American Dog Club
1 Sunrise Mall
Massapequa, New York 11758
New York State Pet Dealer Number: 1038
Name of video file: (confirm with Aaron)
Date of CAPS investigation: 1/27/18
Animals Observed: approximately 50 puppies.
Transcript from investigation:
Investigators 1 & 2 are speaking with store employee Meryl about a puggle puppy they are interacting with:
10:35 (final time codes to be set by Aaron)
Investigator 1: [to puppy] Hi sweetie! Hi! Well what are you doing?
Investigator 2: [to store employee] Excuse me? Can you tell us about the breeders? We’re just worried about you know like, puppy mills and that sort of thing.
Investigator 1: He wants to get down [referring to puppy].
Employee: You can put him down. All the breeders, I can look up and see where he’s from, but all the breeders are USDA licensed, let me just get him inside [referring to puppy]. They’re all licensed. They’re all inspected. They’re all um… You get to see their inspection reports.
Investigator 2: So would this dog’s breeder have any violations?
Employee: According to the papers that we see, there should be no violations.
Investigator 2: No violations.
Employee: So if we were to see a violation, we would not use the breeder. Or, you know, because they have to send their inspection reports with the dogs. What’s your, you’re having just concerns in general?
Investigator 2: Well you know you hear a lot about…if I buy a dog, I want to make sure it’s from a good home, you know?
Employee: I understand.
Investigator 1: I had to talk him into this.
Employee: No, yeah, I understand. The, a lot of what’s going on is animal activists are overdoing it. So in other words, I don’t think there’s a bigger animal lover than myself. I have five dogs at home, and I’ve had dogs my entire life. Until I found our store in Albertson, which has been there for like thirty-five years, I had only bought dogs from breeders, I had never bought dogs from a pet store. And I started buying dogs from them like with my two oldest dogs were fourteen, so I guess like fourteen years ago. Now I’ve got five dogs between the age of four and fourteen from them, from the store when I worked for them, and I worked for them for eight years. But um, I, I’m very happy, my customers are happy, I’m happy. We’re inspected, our store. I know that – I can speak only for this store – but we take very good care of these dogs. We are on top of everything. We make sure they’re eating, they’re exercised, they’re happy, they’re loved, we know, you know, when they come in they’re vet checked.
Investigator 2: I just want to make sure they’re not from some place where the dog’s like in a cage somewhere popping out…
Investigator 1: We’ve always gotten our dogs from breeders and she actually passed away. She was a Long Island breeder of bulldogs, and…
Employee: I love bull dogs.
Investigator 1: Yeah. So we’ve never bought from a store.
Employee: Right, I get it. And we don’t use local breeders. We don’t use, the one thing we don’t use is, we don’t use local breeders and we don’t use breeders from New Jersey basically. Local breeders, there’s a lot of backyard breeding so the breeders don’t necessarily know what they’re doing or maybe they’re new at it or maybe they’re just breeding their dog with someone else’s dog, you know, um…
Investigator 2: So these are from like people who are specialized…
Employee: Yes. I can tell you is in general when you get a mixed breed, you do get a healthier dog, whether you get it from us or from the best breeder in the country. Because there can’t be any inbreeding or there can’t be any cross breeding, because you’re mixing two different breeds.
Investigator 1: Yeah, definitely. Unlike an English bulldog.
Employee: Right. Right.
Investigator 2: So the person who breeds this [referring to puppy], is, they specialize in this dog or they breed a bunch?
Employee: Right. No, probably, I shouldn’t say probably, I can look it up, but um on our paperwork. But what’ll happen is we have certain breeders for certain breeds and sometimes they’ll breed two different types of dogs which is, I was going to say, probably breed pugs and beagles because of the puggle, so you can probably get beagles from them, pugs from them and puggles from them.
Investigator 2: And do they, do the dogs live in their house or are they in like a facility somewhere?
Employee: You know, one of our managers went out to a bunch of our breeders out, um, last year. Uh, they went to Indiana, they went to Missouri and they went someplace else, and they brought back video tapes. And it’s amazing how, like, she was so happily, you know, not surprised but just happy to see how clean and nice. You know they have a facility for the dogs but it’s not in their home, but it’s probably more like local breeding. You know like it’s just one litter, and you know but they have, let’s say they have a beagle they’re breeding and a pug they’re breeding and a puggle they’re breeding…it’s too much for inside the house.
