Saugus, MA 01906
Date and time of CAPS investigation: 10/09/2018; 7:13 p.m.
Number of dogs observed at time of investigation: approximately 16 puppies
Puppies lived in closed-topped, glass-fronted enclosures with shredded paper for bedding.
A pet shop license was on display, along with a state-required disclosure sign.
Cage cards on each enclosure indicated that the puppies came from MN and IA. Cage cards did not provide the names of towns of origin.
I spoke with a female employee, Olivia. She was unable to give me any information on a puppy. When I asked for breeder information, Olivia said that the store didn’t give out that information until the time of sale. Olivia said it was because the breeders with whom the store worked also did private sales. I left without being given any information on the puppies (330 CMR § 12.05 Restriction of Sale (2)).
Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (CVIs) indicate that Pet Express used to obtain puppies from The Hunte Corporation (now doing business under the name Choice Puppies), a broker (USDA “B” license) in Goodman, MO. Before Andrew Hunte passed away and his wife sold the company to new owners, Hunte was the largest broker in the country, shipping as many as 2,000 puppies a week to pet shops. A CAPS investigator worked undercover at Hunte for six months in 2004. They use numerous breeders in the Midwest, some of whom CAPS investigated. Booking agents, some of whom work directly for Hunte and others who are small brokers, work directly with the breeders to “book” the puppies. The booking agents transport the puppies from around the Midwest to Hunte.
CVIs show Pet Express now uses two USDA licensed brokers to obtain their puppies: Menning Enterprises in Edgerton, MN and Pinnacle Pet/Sobrad LLC in Neosho, MO. The Menning facility has more than 500 adult breeding dogs and usually more than 300 puppies. It also brokers dogs from other breeders (puppy mills).
Pinnacle Pet is a broker in Neosho, MO that obtains puppies from mills 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.
The Iowa broker may be J.A.K.’s Puppies in Britt, IA. CAPS has investigated breeders with Animal Welfare Act violations, some quite serious, who sell to J.A.K.’s Puppies. Below are undercover investigation videos for these breeders:
Daniel Ray Miller
Doug and Wendie Dettbarn
Dennis and Donna Van Wyk
Investigated by CAPS in 1999, 2005, 2007 and 2015. USDA won’t terminate or revoke license.
CAPS has also been investigating Hobo K-9 Rescue, a front used by J.A.K.’s to provide supposed rescue puppies (8 to 12-weeks old purebred and designer dogs). Their clients include stores in municipalities with pet shop ordinances, such as Chicago, that ban the retail sale of puppies and pet shops offering mill-bred puppies that want to improve their image by also providing “rescue” dogs. Several pet shops in California are already using Hobo K-9 Rescue in anticipation of state law going into effect on 1/1/19 that will ban the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits.
CAPS investigation of Hobo K-9 Rescue, including video.