage. Dozens of flies swarmed around the puppies (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
The temperature was approximately 95 °F the day of the investigation and the buildings did not provide any ventilation for the dogs housed inside (3.2(a)-Heating, cooling and temperature).
Building Type #3:
Taylor also housed dogs in homemade pens approximately four feet long and four feet wide, supported one foot above the ground by only one or two cement blocks at each corner of the pen (3.6(a)(1)-Primary Enclosures).
Each of these pens contained a wooden box approximately two feet high with a small door cut into each side. The remainder of each pen had wire flooring and was covered with wood or metal to contain the dogs. Each pen housed one or two medium-sized dogs, including Cocker Spaniels, Shiba Inus, and Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
Feeders were placed in the corner of each pen (3.9(b)-Feeding).
The property included at least three of this type of pen; similar pens were located in various corners of the property, partially hidden by trees.
Building Type #4:
A row of outdoor pens, made of metal fencing and each approximately six feet long and six feet wide, lined the edge of the property. These pens housed large breeds such as a Siberian Huskies, Golden Labradors, Shar Peis, Chow mixes, and others. The flooring was dirt, and metal sheets had been laid around the edges of the fence to prevent dogs from digging their way out, as Taylor mentioned had happened in the past.
Most of these pens contained a plastic “igloo” dog house that was too small to hold more than one dog at a time (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements).
One pen housed a Siberian Husky with an inflamed eye that was later determined by a veterinarian, following the dog’s rescue, to be glaucoma (2.40-Vet care).
Each pen had a large water bucket made of plastic or metal. None of the buckets contained clean, clear water (3.10-Watering). The water bucket in the Siberian Husky’s pen had not been changed in so long that the water was thick and full of green algae The dog stepped in the water bucket and pulled back a white foot caked in green substances from the bucket. A second visit to the kennel revealed no water in the bucket; Taylor claimed the Husky had recently spilled it, although the bucket was dry and there was no indication in the dirt around it that any moisture had been present.
Another smaller pen housed a Boxer and a Shar Pei. The Boxer had large red sores behind each of his ears that, when asked, Taylor said were from the presence of flies swarming around the dog (2.40 Vet care), 3.11(d)(4)-Pest control).
September 20, 2007
Investigators visited Robert Taylor’s kennel again on September 20, 2007. The situation had not improved from the initial visit and, in many cases, conditions of dogs and their housing units had deteriorated significantly. All water dishes noted in the initial investigation remained full of debris and algae (3.10-Watering).
Fecal matter continued to accumulate significantly beneath the homemade pens and two-tiered kennel structures (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
In one of the homemade pens supported by cement blocks, a pregnant female dog of an unknown breed was able to stick her head out of the cage via a hole in the pen. This opening was defined by sharp, rusting wires that jutted into the dog’s neck when she reached her head out of the cage (3.1)(c)(i)(ii)-Surfaces) (3.6)(x)-Primary Enclosures).
Another homemade pen on a far corner of the property housed three puppies (two Pembroke Welsh Corgis and one Shetland Sheepdog). The Shetland Sheepdog puppy had only three legs; the fourth leg was missing from the upper joint down. These dogs stood on wire flooring full of fecal accumulation and covered in swarming flies (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures) (3.11(d)(4)-Pest control).
There was an empty wet-food dog can in the pen that had been licked completely clean; there was no indication of any other dog food. This small can of food would not have been adequate for three 8-week-old puppies. The water bowl in the pen was nearly empty and contained floating debris (3.9(b)-Feeding) (3.10-Watering).
Another pen in this corner of the property housed two adult Keeshonds. One of the dogs had been shaved from the shoulders down to the top of its tail. On the dog’s lower back were several rounded open wounds, most approximately 2 ½ inches across and some a little larger. Investigators could see raw pink skin in each wound, as there were no bandages placed over them to allow for proper healing. The dog’s tail was curled and rubbed constantly against the open wounds on her lower back. Flies were present in the pen and around the dog (2.40-Vet care), 3.11(d)(4)-Pest control).
