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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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Monday, 23 November 2009 19:00

CAPS’ Oversite of USDA

Since 2002, Crowell & Moring, a large Washington, DC-based law firm, has been providing much needed pro bono lobbying services to the Companion Animal Protection Society. After the well-known “Dateline” expose, which CAPS generated, aired in the spring of 2000, we received a call from Jonathan Finn in the Boston area.  Finn, who wanted to join CAPS, mentioned that his cousin, Ed Green, Of Counsel at Washington DC-based Crowell & Moring, might be able to assist us in our ongoing efforts to bring about change by USDA with respect to the agency’s inspection of puppy mills.   Crowell & Moring accepted CAPS as a pro bono client. We feel very blessed to be working with Mr. Green, a long-time lawyer with significant lobbying experience, and a team of young lawyers.

Here are some of the important issues we will be discussing with USDA officials during meetings in Washington, DC next year:

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.

As a member of CAPS, you are well aware that the USDA has been very negligent in its enforcement of AWA regulations with respect to commercial dog breeders and brokers.  USDA APHIS/Animal Care uses inspectors, including veterinarians, to conduct "unannounced" inspections of federally licensed dog breeders and brokers who supply puppies to the pet shop industry.

CAPS has been investigating the USDA’s failure to enforce the AWA since 1995, and with the assistance of Crowell & Moring, has been lobbying members of Congress for oversight hearings regarding USDA’s lax enforcement of the AWA.

In the last 15 years, CAPS has been to approximately 1,000 puppy mills, most of them USDA licensed, often comparing our findings to those of the USDA inspectors.  You can read some of our detailed reports and view photographs and undercover footage on our website under Investigations.

For many years, CAPS has been working hard to ensure that APHIS pursue egregious and repeat violators of the AWA.  Many of the recommendations that CAPS has advocated for years are apparently being addressed in the current APHIS initiative – increased program oversight, focused enforcement of federally-licensed facilities with an emphasis on repeat violators, more inspectors and better training for inspectors, consistent and effective inspection guidance and documentation of violations, better transparency, and enhanced stakeholder involvement.

Ongoing investigations of USDA licensed puppy mills are imperative in order to provide evidence of serious violations of the AWA that aren’t being documented by Animal Care inspectors.

Kathy Bauck License Termination

We also plan to discuss the Kathy Bauck case with USDA officials.  Based on evidence from a six-week CAPS employment investigation, a jury convicted Bauck, one of the largest USDA licensed dog dealers in the country, of animal cruelty in March 2009.  As a result of this conviction, a USDA Judicial Officer denied Bauck’s appeal and terminated her license in December 2009.  Bauck appealed this decision to the Eighth District Court of Appeals. The license termination was stayed pending Bauck’s federal court appeal, which was ultimately denied.  USDA officially terminated Bauck’s license in August 2010.

It is unfortunate that Bauck was allowed to keep her license during this yearlong process. We tracked her sales during this time through interstate health certificates (most of the stores were in New York and New Jersey).  After Bauck’s criminal conviction, Crowell & Moring 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.

Although USDA claims that an automatic termination is a violation of due process, we believe that our petition put pressure on USDA to use the expedited means of a Motion for Summary Judgment to terminate Bauck’s license.

CAPS will continue to keep an eye on Kathy Bauck.  Her husband Alan applied for a USDA license using a kennel name.  The USDA denied his license, so he has appealed.  In addition, Kathy Bauck signed health certificates in May as the agent for a USDA licensed breeder in Minnesota.  This breeder was selling to most of Bauck’s pet shop accounts (odd coincidence).  CAPS wants to make sure that Bauck doesn’t use other USDA licensed breeders and brokers to sell 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.

Interstate Health Certificates

Over the years, CAPS has examined thousands of interstate health certificates, mostly to track the shipment of puppy mill dogs from brokers and breeders to pet shops.

Here are the issues and recommendations we plan to discuss with USDA regarding health certificates:

Only USDA licensees should be listed as the consignors (not their relatives, agents, employees, etc); they should be required to list their USDA number.

