Minnesota State Humane Agent Wade Hanson conducted this investigation with CAPS investigators. We had the cooperation of Kathy and Allan Bauck and Andrea Keepings, the office manager. The Baucks have 14 employees and have been in business for 18 years. The time was approximately 12:00 and the temperature was 91 degrees farenheight. The employees were in the process of dipping the dogs for skin problems and pest control in Paramite dip. Ms. Bauck stated that they save the dip in barrels and reuse it every year (2.40-Veterinary care).
Outdoor Housing Area (to the left of the driveway)
This area housed primarily Mastiffs, Great Danes, Siberian Huskies, Boxers, Spaniels and a Basset Hound puppy that Ms. Bauck said was owned by Michelle Borchert (41-A-0369) of Eagle Bend, MN. The dirt floor pens were constructed of T-post and hog panels with some chain link. The dog houses had sharp tin on the roofs as wind and rain breaks (3.1(a)-Structure; construction). There were chewed, unsealed wooden surfaces at the entrances that were not impervious to moisture. These surfaces should be maintained on a regular basis (3.1(c)(2)-Surfaces) (3.4(c)-Construction) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures). Several of the fence panels had wire protruding into the dog pen (3.6(a)(2)(i)(ii)-Primary enclosures).
A Mastiff named Dallas was favoring his left front leg. It was swollen, and he did not want to bear weight on it. Ms. Bauck stated she did not know what had caused the problem and had not contacted her vet (2.40-Veterinary care). Another Mastiff had an accumulation of food and feces in the primary enclosure (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The accumulation of feces and food debris was attracting a large swarm of flies. The flies had chewed large, open, bleeding soars on the Mastiff's ears (3.11(d)-Pest control). The dog's ears needed immediate treatment (2.40).
Ms. Bauck stated that her veterinarian is Dr. Randall Linderman (218-847-2922). Ms. Bauck showed us a young adult female St. Bernard named Gail that had been returned from a Shake-A-Paw pet shop on the East Coast. Gail had a large baseball size lump on her front leg and was limping. Ms. Bauck told us that she was returned because of her lump. She claimed a simple drainage procedure would fix the lump. Ms. Bauck did not say when the vet was going to take care of the lump (2.40). There were large holes dug in the dirt floor of Gail's primary enclosure (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.6(a)(2((ii)-Primary enclosures).
Sheltered Housing Facility
Adjacent to the outdoor pens described above was sheltered housing with Siberian Huskies and Great Danes. Their enclosures were made of chain link fencing with concrete flooring. Metal doors led to their shelter inside a tin building. There was more than two weeks worth of feces, urine and standing water in front of these enclosures (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). This accumulation of feces, urine and standing water was attracting flies (3.11(d)-Pest control). Adjacent to this building were hog panel pens with dirt floors. A few of these pens had hog panel ceilings for climbing dogs. These pens contained American and English Bulldogs. One female Bulldog named Jewel had an inflamed eye with discharge. Ms. Bauck thought dirt had gotten into the do's eye and had yet to see the vet (2.40).
Pervasive throughout all the areas listed above were chewed water bowls with dirty water in them (3.10-Watering). None of the shelters had adequate protection from the elements (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements) aside from the actual shelter structures. Under 3.4(b) of the Animal Welfare Act, "In addition to the shelter structures, one of more separate outside areas of shade must be provided, large enough to contain all the animals at one time and protect them from the direct rays of the sun."
Ms. Bauck told us it was called Allan's Barn because it housed the dogs cared for by her husband. Allan's Barn is a newer metal building with concrete floors. Chain link runs are on both sides. There were plastic buckets for water. This barn housed Boxers, Labradors, Lab mixes and other large breed dogs. Ms. Bauck told us that he keeps older breeding stock, which were in fair condition whereas she gets rid of her dogs when they reach six or seven years of age. She told us they do not produce large enough litters.
The concrete floors inside had standing water and some dogs appeared damp (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). One of the enclosures had standing liquid, urine and sludge water (3.1)(f)-Drainage and waste disposal) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). There was a heavy ammonia odor in the air (3.3(b)-Ventilation). Ms. Bauck said that the ventilation system was in the attic but there were no obvious vents or fans. The lighting was dim (3.3(c)-Lighting). Food in the containers was damp (3.9-Feeding).
The outside concrete had some standing water but most water had pooled at the ends of the building. The entire concrete area was surrounded with a moat of feces, urine and stagnant algae water. In some areas, it seemed as deep as six inches. The moat was attracting flies and had a foul odor. The width of the moat varied but in most areas was wider than a normal pace (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). Disposal and drainage systems should be constructed, operated and located far enough away from the dogs so that animal waste and water are rapidly eliminated and must minimize pests or insects, odors and disease hazards.