Investigator 2: But it’s not like, it’s not a factory?
Employee: No no no no.
Investigator 1: How many dogs do they have, do you think? Like this breeder, this puggle breeder, how many dogs does…
Employee: I couldn’t, I wouldn’t even venture to guess. I don’t, you know, I don’t want to say a number and it be wrong, you know what I’m saying? Hi honey [to puppy]. Isn’t he cute? He’s so cute.
Investigator 1: He loves you, baby. He’s so cute!
Employee: I was going to suggest because the other one is adorable but she is just all over the place. She’s a nut job. The little one.
Investigator 1: She’s not as pretty.
Employee: And he is so sweet. Yeah. He’s a sweetheart.
Investigator 1: As long he’s not going to get above thirty…
Investigator 2: It’s naptime in this place, huh?
Employee: Well, we had them all running around loose this morning, we don’t that six at a time. We do that. You see the big ones now? We had the little guys out. But you know, puppies sleep like twenty hours a day, so they’ll play for half an hour then sleep. You know, you’ve had puppies. You know, then they’ll sleep.
Investigator 1: He’s so cute. Let me ask you: we’re not here to buy today, we are here to check out different breeds for our son’s fourteenth birthday which is –
Investigator 2: And also our housekeeper is looking for a dog, too.
Employee: Oh nice.
Investigator 2: But she’s probably going to need to finance it.
Employee: Okay. Well we have finan, we have you know three different types of companies we can try depending on her credit score. You know, what, you know, one for a higher one, one for a lower one, one that’s six months interest free initially and then you can either do it in that six months or continue with them for a year without, with interest, you know?
Investigator 2: With interest.
Investigator 1: I don’t understand how any of that works, [to investigator 2] but do you get it?
Investigator 2: Well I think it’s six months free. If you pay it off, there’s no interest.
Employee: Right, in that particular one. That’s the only one that has interest free portion.
Investigator 2: She’s probably gonna want to go more than six months though.
Investigator 2: Are the rates high?
Employee: You know what, um, I basically learn by how much it’ll cost you a month which after they’ve put in um the price that they’re borrowing, and their credit score and everything when they figure it out, it tells you what they are going to be paying a month and for how long. What kind of dog is she looking for?
Investigator 1: [to investigator 2] You know, we could just finance a dog for her, frankly, and have her pay us interest.
Investigator 2: Um, a small dog. That’s why we’ve kind of gravitated to something…something not, you know, nothing too yippy.
Employee: Yeah. He’s sweet.
Investigator 1: Something that our fourteen-year-old son would you know be like –
Employee: He’s wanting a dog.
Investigator 2: There’s two…we’d like to get one for our son,
Employee: And then your housekeeper.
Investigator 2: And then our housekeeper.
Employee: And is her dog going to be living at your house?
Investigator 1: No, but she doesn’t work full time so…
Employee: Oh, okay. I mean that’s fine.
Investigator 1: He is really cute [referring to puppy]. He seems mellow.
Employee: And then playful when you put him down. Which is what you want. You want a dog to be mushy when you hold them, sweet, not crazy, then you want them to be playful when you put them down. So you know that he has the ability to be calm and you hold him and he’s not going to be all over trying to get out of your arms but then when he’s down he can play with your son or you know, right? Look at his little face! He has a cute little face!
Investigator 1: And so, again, full disclosure, we’re not buying a dog today, this is our second pet shop that we’ve been to today…
Employee: Oh which one did you go to?
Investigator 1: Your other one.
Employee: Oh which one? In Bay Shore? Or Smith Haven?
Investigator 1: Smith Haven. Yeah. Is there one in Bay Shore, too?
Employee: Yeah, don’t go to there.
Investigator 2: I thought that was, that’s related to this place?
Investigator 1: Yeah.
Investigator 2: At Smith Haven Mall?
Investigator 1: Yeah, that’s why I wanted to come here, because I –
Employee: How was it over there?