The USDA number for the breeder of each puppy (if exempt, then their name and address) should be listed on the certificates immediately after each puppy. Since brokers ship most puppies going to pet shops, there is no quick way to ascertain the breeders who sold the puppies listed on the health certificates.

Clarification is greatly needed for pet shops that have dealer licenses.  One USDA APHIS official said a pet shop doesn’t need a license to purchase its own dogs, yet another person at APHIS told one of our Minnesota Advisory Board members, they do.  Why then do some of these larger pet shops have B (broker) licenses? Others, such as the large Chicago area-based Happiness is Pets chain, the target of CAPS protests, don’t have a federal license, yet they can transport dogs across state lines without any inspections.  Why should they be exempt from interstate transportation requirements?

Certain pet shops in Florida aren’t using the interstate health certificates appropriately – for example, the owner of a pet shop chain in the Orlando area is listed as the consignor on interstate health certificates, yet he has the B license under his pet shop name. He never uses a street address, just a town and state (Missouri).

His half-sister, the owner of another well-known Florida pet shop lists her booking agent as the consignor and her pet shop as the consignee.   If she is brokering her own dogs, then we can’t trace the source of the puppies (this may be why she has a B license).  If someone has a Missouri kennel license and busy within the state, there is no way to track the source of these puppies.   We believe that there should be intrastate health certificates for puppies shipped within a state.  Both pet shop owners have a Missouri kennel license.

Animal Welfare Act Regulations

The definitions of revocation, termination and cancellation must be clearly defined.  We discovered after the USDA terminated Bauck’s license in December 2009, that this termination is good for only two years.  USDA informed us that termination is used for licensees who are convicted of animal cruelty, such as Kathy Bauck.  However, if USDA conducts the investigation, then they can use a revocation, which is indefinite.  When USDA subpoenaed all of the evidence from our Bauck investigation, we thought they were going to conduct their own investigation.  Sadly, they did not.

Surgical procedures and euthanasia should be clearly defined and banned under the regulations.  Merely saying that USDA follows AVMA guidelines and/or issuing a one-time policy letter isn’t sufficient.

USDA APHIS Inspection Reports

Inventory Sheets should be required for APHIS inspection reports and be published on the APHIS website.  We need to know the number of animals at every USDA-licensed facility.

License Renewal Applications

The information on USDA license renewal forms, such as number of animals purchased, number of animals sold, total gross dollars breeders and brokers derived from activities (e.g., sales, booking fees, commissions) should not be redacted from Freedom of Information Act requests
Published in CAPS News

CAPS Communication to the USDA and APHIS

To:
Dr. Chester A. Gipson
Deputy Administrator- Animal Care
United States Department of Agriculture
&
...Dr. Gerald Rushin
Veterinary Medical Officer
United States Department of Agriculture

From:
Ed Green and Dave Ross
Crowell & Moring LLP


Excerpt:
On behalf of the Companion Animal Protection Society ("CAPS") and Ms. Howard, we wanted to take a moment to congratulate USDA and APHIS for planning to provide more accessible Animal Welfare Act enforcement information to the public on a regular and systematic basis. CAPS welcomes the increased transparency and enhanced enforcement effort described during the May 20, 2010 Animal Care Stakeholder Update meeting and in Administrator Smith's April 29, 2010 press release (enclosed). Quite frankly, these developments are long overdue... 

Attachments:

Letter to APHIS (PDF)
Inspection Requirements (April 19, 2010) (PDF)
Inspection Requirments Attachments (Checklist for Animal Care Inspection Report) (PDF)
USDA - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Care Program Inspections of Problematic Dealers

Related News:

Article: USDA fails to crack down on puppy mills
By: Mary Clare Jalonick (AP)
Who: Associated Press
URL for more info: USDA fails to crack down on puppy mills

Excerpt:
WASHINGTON — An internal government report says dogs are dying and living in horrific conditions due to lax government enforcement of large kennels known as puppy mills.

