Fish Bowl Aquarium and Pet Mart
425 Pleasant Street
Fall River, MA 02721
(508) 673-0800

Date and time of CAPS investigation: 10/08/2018; approximately 1 p.m.

Number of dogs observed at time of investigation: 2 puppies

Puppies lived in closed-topped enclosures with a glass window, with shredded paper for bedding. Information on the puppies was written in marker on the enclosure glass windows, and provided the following: breed, color, gender, date of birth and price. Two kittens were in the enclosure directly below where the two puppies were held, and they had sheets of paper for bedding.

A pet shop license was on display, but there was no state-required disclosure sign (330 § 12.05 Restriction of Sale (2)(a)).

A female employee, Jamie, told me that the store usually only offers a small number of puppies for sale at once, and that they all come from out of state USDA licensed and registered breeders, not puppy mills. I asked if there was any breeder information regarding the puppies and Jamie showed me a veterinary medical record for one puppy. This listed the breeder’s name as Aaron Schwartz, but there was no town or state listed where it should have appeared on the report. I asked Jamie which town and state this puppy had come from and she replied that the other paperwork said “NM” (New Mexico). New Mexico is not a puppy mill state and has just two “A” licensed breeders, neither of whom has the last name of Schwartz. One of the sheets of paper in the report had letterhead which read “Pinnacle Veterinary” (330 CMR § 12.05 Restriction of Sale (2)(a)).

Research resulted in two Aaron Schwartzes with an “A” license on USDA’s dealers list: Aaron SM Schwartz of Schwartz’s Kennel, 396 Barnyard Road, Seymour, MO; and Aaron N.M Schwartz, 1011 Brumback Road, Seymour, MO. Research showed that Pinnacle Veterinary is located at 11444 Hammer Rd, Neosho, MO 64850, which is next door to and on the same driveway as Pinnacle Pet/SOBRAD LLC.

Pinnacle Pet is a broker (USDA “B” license) in Neosho, MO that obtains puppies from mills (USDA “A” license; “B” licensees can also breed) to resell to pet shops. The breeders that have sold to them include Marlin Bontrager in Missouri, Menno Yoder in Ohio and Irene Phillips in Kansas. 

Bontrager’s USDA violations include dogs in enclosures registering 90 degrees F, beetles in feces, fecal accumulation, and grime on whelping enclosures. Yoder’s violations include gum disease in numerous dogs, excessively long nails, accumulation of stains and grime around drains and wash downs. Phillips violations include exposed screws and sharp points, broken and protruding wires, chewed and worn enclosures, lack of wind/rain breaks, rusty metal and rotting wood.

Jamie showed me a turtle in water in a tank that was sitting on the floor and said that it was aggressive. The water in this tank was approximately four inches deep. Jamie waved her fingers at the glass of the tank and the turtle attempted to attack her fingers. I observed two small live goldfish swimming in this same tank. Turtles are known to eat goldfish and it is possible that these goldfish may have been put into the tank as food (330 CMR § 12.04 General care of Animals. All licensees shall ensure that (5) If animals are group housed, they are maintained in compatible groups without overcrowding).

Dirt, debris and dust were in several areas of the store. (330 CMR § 12.03 Facilities. (1) General Facilities. All licensees shall (a) Maintain all buildings and premises in good repair and in a sanitary condition).

A single crab was in a small plastic container that prevented the animal from moving around freely. (330 CMR § 12.03 Facilities. (3) Animal Facilities)

Thirty small rats were in a 4 x 1 ft. tank with possible overcrowding. (330 CMR § 12.04 General care of Animals. All licensees shall ensure that (5) If animals are group housed, they are maintained in compatible groups without overcrowding)

Three medium-sized rats were in a 2 x 1 ft. tank and three large rats were in another 2 x 1 that appeared to be too small for them. (330 CMR § 12.03 Facilities (3) Animal Facilities).

I observed a single fish that appeared to be too long for the tank it was being held in; the fish was approximately 1’ long, the tank was approximately 6’ long by approximately 1’ wide. (330 CMR § 12.03 Facilities. (3) Animal Facilities).

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