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General

Consumer Education through Media

To raise awareness about the horrors of the pet shops and puppy mills, CAPS has generated stories with the following media: CNN, "Dateline," "20/20," "Hard Copy," Reader's Digest, Life, People, Detroit Free Press, The Philadelphia Inquirer (two front page articles) and numerous local television news stations and newspapers

CAPS worked for more than a year with Dateline to prepare "A Dog's Life," the in-depth report on pet shops and puppy mills that aired on April 26 and May 10 of 2000. This well-researched piece focused not only on Petland, the largest chain in the country, and the puppy mills that deal with Petland and other pet shops, but also on the American Kennel Club's and USDA's roles in this tragic problem. "A Dog's Life" won a Genesis award in the network newsmagazine category.

Viewers were shocked at the inhumane conditions at puppy mills that provide dogs to pet shops and appalled at USDA's Ron DeHaven's smug indifference to the horrid conditions at two USDA licensed facilities. They sent more than 9,000 letters and e-mails to NBC, the second largest response to any "Dateline" program in its history. CAPS was inundated with hundreds of e-mails and phone calls. A number of people who purchased sick or dying puppies submitted complaints by using CAPS' on-line form.

"Dateline" tried to show photos from the McVeigh raid to Ron DeHaven. The USDA inspector, a former federally licensed dog broker, had found no violations just six weeks prior to the raid. The McVeigh pens had no food or water. Some dogs had starved to death and their remains were found on the property.

CAPS Complaint Form:

Select the CAPS Complaint Form to submit a complaint regarding your pet shop or online purchase.  It can also be used to register a complaint against a puppy mill.

FDA

State Attorney General complaint forms

MollyResearch and Investigations

USDA Licensed Dog Breeding and Brokering Facilities

As the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals, CAPS' foremost concern is the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mill dogs. CAPS investigators are an integral part of our organization. We investigate federally licensed commercial dog breeders and brokers to determine: (1) compliance with local, state and federal (the Animal Welfare Act) laws; (2) humane treatment of animals. CAPS works with state humane investigators and submits documentary evidence to local prosecutors.

Since 1995, CAPS' focus has been on the USDA's failure to enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) as it pertains to commercial dog breeders and brokers. In order to document AWA violations, CAPS investigates federally licensed facilities in the Midwest and Pennsylvania (more than 1000 since 1997). Based on our years of investigative experience, CAPS has concluded that although the AWA gives the USDA the power to license, inspect and regulate breeders and brokers who deal in dogs for commercial purposes, the USDA's implementation of the AWA has been grievously insufficient - fulfilling neither the letter nor the intent of the AWA. The USDA's rules are too often ignored, not only by those who are regulated but also by the regulators themselves.

CAPS is requesting oversight hearings on the USDA's failure to enforce the AWA, advocating changes to the AWA and recommending new policies regarding the actions of USDA inspectors. CAPS visits Washington, DC several times a year and continues to present documentary evidence to top USDA officials and members of Congress.

Pet Shops

CAPS works with members, local animal welfare groups and the public to monitor pet shop conditions and to ascertain the names of breeders and brokers. We investigate some of these breeders and brokers.

Public Outreach and Education

Media Relations

CAPS has a targeted media relations program that exposes companion animal abuse, particularly the plight of pet shop and puppy mill dogs. We provide information and documentation on pet shops and puppy mills to print media and television news programs (national and local).

Consumer Assistance

CAPS encourages consumers who purchased sick or dying puppies to contact CAPS for assistance. We have pet shop complaint forms on our website. We inform these consumers of their options, including the right to recover veterinary expenses under state lemon laws. CAPS relies on consumer information to document illnesses, veterinary expenses and names of breeders and brokers.

Rescue and Rehabilitation

During our investigation of USDA licensed facilities, CAPS rescues puppy mill dogs, especially unwanted breeding stock who are about to be destroyed - humanely or inhumanely - because breeders no longer view these dogs as profitable. Puppy mill breeders often want to get rid of dogs that cannot get pregnant, have difficult pregnancies or deliveries, or who don't produce large enough litters. CAPS often rescue sick or "defective" puppies, including those that have been returned to breeders and brokers by pet shops.

CAPS works with shelters, rescue organizations and individuals to provide foster care and permanent homes for these dogs. We cover veterinary costs, including spaying and neutering. CAPS also makes contact with the families who adopted the rescued puppy mill dogs.

Would You Please Help?
Please help CAPS fund this critical work by giving online today.

Blog, Message board, Ask Carmen (any that apply) Content Policies

The rules apply to all areas of content on the site. If you push the limits of our guidelines you may find yourself banned at the discretion of our administrators. If you think you might be pushing the limits, you probably are.

Our rules of etiquette include:

  • Stick to topics which are directly or indirectly related to protecting our companion animals.
  • Don't post Off-Topic comments or replies. Off-Topic replies
  • No pornography or any other inappropriate content are not allowed.
  • None of the content sections will tolerate spamming, racism, threatening any user, flaming, etc.
  • Do not use obscenities in this forum. We don't care if it's not in the profanity filter. No censor dodging.
  • Do not troll or create inflammatory posts intended to anger other users.
  • Anything of a sexually explicit nature is not permitted on this forum. This includes nudity, genitalia, sexual intercourse and interactions, risque clothing, and see-thru clothing; real or animated. (Instant Ban)
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  • No Viruses are to be Posted, this includes all invasive programs, such as spybot's, etc.
  • Don't post any degratory comments based on age, gender, race, ethnicity or nationality (which will be met with a swift ban)
  • Going to the edge of any of these rules (for example, flaming, but not enough to get you in trouble on on specific occasion) multiple times over a long period of time is called being a jerk. Don't be a jerk or there will be consequences (i.e. a ban, either temporary or permanent based on each individual case)
  • Do nothing to respond to or encourage spambots.
  • No plaigiarism. If someone else originated content, quote them and/or find some way to give them credit.

