Breeder: Asmussen, James and Mary
City, State Zip: Oldham, SD
Year: 2003
USDA License: 46-A-0235
USDA Inspector: 2002-11-05 (Last USDA Inspection Prior to CAPS Investigation)
Date of CAPS Investigation: 2003-04-28
Breeds: Labrador Retrievers
Approximate Number of Dogs: 45

The Asmussen facility was at the end of a very long driveway. There was a home, garage and several outbuildings with kennel areas. The first building I came to from the drive was the garage. There was a large hog panel kennel with a dirt floor built off of the right side of the garage. A small separate outbuilding served as the shelter for the four Labrador Retrievers housed there.

The large Labrador Retrievers were jumping up against the hog panel fencing. The panels had come loose from the t-posts and were not secure. Sharp metal pieces of the panels were pointing towards the dogs on the front side of the enclosure facing the drive. At the back side of the enclosure, a large weathered board, with rusted nails pointing towards the dogs was loosely propped up in order to secure the back panel (3.1(a)-Structure; construction) (3.6(a)(1)-Primary enclosures).

The dogs had severely clawed and chewed one side of the garage and the shelter building. In places they had chewed off pieces of siding on the garage. The building used for their shelter needed the roof replaced. Many areas of the roof were missing shingles and were very weathered (3.1(a)-Stucture; construction). The sides of the shelter building, besides being clawed and chewed, had areas of particle board and unsealed wooden surfaces and peeling paint (3.4(c)-Construction) (3.6(a)(2)(ix)-Primary enclosures).

The entry way access to the shelter lacked a wind/rain break at the entrance (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements) and the outdoor housing area lacked an area of shade separate from the shelter (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements). The dirt floor of this outdoor enclosure had straw, chewed up shredded dog food bags, pieces of siding and food bowls littering about (3.1(b)-Condition and site).

The dogs appeared to be in fair condition and were active. The female yellow Labrador Retriever had extremely engorged, sagging mammary glands that were visibly red (2.40-Veterinary care). One chocolate Labrador Retriever had a green ocular discharge (2.40) and two female chocolate Labrador Retrievers were wearing very large linked chains around their necks. These chains had several links dangling. The dogs were sticking their heads through openings in the panels. Dangling chains can catch on pieces of wire or nails (2.50(a)(1)-Identification) and (3.6(a)(2)(i)(ii)-Primary enclosures). These dogs also had collars with tags on them.

The inside of the garage had whelping rooms made of particle board and unsealed wood at the back of it (3.2(d)-Interior surfaces). I could hear dogs kept there. The garage also served as the food and bedding storage area. It was very untidy with cob webs, a mound of empty dog food bags, a wheelbarrow, a pile of loose straw and junk all over. Unopened bags of dog food were stacked on the floor and against a wall. Opened bags of dog food were sitting on the floor near some buckets (3.1(b)-Condition and site) (3.1(c)-Storage).

From the garage area I moved clockwise around the rest of the facility. There were two yellow Labrador Retrievers in an outdoor enclosure. Part of the floor of this pen was made out of rotten, weathered, scratched wood (3.4(c)-Construction) and the other part of the floor was dirt. Old pieces of buried fence, an anti-dig system, had been unearthed. Jagged pieces of this partially buried fence were turned up towards the dogs’ legs and feet 3.1(a)-Structure;construction) (3.6(a)(2)(i)(ii)-Primary enclosures).

In this outdoor enclosure, there was a large rotted hole in the corner where the rotted wood flooring met the side of the enclosure to the right of the dog house. The hole posed injury to the dogs and affected the structural strength of the primary enclosure (3.1(a)-Structure;construction) (3.4(c)-Construction). All surfaces must be maintained on a regular basis and be impervious to moisture. The dog house in this enclosure was extremely weathered, chewed and scratched. The entry was severely chewed, scratched and lacked a wind/rain break (3.4(b)(3)-Shelter from the elements). The roof had holes in it, large chewed areas and a very sharp piece of metal running down the middle of what probably held the shingles on the roof at one time (3.1(a)-Structure;construction) (3.6(a)(2)(ii)-Primary enclosures). The dog house did not provide adequate protection or shelter (3.6(a)(2)(iii) and (v)-Primary enclosures). The dogs could not sit, stand or lie in a normal manner inside (3.6(a)(2)(xi)-Primary enclosures). Furthermore the dog house had not been maintained on a regular basis and the surfaces were not impervious to moisture (3.4(c)-Construction). This enclosure also lacked an additional area of shade (3.4(b)-Shelter from the elements) and the dogs were out of water (3.10- Watering).