On a separate portion of the property, investigators saw a cage housing a female wire-haired Fox Terrier and her puppies inside one of the two-tiered kennel structures. Most of her five or six puppies, approximately three weeks old, were lying on the floor in the inside portion of the cage, which was connected to the outside via a small metal dog door. One puppy, however, was trapped on the outside and could not climb back into the building through the door because it was too small and too young. This puppy lay in the corner of the cage against the metal door gasping for breath and panting, most likely due to the temperature, which was in the upper 80’s. The puppy could not walk around on the wire kennel floor because the mesh openings were too large and his feet slipped through (3.6)(x)(xi)-Primary Enclosures). Investigators removed the dog from the outside portion and placed it back inside the kennel, out of the sun, so it could nurse with the other puppies and lie in the shade with its littermates.
As investigators were leaving the property, they noticed a large dog of an unknown breed that was severely emaciated. The dog was not enclosed in a pen and had never been seen at the property before. His bones protruded significantly from his back and hips. It was evident that he was either drastically underfed or in need of veterinary attention to disclose a medical problem causing him to be so emaciated. His eyes were full of a yellow discharge. (2.40 -Vet care) (3.9)(b)-Feeding). Investigators fed him wet dog food as well as dry kibble, which he ate immediately, barely lifting his head to eat.
Breeds: Yorkshire Terriers, Shih Tzus, Cocker Spaniels, Pugs, Poodles, Jack Russell Terriers, Dachshunds, Maltese, and Lhasas.
The temperature at the time of the investigation was 18 degrees Fahrenheit and windy.
Building Type #1:
When I went to Amos Slabaugh’s house at around 3:30pm, his wife was the only one home. There was a dilapidated barn next to the house and two adult goats with very young, baby goats outside. It was about 18 degrees Fahrenheit with a -5 Fahrenheit windchill. Ms. Slabaugh said Mr. Slabaugh wasn’t available but would be the next day. When we came back, one of the baby goats was dead, frozen in the front yard (2.131(b)(1)-Handling of Animals) (2.131(e)-Handling of Animals) (3.1(f)-Housing facilities, general). Next to the goat was another unidentified, deceased animal that had decomposed to fur and bones. As I walked over to look at the other goats, I tripped over a large jaw bone of another unidentified animal. The previous day, there were two big dogs, a Great Pyrenees, and a large black and white dog. The latter wasn’t there when we returned.
Building Type #2:
Next to the barn was a red building with broken windows. Inside were four large chickens without a nest, nesting material or rooster- only old, broken chairs. They couldn’t get out because the door was shut. They were too big to get out through the windows. They had no food or water. (3.129(b)-Feeding)
Building Type #3:
The dogs were located inside a wooden barn with a metal roof. There were no lights or power. (3.1(d)-Housing facilities, general) (3.2(a) & (c)-Indoor housing facilities) (3.3(a) & (c)-Sheltered housing facilities). The building was open to the other end with a big, round wood-burning heater in the middle. On either side of the heater was an open doorway and rooms with cages on both sides. The first room had a desk right next to the door and a bag of dry dog food on the floor. It was open and 1/2 full (3.1(e)-Housing facilities, general).
The cages were about 3 feet off the ground, approximately 3 feet long by 3 feet wide, and held one to two adult dogs. One cage held five puppies.The cages were sagging in the middle (3.6(a)(2)-Primary enclosure). The older dogs stood on metal bottoms (3.6(x)-Primary enclosure). None of the cages had bedding (3.2(a)-Indoor housing facility). The first cage had six puppies on a wire bottom (3.6(x)-Primary enclosure). It had a swatch of carpet about 1 foot square for all six puppies to lie on. The carpet was full of feces (3.1(c)(3)-Housing facilities, general) (3.11(b)(4)-Cleaning, sanitization, housekeeping, and pest control). The puppies, all Yorkiepoos, had dried feces stuck to their fur (2.40(b)(2)-Attending veterinarian and adequate veterinary care). There was an adult, female Poodle next to the puppies with runny eyes and bad teeth (2.40(a)(1)-Attending veterinarian and adequate veterinary care).