In one of the outdoor portion, there was very thin, inactive Boxer puppy, who was standing upright. Her litter mates were active and playful. Her head was hanging low and green discharge was coming out of her nose. Ms. Bauck stated that this puppy slipped out of her employee's arms while being dipped in the Paramite solution. Ms. Bauck said that the dog took in several mouthfuls of the dip. Consequently, they had wormed her the day prior to our inspection. Several piles of feces with the worms in it were in the Boxer's pen. Ms. Bauck stated that one of her employees had brought the Boxer to her attention that morning, but she had not contacted the vet (2.40).
The Big Condos
The Big Condos were built-up hutches made of wire with tin awning coving the entire area. The shelters were wooden boxes. The third enclosure from the end had rusted wire and needed to be replaced 3.1(c)(i)-Surfaces) (3.6(a)(2)(ix)-Primary enclosures). Bird nests were in the awning and around the primary enclosures. There were bird droppings (3.11(d)-Pest control). The dogs in this area appeared to be in fair condition. The breeds included Pugs, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Shar Pei, and Ori Pei (combinations of Pugs, Boston Terriers or Bulldogs always crossed with Shar Peis, according to Ms. Bauck).
The dogs' watering system was a community system constructed of white PVC pipe (4" to 6"diameter) with oval holes cut in each individual enclosure. The system ran the entire length of the enclosures along the bottom front and was capped off at the end. This watering system did not reduce disease risk because it could not be sanitized and was a community watering system (3.10 watering) (3.11(b)(2)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). The self-feeder boxers in most of primary enclosures had sharp rusted edges (3.9(b)-Feeding (3.11(ii)-Surfaces). There was than four weeks worth of fecal accumulation under these enclosures (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). Ms. Bauck told us that her staff cleans underneath the enclosures on the first Monday and Tuesday of every month but that they were off-schedule due to the dipping of the dogs.
The Small Condos
This area was identical to the Big Condos only it held small dogs. The breeds included Pugs, Pomeranians, Poodles (shaved) and Shiba Inus. The dogs were in fair condition but had extremely long toe nails (2.40). This area had the same watering system as the Large Condo's.
There were bird nests and droppings and a large accumulation of food, hair and feces. Most of the entrances to the dog's wooden shelter were scratched, chewed and not impervious to moisture (3.3(e)(1)-Surfaces). A female adult Husky was tethered to the side of this building with no visible shelter. Ms. Keepings had employees move the dog from this area just after we had walked by (3.6(c)(4)-Prohibited means of primary enclosure). There was also large female Mastiff tethered to the office (3.6(c)(4)).
Bread and Butter Barn
The puppies in this barn provided most of the Bauck's income. The breeds in this building included Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, American Bulldogs, Dalmatians and Soft Coated Wheaton Terriers. The newly constructed tin building had concrete floors with chain link runs on both sides. Most of the entrances were scratched, chewed and not impervious to moisture (3.3(e)(1)-Surfaces). There was a very strong ammonia odor on the inside. Ms. Bauck told us that the ventilation system was in the attic. There was no visible ventilation system (3.3(b)- Ventilation).
Most dogs had chewed food and water bowls (3.11(b)-Sanitization of food and water receptacles). The concrete was damp as were the dogs (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). A female yellow Labrador (KB#50) was lame (2.40); she was slipping and sliding on the wet concrete of the enclosure (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). At this point in the tour Allan Bauck joined us. We pointed out the Lab's lameness to Mr. Bauck. He stated that this was the first time he had seen this dog lame. He would need to call the vet. The inside concrete walkway had a pool of liquid in the center (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). The lighting was dim (3.3(c)-Lighting). A large heating unit was suspended above the entrance. Around the outside portions of the outdoor enclosures was the same kind of moat that we encountered at Allan's barn (3.1(f)-Drainage & waste disposal). Some of the dogs had extremely long toenails (2.40).
The Dollar Barn
These dogs always brought a dollar. There were built-up wood and wire enclosures. The entrances were scratched, chewed and not impervious to moisture (3.3(1)-Surfaces). The breeds included Pekingese, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Maltese, Dachshunds, Italian Greyhounds, and Papillon. The inside portion walkway had cracks in the concrete and standing liquid (3.1(e)(2)-Surfaces) (3.1(f)- Drainage and waste disposal). The Dollar Barn had the same watering system as the Large Condos.
The Holding Area
This area held the replacement puppies for Ms. Bauck's breeding stock. Their enclosure was made of wire hutches with wooden support (3.4(c)-Construction). The only shelter was a blue tarp hanging over part of their enclosure (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements). The breeds included American Eskimo, Shih Tzus and Boston Terriers. The water had algae (3.10 watering).
The Big Dog Puppy Building
This was the whelping area for the large breed dogs. The temperature in this building ranged from 80 to 85 degrees. There was a very strong ammonia and Paramite dip odor in the air (3.2(b)-Ventilation). Employees placed mother dogs who had just been dipped in the Paramite and were dripping with the solution with their puppies (2.40). The mothers and puppies were on coated wire. Plastic wading pools were the resting surfaces. Ms. Bauck and Ms. Keeping said that when the puppies reach three weeks of age, they remove the plastic swimming pools to allow the puppies to get used to walking on the wire. Several puppies had their feet passing through, and in some cases, their legs (3.6(a)(2)(x)- Primary enclosures. A female Weimaraner had extremely long toenails (2.40). There were no tops on the primary enclosures to contain the animal securely (3.6(a)(2)(iii)-Primary enclosures), and a German Shepherd mother was sticking her head and shoulders out of the top of her enclosure.