We reserve the right to modify these rules as the need arises.

The following article, prepared by a CAPS investigator, originally appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of The Animals Voice Magazine and is reprinted here with permission from that publication.

Inside a small glass enclosure, a tiny ball of light brown fur with pointed ears and a black, whiskered muzzle nips at the tail of the rambunctious litter mate sharing his cage. The puppies bite each other’s ears, chew each other’s toys, and snuggle up together to lay down for a nap.

Friends of CAPS


Max A. Pooch
   Max A. Pooch, The Recycled who Recycles
 

Animal Protection


Hollywood Jinky
If you save just one life, it is as if you saved the entire world.


Jinky's Blog
Jinky, the Dog of a Hollywood Wife
Diary of Jinky, the Dog of a Hollywood Wife. Jinky was rescued from death row and now lives in the Hollywood Hills with his mom, dad, a cairn terrier named Finley and Zelda, the stupid kitty. They are in show business...kind


Kinship Circle
Letter campaigns - literature - action for animals.

Art

JT Harding Studios
Fine Art & Pet Portraiture

Books

Animal Lovers
A Book by Romy Maimon

General


DogBoston
www.dogboston.comA Trustworthy Online Magazine for Dog Lovers in Massachusetts


Dogcast Radio
DogCast LogoInternet radio and podcast for dog lovers


How to Help Animals
Yes, you can help animals! Changes in our diets, clothing, cosmetics and household products can help animals. And if you're ready to jump into activism, there are lots of different ways to get involved


Magic Toolbox
Image Tools for your Website


Our Place to Paws
The goal of Paws is to be both a fun and informational site, and to eventually find ways to build a community and contribute to the work of non-profit animal rescue and wildlife organizations.


Pet Avision, Inc.
Home of video catnip - entertainment for cats.

Preferred Merchants


Amy's Kitchen
Vegetarian and vegan entrees and more.
Be sure to check out the fun Lemonslice section that is especially for kids, teens and parents. We like Amy's rescued vegetarian Cattle Dog, Stormy.


Auntie Angel Designs
Inspirational & Memorial Jewelry
We are so pleased to offer inspirational and memorial jewelry handcrafted for you and your loved ones by Auntie Angel! These beautiful and thoughtful creations will not only be worn to make a fashion statement, but will express one's faith, interests, and beliefs. From 70's style stamped-leather snap bracelets to beaded bracelets with unique charms, our pieces convey "soulful" messages that will tug at the heartstrings and be cherished by those who wear them. They are sure to become spiritual treasures! 25% of the sales proceeds of Auntie Angel Designs are donated to the rescue/charity of YOUR choice. Be sure to indicate the name of the organization and provide at least the organization's Web address in the Shipping Instructions during the checkout process.


Canine Cupboard
Dog Treats, leashes, collars and more
Since 2001, Canine Cupboard has been providing the Seacoast with a unique shopping experience. In addition to our hand-made, all-natural dog treats we have significantly expanded our selection of leashes, collars, outdoor gear, beds, soft-sided crates, interactive toys and premium dog & cat foods. We are conveniently located on Historic State Street in the heart of the Portsmouth community. Whether you live in the Seacoast or are visiting the area, stop on by, and make sure to bring your dog, they are always welcomed to help you shop.


Cardinal Pet
Great dog grooming products and more.


Cat in the Bed
Handcrafted & totally unique cat beds & dog beds.


Cozy Cat Furniture
Cat furniture, cat trees, cat condos, cat gyms.
All our cat furniture are built by cat furniture specialists, so more of them combine scratching cat furniture, cat tree, cat playground and resting place all in one cat furniture.


Dog Beds for All Size Dogs
Affordable washable dog beds in all sizes and washable 3 piece cratewear sets
At Dog Echo we are dedicated dog owners that only sell products that all four of our dogs use and enjoy. We have affordable, all washable dog beds that have great style and comfort. We also have 3 piece cratewear sets that make a dog crate an inviting and safe enviroment. The cratewear sets include a crate cover, safety bumper and comfortable crate pad. At Dog Echo we Love our Dogs and Dogs Love our Beds.


Dog in the Bed
Handcrafted & totally unique dog beds & cat beds.


Kindred Spirits Gift Shop
Companion animal gifts.
The only resource dedicated to providing a distinctive collection of beautiful, keepsake pet-related merchandise and soulful gift baskets for the caregiver, pet-sitter, rescue worker, sanctuary worker -- any animal lover who shares daily life with God's wonderful creatures.


The Kygen Company
Toys, travel gear and holiday products for dogs.


Wheel House Designs
Gorgeous socks and apparel
Wheel House Design logDesigning Novelty socks and apparel since 1989

Preferred Services


CFA Cattery Reviews
CFA Cattery Reviews


Derrico Studios
Painting with Paws - Art with a Cause


Tails Pet Media Group
Tails Pet Media Group


The Pet Guardian
Useful information about companion animal health and other issues.
A percentage of your purchases benefits CAPS.