One of the yellow Labrador Retrievers had a collar and tag and the other yellow Labrador Retriever lacked a collar and I.D. (2.50-Identification). The Labrador Retriever without a collar and tag was very active. He jumped,, ran around, pushed on the hog panel fencing and could get his head, feet and legs through opening in the panels (3.1)(a)-Structure; construction). Some of the panels had broken pieces of metal protruding towards the dogs (3.1(a)-Structure; construction) (3.6(a)(2)(i)(ii)-Primary enclosures). The Labrador Retriever with the collar and tag was also wearing a chain as described above (2.50(a)(1)-Identification).

The next kennel area was a small white barn with approximately five welded metal kennels with wooden plank floors built off both sides. One Labrador Retriever per kennel was housed here. The wooden planks used as flooring were severely weathered and scratched and were not impervious to moisture thus making them unable to be properly sanitized (3.3(e)(1)(ii)-Surfaces). One of the chocolate Labrador Retrievers kept here had a large un-cooked cow leg in its enclosure. This dog urinated as we approached (2.40-Vet care). He snarled at us before retreating to his shelter, where he nervously peered out of the dog door. The dog had healed sores on both hips (2.40-Vet care).

In the first enclosure on the other side of this area, a yellow Labrador Retriever urinated submissively and cowered near the floor as I approached. Other dogs barked at me and ran around (2.40). The wood floor on this side was made of unsealed plywood (3.3(e)(1)(ii)-Surfaces), and the urine soaked into the wood.

The next building was an unpainted, very weathered chicken shed with approximately four hog panel and wooden construction enclosures. The dogs accessed their den areas in the small building through dog doors. The floors were made of wood (3.3(e)(1)(ii)-Surfaces) and many of the unsealed 2 x 4’s, used for structural support, had been chewed (3.3(e)(1)(iii)-Surfaces) and (3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces).

A long, red tin building had approximately ten chain link kennels built off of it. The kennels had concrete floors. There was an accumulation of feed pans, buckets, detergent and bleach containers and hoses near the side door of the building (3.1(b)-Condition and site). There were one or two Labrador Retrievers per kennel. The dogs had chewed many of the chain link panels. The chain link panel divider between kennel #3 and kennel #4 from the left was especially mangled and had a metal t-post propping it in position. It appeared that the Labrador Retrievers had chewed holes out of their enclosures or chewed holes into adjoining enclosures (3.1(a)-Structure; construction). The dogs in these enclosures were wearing collars and tags.

The last area was a small weathered outbuilding with peeling paint 3.1(c)(2)-Maintenance and replacement of surfaces) (3.3(e)(iii)-Surfaces). The enclosure was made of wire fencing and had a wooden floor (3.3(e)(1)(ii)-Surfaces). The wooden supports holding the fencing up and together were either severely weathered and rotted or unsealed 2 x 4’s (3.3(e)(1)(iii)-Surfaces). There were large holes with pieces of wire protruding towards the dogs near the top of the fencing (3.1(a)-Structure; construction) (3.6(a)(2)(i)(ii)-Primary enclosures). There were two older puppies living here. They were climbing the wire fencing and were able to get their heads, legs and feet through the holes (3.1(a)-Structure; construction) (3.6)(a)(2)(ii)(iii)-Primary enclosures).

These puppies accessed their shelter area inside of the building through dog doors. The puppies were active and alert. One puppy was wearing a collar and tag. The more active of the two was wearing a chain made of large links. Pieces of this chain collar dangled and nearly got caught up in the broken pieces of the wire fencing (2.50(a)(1)-Identification).

The structure and construction violations are a severe problem at the Asmussen facility. Most of the dogs had fair weight. There wasn’t an excessive amount of fecal accumulation. The dogs’ destructive chewing and behavior should be evaluated. These dogs require a more productive outlet through positive human interaction, socialization and frequent opportunities to exercise (2.40-Vet care) (3.8-Exercise).

CAPS investigators found a number of serious violations. Donald Borchert, ACI, however, found just two non-complaint items during his inspection of 11/5/02. He listed a 3.1(a) violation for wire along the bottom of an outside enclosure that had started to turn up into the dogs’ enclosure. He listed 3.1(b) for a large accumulation of cob webs. The correct-by date for both violations was 11/15/02. Although CAPS investigators didn’t note any cobwebs, the wiring turning up into the enclosures was still present. In fact, it appears that the Asmussens deliberately buried the wire to prevent digging.

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