The dogs on the right side of the first room did not have access to the outside. The cages on the left side of the room had no access to the outside either and all had nursing mothers. The puppies were in box-like areas at the back of the cages. All the cages with nursing mothers had square holes cut in the back and were affixed with some kind of wire to the “whelping boxes,” leaving exposed, sharp edges (3.6(a)(2)(i) &(ii) & (ix) Primary enclosure). There were plastic runners under the cages to catch the urine and feces which had accumulated (3.1(f)-Housing facilities, general). The cages were also full of feces (3.11(a)-Cleaning, sensitization, housekeeping, and pest control). The feeders were attached to the cages with wire and some were hanging from one side. They were dirty both outside and inside (3.9(a) & (b)-Feeding) (3.11(b) (2)-Cleaning, sanitization, housekeeping, and pest control). There was very little food in many of the feeders. The water dishes were sitting on the cage bottoms, some had no water at all (3.10-Watering).
To get to the other room you had to turn sideways to get past the giant, extremely hot wood-burning heater. There were more dogs in the other room. There was a Pug with an advanced case of cataracts and a Lhasa that also had cataracts (2.40(a)(1) & (b)(2)-Attending veterinarian and adequate veterinary care). Many of the females were old. In this room, the dogs located on the left side had no access to the outside. The cages were covered with feces inside and underneath (3.11(a)-Cleaning, sanitization, housekeeping, and pest control). Most had no water or bowls (3.10-Watering).
The cages outside the barn were covered with feces and had piles at least 1 foot high underneath (3.11 (a)-Cleaning, sanitization, housekeeping, and pest control). These cages were approximately 3 feet long by 3 feet wide and 3 feet off the ground. They had a roof and were blocked on one side by the barn itself but had nothing else to keep out the wind, rain, and snow.
Photos are USDA inspection photos.
Two sets of 12 pens each
Melvin and Bonnie Parker’s kennel was about eight hundred feet from the side of his house facing away from the road accessing the property. The kennel primarily consisted of two sets of 12 pens, positioned about ten feet from each other. The pens were about four feet wide, eight feet long, and made of rusting chain link wiring about six feet high. Within each set, the pens were adjacent to each other and completely covered with a metal roof. Each pen housed a single adult Labrador or Golden Retriever. The pens had metal water buckets, food dishes, and plastic barrel shelters.
The water buckets contained dirty water that was green from algae buildup (3.10-Watering), and the water buckets exhibited rust (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). The top of one water bucket was torn and bent and had jagged edges sticking out (3.1(c)(1)(ii)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces). Most of the food dishes were empty; dishes with some food in them contained standing water that completely soaked the food (3.9(a)-Feeding). All of the food dishes were placed on the pen floors and thus were not placed in a manner so as to minimize contamination by pests and excreta (3.9(b)-Feeding).
The barrels used for dog houses were each about 1.5 feet wide and four feet long. They had one-foot-square openings cut into one side to allow access. Untreated wooden boards were placed on the inside bottoms of the barrels to act as flat floorings (3.4(c)-Construction). Some of the barrels were wired to the backs of the pens so that the barrels protruded from the pens while other barrels were simply set on the pen floorings unsecured (3.1(a)-Structure; construction). The barrels were not of sufficient size to allow the dogs to be in them and turn about freely without rubbing up against the sides of the barrels (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements). None of the entrances to the barrels had wind/rain breaks on them (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).
In two of the pens, chain link wiring with hair build-up was protruding into the pens (3.1(b)-Condition and site) (3.1(c)(1)(ii)-Surfaces). In one of these pens, a piece of rusty, thick-gauge galvanized wire about four feet high and six feet wide had been wired to the wall over a one-foot-high and three-foot-wide hole in the chain link as an alternative to repairing or replacing the wall with jagged wire (3.1(a)-Structure; construction) (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). Another chain link hole was about a foot high and two feet long and dogs could pass through it (3.1(a)-Structure; construction).
A water spigot and hose were within ten feet of these pens toward the direction of the Parkers’ house.
Set of four pens
A set of four pens was about 80 feet from the pens described above and were positioned adjacent to each other in a row. Each pen was about four feet wide and eight feet long. They had six-foot-high chain link walls around them. The pens had no roofing and the dirt flooring was mostly covered with small grey rocks. Two pens each housed a single adult German Short-Haired Pointer, a third appeared empty, and a fourth contained a three-month-old Labrador-mix puppy.
