Breeder: Deborah Goracke
Address: 61710 729th Rd
City, State Zip: Tecumseh, NE 68450
USDA License: 47-A-0526
Date of CAPS Investigation: 05/30/15
Time of CAPS Investigation: 3:01pm
Weather at time of investigation: 55 degrees Fahrenheit and overcast
Approximate number of dogs observed at time of investigation: 55 dogs
Breeds: Cotons de Tulear, Maltese, Chihuahuas
Deborah Goracke (Caucasian female, about 45 years old, 5’6″, 175 lbs., with long brown hair and glasses) and her husband, Richard (Caucasian male, about 50 years old, 5’8″, 190 lbs., with short grey hair and glasses), showed me their facility.
The kennel was located at the west end of the property. It was a single structure with its northern end altered from a hog breeding barn, its southern end custom made, and an office room between those areas. Both areas had elevated indoor/outdoor cages on each of the building’s longer sides. The indoor cages had self-feeders and included automatic water nipples. Cages were constructed with treated plastic wire, with the northern indoor cages having the same thin-gauge, treated-plastic wire used for the floorings and the walls. The southern cages, both indoors and outdoors, and the northern outdoor cages had a thicker-gauge, orange rubber-coated flooring. Deborah mentioned to me that the floorings of the northern indoor cages cause the dogs’ paws to “get a little sore” (3.6 Primary enclosures (a) General requirements (2)(ii) Protect the dogs from injury).
The outdoor cages were set about five feet above ground level. Where the cage walls interfaced with the building, brown and yellow stains existed from the cage down to the bottom of the building along its outside wall (Sec 3.1 Housing facilities, general (c) Surfaces (2) Maintenance and replacement of surfaces).
In the southern room, there was a lower level of about three cages on the eastern wall; however, these enclosures had no outdoor access. The cages, about four feet long and two feet wide, held whelping mothers and puppies. There was a total of about ten indoor/outdoor cages in two elevated rows in the southern part of the kennel. There were two rows of eight cages in the northern end of the kennel. Each of the breeder cages held two to three dogs of various breeds.
The northern end of the barn had a manure pit about below the building’s floor, used when the building housed hogs. About eight feet below ground level I could see manure filling up the pit from an unknown depth. I asked Richard, “How much manure can you hold in there?” He responded, “Actually, this has been here for about…this building’s been here for ten years. And I never have cleaned that out.” (Sec 3.11 Cleaning, Sanitization, Housekeeping, and Pest Control (a) Cleaning of primary enclosures).
Plastic sheeting under the indoor cages was covered with dark brown stains (Sec 3.1 Housing Facilities, General (c) Surfaces (2) Maintenance and replacement of surfaces). Deborah said the sheets were pressure-washed, though they clearly had a thin layer of manure buildup that has stained them almost to the point of being black in the middle. While showing me the southern cages, Richard told me that he never cleans the floorings of the cages. I noticed the indoor and outdoor cages had pieces of dried manure stuck to, and hanging down from, their floorings. (Sec 3.11 Cleaning, Sanitization, Housekeeping, and Pest Control (a) Cleaning of primary enclosures).
Discussion with Deborah
Deborah talked to me at length about her breeding business. She said that she had sold a puppy with a bad liver, and used to have a problem with her puppies having bad knees. She said that she sells through a broker and also sells directly to the Pets R Us pet store in Illinois. She said that in addition to working the kennel, she also has a job and told me, “I used to check them twice a day, but I’ve gotten to where I only check them one time. I come out every night. And all day on the weekends.”