The Hay Shed
This building was called the Hay Shed because there were bails of hay stored above the dog enclosures. The enclosures were wire and wood built-up hutches with indoor dens. The breeds included Cairn Terriers, Bichon Frises, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Rat Terriers, American Eskimos, Pugs, Poodles Miniature Pinschers, Poodle mixes and Bichon mixes. Most of the dogs had long toenails (2.40). The dogs appeared in fair condition. Ms. Bauck tried to show us how well she and her dogs relate, but none of the dogs came to her.
The inside portion had no top (3.6(a)(2)(iii)-Primary enclosures). Sharp metal from the dog door had come loose in one of the enclosures, and the Rat Terrier in this enclosure had a severely scratched neck (3.6(a)(2)(i)-Primary enclosures). We pointed this out to Ms. Bauck. She immediately pulled this piece off and stated that she would have one of her employee fix it later. The front portions of the indoor primary enclosures had loose doors that allowed the dogs' heads and feet to pass through the cages (3.6(a)(2)(iii-Primary enclosures). Many of the enclosures had rusted wire panels (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). There was also a serious hair build-up (3.11(a) Cleaning of primary enclosures). Ms. Bauck told us that she would speak to a new employee who had not secured the fronts of the enclosures properly. Many of the self-feeders had rusty sharp areas (3.9(b)-Feeding).
The Small Dog and Puppy Area
This building was similar to the Hay Shed . There was an ammonia odor (3.3(b)-Ventilation), standing liquid on the concrete walkway (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal), and the wooden surfaces were not impervious to moisture (3.3(e)(1)-Surfaces).
Holding Area for Other Breeders
Ms. Bauck had several German Shepherds that belonged to someone else. These dogs were in an outdoor housing facility constructed of hog panels, dirt floors and wooden dog houses. The entire area for the German Shepherds lacked shelter from sun, wind, rain and snow (3.4(b)(2)-Shelter from the elements). One German Shepherd had a bent ear. She had an accumulation of food and feces in her primary enclosure that was attracting flies (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures). The flies had bitten large bloody areas on her ears (3.11(d)-Pest control). We brought this to Ms. Bauck's attention. An employee told us that he had applied fly ointment to the ears the week before (2.40). They assured us that they would put fly ointment on the dog's ears later.
The Cocker Spaniel Building
This tin building had concrete floors and chain link runs. The building smelled of ammonia and Paramite dip (3.3(b)-Ventilation). There was standing water on the walkway inside of the building (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). Employees were just outside the building dipping the dogs in the Paramite solution. The employees were not wearing protective eyewear and some were not wearing plastic gloves (2.40(b)(4)-Veterinary care). This area had Quick Bait fly traps that seem to effectively deal with pest control, and we wondered why they weren't in every area of her facility.
The Call Barn
This area housed the dogs that were no longer producing to Ms. Bauck's expectations. She stated again that she doesn't keep dogs past the age of six or seven years old. Ms. Bauck sells or contracts out these dogs to other people trying to get into the dog breeding business. What makes Ms. Bauck think these dogs will produce better for someone else? The waste removal system in this barn was an old-fashioned chain auger built into the walkway. Employees pushed in waste and wood shavings. The open auger system posed a danger to the employees and the animals. It was also extremely loud.
At the end of our tour Ms. Bauck and Ms. Keepings said that "Humaniacs" had set fire to one of the whelping buildings in April 1998. Ms. Bauck told us that no one had been caught or prosecuted. According to an April 30, 1998 article in The Perham Enterprise Bulletin, the fire was ignited by an ember from a wood stove. Ms. Bauck had decided to burn some empty dog food bags in the stove to warm the air in the barn. She hadn't realized that her husband had done the same thing five minutes earlier. When Ms. Bauck opened the stove's door, a couple of embers blew out of the opening into some sawdust bedding. A few minutes after she thought she had put out the embers, the barn caught on fire. The Baucks and their workers managed to remove all 200 dogs from the building; four puppies died. Two fire departments battled the blaze for more than eight hours. The article stated "The steel roof trapped the flames and kept water from cooling things down. Several times, just when it looked like the fire was under control, the flames raged back to life."
Ms. Bauck's mood during our tour was unstable. She went from smiling to crying very quickly. She seemed to have an excuse for every situation on her property. Ms. Bauck told us that she knew every dog's name even though she didn't know the names of a Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier with a comical Mohawk and several small toy breeds. She was extremely inquisitive about where our reports would be going. She asked to have a copy of the notes we had taken. She told Mr. Hanson to come back any time for a spot inspection. She did not seem shocked that there had been a complaint about a sick puppy. Ms. Bauck walked us to the vehicle and blessed each one of us.
