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Investigations

View CAPS undercover investigation reports and videos of puppy mills and pet shops.

Reports / Videos

Models & CAPS

What do you get when you combine glamorous fashion models with cute dogs rescued from un-glamorous puppy mills?

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  • Owners: Bauck, Kathy
  • Business name: Pick of the Litter Kennels
  • City, State Zip: New York Mills, MN 56567
  • Year: 2003
  • USDA License: 41-B-0159
  • USDA Inspector: Catherine Hovancsak, VMO
  • USDA Inspections: 2003-01-08 (Last USDA Inspection Prior to CAPS Investigation)
  • Date of CAPS Investigation: 2003-08-26
Breeds included: Mastiffs, Great Danes, American Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Springer Spaniels, Brittany Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Siberian Huskies, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Shar Peis, Pugs, Boston Terriers, Coon Hounds, Blood Hounds, Pekingese, Poodles, Cairn Terriers, Maltese, Bichon Frise, Miniature Pinchers, Yorkshire Terriers, Silky Terriers, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Corgis, St. Bernards, Beagles, Pomeranians, Shiba Inus, American Eskimos, Dalmatians, Soft Coated Wheaton Terriers, Italian Greyhounds, Papillons, Shih Tzus, Rat Terriers, Ori-peis (Pugs or Boston Terriers crossed with Shar Peis), Terrier Crosses and Poodle Crosses. At the time of the inspection, Kathy Bauck told us she had approximately 1000 dogs and 200 puppies.

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

Outdoor Housing Area (to the left of the driveway)

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

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

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

Sheltered Housing Facility

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

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

Allan's Barn

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

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

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

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

The Big Condos

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

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

The Small Condos

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

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

Bread and Butter Barn

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

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

The Dollar Barn

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

The Holding Area

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

The Big Dog Puppy Building

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

The Hay Shed

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

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

The Small Dog and Puppy Area

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

Holding Area for Other Breeders

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

The Cocker Spaniel Building

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

The Call Barn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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