Investigators say the Department of Agriculture agency in charge of enforcing the Animal Welfare Act often ignores repeat violations, waives penalties and doesn't adequately document inhumane treatment of dogs. In one case cited by the department's inspector general, 27 dogs died at an Oklahoma breeding facility after inspectors had visited the facility several times and cited it for violations...
Published in CAPS News
Get the PDF at: http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/33002-4-SF.pdf

The Office of Inspector General for USDA has released a scathing 69 page report for an audit and investigation conducted between 2006 and 2008.  This audit/investigation was prompted by a May 2006 meeting between OIG officials, CAPS and Crowell & Moring attorneys, who provide pro bono counsel and lobbying to CAPS.



In 2006, the Office of Inspector General requested a meeting with CAPS. The OIG never meets with citizens or nonprofits (they turned down our first request), so this must have been based on our in-depth investigations of hundreds of puppy mills where we document Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations and compare our findings to those of the USDA APHIS inspectors.

During a two hour meeting in May 2006, CAPS President Deborah Howard and CAPS attorneys/lobbyists Edward Green and David Ross met with two OIG officials. At this meeting, we discussed a long list of concerns and recommended necessary changes.

After that meeting, our lobbyists did not get a reply from OIG. The reason was that shortly after our meeting, the OIG commenced an investigation and audit, which ended in 2008.

All of the issues we covered in the meeting are in the report. In fact, the OIG report reads more like a CAPS investigation report (they included graphic photos, which is what we use in addition to undercover footage) than the usual dry government type OIG report. USDA officials, of course, are now saying they are going to make sweeping changes, and congressmen are calling for the same. CAPS has been meeting with congressional aides and USDA officials for more than eight years in an attempt to get oversight hearings and changes to the AWA.

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 commercial dog breeders and brokers, most of them federally licensed.

The USDA has been very negligent in its enforcement of AWA regulations with respect to commercial dog breeders and brokers.  USDA APHIS/Animal Care uses inspectors, including veterinarians, to conduct "unannounced" inspections of federally licensed dog breeders and brokers who supply puppies to the pet shop industry.

For a good summary of the OIG report, read this article on the Animal Folks (run by CAPS Advisory Board member Ann Olson) website.

http://www.animalfolksmn.org/news-recent.html
Published in CAPS News
Thursday, 23 October 2008 00:05

Dogs Rescued by CAPS from Lorton's Puppyland

Dogs Rescued by CAPS from Lorton's Puppyland - USDA Investigation

Buck

Buck: Buck is an eight to nine-year-old male Great Pyrenees. He had very matted fur, mouth ulcers and gum disease. He had many fleas and ticks even though the breeders had coated him with motor oil to control pests. Buck had a chronic infection of the testicles that caused sterility. He is afraid of men. Buck lives in a foster home.

Daisy

Daisy: Daisy is an eight to nine-year-old Great Pyrenees. She had a severe skin condition from improper nutrition and neglect, badly matted fur, mouth ulcers and gum disease. Daisy is being treated for irritable bowel syndrome caused by anxiety. She is afraid of men and watches people's hands and feet. Daisy lives in a foster home.

Willie

Willie: Willie is a seven-year-old male Dachshund. He has lived in at least two puppy mills and two homes and is very afraid of men. Improper nutrition caused him to lose hair on his ears and tail. His chest, abdomen and testicles have black, leathery sores. Willie has a permanent home with a woman and her young son.

Mollie and Lokie

Molly and Lokie: Molly is a six-year-old Chihuahua. She had a severe case of coccidia. During her spaying, our vet found afterbirth still in her uterus. She had gum disease, and the vet had to remove most of her teeth. Her two-month-old puppy, Lokie, had coccidia and kennel cough. Molly lives in a foster home, and Lokie just found a new family.

Boscoe

Boscoe: Boscoe is a Jack Russell Terrier. He has a new home and is a therapy dog at a school for people with special needs.

Happy

Happy: Happy is a Boxer. She was living in a rusty mink cage. After staying in a state-of-the-art rescue facility, she found a new home with another Boxer.