Catherine Hovancsak, VMO, found just three violations during the 1/8/03 inspection of the Bauck facility. The inventory at that time was 830 dogs and 321 puppies. Dr. Hovancsak found a number of expired drugs, unopened bags of food on the floor and two tethered dogs next to the office building. The correct-by date for the tethering was 1/13/03. Ms. Bauck had not complied as of the date of our investigation. The most serious problems at the Bauck facility are drainage and waste disposal, ventilation and veterinary care, in particular the inadequate training of employees in the care and treatment of dogs. Ms. Bauck had the same violations when CAPS investigated her facility in 1997. It would appear that these are ongoing violations. Yet, Dr. Hovancsak failed to find any of these violations during the 2003 inspection.
During the 1/16/02 inspection, Dr. Hovanscak found four non-compliances. Dr. Hovancsak cited Ms. Bauck for three record keeping violations and for failing to provide wind or rain breaks at the entrances to four houses. Dr. Hovancak found no non-compliances on 2/7/00. Apparently, she skipped the 2001 inspection. The 2/23/99 inspection report had only two violations and the 2/25/98 inspection had four. Ms. Bauck failed to renew her license in a timely manner in 1997 and required another pre-license inspection on 4/24/97. Dr. Hovanscak found no violations during this inspection even though there were five non-compliances on 2/18/97. She failed to mention if Ms. Bauck had corrected these problems.
On 10/2/96, Dr. Hovancsak found 16 violations, including two Category IVs for repeat non compliant items. This inspection report seemed more consistent with the number and nature of non compliances that CAPS investigators found during their investigation on 8/26/03. Subsequent inspections seem to indicate that Dr. Hovancsak is failing to note violations and/or she is doing just a cursory inspection of the Bauck facility.
Jan Baltrush, ACI, conducted a transportation inspection at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT on 3/7/01. She cited Ms. Bauck for failing to provide transport crates large enough to comfortably accommodate two eight-week-old mixed breed puppies and two eight-week-old Poodle puppies (3.14(e)(1)-Space and placement). She also stated that Ms. Bauck had failed to comply with 3.17(c)-Care in transit. One of the puppies had an ocular green discharge in the left eye. The eye was closed and the animal was lethargic. Any animal that is obviously sick must not be shipped. Even though this dog was sick, it had a health certificate dated 3/6/01 stating that the dog was free of any infectious diseases. Ms. Baltrush cited Ms. Bauck under 2.78-Health certification and identification. It appears that Ms. Bauck's veterinarian is routinely signing health certificates without examining each and every dog that is to be shipped. We would like to see transportation inspections conducted on a routine basis at airports, brokerage facilities and outside of pet shops (the latter two inspections would be conducted inside transportation vehicles).
Kathy Bauck - Pick of the LitterInventory: The 1/8/03 USDA inspection report lists 830 adult dogs and 321 puppies.
Breeds included Boxers, Huskies, Mastiffs, Weimeraners, Pointers, Brittany Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, Maltese, Poodles, Cocker Spaniels, Shelties, Golden Retrievers, Bichons, Rottweilers, Schipperkes, Schnauzers, Labrador Retrievers, Chows, Norwich Terriers and Pekingese.
While driving down the lane to Ms. Bauck's facility, we saw several dog enclosures to my left. One Mastiff enclosure had an unsealed particle board shelter that was severely water damaged with rotted holes near the ground (3.4(c)). The shelter lacked wind/rain break at the entrances (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). These entrances were severely chewed by the dogs (3.1(c)(2-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces). These dogs had no shade (3.4(b)(2)-Shelter from the elements). We also saw large holes that the dogs had dug into the earth (3.6(a)(1)(ii)-Primary enclosures).
Beyond the Mastiff's enclosure, there were several wire enclosures with dirt floors that contained Brittany Spaniels and Pointers. The shelters had pieces of tin or metal bent into a U shape in front of the openings. It appeared that these bent pieces of metal were supposed to serve as a wind break because the direct openings to the shelter were missing wind or rain breaks (3.4(b)(2)(3)-Shelter from the elements). The bent metal had very sharp jagged edges that posed a danger to the dogs (3.1(c)(1)(ii)-Surfaces) (3.6 (a)(2)(1)(ii)-Primary enclosures).
There were 10 chain link and concrete kennels with Huskies. The dogs had shelter access to a main kennel building. A few of the entrances needed the dog doors repaired. Some were chewed and partially missing and a few others just needed put back in the hinges (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). Other than the inside of their dens, these dogs lacked protection from the direct wind, sun or rain (3.4)(b)(2)-Shelter from the elements). There was more than 48 hours worth of fecal accumulation on the concrete floors, and the Huskies were unable to avoid contact with feces as they walked through it or sat in it (3.1(c)(3)-Cleaning) (3.11(a)-Cleaning of primary enclosures).
There was a large accumulation of feces, urine and hair deposited in the concrete run off trough directly in front of the enclosures. The run off trough had deposited feces and debris about two feet from the enclosures (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). Tall weeds, grass and debris were in and around the dog enclosures and surrounding areas (3.11(c)-Housekeeping for premises).