Each pen had a metal water bucket with algae growing in it on the pen flooring (3.10-Watering) and food dishes that were either empty or filled with soaked food and standing water (3.9(a)-Feeding). The food dishes were placed on the pen floorings and were not placed so as to minimize contamination by pests and excreta (3.9(b)-Feeding). Each pen had more than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces on the flooring, including the pen that appeared empty (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
Each pen had blue plastic barrels that were about 1.5 feet wide and four feet long. Three barrels were attached to the outside of a pen wall so that the barrels were not in the pens themselves. One barrel had a door made of untreated wood with rusting metal hinges (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) (3.4(c)-Construction). The door did not close behind a dog entering the barrel and did not serve as wind/rain breaks (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).
A fourth barrel, which was in a pen housing a German Short-haired Pointer pen, was on the pen floor against a dying trunk protruding from the pen flooring against the front wall of the pen itself (3.1(a)-Structure; construction) (3.1(b)-Condition and site). Half of the door to this pen was torn off (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).
The other pen housing a German Short-haired Pointer had a tree truck resting on the flooring against the front wall. This trunk was not growing out of the ground but appeared to have been placed there (3.1(a)-Structure; construction) (3.1(b)-Condition and site).
An adult male Labrador Retriever was within 40 feet of the pens on concrete flooring. The dog had a 15-foot chain from its collar to a metal stake in the ground. (3.6(c)(4)-Primary enclosures). This Lab had access to a blue plastic barrel about 1.5 feet wide and four feet long. The barrel was against a tree within 10 feet of the stake. The barrel was not large enough for the dog to turn around in without rubbing up against the sides of the barrel (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements). The entrance to the barrel, a one-foot-wide and one-foot-high door, did not have a wind/rain break (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). It had rusty broken hinges (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces) and an untreated, worn wooden floor (3.4(c)-Construction)
The dog’s food dish was broken and empty, and the dish was placed on the ground in a manner that did not minimize contamination by excreta or pests (3.9(b)-Feeding). The ground around the dog had more than 24 hours’ accumulation of feces on it (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). No fencing surrounded the dog or his food, water and dog house (3.1(a)-Structure; construction).
A rusting metal trough, at least a dozen tires, a pile of brush and tree limbs, old dog cages, unused dog houses, several large piles of timber, and metal beams were within 20 to 40 feet of the dog pens (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises).
Approximately 60 dogs and 32 puppies. Breeds: Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers
Earl and David Miller’s kennel consisted of two buildings. One building was about 20 feet long and eight feet wide, with metal siding for walls and roofing and eight enclosures on each 20 foot long side. Each enclosure had an indoor and outdoor cage accessible by a doggie door between them. The outdoor cages were each about two feet wide, two feet long, and two feet high and made of treated wire. Each cage housed two Yorkshire Terrier or Maltese puppies about eight weeks old.
The cages were adjacent and raised about 1.5 feet above the dirt ground on PVC piping. More than two weeks’ accumulation of feces was under each cage (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
The doggie doors were made of stainless steel with metal rims around them that were rusting (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces).
A second building was about 200 feet from the first building and was built in a “T” shape. The top of the “T” was about 20 feet wide and 30 feet long, and the longer end of the building was about 20 feet wide and 45 feet long. It was made with metal siding and roofing and had doorways on each short side of the shorter end.
Each side of the longer part of the building had about 15 cages in a row, raised about 1.5 feet above the dirt ground on PVC piping. Each cage housed two adult Yorkshire Terriers or Maltese and had more than two weeks’ accumulation of feces under it (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
According to a December 1, 1997 USDA inspection report signed by Harold Becker, McVeigh had no non-compliant items. The Scotland County Sheriff's Department raided McVeigh's facility on January 20, 1998. Humane Society of Missouri employees and Mary Martin, an inspector from the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA), went with two sheriff deputies. They found seven dead dogs on the property. McVeigh had more than 120 live dogs. The Humane Society of Missouri report stated that the ground under the raised wood and wire pens was saturated with urine and feces. There was about an inch of snow on the ground. There was no food or drinkable water in any of the pens. Some of the bowls contained frozen water.