Investigator 1: Fine. Well, a lot busier.
Investigator 2: I didn’t think it was as nice, it’s not as nice as here.
Employee: I used to work there. I worked there for four years.
Investigator 2: There’s like a million people in there.
Employee: I couldn’t take it on a Saturday? As soon as this store opened, I came over here. I couldn’t take it in that store. Because it doesn’t even matter how many people are buying or not buying, it was always full of people.
Investigator 2: I’m interested though because in there they had all the cage tags. [referring to cage cards with names of breeders and their USDA numbers on them that investigators had seen at ADC store in Smith Haven Mall, Lake Shore, Suffolk County earlier the same day] Here, I don’t see any cage tags. Like I was able –
Employee: So was that the breeder name –
Investigator 1: Yeah, like he [referring to store employee named Kenny in other store] was telling us a little about what a US…
Investigator 1: …DA number is? That’s the number on the cage.
Employee: Right, so that’s basically, right, basically, it’s just the difference between Nassau County and Suffolk County. So in Suffolk County you have to have that posted but in Nassau County you don’t. But we have the exact same USDA numbers they do. And basically –
Investigator 1: Where are we right now? We’re in Nassau?
Investigator 2: Nassau.
Employee: We’re in Nassau, yeah.
Investigator 1: Oh.
Employee: What town do you guys live in?
Employee: Um, you asked me, I’m sorry, [inaudible]
Investigator 1: Well yeah, I was curious why they don’t have the tags in this store?
Employee: USDA, right, so basically what that means is the USDA breed, they have to be licensed USDA breeders and what they’re putting up there is the USDA number of the breeder and they’re showing that they’re licensed.
Investigator 1: Right. Got it. And the USDA, he was saying, watches them.
Employee: Right. The United States Department of Agriculture and Animal Industry.
Investigator 1: Okay. That’s nice, you know?
Employee: Yeah yeah yeah. Well they inspect us too, and why not? You know, they surprise inspect us.
Investigator 1: The USDA?
Employee: Yeah, they come in, they check, they check the back, they make sure everything looks fine. I prefer them to do it. They inspect the trucks.
Investigator 1: So are you not allowed to buy a dog that the USDA says comes from a bad breeder?
Employee: Yes, we’re not. We are not. You are correct. We are not, yes.
Investigator 1: So this dog comes from a breeder –
Employee: A licensed USDA breeder.
Investigator 1: – that does not have violations?
Investigator 1: No violations.
Employee: Because then um we would be, you know, that would not be a good thing for anybody. And then um if we happen to see that it slips through and there’s a, we can see on the inspection when the dog is delivered, we have to send the dog back, which I don’t like to do. But you know, they’ll just sell them to somebody else [inaudible] you know.
Investigator 1: So who is this breeder? What can you tell us about where it comes from?
Employee: Let me see. [employee walks off]
[another couple approaches and talks about shutting puppy mills down]
Employee: His paperwork is telling me that he’s from Indiana Wagler, Jason. I think Jason Wagler it said was the breeder.
Investigator 1: And that’s someone you know and like?
Employee: It’s, yeah we use the same breeder –
Investigator 2: You’ve used them before?
Employee: Yes, yes, yes. You know, we don’t, I don’t think we’ve used new breeders in a very long time because we’re you know, and the same, we also use the same uh truck. They’re always driven in; they’re never flown in. It’s just much less traumatic. And we have the same three trucking companies that we use all the time, yes.
Investigator 2: So the mother of this dog would have a litter and then rest a cycle and have another? Or do they just kind of breed and breed and breed them?
Employee: No. No no no. They don’t breed and breed and breed. Yeah, that’s why I say to people like if we have, you know, we may have, let’s say, I’m just going to use an example as a puggle, sometimes we may, like for goldendoodles we pretty much use only the same breeder, so we can go for like three or four months without having a goldendoodle, you know. People say ‘well, are you going to get one next week?’ and we say ‘no, we’re not necessarily going to get one next week’ you know? Um, unless we have two different, say, two different puggle breeders and we can get one from one. No we’re trying, we don’t want to…
Investigator 2: Do you try, like the health of the dogs, I mean, do you know that they’re genetically –
Employee: As much as possible, yeah. You know, they can check the parents. Like if it’s a big dog, like a shepherd or a husky, they can check them for hip dysplasia and make sure that the parents have no sign of hip dysplasia, eye atropia, heart, but um, again with a mixed breed you’re going to have a much healthier dog.