Ms. Bauck was in the process of dipping dogs. She had hired teenage children and a few adults from her church to assist. They were wearing orange plastic jumpsuits to prevent the pyrethine dip from getting on their clothes but were not wearing safety goggles or gloves to protect their eyes and skin. Ms. Bauck was supervising. (3.12-Employees).
Pick of the Litter had an unusual process for dipping the larger breed dogs. Ms. Bauck and her employees caught a dog, put a harness on it, hook the harness to a wench and then completely submerge the dog in a metal vat, which was similar to a watering trough only larger. They then completely submerged the dog in Pyrethine dip that was held in place by a tractor. No one seemed concerned that this dip was going into the eyes, ears and mouths of the dogs (2.40-Veterinary care) The dogs appeared scared and apprehensive about the dipping process and were certainly distressed hanging from the wench and dripping with dip (2.40)
The dogs were tossed, sopping wet, back into their enclosures. I managed to get a sample of the dip, which I took to Dr. Wiliiam Rose, a veterinarian in Perham, MN. He didn't think that the dip was diluted enough. He was very concerned about the dip getting into the dog's eyes, ears and mouths (2.40). Dr. Rose also said that the dip should have been rinsed off after five minutes. According to Kathy, it should stay on the dogs for at least five days. She said that the Pyrethine dip cures everything from mange to butt fungus and also kills fleas, ticks, and lice - and even skin allergies.
The wet dogs had to contend with the harsh smell and burning skin as well as the weather. It was around 50 degrees and overcast with fairly steady winds.
There were several Boxers, one predominantly white, who not moving. They were very lethargic and laid curled up in a ball even though all the other dogs jumped and barked at me (2.40)
Ms. Bauck seemed wary of us and kept demanding that we say that we were not animal rights people. She acted paranoid. She finally set an appointment for us and said that she only shows puppies by appointment. Our appointment was for Wednesday 9/18/02.
We arrived that afternoon to see that everything looked as it did on our first visit except for the dip procedure. It was cold and raining. As I quickly looked around, I noticed a tethered Husky with no shelter (3.6(c)(4)-Prohibited means of primary enclosure) and a tethered Rottweiler with an unsealed wooden dog house (3.4(c)-Construction) that was missing a wind/rain break at the entrance (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements).
Beyond the tethered Husky I could see chain link kennels with concrete floors that contained Cocker Spaniels and Shelties. There was quite a bit of hair and fecal accumulation on the concrete floor and in the grass and run-off trough (3.1(f)-Drainage and waste disposal). The dogs were damp (3.6(a)(2)(v)-Primary enclosures) and I noticed a male dog urinate through the fencing onto another dog. Directly in back of the parking area, I saw Schipperkes, Poodles and Bichons living in rusty metal hutch enclosures (3.1(c)(1)(i)-Surfaces). The Poodles and Bichons were dirty and shaggy (2.40-Veterinary care).
Ms. Bauck finally approached us. She stated that she had decided not to do business with us.
CAPS Helps Prevent Return of Seized Dogs to Pick of the Litter
Inhumane Manitoba Puppy Mill had Contract with the Notorious Minnesota BrokerAuthorities seized 90 dogs and 10 puppies on July 24, 2001 from an unlicensed puppy mill in Steinbach, Manitoba, 50 miles from Winnipeg. Employees from the Winnipeg Humane Society found dogs with skin lesions, open sores on their paws, parasites, ulcerated eyes, and hernias. A number of the dogs were elderly, and many of them had uterine and mammary infections. Three of the seized dogs - a poodle with a massive inguinel hernia, a Dachshund with a uterine infection and a Great Dane with complications arising from spay surgery (suspected heart condition) - subsequently died. Seven Poodle mix puppies were born about three weeks after the raid. Criminal cruelty charges have been brought against the Hieberts.
Walter and Marlene Hiebert obtained their dogs under a contractual arrangement with Kathy Bauck, a breeder/broker who owns Pick of the Litter in New York Mills, Minnesota. For each adult dog she conveyed to them, they were to give her a certain number of puppies. Once the initial dogs were "paid" off, Ms. Bauck was going to pay the Hieberts cash for the puppies. Ms. Bauck sold these puppies to pet shops in the U.S. Ms. Bauck went to court in Manitoba in an attempt to recover the dogs she claimed belonged to her. Manitoba Agriculture Minister Rosann Wowchuck ruled against returning the seized dogs to Ms. Bauck. According to Vicki Burns, the executive director of the Winnipeg Humane Society, CAPS' documentation on Pick of the Litter was the primary reason Ms. Wowchuck decided that the dogs would be better off in adopted homes. The Winnipeg Humane Society found homes for all of the dogs.