Rescues and Shelters


Pet Ark
Pet adoption.


Petfinder
Pet adoption.


Pets 911
Pet adoption.


Sunshine Golden Retriever Rescue
Pet Retrieval
Working together with families in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey to find forever homes for Goldens in need.

Use code from either of the following boxes to link to our site (copy/paste) and fill out the form to submit a reciprocal link exchange request.

<div> <a href="http://www.caps-web.org" target="_new"> Companion Animal Protection Society</a> <br> As the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals, CAPS' foremost concern is the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mills dogs. </div>

The above html code displays as:

 

Companion Animal Protection Society
As the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals, CAPS' foremost concern is the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mills dogs.

 

<div> <a href="http://www.caps-web.org" target="_new"> <img src="http://www.caps-web.org/images/logos/caps_logo.gif" alt="Companion Animals Protection Society"></a> <br> As the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals, CAPS' foremost concern is the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mills dogs. </div>

The above html code displays as:

 

Companion Animals Protection Society
As the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals, CAPS' foremost concern is the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mills dogs.

 

Lemon Laws and Consumer Protection Laws

National

Copy and paste the state statute number from the CAPS website into the search box to pull up laws pertaining to pet shop animals.

Also useful on this page (halfway down) are the answers to Frequently Asked Questions On Dog Issues

Arizona

  • Laws (Title 44, Ch. 11, Article 14, sections 1799 - 1799.09)

Arkansas

  • Puppy Lemon Law (4-97-105)

California

  • Sale of Dogs by Breeders (Health & Safety Code Sections 122045 - 122110)
  • Retail Sale of Dogs (Health & Safety Code Sections 122125 - 122220)
  • Dog Pedigree Registries (Health & Safety Code Sections 122300 - 122315)
  • Pet Store Animal Care Act (Health & Safety Code 122350)

Connecticut

  • Puppy Lemon Law (22-344b)

Delaware

  • Puppy Lemon Law (6 Del.C sec. 4001 – 4009)

Florida

  • Puppy Lemon Law (828.29)

Maine

  • Laws (Title 17, Part 9, Chapter 745, sections 4151 - 4162)

Massachusetts

  • Puppy Lemon Law (330 CMR 12.05)

Minnesota

  • Puppy Lemon Law (325F.791)

Nevada

  • Examination by Veterinarian (574.450)
  • Provision of Written statement - Cats (574.460)
  • Provision of Written statement - Dogs (574.470)
  • Puppy Lemon Law (574.490)
  • Knowingly Selling Dogs or Cats Requiring Immediate Treatment Prohibited (574.510)

New Hampshire

  • Breeder's Health Certificate (466:6-a)
  • Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets (437.10)
  • Lemon Law (dogs, cats, ferrets) (437.13

New Jersey

  • Revocation of Pet Shop License (C. 56:8-93)
  • Puppy Lemon Law (C. 56:8-95)

New York

  • Puppy Lemon Law (Article 35-D sec. 753)

Pennsylvania

  • Lemon Law (73 P.S. § 201-9.3)

South Carolina

  • Puppy Lemon Law (47-13-160)

Vermont

  • Puppy Lemon Law (20 V.S.A. sec. 4302)

Virginia

  • Failure of Dealer or Pet Shop to Provide Adequate Care (3.1-796.71)
  • Misrepresentation of Animal's Condition (3.1-796.72)
  • Sale without Animal History Certificate (3.1-796.78)
  • False or Misleading Statements in Certificate (3.1-796.79)
  • Puppy Lemon Law (3.1-796.80)
  • Written Notice of Consumer Remedies (3.1-796.81)
  • Failure to Produce Registration Papers (3.1-796.82)

Lemon Laws and Consumer Protection Laws

National

Copy and paste the state statute number from the CAPS website into the search box to pull up laws pertaining to pet shop animals.

Also useful on this page (halfway down) are the answers to Frequently Asked Questions On Dog Issues

Arizona

  • Laws (Title 44, Ch. 11, Article 14, sections 1799 - 1799.09)

Arkansas

  • Puppy Lemon Law (4-97-105)

California

  • Sale of Dogs by Breeders (Health & Safety Code Sections 122045 - 122110)
  • Retail Sale of Dogs (Health & Safety Code Sections 122125 - 122220)
  • Dog Pedigree Registries (Health & Safety Code Sections 122300 - 122315)
  • Pet Store Animal Care Act (Health & Safety Code 122350)

Connecticut

  • Puppy Lemon Law (22-344b)

Delaware

  • Puppy Lemon Law (6 Del.C sec. 4001 – 4009)

Florida

  • Puppy Lemon Law (828.29)

Maine

  • Laws (Title 17, Part 9, Chapter 745, sections 4151 - 4162)

Massachusetts

  • Puppy Lemon Law (330 CMR 12.05)

Minnesota

  • Puppy Lemon Law (325F.791)

Nevada

  • Examination by Veterinarian (574.450)
  • Provision of Written statement - Cats (574.460)
  • Provision of Written statement - Dogs (574.470)
  • Puppy Lemon Law (574.490)
  • Knowingly Selling Dogs or Cats Requiring Immediate Treatment Prohibited (574.510)