Investigator 2: Yeah, alright.
Employee: You know. How do you like him?
Investigator 1: Adorable. Oh my God. My, our son –
Employee: Have you had dogs before?
Investigator 1: Oh yeah. We have two right now.
Investigator 2: The bulldog.
Employee: Oh, you have the bulldog.
Investigator 1: We have a bulldog and –
Investigator 2: A Puerto Rican mutt.
Investigator 1: – that belongs to our older son.
Employee: A Puerto Rican mutt.
Investigator 1: And now the younger son has wanted a puppy for a while. And believe it or not [to investigator 2] you know the neighbor’s dog across the street is a puggle, and [name omitted] loves that dog.
Investigator 2: Well we call our Puerto Rican dog, it’s a ‘designer breed’.
Employee: A Puerto Rican mutt?
Investigator 2: It’s a ‘chia pit’.
Investigator 1: It’s a ‘teacup pit bull’.
Investigator 2: It’s a half Chihuahua, half pit bull, if you can imagine that combination.
Employee: I never heard of that before.
Investigator 2: Well, it’s a mutt.
Investigator 2: Um, the financing for our housekeeper, do you know what, do you know what banks you use?
Employee: They’re not so much, uh, one of them is, they’re companies that do dog financing. So one of them is, one of them is Community.
Invesgtigator 2: Community?
Employee: It’s called Community. One of them um is UFSC. I don’t think they’re necessarily bank related. And one of them is um, W, uh, [walking away to get name of third lending company]
Investigator 2: Do you have some paperwork I could take with her, to her?
[irrelevant conversation amongst investigators]
Employee: One of them’s called Monterrey. Monterrey’s the one that gives you um, that one is first six months is interest free.
Investigator 2: Monterrey?
Employee: Monterrey. And then you can choose to continue for a year or two years if you don’t want to pay within six months. One of them is Community, and that’s 36 months, twice-monthly payments. And UFSC, I have to find out what their terms are. I don’t have any actual information. What happens is you, she would fill out the information here on the computer, then they would approve her or not. If they approve her, they would say to her ‘okay, yes’ and uh, ‘this if for how long and this is how much it will cost you’.
Investigator 2: Based on her credit.
Employee: Right. And then and then it would all be done on her phone, e-signing and stuff with them and she pays them directly.
Investigator 2: Got it.
Investigator 1: Oh, so she has to apply in the store.
Employee: Right, right.
Investigator 2: So I guess the bi –
Employee: And she would need, you know, like, her license, her bank information –
Investigator 1: Yeah, she’s like legit. She’s totally legal and everything.
Employee: Yeah yeah yeah. I’m sure.
Investigator 2: So how much are these dogs?
Employee: The puggle? I should have found that out. Let me go see.
[employee walks off to get price]
[irrelevant conversation between investigators]
Employee: $1,495 including the vet package. So, for you guys that package out by you would be Westhampton or Riverhead. And that just gives you um, it’s a month of free visits, one or two free vaccinations, and free medication if needed in that first month. So if the dog…right, like a lot of times, what people call kennel cough is not, like the dog is fine when it leaves here and if it comes down with a cough usually it’s because of stress from changing their environment, their immune system dropping. Because they can’t leave there if they’re coughing or have a cold. They can’t, you know, leave.
Investigator 2: This dog doesn’t seem like he’s sick at all.
Employee: Yeah, so he’s like fine. Right. So if that were to happen. But then you would get free medication for like a month or an antibiotic or something if that were to happen.
Investigator 2: Okay.
Employee: So that’s included in the price. And then every dog has an additional fee of $100 and that covers the fact that they have been microchipped already. Um, we register the microchip for life so you never have to reactivate it. Usually there’s a $20 a year reactivation fee. That’s a one time thing. And they’re up to date on whatever shots and medication they should have at this age.
Investigator 2: And this dog is what about ten weeks?