Ms. Bauck told a Winnipeg Free Press reporter who visited her facility that she met the Hieberts six years ago when they pulled into her yard. She and Ms. Hiebert eventually became friends. "I could just tell this woman loved animals,'" Bauck stated. "I could tell she was a naturalist, animals just cling to her." Ms. Bauck said she knew of Mr. Hiebert's prior convictions, but believed he had changed. She visited the Hiebert's farm in Steinbach but didn't see a finished facility for dogs. Ms. Bauck claimed that "she has rescued dogs from actual puppy mills where they were being raised in tiny mink cages." She insisted that she does not operate a puppy mill, "no matter what the 'animal assholes' and humane societies say." Ms. Bauck, a born-again Christian, said, "I supply love. I raise love. I raise companions. Yes, I do it for a profit. I have 12 people working for me. We love what we do."
Pick of the Litter's February 2000 USDA inspection reports listed an inventory of 673 adult dogs and 409 puppies. The USDA inspector, Dr. Catherine Hovancsack, whom CAPS is investigating for fraud, found no non-compliances. CAPS has received a number complaints from pet shop customers whose sick puppies were bred and/or brokered by Ms. Bauck. Several Pick of the Litter employees complained to the local humane society about cruel, inhumane conditions and improper recording keeping, such as bogus AKC paperwork.
This was not the first time the Hieberts have run into problems with the law concerning their treatment of animals. In 1997, a judge convicted Mr. Heibert of cruelty and gave him a sentence of four months. He was prohibited from owning and breeding dogs for two years. Mr. Heibert was fined $500 in 1995 for causing unnecessary suffering to animals.
Ms. Burns accompanied provincial government veterinarians to the Heibert facility shortly before the raid. She saw dogs living in wire-floored cages or mud pens filled with feces. A crate of Chihuahuas was in an unused outhouse. She observed a number of malnourished animals. During this visit, the humane society seized a pregnant St. Bernard because she was too emaciated to walk.
Dr. William Rose, a veterinarian in Perham, Minnesota who has worked closely with CAPS, told the Winnipeg Free Press, "She [Kathy Bauck] pulls this sort of thing all the time, Rose said. "But if those are her dogs, then she's responsible for them and is liable for the mistreatment of them." Rose cited a similar case in 1992 that went to court in Minnesota. The Baucks had a contractual arrangement with Patricia and Lori Nelms of Wadena, Minnesota. The Baucks loaned 22 adult dogs to the Nelms with the understanding that the Baucks would receive two puppies from each female dog and one puppy from each male dog. The court initially awarded the dogs to the Baucks but reversed its decision after Dr. Rose appealed directly to the judge.
After the raid, CAPS provided extensive documentation and the names of interview sources to the Winnipeg Sun, the Winnipeg Free Press, CBC Radio and CBC-TV. The Winnipeg media initially found information on Kathy Bauck and Pick of the Litter on the CAPS website. The Winnipeg Free Press quoted CAPS president Deborah Howard on Bauck's facility: "Those dogs are being raised like livestock." said Howard. "They're breeding machines. What she's doing isn't right." In September, Ms. Burns conducted a one-hour interview with Ms. Howard and Liz White, director of Animal Alliance of Canada on "All About Animals, a program Ms. Burns hosts on CJOB-AM. For the second half of the show, Ms. Howard and Ms. White took on Robert Church, the public relations coordinator for Petland Canada. They urged listeners to stay away from pet shops and to adopt unwanted animals from shelters and rescue organizations.
Kathy Bauck's Internet Puppy Businesses
Pick of the Litter, aka Puppys on Wheels and POTL PuppysIn 2007 and 2008, Kathy Bauck sold 180 puppies in a 10 month period to individuals all over the country. Between November, 2007 and November, 2008 Kathy Bauck sold 262dogs online.
Bauck had two online websites: www.puppysonwheels.com and www.potlpuppys.info (POTL stands for Pick of the Litter)
She also promoted her online businesses through these websites:
Ads may be listed under Corinne, who is Kathy's daughter.
Her USDA license is now listed under Puppys on Wheels.
Minnesota 2804 41-B-0159 Bauck, Kathy Puppys On Wheels 51402 410th St New York Mills 56567
Kathy Bauck Criminal Investigation and Case Documents
- Available for Interviews
- Video Footage Available
- Reports Available
Media Contact: Anny Deirmenjian
Image Unlimited Communications
P. 617.851.9315 C. 617.851.9315
USDA Licensed National Dog Broker Found Guilty
Companion Animal Protection Society’s Undercover Investigation Convicts
National Dog Breeder & Broker Kathy Bauck in Minnesota(Boston, MA) – An undercover investigation by the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companion animals from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in pet shops and puppy mills, is pleased to announce that Kathy Bauck, the owner and operator of Pick of the Litter (aka Puppies on Wheels) in New York Mills, Minnesota, has been found guilty of four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and torture.
Ms. Bauck was one of the largest national USDA licensed dog brokers, distributing thousands of dogs to pet shops across the country and via the internet. Based on evidence compiled by CAPS, Ms. Bauck was found guilty by a jury for four misdemeanor counts of cruelty and torture at a trial that began on March 18th and ended on March 24th 2009.