New Hampshire

  • Breeder's Health Certificate (466:6-a)
  • Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets (437.10)
  • Lemon Law (dogs, cats, ferrets) (437.13

New Jersey

  • Revocation of Pet Shop License (C. 56:8-93)
  • Puppy Lemon Law (C. 56:8-95)

New York

  • Puppy Lemon Law (Article 35-D sec. 753)

Pennsylvania

  • Lemon Law (73 P.S. § 201-9.3)

South Carolina

  • Puppy Lemon Law (47-13-160)

Vermont

  • Puppy Lemon Law (20 V.S.A. sec. 4302)

Virginia

  • Failure of Dealer or Pet Shop to Provide Adequate Care (3.1-796.71)
  • Misrepresentation of Animal's Condition (3.1-796.72)
  • Sale without Animal History Certificate (3.1-796.78)
  • False or Misleading Statements in Certificate (3.1-796.79)
  • Puppy Lemon Law (3.1-796.80)
  • Written Notice of Consumer Remedies (3.1-796.81)
  • Failure to Produce Registration Papers (3.1-796.82)

Lemon Laws and Consumer Protection Laws

National

Copy and paste the state statute number from the CAPS website into the search box to pull up laws pertaining to pet shop animals.

Also useful on this page (halfway down) are the answers to Frequently Asked Questions On Dog Issues

Arizona

  • Laws (Title 44, Ch. 11, Article 14, sections 1799 - 1799.09)

Arkansas

  • Puppy Lemon Law (4-97-105)

California

  • Sale of Dogs by Breeders (Health & Safety Code Sections 122045 - 122110)
  • Retail Sale of Dogs (Health & Safety Code Sections 122125 - 122220)
  • Dog Pedigree Registries (Health & Safety Code Sections 122300 - 122315)
  • Pet Store Animal Care Act (Health & Safety Code 122350)

Connecticut

  • Puppy Lemon Law (22-344b)

Delaware

  • Puppy Lemon Law (6 Del.C sec. 4001 – 4009)

Florida

  • Puppy Lemon Law (828.29)

Maine

  • Laws (Title 17, Part 9, Chapter 745, sections 4151 - 4162)

Massachusetts

  • Puppy Lemon Law (330 CMR 12.05)

Minnesota

  • Puppy Lemon Law (325F.791)

Nevada

  • Examination by Veterinarian (574.450)
  • Provision of Written statement - Cats (574.460)
  • Provision of Written statement - Dogs (574.470)
  • Puppy Lemon Law (574.490)
  • Knowingly Selling Dogs or Cats Requiring Immediate Treatment Prohibited (574.510)

New Hampshire

  • Breeder's Health Certificate (466:6-a)
  • Dogs, Cats, and Ferrets (437.10)
  • Lemon Law (dogs, cats, ferrets) (437.13

New Jersey

  • Revocation of Pet Shop License (C. 56:8-93)
  • Puppy Lemon Law (C. 56:8-95)

New York

  • Puppy Lemon Law (Article 35-D sec. 753)

Pennsylvania

  • Lemon Law (73 P.S. § 201-9.3)

South Carolina

  • Puppy Lemon Law (47-13-160)

Vermont

  • Puppy Lemon Law (20 V.S.A. sec. 4302)

Virginia

  • Failure of Dealer or Pet Shop to Provide Adequate Care (3.1-796.71)
  • Misrepresentation of Animal's Condition (3.1-796.72)
  • Sale without Animal History Certificate (3.1-796.78)
  • False or Misleading Statements in Certificate (3.1-796.79)
  • Puppy Lemon Law (3.1-796.80)
  • Written Notice of Consumer Remedies (3.1-796.81)
  • Failure to Produce Registration Papers (3.1-796.82)


National - Write Members of Congress






mcveigh8History

When Deborah Howard witnessed the dreadful conditions at a Docktor Pet Center store in November 1989, she was appalled. The company had more than 300 franchises at that time. After learning more about the plight of the pet shop and puppy mill dogs, Ms. Howard joined forces with Robert Baker, the foremost puppy mill investigator in the country. During his 13 years as chief investigator of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Mr. Baker inspected over 700 puppy mills.

Ms. Howard, a former radio news reporter, lawyer and PR professional, formed CAPS in 1990. The nonprofit became a 501(c)(3) in 1992. As a result of CAPS' efforts, Docktor Pet Centers, Inc., which refused to do business without the sale of puppies, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February 1993.

Mission

Founded by President Deborah Howard in 1992, the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy mills. CAPS actively addresses the abuse and suffering of pet shop and puppy mill dogs through investigations, education, media relations, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet industry employee relations.

Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)

nonamePet Shop Campaigns

West Hollywood Ordinance

Following a CAPS undercover investigation of West Hollywood pet shops and a nearly six month protest of Elite Animals, the West Hollywood City Council passed an ordinance in February prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats in pet shops, with an exemption for the adoption of shelter and rescue animals.  Media coverage of CAPS and the West Hollywood ordinance included The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, ABC, NBC and CBS in Los Angeles, About.com.  In fact, media throughout the U.S. and the world (even New Zealand) covered this compelling story.  Our work has inspired other towns and states to consider similar legislation.

CAPS is currently working with Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) on an ordinance for La Mesa (San Diego County), CA and assisted Richmond, British Columbia animal advocates on a by-law banning the sale of pet shop dogs.