Published in Illinois
Thursday, 23 October 2008 00:05

USDA Investigation in Missouri

USDA Investigation in Missouri: Spring 2001

Nellie

Nellie: Nellie is a three-year-old malnourished Boxer with scarred legs. She is timid and afraid of people's hands. The breeder may have been starving her because he thought she was "ugly." Nellie has a new home with a very caring person.

Freedha

Freedha: Freedha, a three-year-old Dachshund, was left in labor for three days. After delivering three puppies, including one stillborn, the breeder finally took her for a c-section, and the vet found one more stillborn puppy. Freedha has a home.

Salsa and Gordita

Salsa and Gordita: Salsa and Gordita are ten-year-old Chihuahua sisters with luxating patellas and bad teeth. The vet removed Salsa's mammary tumors. Gordita uses special drops for eye problems. Salsa delivered a stillborn puppy in February 2001.

Sooner and Polly

Sooner and Polly: Sooner, a six-year-old Golden Retriever, is being treated for severe allergies. The breeder was about to destroy him. Polly is a seven-month-old Labrador Retriever whom the breeder didn't want because she is too small.

Tiny

Tiny: Tiny is a Great Dane puppy with healed broken ribs. A large male Great Dane had stepped on him. We found a home for him before he even left Missouri.

Dixie

Dixie: Dixie, a pug puppy with mange, was destined to become breeding stock. She has a home with four other pugs.

Published in Missouri
Thursday, 23 October 2008 00:05

USDA Investigation in Minnesota

USDA Investigation in Minnesota: Fall 2001

Chichi

Chi Chi: Chi Chi is a Chihuahua puppy. He was covered in urine and had extremely long toenails. Chi Chi is quite shy around people. Paws & Claws, a no-kill shelter in Rochester, Minnesota, placed him in a new home.

Jasper

Jasper: Jasper is a Jack Russell mix puppy. CAPS investigators came across him while trying to find a nearby puppy mill. He had been left outside so that a car would hit him. Jasper had no food or water and his collar was too tight. Thanks to Paws & Claws, he has a permanent home.

Howard

Howard: Howard is a mixed breed puppy. He had runny eyes and urinated submissively. Howard found a wonderful home with a groomer who provided care to some of our Minnesota rescue dogs.

Chichi and Jack

Chi Chi and Jack looking in the mirror at a hotel room in Minnesota.

Chi Chi and Jack playing together in a Minnesota hotel room.

Gizmo: Gizmo is a ten-year-old Maltese from one of the worst puppy mills CAPS has investigated. We found him, covered with feces, living in filth and darkness. He had severe gum disease and needed two dental surgeries in which our rescue vet used tissue regeneration just to save the canine teeth. Gizmo has alopecia (hair loss) and cataracts.

Maxx

Gizmo and Maxx: Maxx, an 18-month-old Min Pin, and Gizmo were living in the same puppy mill. Maxx was also covered with feces and living in darkness. He was very overweight and extremely timid. He had terrible gum disease and was missing his front teeth. Gizmo lives with our lead investigator. Maxx is with a rescue organization.

Sasha

Sasha: Sasha is a nine-year-old Bichon. She was overweight at 17 lbs. and had granulomas on her paws. The ammonia in the breeding facility made her wheeze. She is quite hyperactive. Thanks to Paws & Claws, a no-kill shelter in Rochester, Minnesota, she now has a permanent home.

Job

Job: Job is a one-year-old Lhasa Apso. He had glaucoma in the right eye. The eye was bulging out of the socket and had to be removed. The left eye has a cataract and is too small for the socket. Both eyes were infected. He was turning repetitive circles at the puppy mill. Paws & Claws found a home for Job.

Honey

HoneyHoney is a five-year-old Chihuahua. She was overweight, suffered from impacted anal glands and had calcium crystals in her urine. She also has cataracts and missing teeth. Paws & Claws found her a home.

Jack: Jack is a two-year-old Poodle. He had a bad ear infection and was very dehydrated. He loves being with humans and suffers from separation anxiety. Paws & Claws placed Jack in a new home.