While under a cease and desist order from the State Veterinary Board for the practice of veterinary medicine, including doing C-sections on her dogs, Ms. Bauck continued to practice vet medicine, which was documented by her employees. However, the state allowed her to plea bargain for just one charge for the practice of veterinary medicine and dropped the cruelty charge for killing a puppy by bashing it against a pole. While on parole and serving work release, she continued to commit cruelty that was documented by a CAPS undercover investigator. CAPS submitted the investigator’s hidden camera footage, photographs and reports to local authorities. This documentary evidence was the basis of the criminal case against Bauck.
At the time of the investigator’s employment, Ms. Bauck’s facility held 900 adult dogs and approximately 400 puppies. The undercover video shot by the CAPS investigator shows dogs that are sick, wounded, and emaciated. Dogs at her facility commonly became wounded through fights, even some of the small breed dogs.
CAPS has an online pet shop and internet puppy complaint form and over the years has received a number of complaints from consumers who purchased sick puppies that were bred or brokered by Bauck.
Ms. Bauck has been licensed by the USDA since 1983 and despite CAPS investigations since 1997, the USDA has failed to take action. The July 2008 USDA inspection report for Bauck had no violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). CAPS has been investigating the USDA’s failure to enforce the AWA since 1995 and has been lobbying members of Congress for oversight hearings regarding USDA’s lax enforcement of the AWA. CAPS returns to the Capitol in April to meet with USDA officials and members of Congress and will use the Bauck case as evidence of the USDA’s malfeasance.
At 9:18pm on Tuesday March 24, 2009 after reviewing all of the evidence by the CAPS investigator, the jury determined that Ms. Bauck was guilty of four misdemeanor counts. The sentencing hearing will be on April 24, 2009.
Click here to view the video for the investigation report.
The trial has generated the following news coverage:
ABC Boston aired on March 25, 2009 “Conviction in Animal Cruelty Case”
ABC Boston reports sick puppies from online purchases
ABC Boston aired a two-part expose on the CAPS undercover investigation of Pick of the Litter, owned by Kathy Bauck.
CBS 2 and KCAL 9 in Los Angeles aired "Buy Internet Puppies at Your Peril"
CBS2 Chicago aired the third installment about the CAPS undercover investigation of Pick of the Litter, owned by Kathy Bauck
CBS Minneapolis aired an expose on the CAPS undercover investigation of Pick of the Litter, owned by Kathy Bauck.
USDA Considering Action against Puppy Mill Owner
CBS2 Chicago aired an exclusive expose on the CAPS undercover investigation of Pick of the Litter, owned by Kathy Bauck
For more information please visit www.caps-web.org or call the Companion Animal Protection Society at 781.210.0938.
About Companion Animal Protection Society:
Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companions from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in Pet Shops and Puppy Mills. Founded in 1992, CAPS actively addresses this issue through undercover investigations, consumer education through the media, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet shop employee relations. CAPS has gained worldwide recognition for targeting puppy mill operations and converting pet shops to humane animal adoption centers. The Companion Animal Protection Society is based in the Boston, MA area. For more information please visit www.caps-web.org.
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Notorious USDA Licensed Dog Broker Sentenced to Only 20 Days in PrisonKathy Bauck, Owner and Operator of one of the Largest Commercial Breeding Facilities in the United States is Locked Away for Only 20 Days with Work Release
(Greater Boston, MA) – Touching his face with her hands, Kathy Bauck said “Don’t be scared. The Lord let’s me see what you’re thinking… are you a CAPS investigator?”
*Available for Interviews
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Media Contact: Bob Parks
Director of Communications
Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
Notorious USDA Licensed Dog Broker Sentenced to Only 20 Days in Prison
Kathy Bauck, Owner and Operator of one of the Largest Commercial Breeding Facilities in the United States is Locked Away for Only 20 Days with Work Release
(Greater Boston, MA) – Touching his face with her hands, Kathy Bauck said “Don’t be scared. The Lord let’s me see what you’re thinking… are you a CAPS investigator?”
The undercover investigator from the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) -- the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companion animals from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in pet shops and puppy mills — replied, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” Bauck used her self-proclaimed Christianity for years to justify her unrelenting mistreatment of animals.
Kathy Bauck is the owner and operator of Pick of the Litter (aka Puppies on Wheels) in New York Mills, Minnesota. Her facility, one of the largest USDA licensed commercial dog breeding and brokering operations in the country, distributes thousands of sick and dying dogs to pet shops across the country and via the internet. Based on evidence from a six-week undercover employment investigation by the Companion Animal Protection Society, a jury in Fergus Falls (Otter Tail County), Minnesota convicted Bauck on March 24, 2009 of four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and torture.
Unfortunately, on May 1, 2009, in what CAPS and animal advocates consider a miscarriage of justice, Judge Waldemar Senyk sentenced Bauck on just one of the counts, which he believed encompassed the other charges.
Bauck received a 90-day sentence, reduced to 20 days (weekday work release at the sheriff’s discretion), a $500 fine (reduced from $1,000), 80 hours of community service and one year of probation.