A CAPS investigation of West Hollywood-based Elite Animals revealed that the store was selling puppy mill dogs and defrauding customers.  Undercover footage shot by a CAPS investigator showed employees telling the investigator that the puppies came from “good private breeders.”  Elite Animals was also selling dogs from puppy mills in Russia and violating a federal law prohibiting the import of dogs under the age of six months for resale.

The main suppliers to Elite Animals were Gerry and Angie Wensmann, USDA licensed brokers in Minnesota, who sell to pet shops all over the country.  Elite Animals proudly displayed a photograph of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to whom the pet shop sold a Wensmann puppy in 2000.  CAPS investigations of the Wensmann puppy mill documented sick and injured animals in need of veterinary care, substandard housing with badly stained flooring, broken wood and jagged rusty wires that posed a danger to the dogs, green algae water, rusting, filthy feeders with soggy food, fecal and urine accumulation, and dogs whose feet were slipping through wire flooring.  The Wensmanns also breed cats in buildings that CAPS has been unable to access.  A 2008 USDA inspection stated that kittens were panting in 95 degree heat in a trailer house.  Yet despite CAPS investigation evidence presented to USDA and USDA reports with serious violations, USDA has not taken action.  We are very encouraged, though, that evidence from CAPS investigations led to the ordinance.

Four Pet Shops in the Los Angeles Area Went Humane in Just Eight Months

CAPS is very proud to announce that Aquarium & Pet Center in Santa Monica, California signed a legal agreement to convert to a humane business model.  In late October of 2009, this pet store, which has been in business for over 20 years, decided to stop selling puppies from mills.  Aquarium & Pet Center now works with rescue organizations to promote adoptable animals from the Los Angeles municipal shelter system.  The store adopted out a number of animals in 2010 and serves as a model for humane stores.

Aquarium & Pet Center had been the target of an ongoing CAPS investigation linking the store to The Hunte Corporation, the largest USDA licensed dog brokering facility in the country.  CAPS is quite familiar with the practices of Hunte as the result of an undercover employment investigation at this large facility and ongoing investigations of Hunte’s puppy mill suppliers.  In addition to dogs supplied from inhumane breeding facilities in the Midwest, some of the puppies sold at Aquarium & Pet Center were from a puppy mill just outside of Los Angeles.  This was the fourth store in Los Angeles to succumb to investigations and protests by CAPS between March 2009 and November 2009.  Other stores no longer selling puppy mill dogs include Elaine’s Pet Depot, Elite Animals, and Pets of Wilshire. Elaine’s Pet Depot, part of a chain in the U.S. and Canada, offers rescue animals for adoption.  On the basis of our efforts against Elaine’s, the entire Pet Depot chain stopped selling dogs and cats (some didn’t before).

CAPS had organized three weekend protests in front of Aquarium & Pet Center.  On October 10, the protest was interrupted by violence when dozens of animal rights activists were shot at by an unknown assailant with a high powered air rifle, spraying them with two millimeter brass slugs.  Two of the protesters were slightly injured.  The police investigation into the shooting is ongoing and there is a $5000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.

But our work in Los Angeles has just begun.  We hope to convert more pet shops to humane stores.  We need to use our momentum to get ordinances passed in other towns and cities in Southern California, including Los Angeles, which will in turn generate even more interest across the country.  An in-depth news story on the pet shop industry in the Los Angeles area is desperately needed, which requires that CAPS investigate pet shops and the mills that supply them.

Landmark Protests of Barkworks Inside a Shopping Mall

On 12/19/09, the busiest shopping day of the year, CAPS held a landmark peaceful protest with 72 participants inside Westside Pavilion Mall in Los Angeles against one of seven Barkworks stores.  This pet shop chain obtains puppies from mills, including some with serious USDA violations.  The protest was a landmark demonstration for the California animal protection movement because pet shops that sell puppy mill dogs inside shopping malls had been immune to the increasing public outcry over the puppy mill issue.  After researching California Supreme Court cases, we realized that the California Constitution, which is more expansive than the federal version, protected our rights to protest inside a mall - a de facto public forum under California case law.  Moreover, California case law protects the rights of protesters to call for a boycott of a specific business within a shopping center or mall.

CAPS’ documentary about Barkworks and a customer who purchased a very sick puppy that died on 12/24, one week after purchase, was one of the most shared videos on CNN iReport in 2010.  Following the release of this documentary, CAPS held a second protest on 2/13/10 with 89 participants inside the mall in honor of Valentine’s Day, a loveless day at Barkworks.  The third protest on 4/13/10 had more than 100 participants, including 70 inner city public high school students.  In lieu of signs, CAPS protesters wore tee shirts and carried large shopping bags – all with slogans or messages.  CAPS worked closely with the LAPD, and all three times, officers provided protection of our First Amendment Rights in light of the mall’s threats to have security guards arrest the protesters.  We will be holding another protest on 12/18/10.  We are currently investigating Barkworks’ breeders and brokers in the Midwest.  This investigative evidence will be presented to Los Angeles media and used for a lawsuit.

Happines is Pets, Chicago Area

Founded more than 25 years ago, Happiness is Pets is a six-store chain in the Chicago area that obtains puppies from puppy mills.  CAPS has been receiving complaints about sick puppies from Happiness is Pets stores for about 20 years.  Some of these stores were protested during nationwide pet shop protests we held in the early 1990’s.  We worked on a four-part pet shop/puppy mill series with FOX News Chicago in 1995 that featured customers who had purchased sick Happiness is Pets puppies.

