Breeder: Maureen Butler
Business name: PugPekinPoo-Tzu
Address: 3101 US Hwy 160
City, State Zip: West Plains, MO 65775
USDA License: 43-A-5702
Date of CAPS Investigation: 04/27/15
Time of CAPS Investigation: 12:06pm
Prior CAPS Investivations: 07/10/13
Approximate number of dogs observed at time of investigation: investigator did not see kennel.
Breeds: Pugs, Pekingese, Poodles, Shih Tzus, Chihuahuas
I spoke to three people at the Butler residence who told me they were involved with the family’s breeding business: Mr. Butler, Maureen’s husband (Caucasian male, about 40 years old, 5’10”, 200 lbs., with short hair and a short, brown beard and moustache with spots of grey); Maureen Butler (Caucasian male, about 40 years old, 5’4”, 140 lbs, with shoulder-length brown hair); and a third person who spoke about the breeding dogs and what I could buy from them (Caucasian female, about 60 years old, 5’5”, 165 lbs., with long grey hair and glasses).
The Butlers told me that they sell to a broker and to customers online, primarily through puppyfind.com. Mr. Butler told me that his broker uses a shipping company which he believed was named “Bateman.” Maureen told me that most of the kennel’s sales are to pet stores, saying, “We built this whole kennel and started this for a guy who lives an hour north of here, and he goes to New York every week. And he has a chain of about fifteen stores that he visits in a big, round trip. So you send him your information, he sends it to the stores, posts it on his website for them to shop from. And then he texts me and says, ‘Okay, so and so wants this puppy, this puppy, this puppy.’ ”
I asked Maureen if New York pet stores require breeders to be exclusive to their stores, and she responded, ‘They’re wanting it that way….basically they’re wanting breeders to commit to them, so they can tell their buyers, ‘Look, this is our portfolio of our family, your kennel, your dogs, your this, your that.’ So they can have a brag book when people come in and say, ‘‘Look, this is where your puppy comes from. It’s not a puppy mill, it’s a legitimate kennel. They are a real family and they really do have dogs.’ ”
I then asked, “Do you have to deal with the pet shops coming out and going through your place and all that?” She answered, “They just wanted some pictures of the kennel, and some pictures of the adult dogs.” This contradicts Bob’s Tropical Pet Center’s (Queens, NY) claim that they visit breeders once a year.
I asked Maureen, “Do you consistently have pups down? Like you’re breeding every cycle? You got them pretty much down, like often?” She said, “We have a hundred head of dogs. We always have puppies. I have forty ads on there now, and that’s not including probably six more litters that are anywhere from two weeks to four weeks.” This contradicts Shake-A-Paw’s (Hicksville, NY) claim that their breeders breed every three years.
I asked them about their USDA and state inspectors, and Mr. Butler told me that their “USDA lady” is “countrified,” saying, “So her opinion on things, and you know they’re really not supposed to do that, but you know she’s got ideas or two, and she’ll give them to you.” Regarding their state inspector, Mr. Butler added, “Our first state inspector. They was fixing to retire, so they didn’t care. They was flexible with every problem. They wrote us our license, told us what we need to do.”
Maureen discussed some individual dogs and mentioned one in particular that they have as a pet; it was raised in a cage and, consequently, the dog always runs in circles. Maureen told me, “I don’t have the heart. She’ll probably die right here. She’s not going anywhere. She has grade-two knees, but she was raised in a cage. She don’t know anything but to run in circles and bark.” (Maureen did an impression of the barking dog while spinning her finger in a circle.) “And it just makes you want to cry. I mean I can literally have goose bumps and cry over this dog. And I feel sorry for her that she always just goes in circles and cries. She’s been in a ten-by-ten chain-link, and now she’s in the backyard. She still keeps her little tight circle, but. And I think honestly that that has something to do with why her knees are weak cause usually a Shih Tzu ain’t bad for having bad knees.” This statement indicates the Butlers do not provide an environment for their dogs that allows them to avoid not only psychologically damaging issues the AWA ignores but also a physical veterinary issue (Sec 2.40 Attending Veterinarian and Adequate Veterinary Care (a) Adequate vet care).
Maureen said that she pairs a Mountain Cur/Pyrenees mix with a Shih Tzu, and that twice the dog has bitten the Shih Tzu’s eyes (Sec 3.7 Compatible Grouping (b) Any dog exhibiting a vicious or overly aggressive disposition must be housed separately). She said that once she popped a Shih Tzu’s eye back in immediately, but described another incident: “A beautiful Shih Tzu male. He’d done the same thing to him, but he had the clump of hair like a Pekingese. And I didn’t notice at the time and the damage was done. And there was actual damage. He had to have his (eye) removed.” (Sec 2.40 Attending Veterinarian and Adequate Veterinary Care (a) Adequate vet care). Maureen also said that she’s had a puppy with frostbitten toes at one point (Sec 2.40 Attending Veterinarian and Adequate Veterinary care (a) Adequate vet care); she then complained that someone accused her of being a bad breeder for it.
Maureen discussed the kennel’s having flea problems in the past. She claimed to have the problem under control now but admitted not using flea control treatment until a problem had already started, saying, “We couldn’t get rid of fleas on a hundred dogs. We were freaking out. Now we got it down pat, we ain’t got no flea problem. These house dogs will come out here in this yard and pick up some every now and then. But those dogs out there, ain’t got no fleas. And we put Advantage on everybody if we do have it.”(Sec 2.40 Attending Veterinarian and Adequate Veterinary Care (a) Adequate vet care).
The Butlers did not allow me access to their kennel, but brought out two Poodle puppies and Poodle breeder for me to see. The Poodle breeder was a white female, weighing about 15 pounds. I pulled her lips apart to look at the front and left side of her teeth. The dog’s teeth were half-covered in thick brown and black build-up, and the back teeth were worn down almost to the gums (Sec 2.40 Attending Veterinarian and Adequate Veterinary Care (a) Adequate vet care).