Bauck’s lawyers may have manipulated the judicial system by claiming the breeding animals were livestock and not companion animals, which would have required seizure of the animals under the statute. The sentence also mandates that a state humane agent can make unannounced visits to the facility (which is now owned by Bauck’s husband and daughter) although Bauck is clearly still in charge. Being on work release means that Bauck will spend nights in jail during the 20 days of her sentence, yet be able to oversee kennel operations on weekdays, just as she did while serving an earlier sentence.
During the trial, as the CAPS investigator walked by Bauck, she said, “I forgive you.” Yet while Bauck and her attorney waited in the courtroom with the CAPS investigator and the assistant prosecutor before the jury and judge came in, Bauck cryptically said to the CAPS investigator, "It's good to see you again, Jason. I'm glad you're not dead."
At the time of the investigator’s employment, Bauck’s facility held 900 adult dogs and approximately 400 puppies. The undercover video shot by the CAPS investigator shows dogs that are sick, wounded and dying. This graphic video portrays emaciated dogs nursing their puppies, dogs immersed in caustic pesticides, bleach water used for wounds, and animals simply left to suffer and die.
While under a cease and desist order from the State Veterinary Board for the practice of veterinary medicine (including doing C-sections on her dogs), Bauck continued to practice vet medicine, which was documented by her employees. Despite her blatant disregard for the law, the state allowed Kathy Bauck to plea bargain to just one charge for the practice of veterinary medicine and dropped a cruelty charge that was brought about for the killing of a puppy by bashing it against a pole. While on parole and serving work release, she continued to commit cruelty that was documented by our undercover investigator. CAPS submitted the investigator’s hidden camera footage, photographs and reports to local authorities.
CAPS has investigated more than 1,000 puppy mills – mostly USDA licensed breeders and brokers – in the United States and handles pet shop complaints from all over the U. States and Canada. Over the years the organization has received numerous complaints from consumers who’ve purchased sick puppies that were bred or brokered by people like Bauck.
The USDA has licensed Bauck since 1983 and despite CAPS investigations since 1997, the USDA will not take action. The July 2008 USDA inspection report for Bauck had no violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). They didn’t inspect her again until March 4, 2009, just three weeks before her conviction. The inspector cited her for veterinary and cleaning violations. CAPS has been investigating the USDA’s failure to enforce the AWA since 1995 and has been lobbying members of Congress for oversight hearings regarding USDA’s lax enforcement of the AWA.
CAPS returned to Capitol Hill the week of June 7 to meet with USDA officials and congressional aides, using the Bauck case as evidence of the USDA’s dereliction of duty.
CAPS’ pro bono lobbyists are submitting a petition for rulemaking requesting that AWA regulations be amended to require the automatic revocation of a USDA license upon the conviction in a court of law of a licensee, such as Bauck, for animal cruelty.
Click here to view the video for the investigation report. WARNING: Some of the visuals are graphic.
For more information please visit http://www.caps-web.org or call the Companion Animal Protection Society at 781-210-0938.
About the Companion Animal Protection Society:
The Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting companions from cruelty and inhumane breeding practices in pet Shops and puppy Mills. Founded in 1992, CAPS actively addresses this issue through undercover investigations, education, media relations, legislative involvement, puppy mill dog rescues, consumer assistance and pet shop employee relations. CAPS has gained worldwide recognition for targeting puppy mill operations and converting pet shops to humane animal adoption centers. The Companion Animal Protection Society is based in the Boston, MA area.
No fair punishment for Kathy BauckThe former owner of Pick of the Litter (aka Dogs on Wheels), Kathy Bauck, was convicted of 4 misdemeanor charges (3 of torture and 1 of animal cruelty) in March. Those following the case were expecting the judge to be tough on the notorious puppy mill owner, especially after all the evidence and the undercover videos. However, last month Judge Waldemar Senyk handed down a sentence that seemed unfair to many.
According to court documents, Bauck will serve 20 days in jail, pay a $500 fine, contribute 80 hours of community service, and spend one year under probation. Regardless of the legal procedures, she will continue being the brains behind the Minnesota puppy mill, which is now conveniently run by her family. Because she'll be on work release, Bauck will spend nights in jail but will be able to oversee kennel operations on weekdays.
The USDA licensed dog broker (surprisingly since 1983) has eluded the full extent of the law on previous occasions. CAPS has exposed the cruelty behind her kennels multiple times, but lax laws have allowed her to continue with the unscrupulous business (for more information about CAPS investigations, click here or click the tab on your right). The latest sentence downplayed the severity of her crimes and failed to put a stop to one of the largest puppy mills in the country. With this kind of leniency, it's evident she won’t change her ways any time soon.
To contact the Honorable Judge Senyk, call or send a letter to:
Honorable Judge Waldemar Senyk
121 West Junius Avenue, Suite 310
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
Phone: (218) 998-8420
Be a voice to the countless dogs who have suffered and will continue to suffer in silence.