Many of the puppies at Happiness is Pets stores come from USDA-licensed facilities in Iowa that CAPS has investigated, including large-scale broker/breeder Steve Kruse.  We have also investigated unlicensed Amish breeders in Indiana that supply puppies to Happiness is Pets through Levi Graber, a USDA-licensed broker in Bloomfield, Indiana. CAPS will continue investigating breeders and brokers who provide puppies to Happiness is Pets.

CAPS sponsors protests on the second Saturday of each month at the Happiness is Pets in Arlington Heights and the last Saturday of each month at the Lombard location. For more information on Happiness is Pets, read the blog of CAPS Chicago Campaign Coordinator Ida McCarthy: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1363708/happiness-is-pets-the-truth

Pet Works, San Diego Area

Pet Works Pet Store in La Mesa, California (San Diego County) has been selling sick puppies for over 16 years. The owner, Richard Fuller claimed, “We only get our puppies from the most reputable USDA licensed breeders.” CAPS investigated some of these breeders, including Marjorie Walker, who had her broker’s license revoked by USDA and was a booking agent for The Hunte Corporation, where we worked undercover for six months in 2004. The notorious Wensmann kennel in Minnesota, investigated twice by CAPS and the main reason for the West Hollywood ordinance, still supplies puppies to Pet Works. In December, CAPS investigated Nebraska breeders and a broker.

Since January of 2009, CAPS-sponsored protests have taken place in front of the store every weekend to raise awareness in the community about the pet shop and puppy mill issue. Our presence there had made a difference. The San Diego Union Tribune reported on December 1 that Pet Works is going out of business by the end of the year. CAPS Advisory Board Member Sydney Cicourel, who organized the protests efforts, and West Coast Director Carole Davis were quoted in the article. Pet Works chose to shut its doors prior to CAPS’ protest with 40 activists on December 11. CAPS is still going forward with an ordinance banning the sale of pet shop puppies and kittens in La Mesa, which will be voted on by the City Council on December 14.

USDA Licensed Broker Kathy Bauck

CAPS began investigating Kathy Bauck, the owner and operator of “Pick of the Litter” in Minnesota, in 1997. Bauck, one of the largest USDA licensed dog brokers and breeders in the country, sold thousands of dogs to pet shops and Internet buyers all over the country.

Due to the efforts of the Companion Animal Protection Society, Bauck will no longer be able to sell to pet shops and other dog breeders and brokers. On August 13, 2009, the USDA/APHIS filed a Motion for Summary Judgment requesting the termination of Bauck’s license. It is rare for the agency to request the termination of a license, especially through the expedited means of a summary judgment. CAPS believes the use of a summary judgment was due to the pressure APHIS felt from our petition for rulemaking mandating that USDA automatically terminate a license upon an animal cruelty conviction. On September 29, the administrative law judge issued a decision and order in the Bauck case, granting APHIS’ motion for summary judgment. On October 29, Bauck appealed that decision to the judicial officer. APHIS filed a response to her appeal on November 18.

The Judicial Officer’s Order and Decision dated December 2, 2009 terminated Bauck’s license. This termination was stayed pending Bauck’s federal court appeal, which was denied. Bauck’s license was officially terminated in August 2010. It is unfortunate that Bauck was allowed to keep her license during this yearlong legal process.

The USDA had licensed Bauck since 1983, and despite CAPS investigations since 1997, the USDA did not take action. The July 2008 USDA inspection report for Bauck found no violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). They did not inspect her again until March 4, 2009, just three weeks before her conviction. The inspector cited her for veterinary and cleaning violations.

CAPS has been investigating the USDA’s failure to enforce the AWA since 1995 and has been lobbying members of Congress for oversight hearings regarding USDA’s lax enforcement of the AWA.  CAPS went to Capitol Hill in June 2009 to meet with USDA officials and congressional aides, using the Bauck case as evidence of the USDA’s dereliction of duty. CAPS’ pro bono lobbyists submitted a petition for rulemaking requesting that AWA regulations be amended to require the automatic revocation of a USDA license upon the conviction in a court of law of a licensee, such as Bauck, for animal cruelty.

Based on evidence from a CAPS undercover employment opportunity of six weeks, a jury convicted Bauck on March 24, 2009 of four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and torture. On May 1, 2009, in what CAPS and animal advocates consider a great miscarriage of justice, the judge sentenced Bauck on just one of the counts, which he wrongly believed encompassed the other charges. She received a 90-day sentence, reduced to 20 days (weekday work release at the sheriff’s discretion), a $500 fine (reduced from $1,000), 80 hours of community service and one year of probation.

While under a cease and desist order from the State Veterinary Board for the practice of veterinary medicine, including doing C-Sections on her dogs, Bauck continued to practice vet medicine, which was documented by her employees. However, the state allowed her to plea bargain for just one charge for the practice of veterinary medicine and dropped the cruelty charge for killing a puppy by bashing it against a pole. While on parole and serving work release, she continued to commit cruelty that was documented by a CAPS undercover investigator. CAPS submitted the investigator’s hidden camera footage, photographs and reports to local authorities. This documentary evidence was the basis of the criminal case against Bauck.

At the time of the investigator’s employment, Bauck’s facility held 900 adult dogs and approximately 400 puppies. The undercover video shot by the CAPS investigator shows dogs that are sick, wounded, and emaciated.  Dogs at her facility commonly became wounded through fights, even some of the small breed dogs.