Published in Minnesota
Friday, 11 November 2011 17:21

USDA

USDA

Office of Inspector General Issues Scathing Report on USDA's Puppy Mill Inspection Program

Get the PDF at: http://www.usda.gov/oig/webdocs/33002-4-SF.pdf

The Office of Inspector General for USDA has released a scathing 69 page report for an audit and investigation conducted between 2006 and 2008.  This audit/investigation was prompted by a May 2006 meeting between OIG officials, CAPS and Crowell & Moring attorneys, who provide pro bono counsel and lobbying to CAPS.

In 2006, the Office of Inspector General requested a meeting with CAPS. The OIG never meets with citizens or nonprofits (they turned down our first request), so this must have been based on our in-depth investigations of hundreds of puppy mills where we document Animal Welfare Act (AWA) violations and compare our findings to those of the USDA APHIS inspectors.

During a two hour meeting in May 2006, CAPS President Deborah Howard and CAPS attorneys/lobbyists Edward Green and David Ross met with two OIG officials. At this meeting, we discussed a long list of concerns and recommended necessary changes.

After that meeting, our lobbyists did not get a reply from OIG. The reason was that shortly after our meeting, the OIG commenced an investigation and audit, which ended in 2008.

All of the issues we covered in the meeting are in the report. In fact, the OIG report reads more like a CAPS investigation report (they included graphic photos, which is what we use in addition to undercover footage) than the usual dry government type OIG report. USDA officials, of course, are now saying they are going to make sweeping changes, and congressmen are calling for the same. CAPS has been meeting with congressional aides and USDA officials for more than eight years in an attempt to get oversight hearings and changes to the AWA.

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 commercial dog breeders and brokers, most of them federally licensed.

The USDA has been very negligent in its enforcement of AWA regulations with respect to commercial dog breeders and brokers.  USDA APHIS/Animal Care uses inspectors, including veterinarians, to conduct "unannounced" inspections of federally licensed dog breeders and brokers who supply puppies to the pet shop industry.

For a good summary of the OIG report, read this article on the Animal Folks (run by CAPS Advisory Board member Ann Olson) website.

http://www.animalfolksmn.org/news-recent.html

USDA Inspection Photos

Click on any image.

USDA Proposes to Regulate Internet Sellers

Published in USDA

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

Published in General
Thursday, 14 June 2012 18:08

USDA Proposes AWA Update

Americans love online shopping. Websites like Amazon and Zappos now compete with big box stores like Walmart and Target, at times beating them in sales. Unfortunately, the shadiest and cruelest pet businesses also ride the lucrative wave of the Internet bubble. Like online scammers, these puppy mill owners disguise themselves as legitimate operations by posting stock photos of cute puppies and staged pictures of their so-called kennels in semi-professional websites. To the average person, these places seem as reliable and safe as eBay, but nothing could be further from the truth...
Published in CAPS News
Publication/Event date: 2012-06-13
Publication name: Examiner.com
URL for more info: http://www.examiner.com/article/usda-proposes-new-rule-to-regulate-internet-dog-dealers
Summary:
As the animal protection movement wages its battle against the maltreatment of dogs in puppy mills, it faces an increasingly powerful enemy—the Internet pet store. The Internet, as helpful as it has been for rescuing animals with sites like AdoptAPet.com, has become a stealth shield for unlicensed breeders looking to make a buck.
Continue reading...
Published in CAPS News
Page 2 of 3

Bea's Beat

Blog with CAPS Spokesmodel Beatrice, a puppy mill survivor and vegan advocate.

Blog with Beatrice!

Deborah Howard

Deborah Howard

Learn more about Deborah Howard, president and founder of Companion Animal Protection Society.

Meet Deborah

CAPS Blog

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Contact Us

Contact CAPS

Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS)
759 CJC Hwy., #332
Cohasset, MA 02025
p: 339-309-0272
501 (c)(3) Tax ID#: 58-2040413

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Class Action Lawsuits

scales of justice

If you purchased a sick or dying puppy from Barkworks or Happiness is Pets, you may be able to join consumer class action lawsuits. The first step is to fill out the CAPS complaint form.

Read more about Happiness is Pets or Barkworks.

CAPS Complaint Form