The humane society report stated that the gang pens contained Labradors and Brittany Spaniels. One pen had a dead Labrador inside a white plastic barrel. Another pen also had a dead Labrador inside a plastic barrel. Outside of the pens were four other dog carcasses and a dog skeleton. There was no drinkable water on the property. Several pens had dead rats, probably killed by the dogs, and rat holes. Only one pen had food (frozen grain and ground corn). Most of the dogs did not have a water pan inside the pen but had to stick their heads out through the hog wire to try and lick frozen water.
The sheriff deputies impounded five adult dogs and two puppies in poor condition and sent them to the humane society shelter in St. Louis. During the examination of the dogs, Joe McVeigh came home. He claimed he fed and watered the dogs twice a day. McVeigh said that the dogs "were thin and just died." According to the report, McVeigh didn't know how many dogs he had. McVeigh's personal veterinarian arrived at the property and stated that he hadn't been there for about a year. At first, he defended McVeigh. Once he saw the dead dogs, he said that McVeigh should have removed the dogs. The vet said that he had advised McVeigh on prior occasions to reduce the number of dogs. He agreed that some of the shelter housing was not adequate.
Mary Martin, the MDA inspector assigned to McVeigh's facility had no comment on the dogs or the conditions. In fact, she told the humane society that she had not been to the property before. The judge in the case turned over seven living Labrador Retrievers to the Humane Society of Missouri. McVeigh kept the other dogs. He must have auctioned most of these dogs since CAPS investigators saw no more than 10 dogs. The judge, who was about to retire, claimed that the prosecution had not properly identified the witnesses and dismissed the case on a technicality. The USDA took no action. McVeigh did not reapply for his USDA or Missouri Department of Agriculture licenses in 1998 or 1999.
Harold Becker left the USDA at the end of 1998. In December 1999, the USDA charged Becker with violations of the Animal Welfare Act. He was operating as an animal dealer without a license.
Ruth Johnson’s kennel consisted of several different buildings and outdoor enclosures. Mr. Johnson did not allow me complete access to the kennel. There are about a dozen outdoor enclosures on the property that were spaced within four to 15 feet of each other; all of them were behind and within 200 feet of Johnson’s house.
Two of the enclosures were about eight feet long and eight feet wide, and each contained four pens adjacent to each other and in a row. They were about eight feet long, two feet wide, and two feet high. These pens were raised about two feet off the dirt ground with metal stilts that connected with metal beams running along the edges of the enclosures. The back of each pen consisted of a wooden box about two feet wide, two feet long, and two feet high and painted white. Some of the boxes contained doggie doors while others did not and had no wind/rain breaks at their entrances (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). The remainder of each pen was made of treated wire with a metal frame surrounding it. The pens were covered by slanted metal roofing.
The other enclosures also were about two feet wide, eight feet long, and two feet high and arranged in two rows. They were made of metal beams and wood painted red to support the corners and edges of each pen, had slanted metal roofing, and wooden stilts that raised each pen about a foot above the dirt ground. The walls and flooring of each pen were made of treated wire, and the back of each pen had a wooden box about two feet wide, two feet long, and two feet high. Some of the boxes contained doggie doors while others had no windbreaks on them (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). There were three pens of this type closest to Johnson’s house. The remaining pens adjacent to each other in a row directed away from the other three.
It was clear that one of the pens lower to the ground and closest to Johnson’s house contained Scottish Terriers, and the sets of pens raised higher off the ground contained Shih Tzu and Bichons. A row of six pens lower to the ground and set adjacent to each other in a row directed away from Johnson’s house appeared to contain various breeds, although I was only able to observe that the first two pens contained Bichons.
All of the pens had plastic and metal food and water dishes placed on the pen floorings, and the food dishes were not placed so as to minimize contamination by excreta (3.9(b)- Feeding). All of the pens had more than two weeks’ accumulation of feces mixed with saw dust beneath them (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The feces mounds were about two feet wide and six feet long (the same size as the dimensions of the wire floorings of the outdoor enclosures). In places these mounds were up to four inches high (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Flies covered the feces mounds under the pens (3.11(d)-Pest Control). A plastic food container was on the metal roofing of a pen containing Scottish Terriers (3.1(b)-Condition and site).