Employee: I think about ten weeks, yeah. He’s adorable.
Investigator 1: So what do you recommend we do to you know – if we were to buy, let’s say, this dog, um, what should we do homework wise?
Employee: Um, basically, I would say that you could look up the breed and see what you think of the you know what the characteristics they tell you which are going to be similar to what I’m telling you. It’s going to be a similar size, it’s going to be a temperament that I’m telling you, it’s going to be all the same. Um, I think reading any review, I haven’t, I don’t read reviews, kind of like an actress on her opening night, any reviews of any store you can’t go by. You have to go by your own instinct or feeling about either the store or the breeder that you’re at because I think that –
Investigator 1: I’m not concerned about the store. I’m just frankly more concerned about just being ethical and never having bought from anything but a breeder and our one rescue dog which was a fluke, just I you know I’m more concerned that we’re doing an ethical thing, that we’re not getting from some bad, irresponsible person. You know?
Employee: Right. I understand. You’re doing, I mean you’re taking a really nice dog and giving him a really nice home. And that’s, you know, my concern for every dog in here, and they all – I mean, you know, we don’t do what shelters do where we qualify a person, but we do use our judgement also as well as not selling dogs to somebody you know without being obvious in saying ‘we’re not selling a dog to you.’ You know?
Investigator 1: And what about his parents? Like, you know, do you think they have good lives? Like, are they well taken care of?
Employee: Yeah. Yeah yeah yeah. Yeah, because you know I don’t know which of the pug or the beagle I’m not sure which one was the mother and which one was the father, the pug or the beagle, but um, yeah. Because the um usually it’s the dogs they hold onto that they love that they use for breeding, because they’re not show dogs you know so they’re not going to hold onto you know, the most beautiful dog or the most perfect dog. They’re going to hold onto the dog they really like and they think has you know really good color and personality, because that’s what we’re selling. We’re selling personality and we’re selling the way the dog looks. We’re not selling a show dog. You know?
Investigator 1: Yeah, no I do love the color. Oh my God.
Employee: Right. Right.
Investigator 1: [to puppy] And you’ve got a little personality.
Employee: He does, doesn’t he? That’s a nice personality for a little, for a young boy, I think. For a growing young boy.
Investigator 1: And, um, in terms of research we should probably go look up, you know – do you have photos of the parents? I think Kenny [employee at ADC Lake Grove] said you don’t.
Employee: I could find out from the person that orders them if she has them. Probably, usually what she does is she goes online, and she can see the litter and anytime she can see the parents, and we can choose from the litter you know, what we want, if we want more than one, if we want two, if we want a boy or a girl or it doesn’t matter.
Investigator 1: I see. So you wouldn’t –
Employee: You know. And so she can, you know, and then we we can pick them and they send them and then we make sure when they get here they’re fine and the vet, you know, they can’t go home, dogs get here on Wednesdays and if people see them on Wednesdays they can leave a deposit for them and they can’t take them home until Friday or Saturday because the dog has to rest, has to eat, has to see the vet, you know, acclimate itself, make sure everything’s okay. Because some people are like ‘no, we want to take it home, we want to take it’ and we’re like ‘no you can’t take it home’. We’re like ‘no, you can not take the dog home, but you can leave a deposit and it’s your dog, you just have to wait a couple days.’ So we try to go through you know, take all the right precautions and steps to make sure everything is okay. Then you go for your first vet visit within the first week to double check, another free vet visit to make sure everything is okay.
Investigator 1: Yeah.
Employee: So you can see, he’s nice.
Investigator 2: He’s a great dog.
Employee: He’s healthy, he’s eating well, you can tell by his body, his coat is very shiny, his eyes are clear, his nose is clear, he’s teething like he should be.
Investigator 2: Yeah, clearly he’s teething!
Employee: He’s doing everything he should be. Let me see if I can get him another toy for him so he’s not chewing on you.
Investigator 1: That’s okay. You know what, we have to hit it.
Investigator 2: That’s fine. We love this dog. Um, do you have a card.
Employee: Yeah, I’ll write down on a card for you.
Investigator 2: Yeah, please do.