Bauck will still be able to sell dogs on the Internet. The Animal Welfare Act does not cover Internet breeders. However, if proposed legislation in Minnesota requiring state kennel licenses is passed, those convicted of animal cruelty and their business associates will be banned from obtaining a license. CAPS plans to investigate numerous Minnesota puppy mills to provide evidence in support of this legislation.

CAPS received a complaint about a sick puppy purchased at New York Kennel Club. The complaint states that Bauck sold the puppy to the pet shop after her USDA license termination on August 16. Interstate health certificates signed by Bauck show New York Kennel Club as both the consignor (Bauck’s Minnsota address) and consignee (pet shop address). CAPS plans to investigate.

The Bauck case made national headlines with coverage by CBS stations in Chicago, Minneapolis and Los Angeles. CBS Chicago had the exclusive interview and footage. ABC in Boston aired a number of reports on the Bauck case. Bauck sold dogs to several pet shops and to Internet buyers across the state of Massachusetts. CAPS is about to distribute a professionally produced documentary about the Bauck investigation, criminal animal cruelty case and USDA termination case to national media to generate stories about CAPS.

USDA’s Failure to Enforce the Animal Welfare Act/Office of Inspector General Report

CAPS is celebrating a major victory – one we have been working toward for many years! We hope that as a result of this victory, USDA’s APHIS/Animal Care, the division that oversees the inspection of thousands of federally licensed dog and cat breeding and brokering facilities, will implement significant changes with respect to enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).

In late May, the Office of Inspector General for USDA released a scathing 69-page report for an audit and investigation conducted between 2006 and 2008.  This audit and investigation was prompted by a meeting that CAPS and Crowell & Moring attorneys had with OIG officials in May 2006. The complete OIG report is available on our website at www.caps-web.org.

CAPS will continue to cooperate with USDA while conducting ongoing oversight of the Animal Care inspection program.  Since 1995, CAPS has been to approximately 1,000 puppy mills, most of them USDA licensed. See the 2011 agenda for issues we plan to address with USDA in light of the OIG report.

Iowa Legislation

In March, Governor Chet Culver signed into a law a bill that requires state inspectors to go into USDA-licensed facilities after receiving a complaint. Iowa Voters for Companion Animals and the Animal Rescue League (ARL) used CAPS undercover footage of Iowa puppy mills in support of this legislation. CAPS and ARL have worked together on cooperative efforts for a number of years

Why You Shouldn't Buy That Puppy on the Internet

Download a printable copy of this Fact Sheet in PDF format.

A Google search of “puppies for sale” produces numerous puppy merchant websites (see bottom of page). But please do not buy a puppy over the internet. Many of these puppies are coming from puppy mills that sell directly to the public or that raise dogs, for the most part, for resale to pet shops (USDA licensed facilities). Reputable breeders do not sell puppies to families they haven’t met in person. They do a thorough screening of potential buyers of their puppies. They provide health guarantees and provide health clearances for genetic defects inherent in the breed. It is not common to see kennel cough, coccidia, giardia, ear and eye infections, upper respiratory infections and worms in puppies that come from reputable breeders.

Save a Life

Every year, animal shelters destroy millions of dogs -- including purebreds and puppies -- and cats. PLEASE adopt a companion animal from your local shelter, humane society, rescue organization or veterinarian. In addition, many pet supply stores, such as Petsmart or Petco, sponsor adoption days. You can also find animals to adopt at www.petfinder.com, www.pet-ark.com and www.pets911.com.

CAPS Complaints

CAPS receives consumer complaints from people who have purchased puppies over the internet. Most of these puppies have mild to very serious medical problems, including hereditary defects. On May 11, 2006 CNN aired a lengthy segment entitled, “Sick Puppies Dog Some Online Purchasers.” In this story on internet puppy sales, CNN Consumer Correspondent Greg Hunter interviewed CAPS President Deborah Howard, who addressed the issues involved with internet puppy buying and showed video footage of puppy mills that sell to The Hunte Corporation, the largest puppy brokerage facility in the country. The story focused on Celebrity Kennels (aka Wizard of Claws) in Florida, who obtain many of their puppies from Hunte. Celebrity Kennels sells puppies both through a strip mall store front, where they show puppies to consumers who sit in a waiting room, and over the internet. Just because pet shops and online sellers have celebrity customers doesn’t mean that these puppy merchants obtain puppies from reputable breeders.

Summary of a few CAPS' Internet Puppy Complaints

North Country Pets (www.mixedbreedpups.com), Ironton, Minnesota
Malti-poo with Portacavel Shunt who died four days after purchase.

Pages listing litters and upcoming litters immediately arouse suspicion that this breeder has a puppy mill. There are numerous dogs and puppies at this facility. The owners deliberately cross breed their dogs to produce mixed breed puppies, also know as "designer" dogs. Another indication of a puppy mill: the owners do not allow prospective buyers on the premises, claiming that humans transmit diseases to puppies. In fact, the opposite is true. Dogs have certain worms and illnesses that can be transmitted to humans (for example, roundworms, sarcoptic mange and giardia). The following paragraph is quoted from their website:

Can we visit and see the pups? - We used to answer this with a resounding YES! However, we recently had an experience with a pup that became sick shortly after going to her new home. The pup recovered nicely, but the only way this pup could have been exposed to this virus was through casual contact with visitors, as we have NEVER dealt with this virus before. No, you don't need to worry about getting a pup from us, but we really do need to safeguard the health of our puppies, for the puppies' sake, our sake, and the buyer's sake. Unfortunately, even the most diligent, clean, well-meaning visitors can bring a disease to our kennel that can spell disaster for our puppies. Think of it this way - hospitals don't allow visitors into the nursery area. Baby and Puppy immune systems are not fully functional for months.

