Gentle Jungle Pet Store
470 Lewis Ave #71
Meriden, CT 06451
Date and time of CAPS investigation: 4/23/19; 14:05
Approximate number of puppies observed at time of investigation: 40
Puppies were kept in enclosures with wire doors at their fronts, solid walls, and wire floorings. Cage cards provided information about breeders of puppies, including name, street address, city and state, but no USDA license number. Six different brokers had their names, addresses, and USDA license numbers noted below breeders, and were either unmarked or one was circled. The cages were about five feet behind a glass wall.
Two CT Department of Ag inspection forms were posted on the glass wall, noting two inspections done on the store due to customer complaints. A consumer right sign, sign offering breeder information, and sign offering USDA inspection reports to customers upon request were on the glass wall as well.
An employee (Caucasian female, about 25 years old, 5’5″, 140 lbs., with long brown hair) told me the store primarily gets kittens from people who have had litters and don’t know what to do with them, and so give them to the store to sell. Other kittens, such as Himalayans, come from commercial breeders. However, she said it’s rare for the store to receive cats from commercial breeders. She said she didn’t know any specifics about kitten or puppy breeders. When I asked how breeders house dogs, she said, “I believe they do have cages, most breeders, but they do let them out often.” She also said that if a breeder is not present for a USDA inspection, the breeder is cited for a direct violation.
I saw two employees (Caucasian female, about 22 years old, 5’9″, 110 lbs., with short brown hair that has highlights on the bangs, and glasses, and a dark-skinned male, about 30 years old, 5’9″, 200 lbs., with long curly black hair, and a curly black beard and thin moustache) taking photographs of puppies. The female employee waved, yelled, and whistled at puppies to get their attention. At one poin, shet picked a Labrador Retriever puppy up, held the puppy under the front legs with the puppy facing her, and then tilted the puppy back and forth about twice per second for several seconds before placing the puppy back down.
Evidence of false statements and misrepresentations of breeders by store:
The employee’s claim that a breeder not being available for a USDA inspection is a direct violation is false. Direct violations relate to things that directly impact the health of dogs, such as veterinary care violations.
The employees claim that breeders let their dogs “out often” is false. Of the thousands of breeders CAPS has investigated, the majority do not let their dogs out of their enclosures at all, despite USDA requirements for exercise for dogs.
The following was obtained from a USDA inspection report at the store (not all inspection reports were observed):
Daniel Kuehne, 16649 Nystrom Ave, Reading, MN 56165, 41-A-0349
Kuehne’s 2013 USDA reports listed numerous violations: strong odor of animal waste and ammonia; insufficient floor space for puppies; insects in dog food container; openings in mesh flooring allowing puppies’ feet to pass through; plastic feeders with layer of old food and grime
The following were obtained from puppies’ cage cards:
Breeder / Broker
- Daniel Kuehne, 16649 Nystrom Ave, Reading, MN 56165 / Fulton Enterprises, 603 S Broadway, Alden, MN 56009, 41-B-0262 See above
- Joy Gastler, Kennel of Joy, 13401 Monroe Rd 1039, Madison, MO 65263 / Fulton Enterprises
Gastler’s 2012 and 2013 USDA violations included patches of hair loss, thin dog with protruding backbone, reds gums, enclosure with non-working heat and minimal wood shavings for bedding (outside temperature was 32 degrees F), scab-like lesions along belly and back legs from fight*, lesions from fight, lethargic dog with eye discharge, puncture wound on throat from fight, dirt and grime, broken and rusty wiring, and decaying wood.
- Daniel Graber, 9515 E 875 N, Odon, IN 47562
- Susie Haidsiak, 2376 D Ave, Red Oak, IA 51566
- Marvin Lengacher, 6495 N 700 E, Montgomery, IN 47558
*Our undercover investigations, including an employment-based one at Minnestoa-based Pick of the Litter, and review of thousands of USDA inspection reports show a high incidence of dog fights at puppy mills, most likely due to stressful confinement in dirty, tight quarters and lack of socialization and exercise. Pick of the Litter owner Kathy Bauck was a notorious dog broker and breeder with 900 adults dogs and 400 puppies during our six-week undercover employment in 2008. With our evidence, she was convicted of animal cruelty in 2009 and subsequently lost her USDA license (without a license, she continued to sell to New York pet shops, which we investigated and turned over to USDA). She sold to Connecticut pet shops.