Investigator 1: I wouldn’t mind looking up his breeder, too, [name of investigator 2 omitted]. [to employee] Tell me breeder information, whatever information we need to research.
Employee: Tomorrow we’re here between 11 and 6, I think. Tomorrow is Sunday, right? My name is Meryl, like Streep. And Joyce will be here tomorrow. You can speak to Joyce. [hands investigators business card with pricing and her name on it]
Employee: Let me switch with you. My pleasure. Bring the card with you because I lowered the price a bit.
Investigator 2: Oh, thanks.
Employee: The dog was $1795 and the extra package would be $129.
Investigator 1: And what other papers – you’re Meryl? – and what other papers like or things should we research? Not that we’re going to do it tonight.
Employee: Um, I guess just look up puggles and see what you think.
Investigator 1: But what about the breeder?
Employee: Oh, the breeder.
Investigator 1: Yeah, can you give me the name again?
[irrelevant conversation about a goldendoodle]
Employee: So the breeder is Jason Wagler, W-A-G-L-E-R, in Indiana.
Investigator 2: Wagler?
Employee: Wagler. I don’t know if when you look him up if it comes up under a different name, it should – maybe not.
Investigator 2: Is there a USDA number we can reference?
Employee: That I have to have Joyce get for me. There should be. Let me have Joyce get that for me. It’s probably, I’m probably looking right at it. But let me [inaudible]
Investigator 1: Yeah, anything that would help us find out more about it.
Employee: Okay. [walks off]
[employee returns with store manager, Joyce, and folder with paperwork]
Manager: [pointing out USDA number to employee] That’s the USDA number.
Employee: Oh, it is. Okay.
Manager: That’s just saying that it’s non-compliant [sic], like they met the requirements.
Employee: [showing USDA inspection report to investigators] This is the USDA number, Jack [sic] Wagler. Non compliant [sic], so they met all…
Investigator 1: [pointing to name on report] So this is the breeder, Jason Wagler.
Employee: Yes, yes.
Investigator 1: That’s the USDA number. Okay.
Employee: And this means that he’s compliant, he met with everything that, you know, all the criteria that needs to be met with. That’s the, see by the animal inspector. On December 12th. Alright, so it shows you the inspection. Focused inspection. Inspection report. See, USDA Animal Plant…so this is what you want to have.
Investigator 1: Okay. So is that for me?
Employee: You can’t take it with you.
Investigator 1: Oh, oh oh. So that’s what we want to look up?
Employee: Right, because this stays –
Investigator 1: Then I’m sorry, give me the, Meryl, give me the USDA number.
Employee: So it’s 32-A-0245. [to manager] The certificate is the USDA number?
Employee: [to manager] Oh, this is, perfect. So this is the inspection report and everything?
Employee: Oh okay. I couldn’t find it before and it was right here.
Investigator 1: Okay. Perfect.
Employee: So this is the whole inspection and, um, perfect. It was conducted with the licensee. And that means the breeder was there during the inspection and everything was passed.
Investigator 1: My eyes, I can’t see, it’s Loogootee?
Employee: What are you looking at?
Investigator 1: Indiana.
Employee: Oh, yeah yeah yeah. Yeah, Loogootee.
[shot of inspection report with licensee Jason Wagler, 4525 N 1050 E, Loogootee, IN 47553, 32-A-0245, date of inspection 05-Dec-2017)
Investigator 1: Well that’s good. Thank you. I’ll totally, I’ll go do a little researching.
Employee: So if you come back tomorrow…[to store manager] Joyce, if they come back tomorrow they’re going to ask for you. I wrote everything on a card. [to investigator 2] I just showed her his inspection report.
Investigator 2: Oh good. Thank you, Meryl.
Employee: [pointing to inspection report for investigator 2] So, USDA, United States Department of Agriculture, Inspection Report, and everything passed inspection, the breeder was there, he was present for the inspection, it’s called a focused inspection and so that’s from the USDA. So. Okay?
Investigator 1: Cool. Thank you.
Investigator 2: That’s nice. Alright, great. Makes me feel better. Thank you, Meryl.
Employee: My pleasure! Nice to meet you guys. Hope to see you!
[end of relevant conversation]
[investigators leave store]
[end of investigation]