And yet another sign of a mill is the fact that the puppies are not raised in a home:

Are the pups raised in the house? - No. Frankly, no-one could have litters of puppies like this in a clean, healthy, environment in the house. And, we have a small grooming shop and boarding kennel, so we're at work in our kennel anyway. Mike and Lucy generally begin their day with the puppies at about 6 am, and finish up about 5 pm, with a final walk for the dogs at about 9 pm. The kids, Elizabeth (12), Charles (5), Rachel (3), and Eleanor (2) love to play with the pups. The babysitter has a scheduled time to bring the three little ones out the "shop" to play with puppies every day.

Next Day Pets (www.nextdaypets.com)
Breeders: Tim and Stacy Brock, Rocky Comfort, MO - 43A-3120 Cock-a-poo arrived with Upper Respiratory Infection, Hookworm, Coccidia, ear mites and runny eyes.

This website, like many other puppy sale sites on the internet is nothing more than a place for sellers to post their puppy litter ads and websites. We have looked up the names of a number of breeders selling on this site on the USDA breeder and dealer directories, and most of them have USDA licenses. This means they are puppy mills that supply puppies to the pet shop industry. These are the types of facilities that CAPS investigates on a regular basis.

Puppy Find (www.puppyfind.com)
Importer: Celtic Cavaliers (www.celticcavaliers.com), Palatine, IL
The importer, who is based in the Chicago area, specializes in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels that she imports from Ireland. She claims: "Some of our pedigrees include top bloodlines..." Ireland has numerous puppy farms (puppy mills). Cavalier King Charles Spaniel had pneumonia, coccidia and giardia. The puppy has an open fontanel and is having seizures.

Here is what CAPS board member, Dr. Don Allen, DVM, wrote to the consumer who purchased the very sick Cavalier puppy:

The "breeder" you are dealing with is simply an unscrupulous puppy mill retailer who buys from any source she can find for a pittance and sells for enormous profit. She probably never even sees some of the dogs she buys and sells. I also doubt that her vet examined this puppy. The vet has a conflict of interest. Of course he is paid a fee for his services, and he values that extra income. So he passes nearly every pup. You should file a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Veterinary Medicine (search online) in that he has violated state veterinary code. Two vets in NJ had their licenses suspended for just this thing. It may be good to also file a complaint in Virginia with their veterinary board. You might also file consumer complaints with both states' attorneys general offices (also most are online). Too bad you can't also turn her into the IRS, because I have little doubt that she is claiming all her income.

The open fontanel generally closes shortly after birth on any animal. This is a major defect in your dog. Also, seizures are an indication of inherited epilepsy. There is no test for epilepsy, as it is generally diagnosed through the history of seizure events.

In any event, hang onto Kassidy. She needs your love and compassion. It´s not her fault, and I'm afraid her mother will never see a gentle hand.

Sincerely,

Don Allen, DVM

 


For the most up to date list of online sellers you should visit www.google.com or www.yahoo.com and do a search for "puppies for sale." The following list came back from google in July, 2006:

 

  • www.anypets.com - anypets.com
  • www.breedersdomain.com - Breeders Domain
  • www.Breedersclub.net - Breedersclub.net
  • www.celebritykennels.com - Celebrity kennels also known as Wizard of Claws
  • www.celticcavaliers.com - Celtic Cavaliers imported Irish puppies
  • www.crpuppylove.com - CR Puppy Love
  • www.cyberpet.com - CyberPet
  • www.breedersusa.com - Dog Breeders Directory
  • www.dogbreedersdomain.com/ - Dog Breeders Domain
  • dog-breeders.biz - dog-breeders.biz
  • dogpage.us - dogpage.us
  • dogsales.com - dogsales.com
  • www.zooclub.biz/puppies4sale - Elite Pets Internet Club Zooclub.biz
  • www.divapups.com - Emma Rose's Maltese Diva Pups
  • gopetsamerica.com - Go Pets America
  • gotpetsonline.com - gotpetsonline.com
  • i-love-dogs.com - i-love-dogs.com
  • www.nextdaypets.com - Next Day Pets
  • mixedbreedpups.com - North Country Kennels
  • www.thepetprofessor.com - Pet Professor
  • www.petpages.com - Petpages
  • www.petpurpose.com - PetPurpose.com
  • www.pets4you.com - Pets4You.com
  • www.petsell.com - petsell.com
  • www.pupcity.com - pupcity.com
  • www.puppydogweb.com - Puppy Dog Web.Com - Puppy Shop.Com
  • www.puppypurebred.com - Puppy purebread
  • dogsforsale.com - PuppyFind.com
  • www.puppyfind.com - PuppyFind.com
  • www.puppypassport.com - PuppyPassport.com
  • www.qualitydogs.com - QualityDogs.com
  • www.terrificpets.com - TerrificPets.com
  • www.thepuppyshop.com - ThePuppyShop.com
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